5 Questions Students Should Ask About AI-Generated Content

monitor screen showing chatgpt landing page
Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Do your students enjoy interacting with AI chatbots? Are they fascinated by the idea of AI-generated content, such as articles, poems, or even code? Do you want to help your students learn how to discern the difference between human and AI-generated content? If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider integrating AI literacy education into your lessons.

AI literacy expands traditional literacy to include new forms of reading, writing, and communicating. It involves understanding how AI systems work, how they generate content, and how to critically evaluate the information they produce. AI literacy empowers people to be critical thinkers and makers, effective communicators, and active citizens in an increasingly digital world.

Think of it this way: Students learn print literacy — how to read and write. But they should also learn AI literacy — how to “read and write” AI-generated messages in different forms, whether it’s a text, an article, a poem, or anything else. The most powerful way for students to put these skills into practice is through both critiquing the AI-generated content they consume and analyzing the AI-generated content they create.

So, how should students learn to critique and analyze AI-generated content? Most leaders in the AI literacy community use some version of the five key questions:

  1. Who created this AI model? Help your students understand that all AI models have creators and underlying objectives. The AI models we interact with were constructed by someone with a particular vision, background, and agenda. Help students understand how they should question both the messages they see, as well the platforms on which messages are shared.
  2. What data was used to train this AI model? Different AI models are trained on different datasets, which can greatly influence their output. Help students recognize how this often comes in the form of new and innovative techniques to capture our attention – sometimes without us even realizing it.
  3. How might different people interpret this AI-generated content? This question helps students consider how all of us bring our own individual backgrounds, values, and beliefs to how we interpret AI-generated messages. For any piece of AI-generated content, there are often as many interpretations as there are viewers.
  4. Which lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented — or missing? Just as we all bring our own backgrounds and values to how we interpret what we see, AI-generated messages themselves are embedded with values and points of view. Help students question and consider how certain perspectives or voices might be missing from a particular AI-generated message.
  5. Why is this AI-generated content being produced? With this question, have students explore the purpose of the AI-generated content. Is it to inform, entertain, or persuade, or could it be some combination of these? Also, have students explore possible motives behind why certain AI-generated content has been produced.

As teachers, we can think about how to weave these five questions into our instruction, helping our students to think critically about AI-generated content. A few scenarios could include lessons where students interact with AI chatbots or any time we ask students to create AI-generated projects. Eventually, as we model this type of critical thinking for students, asking these questions themselves will become second nature to them.

Thanks for reading. This site and all the work shared here are completely reader-supported. The best way to support it is to check out my recommendations or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

A comprehensive AI policy education framework for university teaching and learning

The study titled “A comprehensive AI policy education framework for university teaching and learning” aims to develop an AI education policy for higher education by examining the perceptions and implications of text-generative AI technologies. The research collected data from 457 students and 180 teachers and staff across various disciplines in Hong Kong universities, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Based on the findings, the study proposes an AI Ecological Education Policy Framework to address the multifaceted implications of AI integration in university teaching and learning. This framework is organized into three dimensions: Pedagogical, Governance, and Operational. The Pedagogical dimension focuses on using AI to improve teaching and learning outcomes, while the Governance dimension tackles issues related to privacy, security, and accountability. The Operational dimension addresses matters concerning infrastructure and training.

The framework fosters a nuanced understanding of the implications of AI integration in academic settings, ensuring that stakeholders are aware of their responsibilities and can take appropriate actions accordingly. The study highlights the importance of students playing an active role in drafting and implementing the policy. The research also addresses the growing concern in academic settings about the use of text-generative artificial intelligence (AI), such as ChatGPT, Bing, and the latest, Co-Pilot, integrated within the Microsoft Office suite. The study found that nearly one in three students had used a form of AI, such as essay-generating software, to complete their coursework. This has led to calls for stricter regulations and penalties for academic misconduct involving AI. Read the full study here.

Teaching AI Ethics

Leon Furze’s blog post titled “Teaching AI Ethics: The Series” presents a comprehensive guide to understanding and teaching the ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The series, initially a single post, has been expanded into nine detailed posts, each focusing on a unique ethical concern related to AI, including bias, discrimination, environmental issues, truth and academic integrity, copyright, privacy, datafication, emotion recognition, human labor, and power structures.

Designed primarily for K-12 education but also applicable to tertiary-level discussions, each post provides case studies, discussion questions, and lesson ideas to facilitate a deeper understanding of these complex issues. The aim is to equip students with the necessary knowledge to navigate the ethical landscape of AI in an increasingly digital world.

