How Do We Develop Wisdom and Focus on Humanity in a Time of Artificial Intelligence?

A couple of weeks ago, my friend AJ Juliani and I were on a planning call for an upcoming leadership event on AI in education and how we would discuss the obstacles and opportunities this technology could present for learning, teaching, and leadership. One of the things that I asked AJ for was if he could answer the four questions below that I have suggested for professional learning in the past. He said that he would write a blog on the post with his answers, but I asked him to have an impromptu conversation at the moment so that I could ask him the questions and we could model this learning opportunity for others in real time.

Below is the conversation posted on YouTube (you can also listen on Apple Podcasts), and AJ’s corresponding blog post. He does a great job walking through these ideas, and I hope you can also find tremendous value in our conversation for your own school community.  

 

 

 


 

Four Questions (and Answers) to Consider on Using A.I. in Education
by AJ Juliani


A few months ago, author and speaker George Couros posted an article where he mentions “four questions to consider when using ChatGPT”:

 

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This past week, George and I recorded a podcast episode where I answered these questions, and I wanted to spend some time jotting down the answers for all of you right here on my blog as well.

I’m going to tweak the original questions to focus more on Artificial Intelligence tools instead of only ChatGPT.

 


1. What are some of the negatives and positives of Artificial Intelligence?

Let’s start with the negatives. As with any technology, AI can be used for good purposes and for “bad” purposes.

For instance, deepfakes. AI makes it easy to take someone’s voice, likeness (image), and create a video that looks and sounds like a person…but is not actually that person. It calls into question many situations where you could be doing or saying something that never happened.

Beyond deepfakes, the ethical considerations are all over the place. Whether it is students using it for cheating purposes (solving math questions, writing essays, doing their homework, creating slideshows), or adults using it to take on multiple jobs and have the AI do their “work” for them.

We also have the bias of Artificial Intelligence responses. Because AI and Large Language Models (LLMs) are trained with human articles and data…there will always be bias. For instance, if you ask ChatGPT who has scored the most goals in international soccer/futbol, it will respond with Christiano Ronaldo (male footballer)…even though Christine Sinclair (female footballer) has scored many more goals in international soccer.

What about the positives?

Well, there are just as many (maybe more) on the “good” side of Artificial Intelligence use.

From using it to help solve cancer, to helping patients in real-time with better diagnoses, to medical miracles like this one, AI is being used in many hospitals and labs for good.

We see how it is being used in workplaces to eliminate a lot of the rote busy work, and allow time for more creative pursuits.

It is being used to help lawyers and investigators solve cases, in financial places helping people who are the recipients of fraud, and in building better buildings and better code for products that we use every day online.

It seems every industry (including education) is finding positive uses for generative artificial intelligence already…and we are just getting started.

 


2. What are some ways that Artificial Intelligence can be used in our everyday lives?

In the podcast episode, George and I discuss a few different ways for AI to be used in our everyday lives.

George mentioned how it makes meal planning, calorie and macro counting, and workout tracking/planning much easier to help us live healthy and active lives.

I also enjoy how artificial intelligence can help me curb screen time (checks on me and reminds me to turn off the device or apps that I’m overusing). I use it to help me write better and fix mistakes (Grammarly) that I wouldn’t have caught before.

Those everyday tasks like writing emails, working with spreadsheets, meeting notes, and building presentations can all be guided and done quicker/better because of artificial intelligence.

Of course, there are ways that AI has been used in our lives for a long time, like catching spam emails or phone calls, fraud attempts on our credit card transactions, and even sending us advertisements we are more likely to use/need (which may or may not be a good thing ha!).

 


3.  How can we use Artificial Intelligence in our current roles to make our lives easier and improve learning?

This is the area I focus on most when I’m working with teachers and administrators. I like the way George frames this question.

You can use Artificial Intelligence tools to make our lives easier as teachers and admin, but it’s key to focus on the improving learning piece and not only saving time.

As an administrator, it can help in two big ways. First, there are so many administrative tasks that take a long time. We want to be instructional leaders but there are often paperwork and fires to put out that get in the way. AI can come in and help do many of those admin tasks faster and more efficiently to open up time to work side-by-side with your staff as an instructional leader.

The other big piece for administrators is how it can help in real-time when working with teachers. You may have been a 2nd-grade teacher, or English teacher, or Biology teacher previously, and now you are working with a much larger staff of teachers in all different grade levels and disciplines. With AI you can get ideas, resources, and engaging plans/activities to share with staff to pair with your pedagogical knowledge. Take the best of what you already know when it comes to instruction and use AI as a creative partner to make it relevant to your entire staff.

I’ll give three quick examples when it comes to teachers using Artificial Intelligence.

First, we’ve all had that issue of presenting to our class, asking a question, and the same three hands going up time and time again. It doesn’t matter how engaging your presentation is, the issue is the students are not actually engaging with the material beyond the three that are in the conversation. Enter an AI tool like Curipod. With Curipod you can take any presentation (or create from scratch) and make it interactive in a few simple clicks. Now you have all 25 students answering poll questions, drawing activities, short answer, and even long-form in real-time.

Second, we all have those units/lessons that our class may find boring. We want to make it meaningful and relevant, but maybe don’t know where to start. Enter an AI tool like MagicSchool. Yes, MagicSchool can be used to create assessments, lessons, and all kinds of things — but my favorite use is the “Make It Relevant” option. I can take my unit, and what my students like, and voila — instant ideas to make it relevant that I can flesh out with AI tools and my human intelligence to transform learning in a matter of minutes.

Third is feedback.

We all want to give more timely and specific feedback to our students, but this is sometimes impossible with 25 students on all different levels and the time constraints to provide it when they need it. With AI tools like SchoolAI, and Curipod — artificial intelligence can be our feedback partner helping share real-time insights and academic suggestions tied to our learning targets and standards.

 


4. How can we help students utilize Artificial Intelligence for their learning in and outside of school?

Right now, this is the toughest question to tackle.

The big shift we need to make is helping students use artificial intelligence to enhance their learning while maintaining academic integrity.

Instead of using PhotoMath to do their Math homework, we can use tools like Khanmigo and Snorkl that work as a tutor for our students guiding them through difficult problems.

Instead of using ChatGPT to write their essay, we can use tools like SchoolAI where teachers can set guardrails for the AI and have it help students write their outline, identify a thesis, and come up with a better paper in the same way a tutor would help them outside of school.

These opportunities are starting to pop up everywhere with AI, and it is up to us as educators to engage with the tools ourselves to see where the cross-over exists for the purposeful use of AI tools in a learning context.

 


Final Thoughts

I like to tell folks in my PD training that I’m not “Pro-AI” or “Anti-AI”; I’m a realist. This technology is here; it is not going anywhere, and it is impossible to play the “gotcha” game at this point successfully.

Let’s find ways to use it for real learning purposes and use it ourselves to see the benefits that already exist and new ways that are on their way!

AJ Juliani

 

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