The Disruption of AI in CTE Is Real

AI and CTE
(Image credit: Pixabay)

During ACTE’s recent CareerTech VISION event for career and technical education (CTE) professionals, panelists presented overwhelming evidence that educators have to embrace AI in education—particularly in career and technical education. The tone of the panel was urgent and unequivocal: If CTE educators have not yet tested or used generative AI, they are well behind.

Any CTE program needs to focus on preparing students for the workforce in which AI will be essential. This is the biggest technological shift since the creation of the internet, and educators must be significantly involved. It is the responsibility of CTE educators to ensure that students have the tools and ethics to use AI responsibly, which can be done by guiding their exploration of AI tools and platforms, showing them the discrepancies, and helping them to be ready to manage AI competencies.

According to the panel, banning the use of AI in schools is short-sighted. AI is already embedded in the workplace, and by not teaching students how to use it, CTE educators are taking away an opportunity to be ready for work and careers.

10 Best Practices for AI and CTE 

  1. Embrace AI and use it first for simple tasks to create efficiencies. Then use it to individualize instruction and for formative assessment tools aligned to standards. 
  2. Be creative and conscious of internal bias and ethics. Focus on DEI and access. 
  3. Encourage students to use apps and tools to start moving toward an integrated curriculum using AI. 
  4. Prepare students for jobs of the future by partnering with industry to solve real problems. 
  5. Invest in prompt engineering—automate when you can and save human intelligence for complex challenges. 
  6. Remember that AI cannot replicate human emotion. Use it to help students learn foundational AI skills. On assessments, ask reflective questions so students can analyze the situation. If the assignment can simply be completed by AI, it’s the wrong assignment. Teachers need to use their own creativity and critical thinking to assess the use of AI. 
  7. Given how quickly ChatGPT and Jasper are improving their tools, help students develop their own unique voice with these tools. Have students document how they use AI, so they understand accountability while demonstrating their authentic writing. 
  8. Be mindful of ethics and shared data. 
  9. Think of ChatGPT as an assistant for both teachers and students. It can do projects outside teachers’ core competencies to enrich students’ learning experiences. 
  10. Look five years ahead to try and determine what are the professional skills AI will NOT replace? Emphasize the development of those skills. 

If used properly, AI won’t replace anyone. It is a tool that will provide opportunities to devote human creativity to more complex tasks.

The ACTE panelists included: Katelyn Boudreau, Director of Technology at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, Massachusetts; Rachael Mann, CEO,; Cory Ortiz, Dean of School of Career Education, University of Alaska Southeast; Gabriella Rosu, Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona; and Angel Pineiro, Jr., VP of Strategic Academic Relationships, CompTIA.

Annie Galvin Teich has more than 25 years' experience in education writing and publishing. She is an edtech industry expert in content marketing and copywriting. As a regular contributor to Tech & Learning she focuses on the information needs of district decision makers.