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Posts Tagged ‘Chat GPT’

I think I am sounding like the old guy telling you I have seen this all before.

Last week, I wrote about Chat GPT, which is getting a lot of interest in education.  I ended that post saying, “What a great opportunity to not make the mistakes of the past and see technology as a threat, but rather an opportunity for us to rethink how it could add value to our work.”

To go back a few years, I was there for the great calculator debates.  I had classes that banned the use of calculators, or restricted the use of calculators, or allowed calculators for certain parts of classes or exams but not others.  

And with the growth of technologies this century the immediate impulse to ban technologies has been a common one from school jurisdictions.  Hardware like laptops and cell phones have been banned in some areas.  And while there are examples of a small number of schools banning wi-fi or the internet completely, there are a number of examples  of websites like YouTube being blocked in schools.  As new technologies are introduced, for many, the impulse is to do whatever possible to preserve the status quo.  As if, we only have to wait out this “iPad trend” and they will disappear, and we will not have to rethink how we engage with the new technologies in a thoughtful way.

This isn’t to say there should never be any limitations on technology in the classroom.  There are great reasons why you might want to not have any technology in a particular class or on a particular day, but it is the immediate reaction to ban a tool instead of understanding it, that is troubling.  For a profession built on growth and creating new understandings, as the world changes around us, we should always be seeing how these changes could be leveraged in our schools to ensure our classrooms are relevant, connected, and engaging.

So, here we are with ChatGPT.  

Quickly, for some the discussions shifted from the emerging power of AI to the need to ban it in schools.  One of the first places that came out loudly was New York Public Schools.  As Maya Yang writes in the Guardian

According to the city’s education department, the tool will be forbidden across all devices and networks in New York’s public schools. Jenna Lyle, a department spokesperson, said the decision stems from “concerns about negative impacts on student learning, and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of contents”.

Now, not to sound cynical, but if we started banning everything where there was a concern over the “accuracy of contents” that might be a bit of an overwhelming proposition.  

Rather than trying make technology a forbidden fruit in our schools, we should teach about it.  If young people don’t learn about technology at school – where will they learn?  Some will learn at home.  Most will learn from their friends or explore on their own.  Schools have and should continue to step into this space of guiding students with technology use that is age and developmentally appropriate.  Just this week, former BC School Superintendent, Geoff Johnson, made an excellent argument (HERE) for increasing media literacy in schools.

I get the natural reaction to ban things we don’t completely understand.  We should be careful and thoughtful with technology.  And if you think ChatGPT is the last time we are going to have this conversation you are very naïve.  There will be another gizmo next year, and one the year after that.  

Let’s continue to model for our students the excellent conversations we can have about technology and look for ways that the exciting shifts around us can improve the quality of the experience for everyone in our schools.

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I will need you to read through to the end today . . .

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform a wide range of industries and professions, but could it replace school superintendents? While it is possible that AI could be used to assist school superintendents in their work, it is unlikely that AI could fully replace a human school superintendent.

School superintendents are responsible for overseeing the educational operations of a school district, which involves many tasks that require human judgment, decision-making, and interpersonal skills. Superintendents must be able to lead and motivate teams of educators, work with community stakeholders, and make difficult decisions that impact the success of students. These tasks require qualities that are unique to humans, such as empathy, emotional intelligence, and the ability to navigate complex social situations. AI systems do not currently possess these qualities, and it is unlikely that they will be able to replicate them in the near future.

However, that doesn’t mean that AI has no role to play in the work of school superintendents. AI could potentially be used to help superintendents with certain tasks that are time-consuming or routine, such as analyzing data and generating reports. For example, an AI system could be trained to analyze our student achievement data and identify trends or areas of improvement. This could allow superintendents to focus on more high-level tasks, such as developing strategies to improve student achievement or building relationships with community partners.

AI could also be used to improve communication between superintendents and other members of the school district. For example, an AI-powered chatbot could be used to answer frequently asked questions from parents or teachers, freeing up the superintendent’s time to focus on more pressing issues.

So, while AI is not likely to fully replace school superintendents,  it could be a valuable tool to assist superintendents in their work. By automating certain tasks and improving communication, AI could help superintendents to be more effective and efficient in their roles. However, it is important to remember that AI is not a substitute for human judgment and leadership, and it will be up to superintendents to determine how best to use these tools in their work.

So, I didn’t really write this.

Well, maybe I did sort of. 

It is getting murky. 

After working through a series of questions and answers with ChatGPT, this is the response I got to my ask, “Write a blog post of 350 words on whether AI could replace school superintendents and how AI could help school superintendents.”  I then made some edits to make it sound more in my voice.  Oh, it is original.  Put it through any plagiarism checker – it will pass.  And I did a few different versions with asking for a different tone if this is too formal for you.  So, let’s back up.

This is a quickly moving landscape -and I am very much a novice.  Let me do a quick summary.  ChatGPT is all the buzz right now.  As Bernard Marr in Forbes describes it: “ChatGPT enables users to ask questions or tell a story, and the bot will respond with relevant, natural-sounding answers and topics. The interface is designed to simulate a human conversation, creating natural engagement with the bot.”  

I remember when I first used a search engine – it was not Google, probably AOL or AltaVista, or something of that era.  It was clear things were about to really change.  This AI gives that same vibe.  My example is really basic that I shared today.  But what happens when AI reads all my blogs and then I ask it to write one on a topic in my style – that will be coming soon.  And of course the implications for education, like so many professions are huge.  We have seen good articles already on how this could be used for lesson plans and in other ways in education.  And there are debates on whether it is killing or not killing the English essay.  But this is really just the infancy of what will be possible.

I have lamented that in recent years that technology shifts have not given me the same excitement as those earlier this century in the web 2.0 era.  Well, this feels different.

What do you think?  Have you tried it?  What might be possible for its use in education?

As I wrote in a post last year, we might think with kids with laptops and mastering Zoom we are now fully digital – but Technology is Not Done!

What a great opportunity to not make the mistakes of the past and see technology as a threat, but rather an opportunity for us to rethink how it could add value to our work.

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