Microsoft’s AI Push Imperils Climate Goal as Carbon Emissions Jump 30%

ai power usage

Microsoft’s ambitious climate goal is at risk due to its focus on artificial intelligence. The company’s carbon emissions have increased by 30%, making it harder to reach its carbon-negative target by 2030. Microsoft plans to invest in green technologies to balance the environmental impact of its AI expansion.

Read more from Bloomberg News

Open Education and Innovations in Teaching and Learning: Future Directions

Panelists:

  • Steven Downes from the Digital Technologies Research Centre of the National Research Council of Canada.
  • Dr. Valerie Irvine from the University of Victoria.
  • Brian Lamb, Director of Learning Technologies at Thompson Rivers University.
  • Dr. David Wiley, Chief Academic Officer at Lumen Learning.

Key Topics and Insights

Current State of Open Education

Steven Downes kicked off the discussion by emphasizing the influence of artificial intelligence (AI) on open education. He argued that generative AI has the potential to create and enhance open educational resources (OER), moving beyond traditional static resources to dynamic, AI-generated content that can adapt and respond to student needs in real time.

Challenges and Opportunities

Valerie Irvine highlighted the significant challenge of institutional culture change. She stressed that despite the proven benefits of open education, widespread adoption requires a concerted effort to shift mindsets at administrative and faculty levels. She also pointed out the potential for open education to support social justice and equity in learning, advocating for open access to research and teaching resources to foster broader educational impacts.

Brian Lamb expressed concerns about the commercialization and centralization of digital platforms, which can stifle the creative and collaborative spirit of open education. He reminisced about the early days of the open web, where blogs and wikis fostered a rich exchange of ideas and resources. Brian emphasized the need to build capacity for open practices within educational institutions to reclaim some of that lost potential.

David Wiley provided a perspective from the U.S., discussing how generative AI could transform access to expertise. He noted that while the initial focus of open education was on access to materials, the future could see AI providing real-time, personalized support to learners, thereby expanding educational opportunities even further. He also touched on the importance of integrating open practices with AI to ensure that educational tools remain accessible and beneficial.

Future Directions

The panelists agreed that integrating AI into education presents both opportunities and challenges. They discussed the need for robust systems to ensure the accuracy and reliability of AI-generated content. Steven Downes pointed out that, while AI can be a powerful tool, it must be developed and used within ethical frameworks to avoid perpetuating existing biases and inequalities.

Institutional Support for Open Education

A key theme was the role of institutions in supporting open education. The panelists called for more institutional support for open educational practices, including funding, resources, and recognition of the value of openness. Valerie Irvine and Brian Lamb highlighted the successful models of BCcampus and eCampusOntario as examples of how institutional collaboration can drive the adoption of open education.

Conclusion

The session concluded with a call to action for educators, administrators, and policymakers to embrace the potential of open education and AI. The panelists urged a collective effort to foster a culture of openness, support innovative teaching practices, and ensure that the benefits of these advancements are accessible to all learners.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

allergies
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

That’s just the way it is…

Greetings Starfighters,

Living in the Southern United States during the months of April and May is, to be quite honest, one of the most ill-informed choices a human being can make, especially for those of us suffering from seasonal allergies.

I mean, when you can wash your car and come back out to it a few hours later to be greeted by a powdery covering of yellowish-green stuff that is often a little sticky and definitely irritating, you know that you’ve made poor life choices.

But that same yellowish-green stuff is the sign of life returning to the world. My grass is the greenest of greens right now, thanks to more than enough rain and the nearly perfect fertile ground that covers much of Kentucky. I love looking at the world around me, but OH MY GOD, CAN WE GET SOME SUPER-SIZED AIR FILTERS FOR ALL THE POLLEN?

Ah well, such is the life of a Kentucky boy. All allergies and longing for time spent in the woods. Time for more nasal spray…

Quote of the Day

"The world only cares about—and pays off on—what you can do with what you know (and it doesn’t care how you learned it)." (George Couros, The Innovator's Mindset)

“The world only cares about—and pays off on—what you can do with what you know (and it doesn’t care how you learned it).” (George Couros, The Innovator’s Mindset)

Musical Interlude

It’s September 1986, and I’m just nine years old. My summer had been absolutely destroyed by two things: my family moved from Campbellsville, KY, to Elizabethtown, KY (there’s a movie about this place that is great, but not because they portrayed E-town properly), and Optimus Prime died in the Transformers movie.

