Education, Opinion

Education Week: H-F High embraces innovation as it prepares students for their future

As we transitioned from the industrial era to the information age to now the digital age, education must evolve to meet the demands of the future.

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Scott Wakeley

At Homewood-Flossmoor High School, we recognize integrating innovation, including technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), into education is crucial to prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. This commitment is a core element of our ongoing mission to redefine education, ensuring that our students acquire the digital skills and knowledge essential for their success.

Our journey towards this transformation begins with our strategic planning initiative, “Charting a Course.” Through this process, a team of stakeholders are evaluating what is working well and what necessitates rethinking as we equip our students for their future.

AI represents the cutting edge of technological progress, and its incorporation into education is a logical and forward-thinking move. Both our educators and students must grasp the potential and limitations of AI.

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In an increasingly data-driven world, AI technologies are steadily transforming the industries our students will one day lead. To ensure our students are suitably prepared, we must embrace innovation, like AI, as a crucial aspect of their educational journey. Similar to how educators integrated tools like calculators, personal computers, cellular phones and social media into the educational landscape over the years, we must now embrace what AI signifies for our students and the future they are poised to shape.

Homewood-Flossmoor’s commitment to our “Profile of a Viking” extends to all aspects of education, including digital citizenship. As students engage more deeply with AI-powered technologies in their daily lives, it is imperative that they develop an understanding of the ethical implications and responsibilities associated with these tools. It falls on us to guide them in exploring digital ethics, privacy and cybersecurity, ensuring that our students are not only proficient AI users but also responsible and ethical digital citizens.

We must also learn for ourselves and teach our students to balance the gifts and efficiencies of technology with the hardships and complexities that technology has created for us, like living in the public eye, being accessible 24/7, having access to so much information, living in isolation versus in community with people.

Human interaction and collectivism goes along with digital citizenship. We must all learn to live in partnership with technology versus being controlled by it.

Homewood-Flossmoor High School’s embrace of innovations such as AI marks a pivotal milestone in our journey to prepare students for the information age. By exploring ways to incorporate AI into our classrooms and actively teaching digital citizenship, we are not merely nurturing technology consumers but also fostering informed and responsible participants in the digital world.

As our school district continues to progress, our unwavering commitment to embracing change will remain steadfast, ultimately empowering our students with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in their future.

Note: Dr. Scott Wakeley is superintendent of Homewood-Flossmoor School District 233.

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