Spearheading new intelligence: new AI course offered in curriculum


photo by Julia Sumpter

Senior Emma Lundquist works on her modeling and simulation project. Students from Modeling and Simulation as well as Computer Programming are some of the students administration hopes take the new artificial intelligence course.

From ChatGPT to computer-generated art, artificial intelligence has been everywhere, and to keep up with this trend, Florida has funded and promoted a new curriculum for students that will cover the usage of AI in the world and experiment with cloud computing platforms. Through a grant provided by the University of Florida, Hagerty has been the only school chosen in the county to spearhead the new program of emphasis. 

AP Computer Science teacher Charles Haibel will begin teaching the fundamentals for AI for the coming year. Because the class has just been introduced, the only available course will be the introductory electives coming next year.

“The first two are semester courses, Artificial Intelligence in the World and Applications of Artificial Intelligence. The second year is procedural programming, and the last year is Foundations of Machine Learning—the key to artificial intelligence,” Haibel said.

Though AI computer programs are intensive, the class plans to incorporate the use of Microsoft Azure, a cloud-computing platform. With this service, students will be able to make datasets and create machine learning models.

“These computers are not suited for running AI—you don’t have the power, you don’t have the memory capacity—so you run it virtually using Microsoft Azure,” Haibel said. 

As AI becomes more prevalent in the world, students who have heard of the class plan to join and learn more about AI and what it means in the real world.

“I’m very excited to learn about AI and understand how it works,” sophomore Pierre Cachet said. “I mean, if AI ever tries to take over the world, we’d know how it’s made and be able to combat it.”

Because the course is new, students like Cachet who are interested may have already filled out their course registration for the coming year. However, Toro and other guidance counselors, as well as several flyers around campus, provide students the opportunity to change their selection if they want to join.

“There is a QR code that will link you to a Google survey where you can sign up for the program and what elective you want to drop for it,” Toro said. “We’re hoping to get 50 to 60 students who will sign it.”

Haibel and other instructors that teach digital subjects are looking forward to the upcoming course and expanding the digital courses and opportunities for digital learning at Hagerty.

“I’m really, really pleased that Hagerty was asked to pilot this program next year,” Haibel said. “We were asked before other schools in the district, which I find very gratifying.”