UF partners with AI Institute on STEM education

University of Florida brick sign
Seth Johnson

Scientists from UF and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will team up to lead a $20 million institute that will advance artificial intelligence to promote STEM education.

In a UF release sent Thursday, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the Illinois-based AI Institute for Inclusive Intelligent Technologies for Education (INVITE) will collaborate with UF as a major partner along with practitioners and scholars from throughout the U.S.

“AI holds the potential to transform STEM education by learning from diverse students’ data and empowering teachers to customize students’ experiences,” said Kristy Elizabeth Boyer, managing director of the new institute and a professor of computer science in UF’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering in the press release. “The INVITE Institute will collect unparalleled datasets for training AI systems to deliver this customized learning, with a partner network of over 96,000 students across 24 school districts in eight states.”

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The U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences is NFS’s funding partner for the INVITE Institute. The National AI Institute received more than $500 million from its funding partners and NSF.

According to the release, “the INVITE Institute seeks to fundamentally reframe how educational technologies interact with learners by developing AI tools and approaches to support three crucial noncognitive skills known to underlie effective learning: persistence, academic resilience and collaboration.”

The institute’s research will focus on how students communicate STEM content and how teachers promote and support noncognitive skill development. The AI-based tools created from the research will be integrated into classrooms to assist teachers and support students in more customized ways. 

“We’re honored to be selected to partner on this important NSF institute, which is critical to ensuring that teachers know each child’s strengths and weaknesses and can adapt their strategies accordingly,” said UF President Ben Sasse in the press release. “At the University of Florida, we recognize that AI isn’t the next big thing, it is the big thing; using these technologies to help young people succeed will provide significant long-term benefits for our state, our nation and our world.”

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