Hot Topics: AI & Cyber Security

The SVRTC met for their monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, after having to cancel the January meeting due to inclement weather. Sixteen members attended with representation from the following school divisions: Brunswick County Public Schools, Charlotte County Public Schools, Colonial Heights Public Schools, Cumberland County Public Schools, Danville Public Schools, Halifax County Public Schools, Henry Public Schools, Lunenburg County Public Schools, Mecklenburg County Public Schools, and Prince Edward County Public Schools.

The first speaker for the meeting, Heather Causey, Online Learning Developer, Hanover County Public Schools, spoke about Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI). Examples were provided in using generative AI for images, voice and text. Participants experienced how ChatGPT could be used to summarize large amounts of text in different ways. Causey then shared a document that she uses with her staff when introducing AI to administrators and other new users.

Also invited to the meeting was Cole Erickson from Check Point Software. Check Point Software is a multinational cyber security firm. Paul Wamagiris was also present with Mr. Erickson. Mr. Wamagriris is the CEO and owner of the Tenio Group, which is a strategic partner of Check Point Software. They work very closely together for state and local government; education more specifically, in K-12, to ensure that cyber needs are met. They protect your network by protecting your endpoints, whether it be laptops, desktops or mobile phones. Mr. Erickson went on to tell us that AI is something that has been integrated in cyber security tools for nearly a decade at Check Point. It is a vital piece of ensuring that the Cyber IT staff have what they need to make cutting edge decisions. Mr. Erickson went on to demonstrate how Check Point works for members.

The last SVRTC meeting for the 2023-2024 school year will be April 17, 2024.

Longwood Generative AI Workshop

On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, Longwood University ITTIP welcomed SVRTC members to campus for a Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) Workshop. Teams of educators from 16 SVRTC school divisions attended the workshop: Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Colonial Heights, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Halifax, Henry, Hopewell City, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Petersburg City, and Prince Edward. During the workshop, attendees engaged in understanding and using generative artificial intelligence, as well as reflecting on the impacts on our education landscape. The workshop was the first of a 4-part series of Generative AI that will be offered to SVRTC school division teams for strategic planning and implications of AI in their school divisions.

The workshop was hosted as part of a Strategic Planning Initiative that began last school year with SVRTC members. The initiative resumed this academic year after Dr. Paula Leach, Director of ITTIP, further explored collaboration among division leadership, including superintendents, to develop a learning series to support SVRTC needs through the 2023-2024 school year.  This led to a partnership with – Advanced Learning Partnerships (ALP), educational consultants who support innovation and leadership in education. As the work continues this year with Generative AI, potential themes for future strategic planning include innovation in  school schedule redesign, student help desk models, industry certification pathways, and intern-/mentorship programs around durable skills.

Any questions about this partnership initiative should be directed to Dr. Paula Leach.