Even now, it’s difficult to say which event was more traumatic.

Regardless, this song hit the radio waves, whether it was Q104 in Campbellsville or WQXE in E-town, and I loved it. The simple melodies combined with the incredible piano lead hit me. Of course, I didn’t understand the lyrics then, but they stuck with me.

That song was The Way It Is, written by Bruce Hornsby and recorded by Hornsby along with his band, The Range, at the time.

Hornsby has said he wanted to create a sense of place with the song lyrics, providing a snapshot of small-town life in Virginia. Much like Springsteen with New Jersey or Mellencamp with Indiana, Hornsby wanted to take listeners to Virginia and talk with them about racism.

I’m quite certain that’s exactly what he accomplished, and given the song’s enduring legacy in the nearly 40 years since its release, many millions have had the chance to talk about it and its meaning.

And that enduring legacy has reached beyond the pop and rock genres with many artists covering or sampling portions of The Way It Is for their own hits, most famously done by Tupac Shakur with Changes.

There’s not a version of The Way It Is that I don’t enjoy, but this one from BBC 2 Radio is quite good. The orchestra adds something special to Hornsby’s iconic piano.

Long Read of the Day

In the late 18th century, officials in Prussia and Saxony began to rearrange their complex, diverse forests into straight rows of single-species trees. Forests had been sources of food, grazing, shelter, medicine, bedding and more for the people who lived in and around them, but to the early modern state, they were simply a source of timber.

So-called “scientific forestry” was that century’s growth hacking. It made timber yields easier to count, predict and harvest, and meant owners no longer relied on skilled local foresters to manage forests. They were replaced with lower-skilled laborers following basic algorithmic instructions to keep the monocrop tidy, the understory bare.

Information and decision-making power now flowed straight to the top. Decades later when the first crop was felled, vast fortunes were made, tree by standardized tree. The clear-felled forests were replanted, with hopes of extending the boom. Readers of the American political anthropologist of anarchy and order, James C. Scott, know what happened next.

It was a disaster so bad that a new word, Waldsterben, or “forest death,” was minted to describe the result. All the same species and age, the trees were flattened in storms, ravaged by insects and disease — even the survivors were spindly and weak. Forests were now so tidy and bare, they were all but dead.

The Internet as we know it now has become a little too well-maintained and planned. We’re not seeing the true purpose of this amazing tool; in fact, we’re moving further and further from that original purpose.

Just like in our schools, we need to have a little less structure and let things get a little wild.

Video of the Day

Not to get into a huge debate here, but I will talk about AI. As a tech guy, I know all sides of every argument around the arrival of Generative AI tools like ChatGPT, DALL-E, and more. Yes, there are some very clear ethical issues attached to the usage of these tools, especially in the creative world.

However, there are very valid uses of the technology, provided we operate on the assumption that we are human beings and should treat everyone as such. We should only use AI tools to better ourselves or our work and NOT use AI as some all-encompassing replacement for the creativity of the human spirit.

This week on CBS Sunday Morning, Randy Travis got a feature. Travis, an award-winning, massively successful, Hall of Fame country music artist, suffered a stroke in 2013. Given only a 2% chance to live, Travis has battled against the odds and is still with us more than a decade later. However, the portions of his brain tasked with speech and singing were the most damaged by the stroke. His singing career was essentially over.

Until some folks thought about all the voice-generating tools powered by AI that create something that sounds a little like a famous artist but without any of the heart, passion, or humanity behind their voice. They decided that there must be a way to use these tools responsibly and help Randy Travis get his voice back.

Trust me, you’re going to need Kleenex for this one.

