I have been given access to Google’s Bard AI and after using ChatGPT for a few months now, I gave Bard a try with a simple prompt.
Write me a 1000 word essay on AI in education
I did like the fact that it created a structure for the content. Looking over it, it is rather lightweight, but then it’s not supposed to be a detailed report.
Going to continue to try things out with it.
AI in education
Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the education landscape. From personalized learning platforms to virtual tutors, AI is being used to create new and innovative ways to teach and learn.
In this essay, I will discuss the potential benefits of AI in education, as well as the challenges and risks that need to be considered. I will also explore some of the ways that AI is already being used in education today.
The potential benefits of AI in education
AI has the potential to revolutionize education by making it more personalized, efficient, and effective.
Personalized learning: AI can be used to create personalized learning experiences for each student. This means that students can learn at their own pace and receive the support they need when they need it.
Efficient learning: AI can automate many of the tasks that teachers currently do, freeing up their time to focus on more important things, such as providing one-on-one support to students.
Effective learning: AI can help students learn more effectively by providing them with feedback and suggestions. This can help them to identify their strengths and weaknesses and to improve their learning skills.
The challenges and risks of AI in education
While AI has the potential to improve education, there are also some challenges and risks that need to be considered.
Privacy and security: AI systems can collect a lot of data about students, which raises concerns about privacy and security. It is important to ensure that this data is collected and used in a responsible way.
Bias: AI systems can be biased, which can lead to discrimination against certain groups of students. It is important to ensure that AI systems are designed to be fair and impartial.
Unemployment: AI could lead to job losses in the education sector. It is important to ensure that workers are prepared for the changing job market and that they have the skills they need to succeed in the new economy.
The use of AI in education today
AI is already being used in education in a variety of ways. For example, AI-powered chatbots are being used to provide customer service to students and parents. AI is also being used to create personalized learning experiences for students.
In addition, AI is being used to automate many of the tasks that teachers currently do, freeing up their time to focus on more important things, such as providing one-on-one support to students.
AI has the potential to revolutionize education by making it more personalized, efficient, and effective. However, there are also some challenges and risks that need to be considered. It is important to ensure that AI is used responsibly and that the benefits of AI are shared by all students.
Monday I was spending time planning and working on the Intelligent Campus community event for the 24th May 2023 and the Intelligent Library community event for the 21st June 2023. I also did some more planning for Senior Education and Student Experience Group Meetings on the 20th March and 21st April, including producing slides for the meeting I am planning some internal and external personalisation events.
The government got slammed on the Twitter for talking about innovation, through the use of a QR code and some weirdly animated AR text.
One day, we’ll have the technology to embed links directly in tweets without the need to embed QR codes that you then need a second device to scan. One day… https://t.co/09RB9W2sAF
I published this in 2011 which was a little while ago, though for some I guess it only feels like yesterday… Ten ways to use QR Codes.
Sorry, this is not a blog post on ten ways to use QR Codes, but it is a blog post about what you actually can do with QR Codes. Once you know what you can do with QR Codes then you can build learning activities round those functions.
Remember holding your phone whilst driving is illegal.
In the middle of the week, I was in Birmingham this week for Jisc’s Digifest conference.
I did a few sketch notes of some of the presentations.
I undertook a fireside chat with Dom Pates on the Intelligent Campus, early indications were forty plus people attended the session. It was also recorded. In case you were wondering where the slides are, well we didn’t use slides, we literally had a chat, with a video of a fireplace on my iPad.
Many colleges and universities are working on ways to improve their students’ experience, business efficiencies and environmental performance by better utilising data. This data can be directly related to learning and part of the overall campus experience.
In the article, Alexander Hanff, a computer scientist and leading privacy technologist who helped develop Europe’s GDPR and ePrivacy rules, talks about how ChatGPT killed him off and even tried to fabricate URLs to a fake obituary. A scary thought on how relying on AI could result in you trying to prove to people that you’re alive, though the AI says you’re dead!
The emergence of chatbots and other writing tools powered by artificial intelligence may pose a far greater threat to the future of essay mills than legislation has proved to be, experts said. There are early signs that firms which specialise in selling assignments are already having to shift their business models in the face of more students using the likes of ChatGPT to generate answers of a similar or better quality to what they may have been tempted to buy previously.
At the end of the week I was doing some logistics for future travel and events.
My top tweet this week was this one.
