Interest in artificial intelligence has surged among K-12 and college educators, who are looking at ways it can be used to support both students and teachers. But in the early childhood arena, those discussions are still in the beginning stages. I asked Isabelle Hau, the executive director of Stanford Accelerator for Learning, to share about the potential benefits and challenges of AI in early learning. Our conversation below is edited for length and clarity.

Interest in AI has obviously surged the past couple of years in K-12, for both teachers and students. With early childhood, the use of AI may be a little less obvious. Have you noticed that trend in early childhood classrooms — are teachers interested in using AI or teaching about it?

Hau: I’m observing some activity in a few areas. One is interest in novel forms of assessment, or assessment areas that have been a big pain point for early childhood teachers for a long time, because observational assessments take a long time. There are some innovations that are starting to materialize in making assessments less visible, or invisible maybe, at some point. So discussion around how to leverage, for example, computer vision or some form of voice inputs in classrooms, or some gamified approaches that are AI-based.

Are there any specific ways you’re seeing AI technology emerge in early childhood classrooms?

Hau: At Stanford, we have one super interesting project that is not necessarily in a classroom but could be in a classroom context. It’s a tool my colleague, Dr. Philip Fisher, has developed called FIND that looks at child-adult interactions and takes video of that interaction. It is very expensive for humans to look at those videos and analyze the special moments in those interactions. Now, artificial intelligence is able to at least take a first pass at those interactions in a much more efficient manner. FIND is now an application for early childhood educators; it used to be mostly for parents, initially.

Read the full article about AI for early education by Ariel Gilreath at The Hechinger Report .