Professor and friend John Nash co-hosts a podcast on all things online learning. In a recent episode, he shared his work on coaching ChatGPT to write more “human” and the results are… interesting…
While generative AI tools are very cool right now, they are a long way from being truly disruptive and overtaking the world.
Here’s what’s interesting. Scaffolding the prompts, defining perplexity and burstiness, and then prompting an explicit increase of those measures made the text “human” to GPTZero. Still, it also made the text ridiculously flowery and inflated. Kind of like when a master’s student thinks they are supposed to “sound academic.” It was so bad that the ChatGPT output was immediately suspect to my human eyes, even though GPTZero said it was likely written entirely by a human.
More news on the influence of AI in arenas outside of education:
Web analytics firm SimilarWeb reported last month that Stack Overflow has seen a drop in traffic every month since the beginning of 2022, with the average drop being 6%. In March, Stack Overflow saw a 13.9% drop in traffic from February and in April, the website saw 17.7% drop in traffic from March. SimilarWeb argues that some of that dropping traffic could be due to GitHub’s AI helper called CoPilot, but users could also be using the more popular ChatGPT as a way to help debug their code—the same way they may via posts on Stack Overflow’s forum.
Stack Overflow is a popular website among programmers, where they can ask and answer technical questions related to coding. Users can also vote on the best answers so that the most helpful ones rise to the top. The site is widely used as a resource for debugging and problem-solving, and its community is known for being helpful and knowledgeable.
ChatGPT, which uses AI to generate responses to programming questions, has been gaining popularity as an alternative to Stack Overflow. The website’s AI technology can provide more personalized and accurate answers to users’ questions, making it a more efficient tool for debugging and problem-solving.
Hey, y’all. We’re nearing the end of March, and for many public schools, that means Spring Break is near (or maybe already arrived). It’s a very busy time for educators as one school year ends, and plans for the next are already taking shape.
My hope for you as we approach the end of another school year is that you take the time to take care of yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup, and it’s easy to get caught up in all the things at the end of the school year.
Take a beat, catch a deep breath, and center yourself. Rediscover what is really important to you and what you can control.
“We have so little control over our lives. The only thing we can really control is what we spend our days on.” – Austin Kleon
Anyways, here are ten things I thought were worth sharing with you this week:
The TikTok trial is a mess and is only proving that the US government is targeting this specific company over other social media platforms. Any issues with TikTok are the same with Facebook, Instagram, Snap, and many others.
What is the right amount of agency to give to learners during their interactions with EdTech? Blog post and paper
This is a preview of my Friday “10 Things” newsletter. Friday editions are free for everyone.
Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends.
It’s the first week of January which means here in the US, the public domain was just infused with all sorts of new (old) content. Included this year are the later Sherlock Holmes publications (YES!) and Metropolis, an early film of art deco dystopia.
Millions of documents, images, and other media now live in the public domain, making them freely available to anyone. We can use those works as inspiration for creating our own, standing on the shoulders of giants, and bringing our own creative ideas into the never-ending mix.
As such, here are some things on content, creation, and the public domain that I thought were pretty awesome.
“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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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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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!