Building an AI Table to Solve the 80%: A CEO’s Story and Vision for Transforming Education

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This article was written by Daniel A. Lopez on February 26, 2024 and published by Medium. 


While the AI boom of the last year and a half continues to be novel for many of us, there are pioneers in the field who’ve thought about AI in education for decades.

As the leader of InnovateEDU, Erin Mote, has served as a thought leader and coalition builder to leverage technology, research, and policy to catalyze transformation in education.

One such focus area of InnovateEDU has been the EDSAFE AI Alliance, which engages in multiple policy and education efforts to ensure SAFE use of AI in education.

I learned so much from Erin around the historical evolution of InnovateEDU, their current strategies and tactics around AI implementation, how she envisions transformation in education, privacy implications, and much more.

In addition to my takeaways below, I wanted to double click on an aspect of Erin’s story which resonated for me — while it can be scary to make a hard pivot in life which potentially puts you in an uncertain, uncomfortable circumstance, life is too short to not run full speed at your purpose and passion.

Focus on the 80% highest leverage challenges impacting all schools

Using AI to recalculate bus routes, finding ways to bring more cohesion with different information spheres across a school, and impacting student outcomes are use cases which all schools can get behind and will make a difference, rather than focusing on the 20% which make schools unique.

When building your AI table, make sure there are seats available for your entire community

AI is rapidly evolving and uncertain; a way forward is to lean into openness, transparency, and inclusion of perspectives across teachers, counselors, school leaders, students, and families. This means not just in providing initial input, but collaborating along the way as strategies and tactics start to develop to co-create an AI-powered educational experience for all involved. Erin is seeing NYC Public Schools model this in the development of their own AI strategy.

Generated via DALL-E

Educators can be creators and not just consumers in an AI world

While AI can seem intimidating at first, educators have home field advantage in leveraging this technology well given their strength around communication. While educators have historically been consumers of technology, they can play a creator role in this new technological era.

Historical inequities in education are starting to emerge around AI

Erin talks about how ongoing polling done by InnovateEDU and their partners show historical inequities around using AI and those who are not are repeating themselves — white, college educated males are using AI; women and urban/rural communities are not. If we don’t take time to reimagine education and AI adoption, we are on a trajectory for repeating historical inequities.

Special thanks to Erin Mote for sharing her perspectives. I will share details around AI day as they become available.

Check out our full conversation here. Join the conversation at