TCOE instructs educators in AI training

Tulare County Office of Education holds first of three AI training sessions for local educators, teaches them how to use AI to assist them in the classroom

(Rigo Moran)
Brock Linebaugh
Published August 4, 2023  • 
11:00 am

TULARE COUNTY – AI isn’t going anywhere anytime soon – at least that’s what Adam Juarez, an ERS educational technology consultant, said to the local educators he was lecturing to.

On Friday, July 28, the Education Resource Services (ERS) from the Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) held a “Artificial Intelligence: Unpacking Standards and Lesson Design with AI.” The lecture taught 18 local educators how to use simple AI (artificial intelligence) tools to help them better serve their students.

“This was kind of like AI for beginners, just to get them familiar with what tools are out there, and how they can begin to use it as an educator,” Jaurez said.

These tools, found on sites such as Chat GPT, Google Bard and Canva Magic Design, were used to show educators how AI can make lesson plans, simplify complex standards and even assist with grading assignments. As Juarez put it, the concept comes down to essentially turning AI into a “personal assistant.” 

“AI is only as effective as the human input,” he said. “The output that you’re gonna get depends on the input given by the actual humans.” 

While the educators shared that they were apprehensive and overwhelmed at first, Jaurez, as well as his colleague Joe Marquez, helped to ease their worries. Marquez is the director of Academic Innovation at CUE.org, a nonprofit community of connected educators. 

“The world is changing; we can’t rely on ‘this is the way we’ve always done it,’” Marquez said to the group of teachers. 

CUE.org seeks to connect teachers with ideas, resources and one another in order to use technology to prepare students to “succeed in a rapidly changing world,” according to the CUE.org website.

Juarez echoed his colleague’s words to the group of educators when speaking to The Sun-Gazette.

“In the workforce that our students are going to be entering, AI is going to be a part of it, whether we like it or not,” he said. “So we’re going to prepare them for that future.”

Before teachers can prepare students, they need to learn how to navigate the ways of AI themselves.

“AI is so brand new, and it’s moving really quickly,” Jaurez said. “I’m bringing some practical first steps for teachers to get used to this new technology, and then begin to develop responsible ways that we can use it both as adults and with our students.”

For any interested educators who would like to know more about the program or even participate in a session themselves, there’s another session being held this month on Aug. 17, as well as Sept. 5. With a price tag of $100, educators will get three hours of instruction, carefully structured by Jaurez.

“I’ve structured my workshops through what I call a series of sparks and sprints,” he said. “A spark is 20-30 minutes of a mini lecture and some demonstrations of certain concepts and ideas. Then there is the sprint, where they get to really begin to use those concepts and ideas by experimenting and asking questions.”

To sign up for the Aug. 17 session, which is open to all local educators regardless of whether or not they are in Tulare County, interested parties can visit TCOE’s website, or type in the link https://tulare.k12oms.org/147-237093 to be taken straight to the session’s page.

Brock Linebaugh