Here’s how Arizona teachers are adapting — not attacking — AI

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Originally published on AZ Big Media.

A teacher’s response to learning about artificial intelligence is comparable to a child’s face after eating ice cream, bulging eyes and happy smiles. “We’re like the happy cheerleaders for AI,” said Janel White-Taylor, clinical professor at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

From K–12 classrooms to university lecture halls, artificial intelligence continues to be tested and Arizona State University is taking a lead in discovering the untold world of AI.

At Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, instructors are formulating a training program that can prepare students who are going to be teachers in a few years to use and understand the technology. In order to teach the students that artificial intelligence is still learning new algorithms, the goal is to identify what it isn’t accomplishing, Jennifer Werner Instructional Designer Senior at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College explained.

Taylor adds that ASU faculty are exploring new methods to incorporate AI into courses, particularly one on problem-solving using digital technology applications, in which students can learn how to write a script or create a piece of artwork using intelligence.

Arizona State University Preparatory Academy partnered with Khan World School, a virtual learning platform teaching grades 6 through 12 virtually at the charter school. The instructors who are apart of this learning environment refer to themselves as guides rather than teachers.

“Their (guides) in a digital environment and are actually facilitating the learning,” Rachna Mathur, the STEM strategist for Arizona State University Preparatory Academy said.

The goal is for instructors to include AI in their classes and begin modifying their lesson plans. Teachers claim that rather than worrying about students cheating, they should be worried about whether their assignments are motivating them.

Taylor gave an illustration of how teachers might revamp their lesson ideas. Instead of merely having a student summarize an article, educate them to request the summary from artificial intelligence. Then, let the student evaluate if the summary was accurate.

“What educators are increasingly seeing is that it is an incredible teaching partner..it can help foster the creative process,” Punya Mishra the Associate Dean of scholarship and innovation and professor at Mary Lou Fulton teachers college said.

AI has advanced to an extent where it is now the new kid on the block within certain workplaces.

Are educators worried about losing their jobs?

Professors expressed that students will always need a human connection in order to fully learn and there is a possibility that artificial intelligence might have a bigger role in lessons.

“A large reason of why we go to school is to learn how to engage and interact with people, learn views, it’s not just about learning math and chemistry,” said Mirsha.

The accepted norm today in education is for kids to learn how to use computers “before” they learn how to compose sentences.

“It’s more of a new relationship with this learning system…its a different type of thinking,” said Mathur.

It can also be a era of going back to basics and having children read books out loud and having a designated writing time, “its all about strategy,” said Taylor.

Discover New Reads Just in Time for Book Lovers Day

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Picture a cozy nook as you immerse yourself in the pages of a captivating story. Welcome to the enchanting realm of Book Lovers Day, a celebration of literature and the transformative power of reading, recognized on August 9.

Studies have shown reading is not just a source of entertainment but also a gateway to numerous health benefits. As you embark on literary adventures, you simultaneously stimulate your mind, improve memory retention, reduce stress levels, and even enhance your social skills. It’s like a workout for your brain, leaving you feeling refreshed, inspired, and intellectually invigorated.

What better way for bibliophiles around the world to celebrate Book Lovers Day than to share in new authors, different genres, and a love for books with fellow enthusiasts? Recently, ASU Prep staff and students shared their favorite literary treasures. Let’s take a look at their recommendations.

Student Recommendations

Or Give me Death by Ann Rinaldi, historical fiction, is a Revolutionary War tale about Patrick Henry’s family as told by his daughters about their mother Sarah, who is locked in a cellar due to her mental illness.

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton, contemporary young adult, is the tale of two mismatched classmates on a mission to make their high school a little less awful.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garica, gothic horror, is set in glamorous 1950s Mexico and follows a young woman investigating her cousin’s claims that her husband is trying to murder her.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, young adult mystery, is a series about an investigation turned obsession when a student re-examines the closed case of a murdered schoolgirl.

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean, young adult fiction, tells the story of a Japanese American girl discovering her father’s true identity—the Crown Prince of Japan—and being caught between two worlds.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, fantasy fiction, is a two-book series following the Shadow and Bone trilogy that tells the story of a criminal prodigy and his crew on an impossible heist.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, young adult romance, is a trilogy that follows Belly’s most memorable summers, growing up and falling in love.

