Educators Unite for Ethical and Effective AI Integration!
…Or so recommended ChatGPT for my blog title.
Last month it didn’t know who I was. ‘Who is Mike Fleetham?’, I asked. (curiosity not narcissism).
GPT was ever so sorry at not having any information on someone called Mike Fleetham. This month I asked again, just in case. ‘Who is educator Mike Fleetham?’
Apparently, now, I am an educator known for his work in the field of education and learning. And many other things; a couple of paragraphs that were largely correct.
I asked the same question a minute later and was informed, ‘I apologize, but as of my last knowledge update in September 2021 I do not have specific information about an educator called Mike Fleetham.’ Same prompt, opposite result. This is the prelude to an existential crisis. Mine, not its.
Assuming there’s a 50/50 chance that ChatGPT knows who I am and what I do, I asked it to write a blog for me: ‘In the style of blogs appearing on www.thinkingclassroom.co.uk, please (I’m always polite to potential overlords), please write 500 words covering the following points:’ which I then listed (see below)
If you’ve used GPT for real purposes, you’ll know it’s not a cut and paste product. It needs oversight and editorial.
ChatGPT wrote me something polished and accurate, with some very lovely phrases. And in a voice, a register, a style that was bland, formulaic and 'too perfect'. It was not my voice. Definitely not me. With my maverick grammar, debatable humour and fondness for making points in threes.
I want to communicate five points:
- AI’s capability has increased incredibly quickly in the last 12 months
- Educators struggle to understand and use it due to time pressures and other commitments
- AI is a tool not a colleague and fact is very different to fiction
- AI (in education) needs a strong ethical foundation
- I have an AI educators group to help with all this which you can join
I’ll try a hybrid for this. ChatGPT is italicised, I’m regular.
One of the most transformative yet mystifying developments is Artificial Intelligence (AI). The swift emergence of AI in schools has left many educators perplexed, unsure about what AI truly is, how to harness its potential, and whether it belongs in the classroom. In this blog, we'll delve into the realm of AI, demystify its nature, and discuss the importance of ethical and collective learning in integrating this powerful tool into education.
No bad eh? I would never use the word ‘perplexed’ though.
The Lightning-Speed Arrival of AI
As educators, we often find ourselves juggling multiple responsibilities and adapting to a constant stream of educational trends. Teachers may understandably feel overwhelmed and uncertain about AI's role in education due to its rapid and seemingly enigmatic emergence.
In the world of pop culture, we're accustomed to AI being portrayed as hyper-intelligent, self-aware beings in movies like "The Terminator" or "Ex Machina." However, the reality of AI is quite different.
The Illusion of AI Intelligence
AI is not truly intelligent in the way science fiction often depicts it. It doesn't possess consciousness, self-awareness, or the ability to generate its own goals. Rather, AI's apparent intelligence is a reflection of the vast amount of data it processes and the patterns it learns from our collective communications. It's like a mirror that reflects our thoughts and actions back to us, providing recommendations and insights based on this data.
In the history of technology, AI's progress has been staggering, yet it still lacks true understanding. It can analyze texts, recognize images, and even play complex games, but it doesn't comprehend the world in the way humans do. It is a tool, not a sentient being.
The Need for Ethical AI Integration
To make the most of AI's potential in education, we must take a collective approach. Educators are skilled at nurturing young minds with strong moral foundations. This same ethos should guide our exploration and implementation of AI in the classroom.
Sharing our experiences and learning from one another is key. Literature teaches us the value of collaboration, from the fellowship of the ring in "The Lord of the Rings" to the partnership between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. By forming AI practice groups, we can create spaces for ethical, effective, and efficient AI integration in education.
Actually, GPT did all the heavy lifting there and I was maybe a little heavy handed in my earlier critique.
Join the AI Practice Group
Let’s learn together. For a few months now I’ve been hosting a small AI educators’ group. (The number of people in the group is small. They themselves are all different sizes). It’s been a very effective way to keep up to speed with something that’s moving very fast. Group members come from different phases of education and corporate. That diversity has accelerated our learning.
It’s a WhatsApp group with occasional evening Zoom sharing sessions – 1 hour – Q&A, new applications, safe use, innovations etc.
If you’d like to join do get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org
In the words of Arthur C. Clarke, the visionary author of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ Let's come together as educators to demystify this magic, wield it ethically, and transform education for the better.
Join us in the journey to make AI a powerful ally in our classrooms. Together, we can harness its potential, all the while staying true to our principles as educators who prioritize the well-being and growth of our students.
And also from 2001, HAL9000: ‘I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that’