AI and education

Writing with Nick Kelly recently about how The AI future for lesson plans is already here seemed like something I should blog about. What started off as a serendipitous, off-task chat at a research writing retreat about ‘what AI could be used for in teacher education’ quickly turned into a highly topical piece as ChatGPT was released the following week.

In working on our piece for The Conversation, Nick had noodled around with GPT-3, which I had only recently learned about. Our article posted on 29 November, and the next day ChatGPT was launched. It became the biggest topic in my social feeds, and it hasn’t gone away.

I think essentially, that’s what it’s going to feel like now, and for a while, talking about AI and education.

The technologies, and the conversations, are going to move at a fast pace. And they aren’t going away.

What seems most true to me so far? That hot takes will abound (yes, including this one), gurus will arise, and companies will profit, while in classrooms little-to-nothing else about the learning context will change and this will prevent a lot of educators from experimenting and innovating with new tools much at all.

I’m still warming up to a more substantial real hot-take on AI/ChatGPT. But I find myself drawn often to these three thoughts:

  1. There is little point trying to guess how this will play out, spend energy instead on being creative with the new tools in the present.
  2. The existential crisis pervading the education field in response to ChatGPT goes to show how far we have yet to come in embracing process/inquiry/design approaches in education.
  3. Educators can use AI tools in student-centred ways by placing student experience at the heart of their discussions about and experimentation with new tools.

If you’re a teacher and have been scrolling past All The Articles suddenly appearing about AI, I recommend dipping a toe in the water before school goes back. You won’t be able to avoid the conversations, I’m afraid, so you might as well have something to say.

I found these posts and resources especially helpful, maybe you will too:

Your hot-takes and ‘awesome link’ recommendations are welcome in comments 🙂

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  1. #1 by chris bigum on January 15, 2023 - 10:13 am

    Nice call. To me the thing to think about are the complementary skills/know-how a user of the new toys need. At the moment I think there are at least three: a rudimentary knowledge of how the LLM works; good prompt wrangling skills; and a capacity to evaluate or check what is produced.

  2. #2 by Kay Oddone on January 17, 2023 - 8:25 am

    Great post! I agree with your observation that we really need to start thinking about pedagogical approaches like inquiry in a serious way, and (of course!) the Teacher Librarian in every school could and should have a big role to play here, as well as in the design of assessment tasks that capture process and learning as it evolves, rather than a focus on the finished product. I’ve shared my thoughts on this in my own post here and I’m looking forward to doing some more research into this area. Would love to chat further with you about this!

  1. Asking ChatGPT About Coaching – techKNOWtools

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