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Okaloosa Schools To Develop Artificial Intelligence Courses For K-12 Students

A circuit board with a computer chip in the middle with the letters "AI" hovering just above the surface.
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The Okaloosa County school district is creating a program to teach students how to work with artificial intelligence. The University of Florida is helping develop courses for the program. It’s set to launch in 2022.

Okaloosa County Schools is working with the University of Florida to develop artificial intelligence courses. School Superintendent Marcus Chambers says K-12 students are already learning how to code and work with robotics.

"But the artificial intelligence institutes [are] what's going to build on those programs and take it to the next level," Marcus says.

Chambers says the area has a military community as well as companies like Boeing that use artificial intelligence. He hopes students can use what they learn in school and turn that into a job.

"We want to have kids, when they graduate from Okaloosa County, that they have the ability to either go straight to college and further their learning with artificial intelligence and then hopefully come back to Okaloosa and be contributors in our local economy or when they graduate high school, they can go straight into jobs here, utilizing the skills," Chambers says.

The county hopes to give out more than 1,000 industry certifications through the program. Federal dollars from COVID-19 aid will partially fund the program. Triumph Gulf Coast, which gives out money to counties affected by the 2010 BP oil spill, will pay the remaining costs.

The program will launch in 2022. The district plans to start with artificial intelligence labs in two elementary, two middle, and two high schools. Then, the plan is to expand from there.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.