Thanks for reading. This site and all the work shared here are completely reader-supported. The best way to support it is to check out my recommendations or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

Students need freedom to develop critical skills with edtech

My first question when working with teachers and the technology they have available in their classrooms is, “what do you want the kids to create?”

And when we look at the 4 Shifts protocol, this question from the technology infusion section is also essential:

Does technology add value so that students can do their work in better or different ways than are possible without technology?

– 4 shifts protocol

When students can use technology to create, I hope they have been equipped with the necessary training to use that technology effectively. Otherwise, there’s trouble.

I’ve come to the realization that technology will have its greatest impact in the classroom when educators allow learners to use digital technology as a self-directed learning tool. This means not just providing students with laptops and online resources, but ensuring they have the necessary skills to find, validate, apply, and curate the vast amount of information now available to them.

Rick Cave, eSchool News

How the 4 Shifts Protocol Supports Teachers in Providing Deeper Learning Opportunities for Students

I’ve had the pleasure of working with a small cohort of teachers this year to redesign lessons for deeper learning opportunities. I called it the “Future Shift Fellowship” for two reasons: 1) I hoped that this group would begin moving our district into the future by focusing on student-centered lesson design and 2) we would be using the 4 Shifts protocol to guide our work.

To say that I’m pleased with what we’ve done this year would be an understatement. Each of the members of the cohort has stepped far beyond their comfort zone with their work. And, if you asked their students, I’m sure you’d hear how much they appreciate the opportunities for learning.

But you may be asking why we used the 4 Shifts for this work?

I’m happy to explain…

Whenever I work with teachers, my number one thought is that whatever we do together must be easy to implement. Teachers have little or no time to spend on new strategies or techniques in the classroom once the school year begins. Their days are filled with so many tasks beyond just those of teaching students that it’s difficult to squeeze in learning, even when there are demonstrable benefits to that learning.

So, any changes must be easy to make. Also, if the changes made can provide a visible impact on student learning, whether that be in the form of student engagement, assessment, or simply just changing how students talk about learning and school, then the changes are worth the time.

These two reasons above all others are why I chose to use the 4 Shifts protocol to guide the work of our fellowship.

The 4 Shifts Protocol, designed by Scott McLeod and Julie Graber, is a comprehensive framework that aims to help educators transition from traditional teaching methods to more modern, student-centered approaches that promote deeper learning opportunities. The protocol focuses on four key shifts: deeper thinking and learning, authentic work, student agency and personalized learning, and technology infusion.

  1. Deeper Thinking and Learning: This shift encourages teachers to design activities that require students to engage in higher-order thinking skills, such as analysis, evaluation, and creation, rather than just memorization and recall. By doing so, students develop critical thinking abilities and become more adept at problem-solving and decision-making.
  2. Authentic Work: The protocol emphasizes the importance of connecting classroom activities to real-world situations and contexts. This shift encourages teachers to create tasks with a genuine purpose, audience, and impact beyond the classroom, fostering relevance and meaningful student learning experiences.
  3. Student Agency and Personalized Learning: This shift focuses on providing opportunities for students to take ownership of their learning and make choices about what and how they learn. Teachers are encouraged to create learning environments that support individual learning preferences and needs, allowing students to progress at their own pace and follow their interests.
  4. Technology Infusion: The protocol recognizes the power of technology in enhancing learning experiences and facilitating the other three shifts. Teachers are encouraged to integrate technology tools and resources into their instruction, allowing students to access information, collaborate with peers, and demonstrate their learning in innovative ways.

By implementing the 4 Shifts Protocol, teachers can create more engaging and meaningful learning experiences for their students, fostering a deeper understanding and long-lasting knowledge. This approach prepares students for success in the modern world and cultivates a love for learning and a growth mindset.

Does the 4 Shifts protocol answer all the questions? Of course not. In fact, sometimes you have more questions than you started with after working through the protocol. This is why it is key to only focus on one of the shifts at a time when redesigning your lessons.

You could change a lesson to the super ultimate checks all-the-boxes learning experience in one go, but you and your students would likely be so exhausted and confused from all the changes that any benefit would be lost.

But, the protocol gives you the structure to make small changes to your lessons, whether you are a classroom teacher or an instructional coach working with teachers to make the changes.

I can’t think of a better tool to use to begin moving toward more student-centered learning.

Thanks for reading. This site and all the work shared here are completely reader-supported. The best way to support it is to check out my recommendations or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

Long Live the Public Domain

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.

10 Cool Things Worth Sharing

  1. Everything that enters the public domain in 2023 (and some ideas on how you might use them in schools)

To read the rest, subscribe to my Friday “10 Things” newsletter.