Just got an email which starts with…
“Today’s students have grown up as digital natives.”#sigh
Repeat after me.
There is NO such thing as s digital native!
There is NO such thing as s digital native!
There is NO such thing as s digital native!
I am presenting at Jisc’s Digifest 23 on the intelligent campus. I am having a fireside chat with City, University of London’s very own Dom Pates.
Fireside chat: Building the future intelligent campus
Universities and colleges spend billions on their campuses, yet they are frequently underutilised and are often a frustrating experience for students. In this session, James will describe the campus of the future. How does a traditional campus become a smart campus? What are the steps to make a smart campus, an intelligent campus?
The intelligent campus builds on the smart campus concept and aims to find effective ways to use data gathered from the physical estate and combine it with learning and student data from student records, library systems, the virtual learning environment (VLE) and other digital systems. We’ll look at what data can be gathered, how it can be measured and explore the potential for enhancing:
Achieving net zero
James and Dom will also ask you to consider the ethical issues when implementing an intelligent campus as well as the legal requirements.
On that note it was interesting to see Dom on the Twitter, using ChatGPT to write a story about the Intelligent Campus.
Write a short story in the style of speculative fiction about a university student who spends a day on a smart or intelligent campus some time in the future. Ensure that the campus is designed to address issues around sustainability and data privacy, yet is responsive to the student in a personalised (but not creepy) way. Ensure that the student is studying a course for a future-focused job, and that the campus is actually a desirable and ethically-designed environment. Make the short story go through different stages of the day, and comes to approximately 1,500 words in total. Include an ethical quandary that the central character faces during the course of their day.
Dom then posted the first paragraph.
First up, the prompt and the initial response. In the prompt, I’ve included some of the narrative features that I’d like to see in the story, the requirement for effectively a start, middle and end, as well as a preferred word count and a plot twist. So, meet Marcel… (4/8) pic.twitter.com/OTDOkSGD9T
The next four screenshots plot out the rest of the story, including how it responded when I asked it to continue what it had started and make sure it wasn’t just another sci-fi story about yet another privileged white man. (5/8) pic.twitter.com/iAMmWeHtdA
Marcel was both excited and apprehensive as he stepped onto the smart campus of his university. He was studying for a future-focused job in sustainable architecture, and he had heard many rumours about this intelligent campus that was designed to address the most pressing issues of the day. Marcel looked around and was impressed by what he saw: a vast, green space surrounded by glass buildings that glinted in the sun. He could see solar panels and wind turbines, all designed to reduce the campus’s carbon footprint. He walked towards his first lecture hall, and as he did, he heard a voice speaking to him.
“Good morning, Marcel. I hope you slept well. Your first lecture is in the building to your right, and it starts in fifteen minutes. Would you like me to guide you there?”
Marcel looked around, but he couldn’t see anyone talking to him. He realised that the voice was coming from the earpiece he was wearing.
“Yes, please guide me there,” Marcel replied.
“Of course, Marcel. Please follow the green line on the ground, and it will lead you to the lecture hall. You will be there in ten minutes.”
Marcel followed the green line, and he couldn’t help but marvel at the smart technology that was everywhere on this campus. The line led him through gardens and courtyards, and he saw many other students walking along similar lines, all following directions from their earpieces.
As Marcel arrived at the lecture hall, he noticed that there were no doors. Instead, the entrance was an open archway, and as he stepped through, he was welcomed by a soft voice.
“Welcome, Marcel. Please take a seat wherever you like.”
Marcel looked around and saw that there were no chairs. Instead, there were soft, cushioned pods that looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. Marcel chose one and sat down, and he was surprised by how comfortable it was. As he did, a screen appeared in front of him, showing him the schedule for the day.
His lecturer walked in, and he was impressed by how engaged the class was. The screens in front of each student allowed the lecturer to show interactive diagrams and videos, and Marcel could ask questions by speaking into his earpiece. The lecture was engaging and interactive, and before he knew it, it was over.
As Marcel stepped out of the lecture hall, he heard the same voice in his earpiece.
“Marcel, it’s time for your workshop on sustainable design. It’s in the building to your left. Please follow the blue line on the ground.”
Marcel followed the blue line, and he couldn’t help but feel a little uneasy. He had read about smart campuses that used data to track the movements of their students, and he wondered if he was being watched. As he approached the building, he saw a sign that read, “Data Privacy is Our Priority.” He relaxed a little and stepped inside.