Some notable reliables that were also recommended by students include the fantasy series Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as coming-of-age classics Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Staff Recommendations

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman, nonfiction, combines commentary on product design and the principles of cognitive psychology.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams, memoir, is an engaging and funny recounting of the author’s journey to the historic site.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, historical fiction, recounts the lives of two half sisters, one living in a castle, and the other sold into slavery and imprisoned in that same castle.

Last Train to Memphis by Peter Guralnick, biography, tells the story of legendary musician Elvis Presely like never before.

The Human Target by Tom King & Greg Smallwood, detective story, follows the mystery of who is out to murder DC Comics villain Lex Luthor.

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr., nonfiction, delves into the life of a reclusive heiress, tracing her family’s immense wealth from the Gilded Age opulence to a twenty-first-century legal battle over inheritance.

Many staff members recommended nonfiction instructional books including: The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, and Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Tawwa.

Contemporary fiction novels often seen on book club lists were also common suggestions, including This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub. His and Hers by Alice Feeney was recommended and may lead to reading more of her popular thrillers. The same is true for The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which may turn readers into superfans of her many bestselling books.

Celebrate Book Lovers Day

Whether it’s a thrilling mystery, a heartwarming romance, or enlightening nonfiction, there’s always something new to discover in the pages of a good book. Join ASU Prep in celebrating Book Lovers Day by checking out one of these recommendations or sharing your own recommendation with our ASU Prep community on Instagram using #ASUPrepReads. Remember, every book you haven’t read is a new adventure waiting for you.

ASU Prep’s Internship Program: Setting up Students for College and Career Success

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In honor of National Intern Day on July 27th, we want to shine a spotlight on ASU Prep’s internship program, designed to support high school students on their journey toward higher education and fulfilling careers. ASU Prep is dedicated to providing students with real-world experiences that spark their interests and prepare them for future success. The internship program is part of this commitment, guiding students on college and career pathways.

The ASU Prep Internship Program

ASU Prep offers multiple avenues for students to secure internships. They can either apply from the database of over 50 contacts provided by ASU Prep, create their own internship opportunities, or turn their existing jobs or volunteer experience into an internship. The program is flexible and accommodates different pathways, even allowing students to gain credit for their internship experiences.

An asynchronous digital course brings together students from across the ASU Prep network of campuses. Participants receive support and guidance from a dedicated instructor and are encouraged to collaborate with fellow students through discussion posts, as well as fun “show and tell” type activities where students can “show off” their internships with one another. Students also complete weekly reflections and submit their internship hours. The elective course can be taken twice to earn one full high school credit.

A Network of Strong Partnerships

While some students seek out their own internship opportunity, like one industrious ASU Prep Digital student who worked at a Lafayette, Louisiana police department, others rely on an impressive list of local partners, maintained by Felecia O’Neal, ASU Prep’s Network College and Career Coordinator.

These diverse partnerships have connected students to internships at the Mayo Clinic; Victory Legal Solutions, a female-owned local law firm; the Biltmore Resort; Arizona Department of Corrections, and many more.

And of course, ASU Prep’s relationship with Arizona State University opens up a whole world of internship opportunities. Ms. O’Neal points out Mathematics Professor Natalie B. Welcome as an ideal example of the level of mentorship available: “She not only walks students through how to be a professor, how to grade papers, and how to use rubrics, she also plans field trips so students will visit all the labs. Whether it’s art or science, she lets them connect to a variety of different places on campus.”

Some ASU Prep interns work with ASU’s SCience and ENgineering Experience (SCENE), getting the opportunity to complete science research in state-of-the art university labs. Digital students can even participate by working in a lab closer to home and meeting with their professors virtually.

The Impact and Benefits

By providing real-world experiences and hands-on opportunities, the ASU internship program instills determination and passion in students, igniting a desire to succeed beyond high school. Students gain insights into their fields of interest, explore various industries, and develop transferable skills that are invaluable for their future careers.

Ms. O’Neal explains the importance of these character- (and résumé-) building experiences: “Determination is when you have a vision or feeling that locks in that you are going to pursue success. You’re not just thinking about it in your head, but you’re actually working on doing meaningful work in a particular area. That determination helps you succeed and figure out how to be successful beyond high school.”

