On Teachers as Builders
🏗 Every teacher is now an edtech designer. So proclaims Ethan Mollick in his recent article "Democratizing the Future of Education." He highlights why I'm so excited and optimistic about AI: it unlocks personal creation.
- Previously, if you had an idea but couldn't draw, you would have to hire a designer. Now you use Midjourney. 🎨
- Previously, if you wanted to create an application but didn't know code, you would have to hire a developer. Now you ask ChatGPT. 🤓
- Previously, if you wanted to teach a lesson in the classroom but didn't have time to create visuals, quizzes, and exercises, you would stick to the old lesson plan. Now you use Nolej. 👩🏫
AI helps us solve our problems.
This new superpower is exciting. Education technology (edtech) has long promised transformation, but as Justin Reich notes in Failure to Disrupt, it doesn't happen. New technical solutions perpetuate existing problems - what's known as the Matthew Effect.
We're not supposed to say, "this time it's different," but...it might be different.
AI is not bringing a specific solution to educators. Instead, it is inviting educators to devise their own solutions.
AI is the ultimate local skeleton key that can be used to help solve most problems.
It also mirrors the traditional approach to education in the United States, which is to let those closest to the students create the best solution for the students.
As Mollick puts it:
...ambitious EdTech projects have...run into similar issues deploying high-quality products at scale. Progress is being made, but it is not fast enough.
But now, something has changed. As of the past month, the teachers of billions of people around the world have access to a tool that can potentially act as the ultimate education technology.
This tool that can create lessons that take advantage of the latest in pedagogical science, while doing so in a way that matches both the students and the local context. I am, of course, talking about AI, and specifically GPT-4. While OpenAI charges for access, it is also available, for free through Bing’s Creative Mode, to people in 169 countries. And I think this changes everything for education.
🎧 Serj Hunt and I discussed the role of AI in education and how it can help teachers become builders in this week's Ed3 Podcast.
We shared some of our favorite examples of how teachers are already doing this:
- Teachers are recording a class with their phones and distributing flashcards, notes, and learning materials before students leave with Nolej
- Spaced repetition is quickly integrated into lessons with Save All
- Students are writing and sparking creativity with ChatGPT and tools like Gamma that turn ideas into presentations and websites, bringing the focus back to the concepts not the PowerPoint
Enjoy this week's discussion as a podcast or YouTube video.
On Empathy as a Precondition for Innovation
🤝 A culture of empathy is required for teachers to be builders. That's what Dr. Sabba Quidwai argued this week on the Ed3 Podcast.
She works with schools and organizations to build trust and relationships with colleagues. Individuals (like teachers) are empowered to create change in their organizations when they enjoy an environment with psychological safety. In short, no one wants to take a risk if they'll get scolded. They need encouragement and trust.
We've previously discussed that integrating technology - like AI - is all about culture change. And that's hard.
Quidwai reminds us of the need for "humans in the loop" in all technology. In the end, humans underpin cultural change.
Enjoy this conversation as a podcast or YouTube video.
On AI-Powered Ad Models
📺 My first successful startup was a digital marketing agency. I still watch the changes in the industry and share them with Salt Hill Gallery!
When Apple launched its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) privacy feature in 2021, it was clear online ads would be less effective because companies like Facebook couldn't use as much data. Now, Meta (Facebook) is in a high-stakes race to find new ways to run relevant ads. It looks like AI might be their emergency parachute.
On the Bizarrely Beautiful
👺 These images look AI-generated, but it's actually a surprisingly gorgeous album of steampunk-looking oil rigs, many off the coast of Norway.
On a Final Hopeful Message
🥳 I would be remiss if I didn't squeeze in one more quote that excited me to continue exploring the future of learning. I hope it helps as you continue to do the hard work of teaching and building the future.
Once an exclusive privilege of million-dollar budgets and expert teams, EdTech now rests in the hands of educators. While it's important to remain vigilant for potential hallucinations, errors, and biases, GPT-4 enables teachers to craft personalized prompts tailored to their local contexts, significantly bolstering their resources in the pursuit of quality education. -Ethan Mollick