Final Thoughts

Admittedly, I’ve switched to publishing daily thoughts as a bit of an experiment. I’m trying to force myself to push out more content to continue developing my writing practice. However, I don’t ever want to get to a place where I’m publishing just for the sake of publishing. Veteran web publisher and all-around genius Om Malik recently talked about excessive activity leading to average quality, especially in the online world as the almighty algorithms continue to dominate. Cory Doctorow talks about the ‘enshittification’ of everything and I certainly see that on every social platform out there.

So, I’ll keep publishing daily but promise to remain vigilant about content quality. Yes, I like to share my thoughts, but I don’t want to share without providing value or insight. Only add good things to the world friends, never take away.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Monday assorted links

  1. Aaron Sorkin Is Writing Some Kind of ‘Social Network’ Sequel Because ‘I Blame Facebook For January 6’ Riot at the U.S. Capitol
  2. The Student-Led Protests Aren’t Perfect. That Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Right.
  3. Shaping the Future of Learning: The Role of AI in Education 4.0
  4. For philosophy newbs: five thinkers to follow today.
  5. Survey Finds Many Gen Zers Say School Lacks a ‘Sense of Purpose’
  6. Bukowski Reads Bukowski: Watch a 1975 Documentary Featuring Charles Bukowski at the Height of His Powers

Exploring the future of learning and the relationship between human intelligence and AI – An interview with Professor Rose Luckin

pink white black purple blue textile web scripts
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

In this interview, Professor Rose Luckin, a pioneer in integrating artificial intelligence (AI) with education, shares insights on the ethical dimensions of AI deployment in education, emphasizing the importance of ethical AI and its potential to support learner-centered methodologies. She discusses the challenges and opportunities generative AI presents in assessment, learning, and teaching, highlighting the need for robust partnerships between educators and technology developers.

Professor Luckin stresses the importance of integrating AI into education with carefully crafted ethics and governance frameworks to maximize its potential benefits while mitigating risks. The paper discusses AI’s evolving role in education and the critical need for lifelong learning. It underscores the imperative of ongoing research and collaborative efforts to navigate AI’s significant dangers and opportunities in education.

Here’s another interview with Professor Luckin on AI and Education in the 21st Century:


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Random Links 4-3-2024


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Presenting the Presentations…

woman in black suit
Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

Greetings Starfighters,

Normally in this space, you’d find 10 things I found this week that I think are awesome.

This week, I’m at the KySTE Conference in Louisville, KY, leaving me with a shortened list of things to share. Next week, I’ll be back with a full set of 10.

If you’re interested, I’m giving two presentations at KySTE, one on some ideas for integrating the science of learning and development in a virtual academy and another on how we started a Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) in our virtual academy this year (the themes in this one are specific to KY, but I’m sure there’s a version you can implement where you are).

You can find the slides and resources for both those sessions right here.

Yesterday, during my session, I looked at my watch and remembered that four years prior, I was at the same conference in a meeting to figure out how we would get learning materials to kids since we were closing in-person schooling due to COVID-19.

Of course, that was only supposed to be for two weeks…

In other news:

  1. Adobe is getting into the digital badging game. This seems like a late move, with so many edtech providers offering badges and “ambassador” programs for years now. As someone who once chased these credentials, I always worry that the mindset is more about becoming an unpaid salesman for a company rather than focusing on great outcomes for kids. Still, there is value in earning these badges.
  2. From the “We Can’t Avoid It, So We’ll Embrace It” Department – Pearson is expanding AI within its Pearson+ e-textbooks in the coming school year.
  3. If you work in education (or really any industry) and share your thoughts and work online as I do, Christy Tucker has some great advice on setting realistic boundaries for sharing freely (face it, folks, we gotta get paid somehow).
  4. In other news involving money, Accenture is buying Udacity to build a learning platform for AI.
  5. Educators are increasingly adopting the concept of play theory, which argues that play and learning are fundamentally intertwined and that children benefit from a healthy balance of both.