To learn more about ASU Prep’s internship program, students can contact their Academic Advisor or Learning Success Coach.

Visit ASU Prep to learn more about all of our programs dedicated to preparing students for success.

Anti-Bullying Tips for a Positive Community

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While many Star Wars fans were busy celebrating “May the Fourth Be With You,” ASU Prep Academy was also recognizing May 4th as Anti-Bullying Day with a focus on digital citizenship. Just as there are powerful alliances formed in the Star Wars franchise, ASU Prep Academy encourages students to come together to support and encourage one another. Here are some anti-bullying tips to foster a positive community. 

Hold That Thought

Getting ready to post that picture with a filter that makes your classmate look like a furry Ewok? Remember not to post photos or videos of others without permission, especially those who are minors. While you think your classmate’s Ewok impression is spot-on, she may not appreciate it going viral. 

And just like we use a filter to enhance photos, let’s do the same for our comments. Filter your thoughts before posting them to make sure they are truthful and kind. Avoid teasing and sarcasm, which don’t usually translate well online. Instead of jokingly commenting on a friend’s post about his new Mandalorian backpack, “You’re such a dork!” try “Love your style!” instead. 

Leave a *Good* Lasting Impression

Everything we do online leaves behind a trail. Everything from social media posts to search history. So make sure the prints you leave behind are good ones you wouldn’t be embarrassed for your teachers, family members or future boss to discover. 

ASU Prep Academy Supports You

ASU Prep does not tolerate bullying, harassing or intimidating others on school grounds, school-sponsored events, or through use of technology. Any reports of such behavior will be investigated and may lead to disciplinary action like a guardian conference, or in serious cases, removal from the school community. 

Connect in a Positive Way

Show your school spirit by posting positive accomplishments like club activities or the triumphant completion of a project. Finally finished your watercolor of Yoda? Post it! When sharing your Sun Devil successes, strengthen our community connection by tagging #RepthePrep and #ASUPrepAcademy. 

Help Us Celebrate Our 2023 Teacher of the Year Nominees

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At ASU Preparatory Academy, we recognize excellence in teaching, and want to thank all teachers for their skill, knowledge, and dedication to the profession. We are thrilled to announce the nominees selected for ASU Preparatory Academy’s 2023 Teacher of the Year. Meet our exemplary educators:

 

Guadalupe Diaz
ASU Prep Phoenix, K-6

Guadalupe Diaz is currently a Dual Language teacher who was instrumental in the development of ASU Preparatory Academy Downtown Phoenix’s Dual Language Spanish Immersion Program. She has demonstrated highly effective pedagogical skills and an understanding of language pedagogy. Guadalupe places high importance on fostering positive relationships with diverse populations of students while maintaining high standards in her classroom. She meets students at their cognitive level to provide comprehensible input and ensures that students master each standard. Her passion for student success, knowledge of quality instruction, and eagerness to continue learning, are just a few qualities that make her a wonderful teacher.  

 Eira Rodriguez
ASU Prep Phoenix, 7-12

For the past five years, Eira Rodriguez has taught Geometry, Algebra II with Trigonometry and College Algebra at ASU Prep Downtown Phoenix. She is also the campus’ National Honor Society advisor. Eira is dedicated to her students and wants them to become successful leaders. Under her guidance, the After school Tutoring Club not only helps younger students with their academics, but the fourth and fifth grade students learn mentoring skills. She believes the younger students will want to do well in their classes and will want to become leaders as well. Prior to ASU Prep, she taught at Carl Hayden High School for 24 years. 

Patricia Arrellanes
ASU Prep South Phoenix, K-6 

With 18+ years of experience in early childhood education, Patricia Arrellanes teaches second grade at ASU Prep South Phoenix. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in literacy education to further enhance her teaching skills to better serve her students. One of Patricia’s core beliefs is that every child has the ability to learn and grow, and it is her responsibility to provide them with the tools and opportunities to do so. Patricia has had the opportunity to also participate on the Design Team where she has been able to create a positive and engaging classroom environment that fosters student choice and independence.