The workshop was fascinating, and Marcel was able to experiment with virtual reality tools that allowed him to design sustainable buildings in a three-dimensional space. As he worked, the system recognised his movements and preferences, and it adapted to his design choices. Marcel felt empowered and inspired by the technology, and he couldn’t wait to use it in his future career.
As the day wore on, Marcel attended a variety of classes and workshops, each designed to challenge and inspire him. The smart campus was constantly adapting to his preferences and needs, and he felt like he was learning more in a day than he had in a week at his old university.
As he left the last class of the day, he felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
However, as he walked back towards his dormitory, he noticed that the green line he had been following all day was now leading him towards a part of the campus he had never been to before. Marcel hesitated for a moment, but his curiosity got the better of him, and he followed the line.
As he walked, he noticed that the campus was quiet, and there were no other students around. He heard the soft voice in his earpiece again.
“Marcel, we have one more thing to show you. Please continue following the green line.
Marcel’s heart started to beat faster, and he wondered what the voice was leading him towards. As he rounded a corner, he saw a small group of people standing in front of a glass building. They were all wearing lab coats, and they were looking at him expectantly.
“Welcome, Marcel,” said a man with grey hair and a friendly smile. “We have been watching you all day, and we have a proposition for you. We are working on a top-secret project that we think you would be perfect for. It involves designing a sustainable city that will be built on the site of an old factory. We think your skills and experience would make you an ideal candidate to lead this project. What do you say?”
Marcel was taken aback. He had never expected anything like this to happen, and he wondered how they had been watching him all day. He felt a moment of hesitation, wondering if this was an ethical quandary he was facing.
But then he looked around him and realised that this campus was not just designed for sustainability and data privacy, but it was also designed to empower students to create a better future. He looked back at the man in the lab coat and nodded.
“I’m in,” he said, and the man smiled.
“Excellent. We’ll start tomorrow.”
The next day, Marcel woke up early, eager to start his new project. He made his way to the glass building, where he was greeted by the man from the previous day.
“Good morning, Marcel,” the man said. “I’m glad to see you’re excited. We have a few more people joining us today, including the project manager.”
Marcel followed the man inside, and was surprised to see a group of people sitting around a table. They were all different ages, genders, and ethnicities, and they all looked like they were full of ideas.
“Marcel, this is the project manager, Rachel,” the man said, gesturing towards a tall woman with dark hair and sharp eyes. “And these are the other members of the team.
We have engineers, architects, and designers from all over the world. We believe that diversity is key to creating a sustainable future.”
Marcel nodded, feeling a sense of pride at being part of such a forward-thinking team.
As they got to work, he noticed that Rachel had a way of leading the team that was both authoritative and inclusive. She listened to everyone’s ideas and made sure that everyone had a chance to speak. Marcel admired her leadership style and felt inspired to be a part of such a team.
As the day went on, Marcel found that the work was challenging but rewarding. He was able to use all of the skills he had learned in his degree, and he felt like he was making a difference. The team worked together seamlessly, bouncing ideas off each other and collaborating in a way that felt natural.
As the day drew to a close, Marcel realised that he had found his calling. He had always known that he wanted to do something that would make a difference, but he had never known how to do it. Now, he felt like he was on the right path, and he was excited to see where it would lead.
As he walked out of the building, he felt a sense of pride in himself and in the campus that had brought him there. He realised that the smart and intelligent campus was not just a place to learn, but it was also a place to grow and to find oneself.
Marcel felt like he had found a community of like-minded people who shared his values, and he felt grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. He walked out into the sunlight, feeling inspired and excited for the future.
Clearly some of this story feels a little cliched and from a literary point of view, there are undoubtedly many points from which it could be criticised. However, even though the bot wouldn’t be winning a Nobel Prize for Literature, I do think that it makes an interesting stab at a ‘first draft’ of an idea. If I wanted to write a short story about an #IntelligentCampus, I have some material to work with and try to improve.
What are your thoughts on this particular story? Have you had any great successes (or horrible failures) from trying a collaboration with a #GenerativeAI for fictional purposes? Is there a role for chatbots as co-authors with human writers? #ChatGPT#LLMs#ALTc#AI (8/8)
Spent a lot of time this week reading, digesting, reviewing, and reflecting. Also attended a few meetings and spent time having conversations on Teams.