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.

Thanks for reading. Get access to exclusive content and expert insights on technology, teaching, and leadership by subscribing to my newsletter. Stay up-to-date on the latest trends and join our community of professionals and educators worldwide.

What is a Hyperdoc?

The reason HyperDocs work is because each one begins with strong lesson design, curates quality instructional content, and packages learning in a way that engages learners. A HyperDoc shifts the focus from teacher-led lectures to student-driven, inquiry-based learning, allowing students to actually learn through exploration.

The HyperDoc Handbook

HyperDocs are an emerging tool in education. They offer teachers an effective way to design and deliver interactive lessons that keep students engaged, organized, and on-task. But what exactly is a HyperDoc? What are the benefits of using them in the classroom? And how can they be used to improve student engagement and understanding?

What is a HyperDoc?

Developed in 2016 by Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hinton, and Sarah Landis, Hyperdocs are a digital lesson hub designed by teachers and given to students.

A HyperDoc is an interactive document created by teachers to provide students with an engaging learning experience. A HyperDoc is a digital document, accessible through any number of devices, that contains all the components of a learning cycle in one place. Within the document, students can find hyperlinks to all the resources they need to complete the learning cycle.

The earliest known example of a “digital lesson hub” was WebQuest, which used only online resources to guide students through a lesson.

This makes it easy for teachers to monitor student progress without searching multiple documents or websites. It also provides students with a clearly defined structure to which they can refer back as needed.

Benefits of Using HyperDocs in the Classroom

HyperDocs have several key advantages over traditional paper-based documents or worksheets.

First, they allow teachers to easily incorporate multimedia elements such as videos, audio clips, images, or animations into their lessons. Whatever resources students need for the lesson can easily be linked or embedded into the Hyperdoc.

Second, they give teachers the flexibility to offer extra support for students or enrichment opportunities for others. Since the hyperdoc is digital, teachers can easily use a template to differentiate instruction.

Lastly, Hyperdocs make it easier for students to collaborate with each other as well as stay organized throughout the lesson plan.

How Can HyperDocs Be Used to Improve Student Engagement and Understanding?

HyperDocs can be used in many different ways to help improve student engagement and understanding in the classroom. For example, teachers can use them to create virtual field trips by incorporating videos and other multimedia elements into their lessons. They can also use them for project-based learning activities by having students work together on a single document instead of individual worksheets or projects. Finally, they can use them as online portfolios where students can showcase their work and reflect on their progress throughout the course of the year.

HyperDocs are quickly becoming popular among educators due to their flexibility and ease of use. They make it easier for teachers to organize their lessons and provide students with an engaging learning environment that encourages collaboration and critical thinking skills while helping them stay on track with their assigned tasks. Ultimately, using HyperDocs in your classroom will help you save time and help your students become more engaged learners who understand the material better than ever before!

More HyperDocs Resources:

The HyperDocs Handbook

How HyperDocs Can Transform Your Teaching

9 reasons why HyperDocs can transform your class

How HyperDocs Can Make Schoolwork More Student Friendly

Will Students Use AI to Write Papers?

Since the dawn of time, students have been looking for ways to get out of writing papers. How do I know this? Because I was a student who tried to get out of writing papers.

I was terrible at it since I’d mostly just end up not writing the paper (Have I told you how horrible I was as a student in middle school & high school? Or maybe I wasn’t horrible, I just didn’t want to do things that were busy work and it all seemed like busy work…) and placing all my hopes for decent grades on awesome test-taking abilities.

Regardless of the wonderful technologies our students can use today, at some point, they are going to write a paper. Until we convince every teacher in the world that there are other ways to demonstrate learning mastery, there’s a paper in every student’s future. And there are times when a paper is the best form of assessment or communication.

With advances in artificial intelligence, we may need to rethink writing assignments for students.

Rethinking Writing with AI in Mind

As we think about creating deeper learning experiences for students and moving past work that doesn’t have applications outside the classroom and only asks for evidence of low-level learning, we educators need to know what’s possible with AI writing programs.

If you’re asking students to give an answer that looks something like a “listicle” you might find on a website, an AI writer can craft an incredibly decent response.

Without AI, innovate_rye says the homework they consider “busywork” would take them two hours. Now homework assignments like this take them 20 minutes.

from Vice

And some budding entrepreneurs learn quickly that if they know how to use AI writing software, they can make a quick buck from classmates.

I quickly searched for “ai writing apps” and retrieved around 82 million matches. The first page of the search results is littered with articles like “21 Best AI Writing Software Tools of October 2022 (Top 3 Picks)” and “21 Best AI Writing Tools of 2022,” amongst many others.

