What Will We Do with AI Tools in Education?

The buzz around AI writing tools continues in the education world. Of course, there are several AI tools that we’re already using, whether in the classroom or not. We were using AI tools long before anyone thought about them invading our classrooms, but we didn’t think they had classroom applications.

But none have gotten the coverage that ChatGPT has gotten since its launch on 30 November 2022.

I fear that the first response many educators will have is, “we have to block it right now.”

I understand teachers’ very valid concerns about any new technology tool, but blocking is horribly inefficient and the equivalent of burying our heads in the sand.

As tools proliferate, they become more and more difficult to block School IT departments get enough of these types of requests already, and in most cases, blocking one site only leads to students finding ten more that offer them the same access.

It’s not that I don’t think we need to have good conversations about the responsible usage of tools like ChatGPT. Without rails to guide the path, there is a strong possibility of misuse or poor usage. If there was ever a time when we needed more focus on digital citizenship and media literacy, I can’t think of one.

But we can talk about responsible usage of any tool in the classroom. The concept isn’t new. Before we had Google Docs, kids passed notes in class. The pen was once accused of the oncoming downfall of the education system.

How many times have you had to prevent your classroom from being invaded by ruler helicopters? Abusing tools in the classroom or, perhaps more correctly, using tools to avoid boredom in the classroom is nothing new.

So what do we do with new tools that are certain to disrupt the status quo?

My hope is that more of us have this outlook on new tools available to use in schools:

Obviously, our classroom activities should challenge students to do more than regurgitate information. We should challenge students to create from their imagination.

We must strive for deeper learning in every classroom in every school.

If teachers design student-centered learning experiences that allow students to write with support in class, ChatGPT won’t be nearly as disruptive as some articles claim.

Catlin Tucker

We should provide opportunities that stimulate their brain and make neural pathways come alive with dancing dreams of great design.

When we don’t embrace new technologies, we deny students options. We prevent them from learning about how their world is changing.

I love me some disruptive technology. There’s no point in beating our chest about how technology x has made y obsolete. The business world can not ignore disruptive technology or they will go out of business. As educators we are in the business of preparing students for THEIR future. The future for students includes AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Alice Keeler

But not only do we prevent students from experiencing new tools that can be very useful in their lives, but we also overlook what we, as teachers, can use these tools for to make our lives easier.

The emergence of AI education disruptors like ChatGPT reveal the need for more diverse teaching models. The COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst, spurring teachers and administrators into action. We can’t return to “normal school” any more than we can ignore new educational advancements.

We must embrace change. We can’t move forward without it.

How Disruptive Will ChatGPT Be?

I introduced Minecraft: Education Edition to my school district last school year and made the statement in a school board presentation that it was likely the most disruptive tool I’d brought to the district.

But ChatGPT? Oh my. I hope it breaks more barriers and causes more people to rethink daily what they do in classrooms. We already know (or we should know) that students will use AI tools to write papers. I hope educators use it, and many other technologies, to completely redesign education for the future.


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Monday Assorted Links

  1. You’re just learning about GPT-3, but folks are already working on GPT-4. Here’s what it might look like (emphasis on might)
  2. The end-of-year recommended book lists are beginning to appear. I’ll have mine out closer to the end of December. Here are a few from reputable sources:
  3. Creative consumption

Today’s Quotes

Sale
Greenlights
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Matthew McConaughey (Author) – Matthew McConaughey (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/20/2020 (Publication Date) – Random House Audio (Publisher)
Sale
Thinking, Fast and Slow
  • A good option for a Book Lover
  • It comes with proper packaging
  • Ideal for Gifting
  • Kahneman, Daniel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Sale
Fahrenheit 451
  • Hardcover Book
  • Ray Bradbury (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages – 04/25/2024 (Publication Date) – Simon & Schuster (Publisher)

Rethinking Student Work Amid AI Advances

Seth Godin has a point (as usual):

When AI is smart enough to write an essay, then what happens?

GPT3 is back in the news, because, as expected, it’s getting better and better. Using a simple chat interface, you can easily ask it a wide range of questions (write a 1,000 word essay about Clara Barton) that certainly feels like a diligent high school student wrote it.

Of course, this changes things, just as the camera, the typewriter and the internet changed things.

It means that creating huge amounts of mediocre material is easier than ever before. You can write a bad Seinfeld script in about six minutes.

It means that assigning rudimentary essays in school or average copywriting at work is now a waste of time.

But mostly it reminds us that attention and trust don’t scale.

If your work isn’t more useful or insightful or urgent than GPT can create in 12 seconds, don’t interrupt people with it.

Technology begins by making old work easier, but then it requires that new work be better.

