Artificial Intelligence and Teaching: #8WeeksofSummer Blog Challenge

Week 1: Artificial Intelligence in the form of Large Language Models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT appears to threaten some educators or educational institutions. Share your perspective to the perceived threat.

*What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

For older adults (this is the politically correct term for people older than 65) or just people born before computers were in every house, AI happens when a computer thinks like a person.  Some examples include talking to "Alexa" or when a computer recognizes your face.  

*Do I think AI is a threat to education?

After Covid and the failure of virtual learning, I think AI can be helpful but in moderation.  My 3rd grade students LOVE using the computer.  In my classroom, we use the computers once a week to do IXL Math (15 minutes practice required by the district), Freckle for math fact practice, and to create Google Slide Decks.  That's it; limited screen time to approximately one hour per week.  I think school is for direct instruction and time to show what you know.  I know that once my students go home, they will spend quite a bit of time on devices.

*What AI cannot replace:

1.  Hands-on learning.

2.  Interacting with peers.

3.  Interpersonal skills.

4.  Listening to people!

5.  Ability to focus and stay on task.  

6.  Cursive.  Writing your signature is so important and so individual!

7.  Executive functioning:  keeping a desk and materials organized.

8.  How to measure and use a ruler.  I was talking to a plumber last night who explained that he needs to measure every day and convert these measurements.  His new apprentices are struggling with this skill.  

*What AI helps with:

1.  Reviewing academic skills.

2.  Finding information (so much easier than needing to go to the library to use an encyclopedia).

3.  Online meeting:  great replacement when meeting in person is not possible.

4.  Text to type.

* Some random thoughts:

1.  Last week my students were arguing a lot about unnecessary things:  "She's staring at me..."  I am truly worried about how communication skills are developing.

2.  During my review, the principals told me that I need to let my students struggle more vs. scaffolding.  "They need to learn to work for their education."  My students prefer to NOT struggle because it's too easy to get on the computer which provides the information but NOT the understanding.

 Now that I have written this post, I realize that I will stick to using computers once a week in school.  I would prefer to work on social/emotional and hands-on learning.  Plus, my students love hearing about the "old days:"  growing up in the 1960's and 1970's.  In such a short time, the world has changed dramatically in good and bad ways.  Hearing about life before technology and learning about history are interesting!

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