My point is this: students will find a way to game the system. They will put more effort into getting out of work than they will in doing the work if the work they are asked to do seems pointless.

white robot
Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

Can we honestly say we don’t want to do the same? If we could have an AI attend the average staff meeting in our stead, wouldn’t we?

You could even use AI to write up some helpful tips for other teachers if you want to. The quality of the work may not be what you’re looking for, but is that wrong?

Technology is a tool that we can leverage to complete mundane tasks. The part of that statement that is difficult to define is the mundane part. Who decides what tasks are mundane and which ones aren’t?

A Plea for More Authentic Tasks

I’m not saying that papers can’t be authentic; I’m saying that we have to think carefully about what we ask students to write about. As with all the work we ask of students, a move toward more authentic, student-centered learning is essential in our modern world.

Planning frameworks like the 4 Shifts protocol can help us think about the tasks we ask of students and how we can modify those tasks for more authentic work.

And maybe worry a little less about software writing student responses.

BONUS: I had this newsletter ready to launch when I saw an AI-generated podcast between Joe Rogan and Steve Jobs. Disturbing? Yes. We need to know what’s out there and what it can do. The future is now.

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Creating Your Classroom Student Tech Team

With today’s ever-changing technology and the constant turnover of cables and computer components, it’s more challenging than ever for an IT team to be everywhere at once, or for an Instructional Coach to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for minor inventory concerns. For these reasons, establishing a Student Tech Team in your school is an excellent option.

Student tech teams may be used to relieve the burden and responsibilities of both coaching and IT staff, as well as educate youngsters about responsibility, budgeting, entrepreneurship, and marketing.

Any classroom can benefit from having a student tech team. These are the students who help others with technology-related issues and problems. They’re probably also the kids that like to take things apart and figure out how they work. Whether you realize it or not, you probably have a few kids in your class who would be perfect for this role.

How to Create a Student Tech Team

Creating your own student tech team is not difficult. If your school has a vision for what you’re looking for, you may establish a program that satisfies the demands of pupils, instructors, and the community.

Of course, the first step in creating a student tech team is getting your administration’s approval. Once you have that, you can start recruiting members. Let your students know that you’re looking for kids who are interested in technology and who are willing to help others with their tech problems. You might even want to put up a sign-up sheet so that interested students can sign up.

Once you have a few interested students, it’s time to start training them. Partner with your school or district IT department to set up some training sessions with your students. The folks in the IT department will appreciate having help, and I’m sure they’ll jump at the chance to show your students all the cool “tech stuff” they have access to at your school.

Show them how to troubleshoot common issues and problems. Have them practice with each other to get comfortable with the process. Their training should include using basic repair tools with your school’s devices. This is the perfect chance to repurpose old Chromebooks or other devices. Perhaps your kids will even get the itch to build their own computers!

Once your students are trained, they can start helping out other students in the class. They can also act as a resource for you, the teacher. If you ever have a question about technology or need help with something, you can always ask your student tech team for assistance.

Also, your student tech team can be available for other teachers. If a teacher is having trouble with technology in their classroom, your student tech team can help them out. This is a great way for your students to get some leadership experience and help other teachers.

Student Tech Teams Develop Leadership

The goal of any student tech team is to provide students with the opportunity to gain leadership experience. Student tech teams can be used during the school day and year to help students learn how to collaborate as a unit, form a team, and lead digital learning experiences in the classroom.

Any student tech team’s second goal, which is just as important as the first, is to learn about the technologies being used inside and outside of classrooms. Your student tech team can serve the school community by helping during lunch periods, recess, after school, and, if necessary, at after-school events in the community. Imagine having a community night where your students teach adults to use different apps that they use daily in their classrooms!

As your students continue their work, they aren’t just building technology skills but their communication and collaboration skills. Likely, they will encounter new problems along the way that will require them to partner with others and develop creative solutions.

Your student tech team will build become a valuable part of the school and, as they work with sensitive information, build trust amongst the staff and administration. The likelihood that one or more of these students will pursue a career in an IT field will be high, making you a part of navigating a student’s future course.

Creating a student tech team in your classroom is a great way to ensure that everyone has access to the help they need regarding technology. It also allows you to take advantage of your students’ unique skills and knowledge. So if you’re having trouble incorporating technology into your classroom, consider forming a student tech team. It could be just what you need to get things up and running smoothly.

Thanks for reading. Get access to exclusive content and expert insights on technology, teaching, and leadership by subscribing to my newsletter. Stay up-to-date on the latest trends and join our community of professionals and educators worldwide.