Exploring AI Literacy

Aug 7, 2021 by

Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly common in consumer products and services. But the public’s understanding of AI is still lacking. The first AI-Native Generation is emerging and soon everyone will have the ability to understand and form opinions of the role of AI in our lives, industries, and communities.

As a result, Long and Magerko (2020) investigate what competencies users need to successfully interact with and critically evaluate AI as well as how to design learner-centered AI technologies that foster a wholesome user understanding of AI. Long and Magerko (2020) explain, within the past year, companies pursued ideas to expand AI education to underrepresented communities to increase workforce diversity, educators have published guides on how to incorporate AI into K-12 education practice, and researchers are investigating how to further engage young learners in creative programming activities involving AI. AI is being treated very much like media literacy was previously.

The initial goal of AI literacy is to eradicate misconceptions and the bleak outlook projected surrounding job loss. However, AI literacy has moved more in the direction of how to work with AI. For example, Lee et al. (2021) designed an AI summer workshop for Middle School students to encourage them to become informed citizens and critical consumers of AI technology as well as to develop their foundational knowledge and skills to support future endeavors as AI-empowered workers. They also discuss the barriers to bring AI education to students from underrepresented groups in STEM and Computing.

Zhou, Brummelen, and Lin (2020) have even organized core competencies of AI literacy that have been applied successfully into an educator-friendly chart to enable educators to efficiently find appropriate resources for their classrooms. They identify future opportunities and K-12 specific design guidelines.

There is also a host of free online software and professional development courses to help educators stay on top of AI literacy themselves.


Are educators in your area looking for ways to prepare students for an AI workplace and to be an AI-educated consumers?


artificial intelligence, media literacy, K-12 education


Lee, I., Safinah A., Zhang, H., DiPaola, D. & C. Breazeal. (2021). Developing middle school students’ ai literacy. 52nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE ’21) (March 2021). “In press.”

Long, D. & Magerko, B. (2020). What is AI literacy? Competencies and design considerations. CHI 2020, April 25–30, 2020, Honolulu, HI, USA (Paper 598). http://doi.org/10.1145/3313831.

Zhou, X., Brummelen, J.V. and Lin, P. (2020). Designing AI Learning experiences for K-12: emerging works, future opportunities and a design framework.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2009.10228.

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