Huang Junsong, David
- PublicationOpen AccessIntegrating artificial intelligence into science lessons: Teachers’ experiences and views
In the midst of digital transformation, schools are transforming their classrooms as they prepare students for a world increasingly automated by new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI). During curricular implementation, it has not made sense to teachers to teach AI as a stand-alone subject as it is not a traditional discipline in schools. As such, subject matter teachers may need to take on the responsibility of integrating AI content into discipline-based lessons to help students make connections and see its relevance rather than present AI as separate content. This paper reports on a study that piloted a new lesson package in science classrooms to introduce students to the idea of AI. Specifically, the AI-integrated science lesson package, designed by the research team, provided an extended activity that used the same context as an existing lesson activity. Three science teachers from different schools piloted the lesson package with small groups of students and provided feedback on the materials and implementation.
The findings revealed the teachers’ perceptions of integrating AI into science lessons in terms of the connection between AI and science, challenges when implementing the AI lesson package and recommendations on improvements. First, the teachers perceived that AI and science have similarities in developing accurate models with quality data and using simplified reasoning, while they thought that AI and science play complementary roles when solving scientific problems. Second, the teachers thought that the biggest challenge in implementing the lesson package was a lack of confidence in content mastery, while the package would be challenging to get buy-in from teachers regarding curriculum adaptation and targeting the appropriate audience. Considering these challenges, they recommended that comprehensive AI resources be provided to teachers, while this package can be employed for science enrichment programs after-school.
The study has implications for curriculum writers who design lesson packages that introduce AI in science classrooms and for science teachers who wish to contribute to the development of AI literacy for teachers and the extension of the range of school science and STEM to students.