podcastED: Florida Virtual School manager hopes new courses will teach students to embrace AI

A new offering from Florida Virtual School, Artificial Intelligence in the World, will guide students through the concepts, tools, and building blocks of artificial intelligence and provide them with a broad overview of how AI is used in decision-making and problem-solving worldwide.

On this episode, reimaginED senior writer Lisa Buie talks with Amy Heflin, senior manager for STEM curriculum at Florida Virtual School. Heflin discusses a new high school course program in artificial intelligence and how it will offer students a foundational knowledge of AI and its applications.

Her interview comes a day after FLVS, the nation’s first statewide internet-based virtual school, unveiled its first course, AI in the World, which is part of a progression of industry-focused classes that also include courses in hospitality and entrepreneurship.


Amy Heflin

“We try to impress upon students that studying AI requires analytical, critical thinking skills, things that we use on a daily basis, and that can be useful in any field. Learning about AI will help students develop their problem-solving abilities. They’ll become better equipped to handle complex issues.”


Topics and hands-on activities covered in the course

The types of students for whom the course is designed

The role that University of Florida faculty members played in developing the curriculum

How the course fits into FLVS’s overall computer science program, which includes a new AP computer science principles course

Heflin’s desire to help students embrace AI rather than fear it

A sneak peek at the next AI course, Applications for Artificial Intelligence


Florida Department of Education among first to adopt K-12 AI education program


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BY Lisa Buie

Lisa Buie is senior reporter for NextSteps. The daughter of a public school superintendent, she spent more than a dozen years as a reporter and bureau chief at the Tampa Bay Times before joining Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa, where she served for nearly five years as marketing and communications manager. She lives with her husband and their teenage son, who has benefited from education choice.