Lisa Mills
ASU Prep South Phoenix, 7-12

Prior to teaching at ASU Prep, Lisa Mills taught both middle school and high school math for 10 years. For the past two years, she has taught high school math at ASU Prep South Phoenix High School. Lisa studied chemical engineering at ASU, and in addition to her love of math, also brings a love of science to her classroom. This year she received a STEM fellowship and has thoroughly enjoyed building rockets for an upcoming launch.

Danielle Houseman
ASU Prep Polytechnic, K-6

Elementary STEM teacher Danielle Houseman impacts her students through interactive scientific and mathematical application, and introductions into engineering and computer science fields. This year, she was accepted to the ASU STEM Fellowship program which provides STEM-specific professional development opportunities that she uses to enhance her curriculum and acquire new resources for the students at our ASU Prep STEM Academy. Danielle was a classroom teacher and reading specialist in the Apache Junction Unified School District for more than 24 years. Her experiences have given her the understanding of how effective instruction contains multiple academic disciplines, which she is mindful of when developing her STEM lessons.

Hector Herrera
ASU Prep Polytechnic, 7-12 

Seventh grade math teacher Hector Herrera brings his knowledge from the Poly Design and Innovation team to the ASU Prep Polytechnic campus. Hector completed his final year of student teaching and 200+ hours of volunteering/interning throughout his time at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. He challenges his students to think critically and stretch outside their comfort zone through various project-based learning units. With three years under his belt at ASU Prep, Hector is piloting the start of a Student Council club for middle school.

Jeff Whipple
ASU Prep Casa Grande, 7-12 

For the past seven years, Jeff Whipple has taught World History, American History, Economics, American Government, Entrepreneurship, and Senior Seminar at ASU Prep Casa Grande, along with co-sponsoring Student Government. He has Highly Qualified endorsements for History, Government, Business, and Criminal Justice. Jeff is also College Board approved to teach Advanced Placement courses in Government and Politics, U.S. History, and World History. Prior to ASU Prep, he taught middle and high school social studies in Coolidge. Jeff was also a member of the ASU Prep Casa Grande delegation that presented at the Blended and Personalized Learning Conference in Rhode Island, sponsored by the Highlander Institute. He continues to explore different tech tools to build fun, engaging, and active learning experiences.

Katherine Coleman
ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest, K-6 

Over the past 15 years, Katherine “Kat” Coleman has served the Phoenix metropolitan area as a veteran teacher, coach, mentor, and is a founding teacher at ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest. Her pedagogy is around designing and modeling strategies to advance teachers to shift their instructional style to best serve scholars under a personalized and student-centered learning environment. Kat thrives in classroom management while ensuring her students know that they are loved and belong, and have a safe environment for learning. From her elaborately decorated classrooms, willingness to try new approaches, and her bright persona, she is passionate about helping her students reach and exceed their goals through creating out-of-the-box lessons. Kat is currently completing her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. 

Laura Young
ASU Prep Digital, K-5 

With more than 15 years of teaching experience, nine of those in digital learning, Laura Young believes that all children are capable of achieving their dreams, goals, and experiencing academic success. Laura is a certified special education and general education teacher with a Bachelor’s degree in General Education and a Master’s in Special Education. She is passionate about helping children—specifically those with special needs—reach their goals and help parents successfully navigate the process and advocate for their children. Laura is dedicated to maintaining a safe, loving, and engaging learning environment for all her students, while also utilizing research-based methods to ensure their success.

Eric Roth
ASU Prep Digital, 6-8 

Eric Roth is a middle school math teacher at ASU Prep Digital. Prior to coming to ASU Prep, he taught math for more than 10 years at Coconino High School in Flagstaff, Arizona. During this time, Eric was also a special education teacher who worked with pre-kindergarten through second grade during the summer and high school during the school year. He aptly points out the strengths in each of his students, and supports them in attaining their academic and personal goals. Eric’s keen attention to detail, his communication with students and families, and his ability to make each student feel special enable him to create a welcoming classroom. 

Carli Stiller
ASU Prep Digital, 9-12 

Carli Stiller currently teaches Social Studies and Electives to high school students at ASU Prep Digital. She is a highly qualified educator with extensive credentials in various subject areas, including certifications in Math, Science, English, and Social Studies (grades 4-8); Technology Education and Technology Applications (K-12); and Social Studies (grades 8-12). Additionally, she is certified in 10 different states, allowing her to teach in multiple areas. One of her most notable career achievements has been assisting with data tracking and facilitating discussions among fellow educators to identify and support students. Throughout her 15-year career, Carli has shown an unwavering dedication to education, opening doors, and supporting students.