Seth Godin

I think it’s always important to consider the work we ask students to do in our schools. As my teacher cohort works through implementing the 4 Shifts protocol, we ask questions around deeper learning and authentic work like:

  • Is student work deeply rooted in discipline-specific and -relevant knowledge, skills, and dispositions?
  • Do learning activities and assessments allow students to engage in deep critical thinking and analysis?
  • Do students have the opportunity to design, create, make, or otherwise add value that is unique to them?
  • Is student work authentic and reflective of that done by experts outside of school? 
  • Are students utilizing authentic, discipline-specific practices and processes?
  • Are students creating real-world products or performances for authentic audiences?

Of course, not every lesson or activity can be (nor should it be) an exercise in critical thinking and authentic, real-world application. But if our biggest concern about AI is whether or not students will use it to cheat, perhaps we have work to do on our classroom plans.

Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning (A Quick Guide to Educational Technology Integration and Digital Learning Spaces) (Solutions for Creating the Learning Spaces Students Deserve)
  • Scott McLeod (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 80 Pages – 09/21/2018 (Publication Date) – Solution Tree Press (Publisher)
Sale
Teaching for Deeper Learning: Tools to Engage Students in Meaning Making
  • McTighe, Jay (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 130 Pages – 01/22/2020 (Publication Date) – ASCD (Publisher)

More Thoughts on ChatGPT and AI in Education

From Tyler Cowen:

No, it is not converging upon human-like intelligence or for that matter AGI.  Still, the broader lesson is you can build a very practical kind of intelligence with fairly simple statistical models and lots of training data.  And there is more to come from this direction very soon.

Tyler Cowen

Also, my friend Micah Shippee, Ph.D., posted a conversation he had with ChatGPT (yes, I’m just calling it what it is, a conversation) on LinkedIn with interesting questions:

The question remains is this original thought? The probing questions are mine, the responses are from the AI… Did I create something new by asking unique questions?

– Micah Shippee, Ph. D.

There will be more discussions about AI and tools like ChatGPT and how they affect education.

The most important thing we can do as educators is not to ignore these tools. They’re not going away. Students will find ways to use them. Educators should find ways to use them. But if we choose to ignore them and move on as if they will not affect what we do in schools worldwide, we’re failing our students.

Don’t get caught in the aftermath of significant change. We do too much of that in education already.

Recommended Books on AI

Genius Makers: The Mavericks Who Brought AI to Google, Facebook, and the World
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Metz, Cade (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 382 Pages – 03/16/2021 (Publication Date) – Dutton (Publisher)
Sale
Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control
  • Russell, Stuart (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages – 11/17/2020 (Publication Date) – Penguin Books (Publisher)
Sale
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
  • Tegmark, Max (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages – 07/31/2018 (Publication Date) – Vintage (Publisher)
Sale
MACHINES LOVING GRACE
  • Markoff, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages – 07/21/2016 (Publication Date) – EccoPress (Publisher)
The Political Philosophy of AI: An Introduction
  • Coeckelbergh, Mark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 186 Pages – 04/11/2022 (Publication Date) – Polity Pr (Publisher)

Friday Assorted Links

Sale
Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools, Today
  • Sheninger, Eric C. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 260 Pages – 06/06/2017 (Publication Date) – ASCD (Publisher)
  1. Do Professors Have a Right to Mistreat Students?
  2. A Winter Break Reading List on Skills for Scholars
  3. Chicago doubled the number of social workers in schools. Is it helping?
  4. New Report from Global Google Research Project Considers the ‘Future of Education’

What You Control

Honor and revere the gods, treat human beings as they deserve, be tolerant with others and strict with yourself. Remember, nothing belongs to you but your flesh and blood—and nothing else is under your control.

– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Sale
Meditations: A New Translation (Modern Library)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Aurelius, Marcus (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages – 05/14/2002 (Publication Date) – Modern Library (Publisher)

Choosing What to Read Next

I’m always adding books to my TBR – it’s actually gotten ridiculous in length – and I’m always on the lookout for more. My interests range from biographies and histories to epic fantasy and hard sci-fi. Call me weird, but I like what I like.

I ran across this thought from Alan Jacobs and have decided that it’s my new guide for choosing new books…

Wondering how to decide what to read? Here’s a simple but effective heuristic to cut down the choices significantly. Ask yourself one question: Does this writer make bank when we hate one another? And if the answer is yes, don’t read that writer.

Alan Jacobs

Works for me.

Wednesday Assorted Links

It’s December 7, a day that lives in infamy.

  1. AI is going to break a lot of norms and institutions (trust me, education isn’t immune)
  2. Before the flood: Ruminations on the future of AI
  3. ChatGPT on Spielberg’s A.I. and AI Alignment
  4. What is ChatGPT, the viral social media AI?
  5. I Taught ChatGPT to Invent a Language

BTW, I asked ChatGPT to “explain what ChatGPT is to a fifth-grader,” and here is the response:

ChatGPT is a type of computer program that is designed to help people have conversations. It uses advanced algorithms and a lot of information from previous conversations to understand what you are saying and respond in a way that makes sense. It’s kind of like having a really smart friend who always knows what to say!