OK, that’s 5 awesome things to share. Have a great weekend, gang. Mine will be spent watching T-Swift on repeat with my pre-teen daughter. I’d appreciate your thoughts and prayers 😉


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Essential Resources to Guide Your AI Journey

elderly man thinking while looking at a chessboard
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Jisc, a technology organization in the UK, has compiled a selection of resources to support different stages of AI maturity, including strategic resources, supporting students and learners, supporting staff, maintaining academic integrity, safe responsible use, and AI tools. The resources include blogs, reports, videos, podcasts, and training courses covering generative AI, accessibility, assessment, bias, ethics, and AI tools. Jisc is also developing new resources to support the move to the operational stage, such as pre-procurement selection criteria for generative AI tools and a generative AI skills training program for staff.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Groundhog Day Lesson Ideas

bill murray groundhog day

I wanted to share a few lesson ideas with a Groundhog Day theme in my weekly newsletter to teachers, but I also wanted to include some deeper learning competencies in those lesson ideas.

So, I ran over to ChatGPT, gave it a prompt, and got these ideas. No, they’re not full lesson plans, but they are a good start. And it took less than two minutes to get these ideas going.

Use AI as a tool to help, and you can come up with some pretty cool ideas. For now, here are those lesson ideas. Feel free to use and share:

Groundhog Day Lesson Ideas:

1. Groundhog Day Science Project

Activity Description: Students research the science behind Groundhog Day, including how groundhogs predict weather and the accuracy of their predictions compared to meteorological data. They can then create a presentation or report comparing folklore and scientific weather prediction methods.

Learning Competencies: Critical thinking, research skills, data analysis, and presentation skills.

2. Creative Writing Assignment: A Groundhog’s Perspective

Activity Description: Ask students to write a creative story from the perspective of the groundhog. They could write about the experience of Groundhog Day, the groundhog’s life throughout the year, or a fictional adventure.

Learning Competencies: Creativity, perspective-taking, writing skills, and empathy.

3. Debate: The Relevance of Groundhog Day

Activity Description: Organize a debate on the relevance and accuracy of Groundhog Day predictions in the age of advanced weather forecasting technology. This could involve research into meteorological science and folklore traditions.

Learning Competencies: Critical thinking, argumentation, public speaking, and teamwork.

4. Groundhog Day Math Challenge

Activity Description: Create math problems related to Groundhog Day, such as calculating the probability of the groundhog seeing its shadow based on historical data or designing a survey to find out how many people believe in the groundhog’s predictions and analyzing the results.

Learning Competencies: Problem-solving, data collection, statistical analysis, and interpretation.

5. Environmental Science Link

Activity Description: Students could explore how groundhogs (and other animals) impact their ecosystems. They could research groundhog habitats, their role in the ecosystem, and how climate change might affect them. This could culminate in a project or presentation.

Learning Competencies: Environmental awareness, research skills, ecology, and presentation skills.

6. Groundhog Day History and Folklore Lesson

Activity Description: Students could delve into the history and folklore of Groundhog Day, exploring its origins and how it’s celebrated in different parts of the world. This could be a research project, poster, or multimedia presentation.

Learning Competencies: Historical research, cultural awareness, and communication skills.

7. Philosophy and Ethics Discussion: Groundhog Day Movie

Activity Description: Use the movie “Groundhog Day” to start discussions about ethics, free will, and personal growth. Students can watch the movie and then engage in guided discussions or write reflective essays.

Learning Competencies: Ethical reasoning, critical thinking, reflection, and discussion skills.

8. Groundhog Day Art Project

Activity Description: Students create artwork inspired by Groundhog Day using various media. This could be a drawing, painting, digital art, or even a sculpture that reflects the day, the groundhog, or the themes of prediction and time.

Learning Competencies: Creativity, artistic skills, and self-expression.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Snow Days and AI Plays

kentucky schools in winter
Live look at Kentucky schools

It’s a Friday in mid-January, which means there’s snow on the ground here in Kentucky, and many of our schools are either working remotely or out of session. I’m checking in with my teachers while enjoying cup of coffee number 3, swaddled up in my old man sweater.

Next week, I’m attending FETC and will be presenting on Thursday afternoon. If you’re there and want to chat, hit me up!

For now, here’s this week’s 10 Things. Stay warm!

10 Things Worth Sharing


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!