Practical AI Ideas for the Classroom
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This is the Ten Minute Teacher podcast with your host, Vicki Davis.
Practical AI in the Classroom
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Hello, the 10 Minute Teacher is back with a special extended episode about Artificial Intelligence, something that I have been studying for several months. This is episode 798. Practical AI in the Classroom
Thank you EVERFI, Today’s Sponsor with Financial Literacy Resources
Today’s Sponsor is EVERFI. April is Financial Literacy Month and they have fantastic free digital lessons for K-through-12 students. Stay tuned at the end of the show to learn more about these valuable lessons from EVERFI.
Overview of Today’s Show
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Welcome back to another season of The Ten Minute Teacher. Yes, I took a little bit of a break, but that is okay. I am back, and today we’re talking about practical AI in the classroom. Babe Ruth once said, “yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.”
And while there’s a lot of talk and really some parlor tricks that people are doing with ChatGPT and other AI tools, I wanted to talk about some practical things that you could do in the classroom, how I’m teaching with these tools, and also share some lesson plans that I’m using.
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And then at the end, we’ll come back around and talk about some of the ethics and how I’m trying to view and break down the meaning of this and how we can take a look at it.
Some Background on AI Chatbots
Chat GPT’s Data Set Has a “Before Date”
First of all, when we talk about chatbots in particular, remember that their data set is 2021 and earlier. So while I could ask it about how the song Baby Shark was composed, I couldn’t ask it anything about Twitter or Facebook’s current algorithms.
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Chatbots Are Not Citing Their Sources
Also, remember that these AI tools will not give you citations, so you have to make sure that you verify what it says, and it’s harder than it seems.
Opinion: We Need Data Transparency
I really think that we should have some data transparency and know the data sets it studies, but we’ll talk more about that at the end.
As You Use AI Tools, You’ll Start Seeing Patterns
Also, remember that as you have your students do assignments with different AI tools, you will start spotting patterns or answers that can be common to students.
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For example, I had one student who asked ChatGPT to write a story about him on Mars where he was attacked by a dinosaur.
I had another student who wrote about she and a friend eating a McDonald’s and a French fry came to life to attack them.
So two different stories, but a lot of the language was the same.
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I could see a common pattern, so sometimes you can see common patterns. If you haven’t used it much, you’ll go, “Oh, this is some new novel thing,” but we will see patterns and it will be spot able eventually, if a lot of people start trying to pass off Artificial Intelligence as something they have originally written. But also know that AI is going to give different answers for different students.
Different Answers Are Given to Different Prompts
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So when I had my ten in computer science students, and I had them create tic tac toe in Python, we had eight of us who could run our code successfully. So it definitely had trouble with the most recent form of Python 3.1 for sure.
So just know that there are some issues, but hey, we’re going to talk practical.
Practical Ways You Can Use Chat GPT in the Classroom
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So first, let’s talk about the most practical ways you can use a chat. First, I am going to focus on chatGPT and also Notion AI, which hasn’t been talked about a lot, but I think it’s really cool.
AI Action #1: A Rotation Schedule for a Resource in My Classroom
So first of all, I have two rolling chairs, and my students really like to get to those chairs.
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So I typed in. “I have two chairs that need to be shared by nine students named _____ and ___ [then I typed in the students names,] Give me a six week rotation so everyone can use the chairs fairly and create it in tabular form.”
And I literally got a six week plan that I can copy and paste and put on the board, and it took just moments that saved me time.
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That was a great teacher helper.
AI Action #2: Real-World Data for a Spreadsheet Lesson
Second, I teach a lot with Excel spreadsheets and I’m always looking for real world data. So, I asked ChatGPT to give me some real world data and a description of the data to use with a student project where they would make a pie chart in Excel.
So, I said, “Give me some a real world data set of product sales to teach how to make a trend line graph in Excel. Describe the data set.”
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And each of those I asked for it to describe the data and I actually got some great stuff that I could adapt and use that was fresh and not from a text book and not really from online.
AI Action #3: Quick Jokes for the Student Broadcast
So I also work with a student broadcast, so I said, “Give me some pi day jokes that I can use in my student news broadcast and make sure they have puns.”
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And I was able to get quite a few suggestions. That was great.
