Joining the podcast today to exploring the future of work, artificial intelligence, and how to prepare all students for what’s ahead is Dr. Christina Gardner-McCune, an Assistant Professor in the Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida.

Gardner-McCune (above with Common at ASU-GSV) stresses that the one key to getting students hooked on computer science is to allow them to follow their passions and to drive their learning based on something they are interested in or that they see as a problem or challenge that they can solve with technology. In this episode, she expresses her thoughts on this topic and tells several stories of students who didn’t initially connect with computer science, but came to love it.

As co-chair of a national initiative, AI4K12, she has been working with other computer scientists and tech experts to define what every K-12 student should know about AI. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Computers perceive the world using sensors.
  • Agents maintain models/representations of the world and use them for reasoning.
  • Computers can learn from data.
  • Making agents interact naturally with humans is a substantial challenge for AI developers.
  • AI applications can impact society in both positive and negative ways.

Gardner-McCune is working to change perceptions around computer science–especially for girls and students of color. In this episode, she offers advice to students who feel intimidated by the subject, and gives her predictions on the future of work and AI.

Key Takeaways:

[:15] About today’s episode.
[:50] Janice of Getting Smart welcomes Christina to the podcast.
[1:11] How and why Christina ended up getting into computer science.
[3:25] Christina speaks about her current role at the University of Florida.
[6:03] Christina tells a story that illustrates her purpose as a professor as well as the perseverance of a motivated student.
[11:35] Christina breaks down the five big ideas from AI4K12 that every K-12 student should know about AI.
[37:14] How does Christina envision these big ideas being taught, getting into schools, and shaping education?
[42:00] When does Christina believe that these national AI guidelines will come out?
[43:27] How Christina is working to change perceptions around computer science for girls and students of color, and her advice to students who are feeling intimidated by the subject.
[52:23] What are Christina’s predictions on the future of work and how it’s going to impact people and communities?
[59:36] To sign off, Christina shares a message to all students and teachers.

Mentioned in This Episode:

University of Florida
Getting Smart’s The Future of Work series 
AI4K12

For more, see:


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