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Teacher-To-Be Kaitlin Horner Fits Right In With A Panel of Professionals To Discuss AI In Schools

Story By:
Paul Miller | Director of Strategic Communications and Community Relations
Kaitlin Horner '24
Kaitlin Horner '24

When opportunity knocks, Kaitlin Horner ‘24 has decided that she will listen. And given the chance, she will talk.

A future classroom teacher, Kaitlin is eager to make her mark. She understands that all the trappings of teaching — the new and the old, the simple and the challenging — will shape her career.

That includes the rapid advancement and evolution of technology such as artificial intelligence … or AI.

AI is the intelligence of machines or software to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, and AI’s impact on the workforce, school classrooms included, can’t be ignored, Kaitlin said.

And recently she had a chance to talk about that on a lofty platform.

A Littleton, N.H., native, Kaitlin participated in a virtual panel discussion on the impact of AI in New Hampshire schools. The forum kicked off the 2023 Christa McAuliffe Transforming Teaching and Technology Conference. Educational technology experts, including a school superintendent, a security information officer, and a librarian and digital learning specialist, joined Kaitlin on the panel.

Bill Carozza, a lecturer in Keene State’s education department and host of the discussion, said Kaitlin spoke confidently about her technology experience in high school and her Methods experience as a student in Keene State’s educator preparation program.

Keene State does a great job of providing a sense of community. I’ve never had a bad experience with a professor or had a professor that has made me feel like anything less than a great student.”

– Kaitlin Horner

“At one point,” he said, “Kaitlin impressed the Merrimack Valley Superintendent Randy Wormald so much that he asked Kaitlin to send a resume his way when she completes student teaching.”

A secondary education and English major, Kaitlin feels privileged for the opportunity to share her insights as a pre-service teacher, on such a stage, but also to “be introduced to other people with so much knowledge in school systems. I’m still a student; these are hands-on professionals.”

“When you mention AI,” she said, “the first thing the brain does is to go to something bad, and to how students can use it to cheat, or how it can be distracting in a classroom,” she said. “But there are a lot of positives,” she added, noting ChatGPT’s versatility and its idea-generation capacity.

She said her professors encouraged her to embrace A1 in her Methods classes and student teaching. “You can use ChatGPT to create rubrics for classes,” she said, as an example. The consequences of AI are far-reaching and still unknown, Kaitlin said, “but it can be a good tool … it’s not just an evil thing for education.”

Since she was a young girl Katlin has wanted to be a teacher. She came to Keene State knowing that a degree could change her future, but also because most of her high school teachers and “all of my favorite teachers,” it turns out, were Keene State graduates. “Clearly, Keene State turns out great teachers.”

She also likes that her professors are engaged in her education at every level. “My professors, my adviser, Chris Parsons, always go out of their way to help and to make you aware of opportunities like the panel discussion.”

An educational theories and trends class with Carozza led to her participation in the panel discussion. An interesting and challenging descriptive grammar class with Parsons led to her realization that mastering a subject matter isn’t always one-class easy, or even complete.

“I think I’ve learned it’s okay not to feel like you need to learn everything. In my last meeting with my advisor, he reminded me that it’s also okay to tell students that I don’t know everything. Teachers are always learning and they can reach out to other resources or point students to those resources.”

“Keene State does a great job of providing a sense of community. I’ve never had a bad experience with a professor or had a professor that has made me feel like anything less than a great student.”

Said Carozza: “We can all be proud of how Kaitlin represented Keene State College professionally. She fit right in with the panel of experienced educators.”

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