AI Action #4: Fun Lines for an Upcoming Vacation
My family’s planning a vacation this summer, so I said, “Write about a family of 17 going on vacation, written like a Shakespearean insult comic,” and I was able to get a couple cute lines that I texted my family as we’re looking forward to our trip.
AI Action #5: Tips on Creating a Professional Voice Mail Greeting
We also got a new phone system at work, and someone asked for tips on professional voicemail greeting.
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So I asked it to create tips for creating a professional voicemail greeting. I was able to take that, adapt it and share it.
AI Action #6: Generate the Steps for Troubleshooting Software
It is fantastic for software troubleshooting tips. So ask the question “How do you sharpen a video that is slightly blurry?” And it gave some great advice.
I had a teacher who emailed me and said, “I want to make a slideshow of 155 photos that I have in one drive and how can I quickly put it in PowerPoint?”
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It gave rock solid instructions that I was able to copy and paste.
And I did say, “Hey, I pulled this from an online resource called ChatGPT, and it worked. That was great.”
AI Action #7: Lower the Grade Level of Words You’ve Written
You can also take language and paste it in and say, lower this to grade level two or grade level three, and it’s pretty good. You’re going to have to tweak it sometimes.
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But overall, lowering the grade level, it’s actually pretty good at that.
AI Action #8: Ask for Advice on Improving Your Writing as a First Pass of Editing
The other thing that’s great, it gives pretty good reports when you paste in an essay on writing advice. I had a teacher try it and she said, “Hey, I was going to say this and this, but it missed this and that.”
So you can teach students to do is to paste their essay in and then say, “Give me advice on how to improve my writing and it will give some general things.”
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It will also give some grammatical and that sort of thing. So it’s a great first pass for writing.
AI Action #9: Use Notion AI to Summarize Research Items That You’ve Written in Bullet Form [Use it Like a “Thinking Assistant”]
No problem with that. Now I want to shift to a notebook called Notion, which has Artificial Intelligence built into it, and here’s how I found it useful. And this is tip number nine here for Artificial Intelligence solving a problem.
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I can type as I’m solving a technology problem; I’ll type in bullets, my findings and thoughts, pros and cons. But then when I ask it to summarize, a lot of times I can see kind of a conclusion emerge or bubble up, and that’s built right into Notion. I can ask it to make it longer or shorter, and I’ve really got some useful thoughts, so it’s almost like a thinking assistant for me as I’m troubleshooting very complex technology problems and using Notion as my notebook.
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AI Action #10: Summarizing Meeting Notes and Action Items
Now, the best thing I think is for meetings so I can take notes for a meeting in Notion and it can extract to-do items that I can basically copy and paste it to an email. It can also type up a very solid meeting summary. So using notion and the AI tool for meetings is fantastic. And I know these tools are built into other types of things as well.
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AI Action #11: Brainstorming Ideas
You can also brainstorm and ask it to generate ideas, and it’s pretty good about that. Again, this data set that they use to train Notion, they say is six months to a year old in terms of its data set. So but I really haven’t found that to be a problem.
I’m not asking Notion to do research for me. It’s not really intended to do that.
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I’m really asking it to help me improve my thinking, summarize my thoughts, and summarize meetings.
Lesson Plan: How I Taught Chat GPT and AI
So I did give a recent assignment to teach my students about Artificial Intelligence. It is chat, GPT and a few other tools and it was called 20 questions with Chat GPT and here’s some of the questions. I will include this in the show notes.
Get a Copy of My AI Investigation Lesson Plan Hyperdoc
Questions My Students Asked about ChatGPT
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So it was great at answering questions about ChatGPT. So:
- What is ChatGPT?
- Who funded Chat GPT?
We need to always look at that because that does impact things. This is why the software from Microsoft I think is much better covered than some of the other software because they’re probably going to be building it into Microsoft Office.
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- How is Chat GPT trained and what type of data does it used to learn?
- How can ChatGPT be used to help programmers?
You can also ask questions like how can Chat GPT used to help writers or any different type of profession and it also is pretty good at fixing coding errors, particularly HTML.
AI Action #12: Fixing Coding Errors with ChatGPT
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So I had them paste in an error and then it fixed it.
- What is the corrected code?
I had it write code and HTML.