On Tuesday I went to our Bristol office. The train was delayed, so I started attending a meeting on my phone, which I find weird, but it worked.
Attended an internal meeting about Microsoft – Mixed Reality (MR) and Metaverse. There is some excitement around the Metaverse. As I said last week industry perspectives on the metaverse and immersive platforms are varied. Meta, Google are all laying off technical staff in this space, Apple have delayed their AR/VR product again. Lots of confusion between immersive games and the Metaverse. Apart from some niche areas (such as education) what is the unique selling point of the metaverse? As Paul Bailey in a recent blog post said, the “effective” metaverse is probably decades away…
Had an interesting discussion about the Office for Students and its future. There is criticism that they have been receiving from members and member organisations (such as GuildHE and the Russell Group). Labour (who are likely to win the 2024 election) have been quiet on HE and the OfS. Also found and read this Can Labour de-Commodify Higher Education? It has a Minor Problem.
The education system in Britain is in the mud. That is scarcely news. But would Labour have the courage and values needed to revive it? The trouble they would have if they win the next General Election is due partly to their Party’s legacy and partly to a personal problem.
It was a shorter week this week due to the New Year bank holiday.
In the education world there has been much discussion about ChatGPT and its impact on student assessment. I decided I would dig out some old assignment questions and see what ChatGPT made of them. I had to adjust them slightly, as the original questions were on Railtrack, so I changed that to Network Rail. I wrote about the results in a blog post.
I headed to our Bristol office for two days this week, it was rather quiet in the office, with very few people in there working. I suspect the rail strikes had a factor in this, but my commutes were rather quiet.
Almost a third of university courses are still combining face-to-face teaching with online learning in 2022-23, data gathered by the BBC suggests. Data from 50 of the 160 universities surveyed shows 28% of courses are being taught in a hybrid way, compared with 4.1% in 2018-19 before the pandemic. One student said he feels like he is paying thousands of pounds per year for a “glorified streaming service”. But an official says many students appreciate the flexibility and freedom.
The basis of the entire article appears to be skewed to the perspectives of one student who doesn’t like it. Though later down the page the article talks about some of the benefits of flexibility and inclusion that blended, or hybrid bring. To me it appears that the journalist arrived with an agenda and wrote the article in that light.
So though I had snow and cold weather in Berlin two weeks ago, it was even colder than that this week in the UK. In the South West we didn’t hit really cold temperatures, though I did experience -6°C one morning this week.
The week started with a Senior Education and Student Experience Group meeting. Originally planned to take place in London, due to a range of unforeseen circumstances we moved the meeting online. It was really useful and interesting to hear about the challenges various universities across the UK are facing.
Some key headlines from the group were (and there are no real surprises here)
Assessment and feedback
Influencing government and regulators on blended learning
Importance of support for campus (intelligent campus)
Reviewing the curriculum
Digital learning environment review
One thing they did want to see more of, which crossed all those areas was research based evidence to support any advice, guidance, products across those areas.
I askedChatGTP, an artifical intelligence tool, what is personalisation of learning was and this was the response. I think tools like this have their place and their uses, but as with any tool understanding what its potential is, is important in knowing how you can use it, and how others might use it.
Disappointed and rather saddened to see the way Twitter is going. Despite that, and though I didn’t plan to, I quite enjoyed the #LTHEChat this week. It was run by an old friend of mine Lilian Soon, and was on accessibility.
One topic which did generate discussion was that of document styles.
I really struggle with getting people to use styles and templates effectively. Most don’t see the point and actually prefer to bold and underline headings throughout their documents and presentations. This is fine for them, but as soon as you need to collaborate on a document, you find that you need to work hard to retain styles and consistent formatting through a document. It’s a similar thing with templates. In theory if you use styles and you change the formatting of the style, then all the instances of the style will be updated. Where people use formatting tools on the actual text, this then doesn’t happen.
Why are styles important, well they are critical for screen readers in navigating documents, but also if a student (or a member of staff) wants to change a document, then styles makes it really easy.
So why don’t people use styles and templates, I don’t know. Maybe it is too hard. I don’t think this is just a training issue.
Also it is not just styles, some people don’t do section breaks instead do lots of hard returns.
In many of my presentations in the past I have talked about laptop bans, and then ask can I bring a typewriter?