Educating Students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
We are in exciting times!
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here and is shifting the way we live, educate, work, and play. Education is undergoing a paradigm shift and students need to be fully informed about the world they will enter afterhigh school.
Preparing students for this Brave New World is a challenging and complex task. My role as an educator is to provide an environment where students can explore and learn new skills that enable artificial intelligence to bridge the gap between traditional curriculum and enable guidance for students in their journey to become critical thinkers.
I hope you find the resources on my site helpful as you begin your journey into this new reality of life.
Factoids and Fanfaire
Together with Tom Liam Lynch and Gerald Ardito, I wrote a chapter in Integrating Computer Science Across the Core-Strategies for K-12 Districts.This Eye on Education book, takes an alternate view on how to integrate computational thinking principles into the core curriculum.My focus is on a project that has students coding robots to act out scenes in Shakespeare's Macbeth. This innovative unit was created out of a desire to make the English Language Arts curriculum relevant to the 21st century learner.
As an ELA teacher and instructional designer, I'm dedicated to assisting my students to become critical thinkers.The scope of my education practice uses researched based principles together with new learning design for a better learning experience.
Information on AI has saturated the news cycle and social media feeds for the past six months.It's incredibly difficult to keep it all straight. A day hasn't gone by when there is a new app or technology released.
Open AI has become a household name. ChatGPT, Bing, Midjourney, Adobe Firefly, Canva, Google's Bard are straight out of a science fiction novel from the 80s. Whichever tool you've tried, it's likely that it has amazed you in ways you've never imagined.As an educator, I'll providelinks that you can use to try this tech out for yourself. See my Resources page to get started.
I'll keep posting news on hot takes and things that you can use to stay ahead of the curve.
July 30, 2023
I have been working with integrating AI into the ELA classroom for the last five years and ChatGPT definitely presents a significant problem for educators at all levels. The problem is large and complex because the use of this technology has compromised and challenged the core of what needs to happen in all of our classrooms - learning transfer. When a student uses a powerful tool like ChatGPT to entirely complete an assignment, they miss out on the very importance of struggling through trial and error, making mistakes, failing, and the eventual joy of actually learning something themself for the first time.
If I wanted an AI to write an essay, I would ask them to turn in something that the LLM created. Many students do not understand the complex reasoning as to why teachers give writing assignments, math practice, foreign language practice or historical facts to study.
I look at it like this- learning is akin to being an athlete - you have to practice to improve and achieve.
LLM's/chatbots are an amazing technology and the disruption to education is real. I believe that academic dishonesty will be at at an all time high this fall when school returns because teachers and districts are turning a blind eye to it. Yes, students have used technology to complete assignments for decades. Whether they take a picture of a friend's completed worksheet, paid someone to do their homework, or have ChatGPT do it, unfortunately, the cheating will likely continue.
I encourage any teacher I talk to about this issue to reconsider their assessment strategy and how they validate whether or not a student learned the content.
Handwrite essays, short writing pieces, worksheets -in class-with no devices in hand. EVERYTHING is out of sight and put away -iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, etc.
Interview them with questions that relate to the assignment.
Basically, go old school and use traditional methods.
I can tell you, from experience, that I have spent more time looking for evidence of cheating, and never found substantial material to prove plagiarism - even with the so-called best plagiarism detector. Frustrating - yes. I'm not wasting one more moment of my precious time trying to build a case for a cheater. Academic dishonesty is on them and when it comes to knowing the material, time always tells whether or not they know the material.
In a more positive light...
It's an exciting time to be an active participant to the many changes that are happening at this moment in history. Education is in a paradigm shift and those of us caught in the mix are conflicted with how to attend to the business of teaching and learning. We are tasked with meeting the requirements of our district educational mandates and tests, but deep-down we understand what our students will really need when they leave our schools.
Teaching our students to become critical thinkers by using a variety of methods is the most important gift we can give to the future. Building a community of creative thinkers who are prepared to take on numerous challenges in their adult lives is of prime importance.
Instead of the gotcha of catching them cheating, press on to create engaging activities that stretch their thinking and formatively assess to see if the learning transfer is happening. As education continues to shift, don't abandon the old school ways. Use unplugged activities to satisfy the traditional, research-backed methods that have worked successfully for decades and together, we will be able to give our students the best of both old and new.
This is the approach I've been taking with my students and so far, I have had great engagement and some very active discussions about this ground breaking technology. I'm looking forward to the school year (it starts Aug. 4th for me) and I welcome any creative ideas on how we can all shape the future of education with AI as our co-pilot.