Thursday Assorted Links

“Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness. This is hard for most to accept, because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.”

Tim Ferriss
  1. Striking findings from 2022 (Pew Research)
  2. Announcing the fifth annual NPR Student Podcast Challenge
  3. ChatGPT and How AI Disrupts Industries
  4. Machines that make you feel more human

How We Might Use ChatGPT in Education

Yes, there’s more to say about ChatGPT and how we can use it in education. I’m doing my best to develop productive uses of this technology to override all the Negative Ninnys out there in Luddite Land.

I won’t have an answer for everyone, but there’s a decent chance one of the ideas I share here could inspire you to use ChatGPT yourself.

Why Some Teachers May Fear ChatGPT and other AI Tools

never be afraid on typewriter
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

First of all, let’s start here: Anytime a new technology is introduced into the world, people are apprehensive. This phenomenon is not exclusive to the education world.

New technologies can be intimidating and scary because they represent change and the unknown. People may be hesitant to adopt new technologies because they are unsure how they will work or fit into their existing way of life.

Additionally, new technologies can sometimes create uncertainty about the future and its impact on society. This fear of the unknown can lead to resistance to change and skepticism about new technologies.

For instance, bicycles were once thought to cause insanity and something called “bicycle face” that was a danger to a person’s health. Weird, I know, but totally true. Fearing new technology isn’t new.

Technology enthusiasts have to keep things in perspective when talking about new tools. Not everyone gets as excited as we do about disruptive tools, and not everyone immediately sees the potential. Patience, brethren. Change comes slowly.

Teachers might be uncertain of how to effectively incorporate ChatGPT into their classrooms, making them feel uneasy. To ensure successful implementation, teachers should become well acquainted with the tool beforehand and develop a strategy tailored specifically to it.

Another reason could be that they are concerned about the potential for the tool to be misused by students, for example, by using it to cheat on assignments or exams. Also, some teachers may be concerned about the impact of using a tool like ChatGPT on students’ critical thinking skills and ability to engage in deep learning and reasoning.

I should probably also mention that every input is being tracked, especially during this “research” phase of ChatGPT. OpenAI doesn’t hide this at all; they tell you that everything you type and every conversation generated is being tracked when you sign up. They even ask you for feedback when you get a generated response. Be aware of what is going on when using a tool like this.

Finally, there may be concerns about the ethical implications of using a tool like ChatGPT in the classroom, particularly with regard to issues such as privacy and the potential for bias in the tool’s responses. We’ve already seen the impact of widespread disinformation and how social media can influence opinions.

In case you’re curious, ChatGPT has some left-leaning and libertarian political bias.

How Can Teachers Use ChatGPT in the Classroom

smiling male mechanic repairing details in garage
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

On the other hand, teaching with ChatGPT offers educators many opportunities. The technology can be used to help students outline or organize their papers, and at its best, can serve as a powerful, fun-to-use digital tutor that works like an improved version of Google. 

Erik Ofgang

There are several ways that teachers can effectively use tools like ChatGPT in the classroom. One way is to use the tool to provide students with additional support and guidance as they work on assignments or projects.

For example, a teacher could use ChatGPT to help students brainstorm ideas, conduct research, or organize their thoughts. Additionally, the tool could provide personalized feedback to students on their work, helping them identify areas for improvement and providing them with guidance on making progress.

Another way that teachers can use ChatGPT effectively in the classroom is by incorporating it into activities designed to promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills. For example, the tool could be used as part of a debate or discussion activity, where students could use it to generate and evaluate different arguments and perspectives on a given topic.

This can help promote deep learning and reasoning and encourage students to think more critically about the information and ideas they encounter.

Additionally, teachers can use ChatGPT to create engaging and interactive learning experiences for their students. For example, the tool could be used to create interactive quizzes or games where students can ask questions and receive answers in real time. This can help keep students engaged and motivated and provide a more dynamic and interactive learning experience.

Overall, the key to effectively using tools like ChatGPT in the classroom is to be creative and to find ways to integrate the tool into teaching and learning activities in a meaningful and engaging way. This can help to enhance students’ learning experiences and promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills.


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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 – 02/21/2024 (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 of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots
  • Markoff, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages – 08/16/2016 (Publication Date) – Ecco (Publisher)
The Political Philosophy of AI: An Introduction
  • Coeckelbergh, Mark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages – 04/11/2022 (Publication Date) – Polity (Publisher)

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.