Reframing my initial thoughts on AI

Reframing my initial thoughts on AI

Another day collaborating with the Cohort 21 team has not only been refreshing and inspiring but has helped me see how valuable it is to take time away from routine to think more deeply about my action plan. Over the last couple of months, my plan has shifted to new directions to focus on what is most ‘urgent and important’ in my school right now. Today allowed me to see how many others have been feeling the impact of AI in their classrooms and asking questions about the future of education. Our discussion allowed me to look at this dilemma from a new perspective and think about how to “negotiate between enthusiasm and concern”. Instead of fearing the impact of AI on our future as teachers and learners, I am reconsidering my own understanding of the nature of learning, and how AI as a powerful tool (that is evidently here to stay) can actually enhance learning. Today we asked questions such as: What does deep learning look like now vs. in the future? How can this powerful tool change the definition of learning? How can we look beyond our initial reactions to AI in the classroom? What are things that only we can do as human beings? How can teachers change what they have been doing to enhance learning? How can we reframe how we assess learning? How will AI change the end-product that we expect students to achieve?

The reality is that AI will grow at a rate that we are not prepared for and in a way we can’t really predict right now. There is no question that our roles as teachers will change, and I am realizing that embracing change is something I personally need to work on.  As an English and Art teacher, it will be hard to adapt. The essay can’t be the end product anymore. Questions about authenticity and appropriation in Art are at the forefront of my mind. Naturally, art and writing are process driven, self-made, and often deeply personal. What will these subjects look like in the future? Is AI the beginning of the end of original thought? My colleague Gia and I have been focusing on developing an action plan that looks at teaching students to “pivot” with this new technology and use it responsibly as an opportunity for growth. Possible tools and strategies for assessment that we discussed today include student-teacher conferencing, having students describe how they have met the expectations and standards, and monitored self-evaluation. Essentially, more focus on observations and conversations; the process of learning.

Encouraging students to dig deeper into their learning and enjoy the process should already be our main concern as teachers. We just need to figure out how to be creative in the face of AI. Creating original work should still be the goal for students to demonstrate learning, whatever that might look like. But who is it serving when we ask students to move backwards to pen and paper? What will that give them in terms of skills moving into a world where AI is part of their work and life? They need to understand how to use it responsibly. Adam Caplan made an impactful statement today when he said, “Our future has unlimited possibilities and little structure.” Are we adequately preparing our students for this future when we tell them they can’t use AI? Does the fear we feel as teachers come from our lack of control? Using AI and machine learning is not actually synonymous with cheating, so some reframing about how we think about AI needs to happen. When you love playing a game, you don’t want to cheat. We can help students see that if they are using Chat GPT as a way to avoid intellectual struggle, then they are short changing themselves. Tapping into student motivation and getting students to buy in to the process of learning so that cheating is not something they want or need to do is important now that they can access so much at their fingertips. One thing seems clear right now: the more powerful AI becomes, the more necessary a real human teacher will be to facilitate the learning process.

One thought on “Reframing my initial thoughts on AI

  1. Anne – what an insightful blog post driven by thoughtful questions, a willingness to engage in an uncertain future with hope and excitement, and a commitment to nurturing student growth. Your last sentence was the most powerful for me and is the start of another blog post I think! Thank you for taking this link of inquiry – it will be such a benefit for Albert College!

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