Get ready for ISTELive 21! Launch the site now.
Edtech Industry
Network Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Students in the Driver's Seat: AI Projects in the Classroom

Listen and learn

Thursday, December 3, 2:00–2:45 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Nancye Blair Black  
Susan Brooks-Young  
Kelsey Gaines  
Mark Gerl  
Melisa Herrera  
Steven Jones  
Dr. Joseph South  
Brandie Wright  

ISTE and GM's free Hands-On AI Projects for the Classrooms guides explore dozens of K-12 student-driven activities that illuminate artificial intelligence. This diverse educator panel will demonstrate activities and tools, exploring their impact in the classroom as well as on careers, media literacy, ethics, and more.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Artificial Intelligence
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies.
For Educators:
  • Establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources and fosters digital literacy and media fluency.
  • Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The Hands-On AI Projects for the Classroom guides from ISTE and GM provide elementary, secondary, elective and computer science teachers with innovative curricular resources about AI across various grade levels and subject areas. Each guide includes background information and four student-driven projects that directly relate to subject area standards, while providing foundational learning on what AI is, how it works and how it impacts society.

Through an engaging and hands-on exploration of the types of tools and student-driven activities featured in the guides, the panelists will also discuss:
1. Why Teach AI: the importance of teaching AI to all students across all curricular areas.
2. AI Project Considerations: helpful frameworks to consider when designing and implementing AI related learning activities and projects.
3. AI Project Examples: context-relevant, student-driven projects that reveal what AI is, how AI works, and how AI impacts specific content areas.
5. Additional AI Project Resources

Brandie Wright - Technology Education Teacher and CyberSTEAM Lead, Newport News Public Schools
Mark Gerl - Technology Teacher, The Galloway School
Melisa Herrera - Educational Services Coordinator, Forward Learning: Puerto Rico
Steven Jones - Instructional Technology Coordinator, STEAM specialist, and AI advocate

Panel Moderator:
Nancye Blair Black - ISTE-Certified educator, educational change-agent, and Project Lead for the ISTE-GM AI Explorations program

Chat Moderator:
Susan Brooks-Young - Educational consultant and Community Manager for ISTE-GM AI Explorations program

With a special welcome from:
Joseph South - Chief Learning Officer, ISTE
Kelsey Gaines - STEM Corporate Giving Program Officer, General Motors


This session will feature an innovative and interactive approach to a virtual panel, giving both panelists and attendees the opportunity to interact with various AI tools and activities. While the moderator and panelists demonstrate and discuss student-driven AI projects and activities on screen, attendees also have the opportunity to try the tools and share their own insights, observations, and questions in a moderated chat.
1. Getting Started: Introduction of panelists & welcome from ISTE and GM
2. Take a Closer Look: Panelists demonstrate and discuss student-driven AI education strategies.
3. Culminating Performances: Audience Q&A, Final thoughts from panelists, and Resource share.

Supporting research

ISTE-GM Hands-On AI Projects for the Classroom series - (2020).
Zimmerman, M. Teaching AI: Exploring New Frontiers for Learning (ISTE Book, 2018).
AI4K12 Five Big Ideas in AI, retrieved from

More [+]


Nancye Blair Black, The Block Uncarved
ISTE Certified Educator
Susan Brooks-Young, SJ Brooks-Young Consulting
Kelsey Gaines, General Motors
Mark Gerl, The Galloway School

Mark Gerl is a Middle School technology teacher in Atlanta GA, with a background spanning K-12 classes over 15 years.

Melisa Herrera, Forward Learning

Melisa Herrera is a Lead Content Designer at Forward Learning. Over the past few years, she has offered a variety of professional learning experiences to educators in Puerto Rico, Spain, and Dominican Republic. Melisa is passionate about emerging technologies and design thinking in the classroom to develop student’s creativity, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking. Her experience as a technology facilitator has helped her design meaningful learning activities for teachers to explore technology in creative ways to extend and personalize student’s learning. She holds a master’s degree in Commercial Education, is an ISTE-Certified Educator and an Apple Teacher.

Steven Jones, Arlington Public Schools

Steven Jones is an Instructional Technology Coordinator at Swanson in Northern Virginia, a STEAM specialist, and AI advocate. Using his own curriculum, he has taught a variety of STEAM classes over the years and all of his students have participated in authentic learning experiences involving CAD, 3D printing, designing for accessibility, and artificial intelligence.

Dr. Joseph South, ISTE

Joseph South, ISTE chief learning officer, is a strategic national educational technology leader focused on evidence-based learning transformation. He formerly served as the director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. In his role at the department, he was an adviser to the Secretary of Education and developed national edtech policy, formed public-private partnerships to assist state and local education leaders in transitioning to digital learning, helped school districts expand the use of openly licensed educational resources (OERs), and collaborated with stakeholders to nurture a robust ecosystem of edtech entrepreneurs and innovators. He also worked on a cross-governmental team to bring high-speed broadband, interactive devices, professional development for educators and leaders, and high-quality affordable digital content to U.S. classrooms. He’s a strong proponent of the active use of technology by learners. South has led learning product development teams at startups, museums, nonprofits, corporations and higher education institutions. He has also directed a host of learning programs and consulted on projects in China, Korea, Mexico, South America and the Middle East. He holds a doctorate in instructional psychology and technology from Brigham Young University.

Brandie Wright, Newport News Public Schools

2020 has been the year of #TheREALCareerUpgrade for Brandie Wright. With over 22 years in the technology industry, Wright left her thriving career as a district technology coordinator to become a middle school teacher. Her passion for learning and natural risk-taking mindset during the pandemic created a perfect storm of opportunity to model for students how to harness your superpower. Wright has gained an expert understanding of dynamic learning and transformation. She’s committed to discovery, process improvement and innovation. As an inquisitive, persistent and innovative educator, Wright strives to connect others with the skills, information and resources required to achieve their personal and professional developmental goals. Building relationships and making connections is at the core of her work. All of these qualities are now being refined by the fire of virtual learning, middle school mayhem and professional growth overload. While at Newport News Public Schools, in partnership with other district personnel, Wright created and facilitated training events for district technology coaches, secretaries, food service staff and custodians. She has worked extensively with career and technical education teachers and specialists to craft authentic internship programs to support student career readiness. She recently worked with student tech leaders at a STEM-focused magnet high school to refurbish computers for their local community. She’s passionate about amplifying the voices of female educators and educators of color in the edtech field, and developing her portfolio and collaborating with leaders and experienced change-makers.

People also viewed

Lights, Camera, eduAction! Designing Digital Media to Change the World
Must-Have Technology Tools to Differentiate Instruction
Remote learning with Minecraft: Education Edition