Students and teachers in Colorado are experimenting with artificial intelligence, or AI in the classroom.

High school students in Longmont, Colorado, are learning how to design their own AI model projects at the St. Vrain Valley School District Innovation Center.

The program started this past fall. 

Mai Vu, the A.I. Program manager at St. Vrain Valley School District, said the AI program’s goal is to teach students how to use AI to solve real-world problems.

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Vu said in her class, students learn how AI algorithms work and how they are coded.

“It’s everywhere, from the music they listen to, Spotify, from what they are seeing on Netflix, but they just don’t know that AI is working in the background,” Vu said. 

Vu explained any student can join, and they can take as long as they need to finish their projects. 

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Aiden Buchanan is a senior in high school and an AI student leader in the program. 

“From learning about it, to getting the parts, to learning how to solder, to actually how to wire everything together, it’s definitely been hard,” Buchanan said. 

Buchanan said he is working on installing an AI camera on a self-driving car.

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“A big part of the AI self-driving car curriculum is camera-based detection like detecting a stop sign or a stop light,” Buchanan said.

Vu said one of her AI program partners is The AI Education Project, a 5-year non-profit. Christian Pinedo, The AI Education Project chief of staff, said his non-profit works with schools across the country, guiding teachers and administrators on how to use AI responsibly. 

His non-profit works with school districts in New York, Maryland, Florida, Texas, California, Colorado, and Ohio, according to Pinedo.

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“Today it [artificial intelligence] is very, very obvious and so people are understanding a little bit more clearly that: ‘Wow, this is something that is changing education, changing the workforce, I don’t really know a lot about it,'” Piinedo said. 

Students entering the course first learn AI basics. Vu said then students can begin creating and tracking their own AI projects. Another example of a student project is a gaming app that teaches French. 

Students said they look forward to learning more about what AI can do.

“It does things that people spend hours to do in a small amount of time and I think that’s a really cool thing to work with as someone that is still in high school,” Buchanan said.