Congratulations to these outstanding educators! We appreciate you and are proud to see you #RepThePrep.

Kindness Week is Feb. 13-17

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The Great Kindness Challenge begins Feb. 13. One random act of kindness leads to a chain reaction which improves our connections with others and ourselves. Show your kindness all week and participate in the fun.

ASU Preparatory Academy South Phoenix Art Inspires Students

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ASU Preparatory Academy South Phoenix students returned from fall break to find some unexpected inspiration on campus—new artistic murals of diverse and notable figures. The murals include Maya Angelou, Dolores Huerta, Frida Kahlo, Nelson Mandela, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Principal Patrick Gibbs said they installed the beautiful art celebrating different cultures because, “we really wanted to build something positive, uplifting, and something the students can relate to.”

The 220 students at the South Phoenix high school campus come from various backgrounds as well. The murals and messages provide a way to express the beauty and uniqueness of their culture.  

Mahkaylah Hopkins, student body president, said: “I honestly think that the murals are going to do a great job with promoting diversity and letting people know it’s okay to be different, no matter who you are, your background, or where you come from.”

Watch Fox 10 News Report LINK

Celebrating A Student’s Success

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Many of our students love ASU and we are honored when they allow us to be part of their educational journey for numerous years. We recently received a letter from a proud parent whose daughter just graduated from ASU Prep with honors. What makes this story so unique is that she has been part of the ASU family for 17 years—and she’s not about to stop. Read more about student Brelyn Fidler.  

Letter From A Parent

“My name is Emily and I thought I would share a fun little story about an incoming Undergraduate that will be attending ASU this fall. Her name is Brelyn Fidler (yep, she’s my daughter) and believe it or not, she’s been going to ASU since 2005! I wanted to share because I’m curious if you come across many students that can say they have been going to ASU basically their whole life.

It all started back in 2005 when we enrolled Brelyn in the Arizona State University Child Study Lab, under the direction of Beth Wiley (who was absolutely amazing by the way). She loved this little school so much and the staff was amazing. As we were nearing the end of our time at the Child Study Lab, we learned about a new school opening up that was affiliated with ASU and not too far from home. It was the ASU Prep STEM Academy, though the name has changed a few times, the basic fundamentals and education these children receive has not. So, in 2009 Brelyn was enrolled.

Fast forward to 2022, Brelyn will be graduating ASU Prep STEM Academy High School, with honors of course. She has been accepted to Arizona State University on a Provost Scholarship, majoring in either Forensic Psychology or Biological Sciences. For 17 years of her life, she’s been in some type of ASU program and she’s not about to stop.

“I honestly can’t imagine our lives without this school
and all the programs she has been able to partake in.”

But wait, there’s more! Brelyn has also been part of the ASU Prep Color Guard team since 2010. For 12 years she’s been spinning under the direction of Amy Kochis. As I write this, she’s trying out for the ASU College Color Guard team, in hopes that she will make the team and continue her spinning during her college career. By 2026 she will have been enrolled in an ASU program for 21 years. Brelyn doesn’t plan to stop there, as she would like to go on to graduate school to earn her master’s and possibly even her doctorate. Maybe then she can say she’s attended ASU her whole life.

As a mom, I just had to share because I kind of can’t even believe it myself. I truly can’t thank ASU and all its affiliated programs enough for the education my daughter has received. I honestly can’t imagine our lives without this school and all the programs she has been able to partake in.

If you’re ever at a future ASU football game, my hope is that you’ll see her spinning on that field, where she has dreamt of being since about the age of 13. GO SUN DEVILS!”

Thank you,
Emily Fidler

Thank you, Ms. Fidler, for entrusting Brelyn’s entire educational journey with ASU—that is such a powerful testimony! We also appreciate you giving a special shoutout to Ms. Wiley and Ms. Kochis. It means a lot when a parent takes the time to share a student’s success with us. We celebrate you, and Brelyn, and look forward to hearing more of her journey and success as a Sun Devil!