– ChatGPT

Suggested reads on AI:

Sale
The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
  • Kurzweil, Ray (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 672 Pages – 09/26/2006 (Publication Date) – Penguin Books (Publisher)
Sale
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
  • Bostrom, Nick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 390 Pages – 05/01/2016 (Publication Date) – Oxford University Press (Publisher)
Sale
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
  • Tegmark, Max (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages – 07/31/2018 (Publication Date) – Vintage (Publisher)
Sale
Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era
  • Barrat, James (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages – 02/17/2015 (Publication Date) – St. Martin’s Griffin (Publisher)

You may have great fear about AI and the possibilities and problems it presents. Remember Wizard’s Seventh Rule: Life is the future, not the past.

Books I Read in November 2022

Another month of 2022 has come and gone, with it, another round of books. I’m very much on track to finish 100 books this year. Actually, I may hit 103-105 before it’s all said and done. A holiday break is an excellent chance to get some extra reading time in while recharging for the new year.

Plus, I’ve been down with the flu for almost a week, allowing me to read when I haven’t been asleep.

This month, as in October, includes several short audiobooks. With a busy fall, I was behind in hitting my reading goal for the year. I focused on getting caught up the past couple of months with audiobooks. I can listen while I’m working or driving, and I’m also able to play the titles at around 2.5x normal speed. I stumbled across several very interesting titles (especially the John Scalzi titles) that I enjoyed immensely.

Here, in no particular order, are the books I read or listened to in November 2022.

Sale
The Dispatcher
  • Audible Audiobook
  • John Scalzi (Author) – Zachary Quinto (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/04/2016 (Publication Date) – Audible Originals (Publisher)
The Dispatcher: Murder by Other Means
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Scalzi, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 105 Pages – 04/30/2021 (Publication Date) – Subterranean Press (Publisher)
Sale
Travel by Bullet: The Dispatcher, Book 3
  • Audible Audiobook
  • John Scalzi (Author) – Zachary Quinto (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 09/01/2022 (Publication Date) – Audible Originals (Publisher)
Sale
The Poppy War: A Novel (The Poppy War, 1)
  • Kuang, R. F (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 544 Pages – 04/23/2019 (Publication Date) – Harper Voyager (Publisher)
Sale
Before They Are Hanged (The First Law Trilogy, 2)
  • Abercrombie, Joe (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 560 Pages – 09/08/2015 (Publication Date) – Orbit (Publisher)
Sale
I.C.O.N.: Wardens of Issalia, Book 0
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Jeffrey L. Kohanek (Author) – Tim Campbell (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/19/2021 (Publication Date) – Podium Audio (Publisher)
This Long Vigil: A Science Fiction Short Story
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Bruno, Rhett C (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 43 Pages – 12/18/2015 (Publication Date) – Aethon Books (Publisher)
Inconstant Moon
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Niven, Larry (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages – 06/17/2012 (Publication Date) – Spectrum Literary Agency (Publisher)
Sale
The Messengers
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Lindsay Joelle (Author) – Kaliswa Brewster, Ana Reeder, ZoĂ« Winters (Narrators)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 03/05/2020 (Publication Date) – Audible Originals (Publisher)
Sale
Limitless Mind: Learn, Lead, and Live Without Barriers
  • Hardcover Book
  • Boaler, Jo (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages – 09/03/2019 (Publication Date) – HarperOne (Publisher)
Farewell to the Master
  • Bates, Harry (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 84 Pages – 08/01/2013 (Publication Date) – Spastic Cat Press (Publisher)
The Machine Stops
  • Forster, E.M. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 46 Pages – 05/23/2013 (Publication Date) – A Forster Book (Publisher)
Sins of the Past: A Darkness Within Prologue (The Darkness Within Saga)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Franx, JD (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 79 Pages – 02/23/2014 (Publication Date) – JD Franx (Publisher)
Forest of Memory
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kowal, Mary Robinette (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 92 Pages – 03/08/2016 (Publication Date) – Tordotcom (Publisher)
Hearts, Keys, and Puppetry
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Neil Gaiman (Author) – Katherine Kellgren (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 02/08/2010 (Publication Date) – Blackstone Audio, Inc. (Publisher)
The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel (The Mistborn Saga, 4)
  • Sanderson, Brandon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages – 10/30/2012 (Publication Date) – Tor Fantasy (Publisher)

Final Books of the Year

Later this month, I’ll have a final wrap-up of my “best books of 20222.” It’ll be the first time I’ve published a list like this, so bear with me. I want to communicate the reasons behind my selections and hopefully encourage you to begin making your own “best of” lists as you progress through your reading each year.

Reviewing what we read helps to remind us what we learned from the book (yes, you can learn from fiction just as easily as non-fiction). Also, it gives us a chance to practice those ever-important communication skills with another chance to write. It doesn’t matter if you publish your list or keep it in a journal, summarizing and telling someone your thoughts (even if it’s just you) is excellent writing practice.