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Part 1: Dear Educator, You Need to Know How AI Will Change the World

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

I collaborated with ChatGPT to write this blog post by asking it to suggest improvements to my original writing and thoughts.

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Summaries in Multiple Forms

My goal is to ensure content is accessible to all by providing blog posts in diverse lengths and formats. Thanks to AI, achieving this has become quick and effortless. I'm currently exploring formats such as podcast recaps and concise summaries. How can I further tailor content for you? Please share your feedback!

Listen to a 4-minute podcast summary of this post:

Listen to a 14 minute full audio version of this post:

AI Summary of this Post:

  • AI's profound impact: AI is reshaping how we live, work, and educate. This transformation isn't in the distant future; it's imminent.

  • AI is not another trend: AI is here to stay and will rock education to its core.

  • Generative AI: The 2022 launch of ChatGPT marked a pivotal moment, enabling AI to create new content.

  • AI's unprecedented pace: AI's integration is faster than past tech evolutions, demanding swift adaptation.

  • What educators need to do: Embrace AI's urgency and be the change agents our students need. Engage with students, explore AI tools, prioritize professional development, and advocate for modernized curriculums. I'm here to guide and offer resources.

Dear Educator

Dear Educator,

You need to know how AI will change the world.

Dear Educator,  You need to know how AI will change the world. Love, Your Students

AI will change the way you live. AI will change the way your students live.

AI will change the way you work. AI will change the way your students work.

And this change is not coming in the distant future. This change is coming in the very near future.

Understanding how AI will change the world is critical, so we’re diving deep with a two-part blog post. In part one, you will hear my perspective on AI as a fellow educator. Part two is coming soon, where you will hear from an expert in the field of AI.

How AI Will Change the World

To paint a vivid picture of how much AI will change the world, let’s look at a day in the life of a teacher in an AI-infused world:

“Imagine waking up in the morning to the gentle voice of your AI assistant, which has already analyzed your sleep patterns and adjusted your room's temperature for optimal comfort. Your coffee is brewed to perfection, taking into account your health metrics and taste preferences. As you sip your coffee, your AI-powered news aggregator presents you with personalized news, filtering out the noise and focusing on what truly matters to you.

On your commute to school, your self-driving car communicates with other vehicles and traffic systems, ensuring a smooth and safe journey. You use this time to provide feedback to students and send them personalized messages. The city around you is alive with AI: smart lampposts monitor air quality, drones deliver packages to your front door, and AI-driven urban farms produce fresh, local produce for your school cafeteria.

AI assistant generated by AI

You arrive at school and begin to prepare your lesson plans for the day. You are greeted by your AI assistant, which has already analyzed the learning patterns of each student, and suggests tailored activities for the day.

As students come into the classroom, your AI assistant tells you that students seem tired. You realize there was a school event the night before and decide to add an energizer activity to your morning routine. You ask your AI assistant to request that the morning snack be delivered 30 minutes earlier today.

During your history lesson, you use AI-powered virtual reality to immerse students in ancient civilizations. You walk your students to the art department, where they co-create with AI, producing music and art pieces that are a blend of human creativity and machine precision. In a previous world, the quality of work students are able to produce would not have been possible in an average K–12 school.

After the bell rings for the day, you have a doctor's appointment. Your doctor collaborates with AI to continuously monitor your health, predicting potential issues before they become serious. Your doctor says that your stress levels have been high lately and recommends a personalized self-care plan based on your genetic makeup, schedule, and career as a teacher.

That evening, you take your kids to see a new movie. When you sit down for the movie, you and the kids put on a device that immerses you into a virtual reality world. The movie is co-created by artists and AI, and your kids are able to pick their own ending.”

I used ChatGPT to help me craft this description of a teacher in an AI-infused world. I know: it might sound like a scene straight out of a Hollywood sci-fi flick. But it's more reality than fiction; it's a glimpse into what's just around the corner. Will every single detail play out as described? No one knows for sure. But what I do know is that a similar future isn't just probable or distant—it's coming in the near future.

You might be wondering if you want all these changes. Perhaps some seem daunting or even unwelcome. But here's the thing: whether we're ready or not, many of these shifts are inevitable.

AI: Not Just Another Trend

In our profession, we've seen trends come and go. Some promised to revolutionize education but fizzled out, while others became integral parts of our teaching toolkit. Therefore, I know it's easy to dismiss AI as another buzzword, another fleeting trend in the ever-evolving landscape of education. But AI is not a trend. It's a seismic shift in the human world and therefore the education industry.

Various technologies have impacted formal education through the ages: paper, erasers, blackboards, textbooks, calculators, computers, and the internet, to name a few. Now, imagine the impact of all of these technologies combined and magnified a hundred-fold; you might come close to grasping the potential of AI.

Why does the AI wave feel different from previous educational shifts? The key lies in understanding generative AI. In a previous post, I explained that, chances are, you've been engaging with AI tools for quite some time in both your personal and professional life. But here's the thing: before November 2022, most AI tools we encountered were primarily about making predictions or classifications.

Generative AI is a whole different ball game. Unlike AI that performs predictions (think fraud alerts and grammar checkers), generative AI is a type of AI that can create (generate) new content, such as text, images, or music. For example, the image of an AI assistant earlier in the blog post was created by AI in Canva. I simply added the description: an AI assistant.

The real turning point? The launch of ChatGPT in November, 2022. Not only did it bring generative AI to everyone’s fingertips for free, but OpenAI (the creators of ChatGPT) made ChatGPT’s large language model open source. This meant anyone could use the technology behind ChatGPT to create other generative AI tools. And thus, the AI race began. We began witnessing a surge of innovative generative AI tools, each day bringing something new to the table.

The Unprecedented Pace of AI

I have been on the edge of each education wave for the past fifteen years, riding the ups and downs.

