Microsoft, Code.org partner to teach AI + ethics from elementary to high school
Microsoft and Code.org are excited to announce a partnership that gives every student from elementary school to high school the opportunity to learn about artificial intelligence (AI).
At a time when AI and machine learning are changing the very fabric of society and transforming entire industries, it is more important than ever to give every student the opportunity to not only learn how these technologies work, but also to think critically about the ethical and societal impacts of AI.
AI is used everywhere, from voice assistants to self-driving cars, and it’s rapidly becoming the most important technological innovation of current times. AI has the potential to play a major role in addressing global problems, such as detecting and curing diseases, cleaning oceans, eliminating poverty, or harnessing clean energy.
At the same time, with great power comes great responsibility, and budding computer scientists must learn to consider technology’s ethical impacts. How does algorithmic bias impact social justice or deep fakes impact democracy? How does society cope with rapid job automation? By learning how to consider the ethical issues that AI raises, these future computer scientists will be better able to envision the appropriate safeguards that help to maximize the benefits of AI technologies and reduce their risks.
A comprehensive approach from elementary to high school
Made possible by Microsoft’s latest donation of $7.5 million, Code.org plans a comprehensive and age-appropriate approach to teaching how AI works along with the social and ethical considerations, from elementary school through high school.
- A new video series on AI, featuring Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella along with leading technologists across industry and academia
- A global launch of Code.org’s hit AI tutorial, AI for Oceans, which is available in 25+ languages and optimized for mobile devices
- A classroom lesson plan to help students explore and discuss the societal and ethical implications of AI
- A lesson in the CS Principles curriculum about machine learning and bias
- See our new AI resource page for a complete overview!
Within the coming year, AI and machine learning lessons will be integrated into Code.org’s CS Discoveries curriculum, which is one of the most widely-used computer science courses for students in grades 6–10, and in App Lab, Code.org’s popular app-creation platform used throughout middle school and high school.
In CS Discoveries, students will learn to work with datasets to create machine learning models that they can incorporate into their apps, and explore how advances in new technologies such as computer vision and neural networks require new ethical computer scientists to avoid bias and harm. Curated datasets will help students better understand the real-world impact that these technologies have.
Code.org will also help students and teachers find additional educational resources from a variety of partners and the broader community behind AI education.
Microsoft and AI education
Additionally, last month the Microsoft AI for Earth team partnered with Minecraft: Education Edition to release five lessons challenging students to use the power of AI in a range of exciting real-world scenarios: to preserve wildlife and ecosystems, help people in remote areas, and research climate change.
What’s more, Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Junior 2021 challenge provides students aged 13 to 18 the opportunity to learn about technology and how it can be used to positively change the world.
The global challenge is focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI), introducing students to AI and Microsoft’s AI for Good initiatives so they can come up with ideas to solve social, cultural and environmental issues.
Impacting student lives, especially the underserved
On Code.org, 45% of students are young women, and in the US, 50% are students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and 45% are in high needs schools. Reaching the tens of millions of students in Code.org’s courses and on its platform, the partnership between Microsoft and Code.org works to democratize access to learning AI because all students deserve the opportunity to shape the world they live in — and because creating an equitable and socially just future will take all of us.
-Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi and Microsoft President Brad Smith