AI4K12 Team Will Receive Outstanding Educator Award

AI4K12 Working Group (2019)

The AI4K12 Steering Committee will receive the 2022 AAAI/EAAI Outstanding Educator award for their work with the Artificial Intelligence for K-12 Initiative ( The committee includes founder and chair of AI4K12 David Touretzky, a research professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Science Department; AI4K12 co-chair Christina Gardner-McCune, an associate professor at the University of Florida’s Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering; Fred Martin, associate dean for teaching, learning and undergraduate studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Kennedy College of Sciences and professor in its Computer Science Department; and Deborah Seehorn, retired educator, co-chair of the CSTA K-12 CS Standards, and former CSTA Board of Directors Chair.

The annual AAAI/EAAI Outstanding Educator award was created in 2016 and is presented annually by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the Educational Advances in Artificial Intelligence (EAAI) conference to individuals or teams who have made major contributions to AI education. The award includes a $1,000 honorarium, membership in AAAI, and complimentary registration to upcoming AAAI/EAAI conferences. The winners are also invited to deliver a talk at the annual AAAI/EAAI conference. The 36th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence will be held in February 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The AI4K12 Initiative work recognized by this 2022 award was very much a team effort–the four members of the AI4K12 Steering Committee working collaboratively with the dedicated educators serving on the AI4K12 Working Group. The accomplished group of K-12 teachers and researchers who made up the working group led the development of progression charts that unpack and describe the big ideas for K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grade bands. The AI4K12 steering committee recognizes that without the K-12 teacher working group there would be no AI4K12 Initiative and will accept this award on behalf of both the steering committee and the working group.

This award and honor would have been impossible without the hard work of the AI4K12 Working Group.

Christina Gardner-McCune, AI4K12 Co-Chair

The AI4K12 Initiative is jointly sponsored by AAAI and CSTA (the Computer Science Teachers Association) and receives funding from the National Science Foundation. It began in 2018 with the goal of developing national guidelines for AI education in grades K-12; an online, curated resource directory to facilitate AI instruction; and a community of practitioners, researchers, and resource and tool developers focused on the AI for K-12 audience.

The team identified the “Five Big Ideas of AI,” which provide a welcoming and generative framing for understanding AI. These big ideas are perception, representation and reasoning, learning, natural interaction, and societal impact. The team also developed an infographic poster to visually communicate these ideas. The graphic places societal impact in the center, reflecting its importance and its connection to each of the other big ideas. It has been translated into 16 languages and is available for download at

The team’s most influential paper, Envisioning AI for K-12: What Should Every Child Know About AI?, has been cited more than one hundred times since its publication in 2019, and the Five Big Ideas have guided the development of primary and secondary AI education initiatives around the world.

“I’m thrilled by the impact our work has had. It was a real team effort—the four of us who led the project and contributions of a core group of about fifteen K-12 teacher-practitioners,” remarked Martin. “Our ‘five big ideas’ have been really generative for teachers around the world, allowing them to make sense of a complex set of ideas and bring them to their students,” he continued.

“I’m thrilled by the impact our work has had. Our ‘five big ideas’ have been really generative for teachers around the world, allowing them to make sense of a complex set of ideas and bring them to their students.

Fred Martin, Founding member of the AI4K12 Steering Committee

5 Big Ideas in AI

The Five Big Ideas in AI are an organizing framework for how to present AI to K-12 students. We have created a poster that you can print and hang up in classrooms as well as and an illustrative graphic and medallions for each of the Five Big Ideas on the poster page under Resources.. This poster is also available in multiple languages.

Grade Band Progression Charts

The AI4K12 draft guidelines are organized in K-12 grade band progression charts and are available in the Guidelines menu for Big Idea 1, Big Idea 2, and Big Idea 3. The guidelines will inform standards writers and curriculum developers about AI concepts, essential knowledge, and skills that students should have, by grade band.

Touretzky, D. S., Gardner-McCune, C., Martin, F., & Seehorn, D. (2019) Envisioning AI for K-12: What should every child know about AI? Proceedings of AAAI ’19, Jan 27 – February 1, Honolulu, HI. AAAI Press, Palo Alto, California USA

A Year in K-12 AI Education (also available at the AI Magazine web site) by D. Touretzky, C. Gardner-McCune, C. Breazeal, F. Martin, and D. Seehorn. AI Magazine 40(4):88-90, Winter 2019.