But never before have I felt this much of a sense of urgency.

Historically, with every significant technological advancement, society has had a buffer, a grace period in which to adapt and evolve. The printing press, the telephone, even the internet - they all took years, if not decades, to permeate our lives and classrooms. AI is different. Changes that once took generations are now happening within the span of a single semester.

Education has typically had the luxury of time. Time to adapt, time to learn, and time to integrate these tools into our educational systems. But AI doesn't offer us that grace period.

The public sector tends to have more time to adjust than the private sector. What is currently happening in the private sector is AI has the potential to save so much human time, jobs are shifting. Jobs that used to require two humans may now only require one.

Companies harnessing the power of AI aren't just saving time; they're racing ahead, leaving their competitors in the dust. For many businesses today, survival hinges on how well they integrate AI into their operations today.

This is our new world.

This is the job market that will be your students’ reality.

How AI Will Change Education

AI is quickly becoming ubiquitous in every digital tool we use in education.

If your school uses Google Workspace for Education, Google’s Duet AI is now generally available and includes various generative AI capabilities across Google’s suite: Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail, Meet, and more.

Microsoft’s 365 CoPilot will not only be integrated into Microsoft’s software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) but baked into the Windows operating system. If you are reading this from a Windows computer, you will soon have a fully-integrated generative AI experience.

Generative AI will soon be impossible to avoid.

And the effects of this ubiquitous AI on student use, curriculum, standards, and instructional strategies will change education at its core.

The day in the life of a teacher in an AI-infused world barely scratches the surface of how AI will change education. Some more AI use cases in education include:

  • Changing Audience: If you thought Gen Z with their “we only know smartphones” worldview brought a differing life perspective, wait until you have students that do not remember a world pre-generative AI. Yes, once again, educators will be faced with a generation of learners that have a completely different take on the world.

  • Personalized Learning: AI can analyze students' learning patterns and tailor educational content to suit individual needs. This means that students can learn at their own pace and receive personalized resources and exercises based on their strengths and weaknesses. Beyond just tailoring content, AI can predict when a student might struggle with a topic and provide preemptive resources or alternative teaching methods that may resonate better with how that student learns best.

  • Data Analysis and Insights: AI can analyze vast amounts of data to provide insights on student performance.

  • Language Translation Tools: AI-driven language translation tools can break down language barriers, allowing students from different linguistic backgrounds to access content in their preferred language.

  • Global Classrooms: AI can not only break down language barriers but also cultural ones. Imagine a system that helps students understand cultural contexts and nuances when collaborating with peers from around the world.

  • Enhanced Engagement and Immersive Learning: With tools like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) powered by AI, students can engage in immersive learning experiences, making complex topics more understandable and engaging. AI can create dynamic simulations where students can experiment and learn from failures in a safe environment. For instance, a history lesson could involve a simulated environment where students make decisions during pivotal moments in history and see the outcomes. Instead of reading about the Amazon rainforest, students can take an augmented reality trip guided by AI to explore the ecosystem, all from the comfort of their classroom.

  • Student Alerts: If a student seems consistently disengaged or stressed, the system can alert educators, who can then intervene with the human touch.

  • Real-time Feedback: With AI, students can receive instant feedback on assignments, allowing them to understand and rectify mistakes immediately, fostering a more effective learning process.

  • Career Path Prediction: By analyzing a student's performance, interests, and skills, AI can suggest potential career paths and the necessary education to achieve them.

  • Lifelong Learning and Upskilling: AI can guide learners throughout their lives, suggesting courses and resources as they progress in their careers or develop new interests.

AI Will Change the World: How Does Education Need To Adapt?

AI is already changing the world. So, what steps can you take today to guide the education system toward embracing this change?

  • Talk to Students: Ask your students how they are using AI. What do they know about AI? What AI tools do they use? What do they think they need to learn to best prepare them for their futures?

  • Explore AI Tools: Everyone in the education field needs to explore AI tools as much as possible. The sheer amount of AI tools currently on the market is overwhelming. To help, I have filtered my AI in Education Wakelet collection to include only tools relevant to educators. I have also organized the collection into categories of AI tools: accessibility, audio generation, avatars, policies, etc. Pick one category and start clicking!

  • Train Teachers: Ongoing professional development for teachers to understand and utilize AI tools effectively is needed.

  • Train School Leaders: In order for school leaders to support teachers on this journey and plan effective learning opportunities for teachers, they have to be in the trenches with the teachers!

  • Model AI Use: School leaders and teachers must model the responsible use of AI for students.

  • Rethink Curriculum: Curriculum needs to be revisited to determine what will best prepare students for an unknown, AI-infused world.

  • Advocacy: In order for curriculum to change, standards need to change. Educators must advocate for standards to be revisited.

Dear Educator

Do you see how AI will change the world? That pressing feeling, that urgency? It's not just me, right? I hope so. Our students are relying on forward-thinking educators like you.

How Can I Help?

Don’t feel overwhelmed. You are not alone. I've poured countless hours into AI tools, tuned into the latest podcasts, sat through webinars, and sifted through a myriad of blogs. Why? To cut through the noise and filter out the essentials for educators. Dive into my blog, catch my updates on social media, or join the community through my monthly newsletter. If you are looking for hands-on learning, I lead training sessions that provide educators with real-life strategies for adapting to the curricular impacts of AI:

  • Ped-AI-gogy: Teaching and Learning in the Age of Generative AI

  • How To Design AI-Friendly Learning Tasks

  • AI-mazing Modern Assessments: Assessing Learning in the Age of AI

  • If You Can't Beat AI, Challenge AI: The Human Advantage

  • Are You Smarter Than a Robot?

  • Using AI to Make Learning Accessible for Every Learner



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