AI Action #6 [Repeated] – Generating Documentation on Software
I also had students ask for it to write software documentation to merge together an Excel spreadsheet and write a letter Microsoft Word and print off copies – to generate documentation. And it was pretty solid.
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Remember, it’s not going to have the newer features.
AI Action #13: Learning About Programming Concepts
I asked it to explain conditional statements in Python and now we did something funny.
AI Action #14: Funny Explanations of Legitimate Topics of Study
I had them asked chat GP2 to explain what search engine optimization was like one of the following: a character from a chick flick or an old western or some sort of movie genre of their choice.
AI Action #15: Ask for Results in Tabular or List Form
I asked them to ask it to give the meaning the product lifecycle in a tabular form.
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So you can say, I want you to do this in a tabular form or in a list form, and that can be very helpful.
AI Action #16: Simple Recipes [Use Your Wisdom Whether You Really Want to Try Them or Not!]
Of course you can say 3 to 7 ingredients that you have in your house and ask it to write a recipe. Sometimes you can get pretty good recipes. Sometimes you can get a bagel with mustard on it.
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But of course, they say they’re the ones who said bagel and mustard, funny messages and that sort of thing.
AI Action #17: A Resignation Letter – A Hilarious Resignation Letter As a Deodorant Tester Using Puns
Now, I will say that one of my students asked it to help write a resignation letter for a deodorant tester using puns. This is so good. I got to give you a little bit of this generated by Chat GPT:
“So dear [insert manager’s name],
It is with a heavy heart and a light nose that I must tender my resignation as a deodorant tester at [company Name] effective [Date of resignation.]
Well, I have appreciated the chance to sniff out the latest underarm products and put them to the test. I have realized that this line of work simply isn’t the right scent for me. The constant exposure to the armpit aroma has taken its toll and I need to make a change before I become a nose casualty.
I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to work with such a supportive and fragrant team at [Insert company name.]
I will always cherish the memories, even if they are a bit pungent. I pledge to make every effort to ensure a smooth transition and to help find and train my replacement so that the underarms of the world are always covered.
Thank you again for the chance to work at [company name] and for the delightful, if not occasionally overwhelming experiences I have had as a deodorant tester.”
Editor’s Note: Note that we cite the source of this and disclose it.
Key Point: Creative Prompts Can Create Better Results
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Now, a point that I’m going to make is the student came up with a really creative, funny question, so we got a pretty creative, funny answer here. I was pretty impressed with that.
AI Action #18: Ask ChatGPT to Continue the Joke – For Use in Lesson Plans
So you can also say ask it to continue the joke. “Two students come in late to computer science class,” continue the joke, or “two students do this or do that,” continue the joke.
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And I found this really useful to use in the lesson plans. “A student has a problem with his spreadsheet. Continue the joke please.” And I can use that in my class. We’re always looking for kind of funny, if not cringy jokes. Aren’t we teachers?
AI Action #19: Design a Workout Routine
So that can be used for you in designing workout routines. You can say, I have 5 minutes after I wake up, design a workout routine that will meet my objective.
AI Action #20: Teach Me and Include a Quiz but Don’t Give Me the Answers and Tell Me If I Got it Right (Teach Students This One!)
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Now here’s one I love so you can ask it to teach you something. So in this case, I ask students to say,
“Teach me the Pythagorean theorem, including a quiz at the end, but don’t give me the answers and then tell me if I got the answer right.”
When I respond, it will actually teach it as best it can, just with texts, not videos.
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Maybe one day it will have videos and that be awesome, but it will give you the quiz. And then when you put in the answers, it’ll tell you if you got it right or wrong. Sometimes it wouldn’t give you the right answer, depending on how students asked that question. But that is pretty useful.
Mid Podcast Sponsor Break: EverFi
This is a quick break to thank our sponsor.
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This is an extended episode about Artificial Intelligence, but I want to talk about our sponsor EVERFI.
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AI Action #21: Ask Students to Create Artwork Using AI (They’ll have to search for this one.)
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Now back to the show. Ask students to create artwork using an AI artwork tool, and then I ask them to create music using an AI music tool. Finally, I asked them four questions:
- What have you learned about using AI?
- What concerns you about AI?
- Are there effective ways to use AI in schools?
- And there are there some ways we should discourage the use of AI in schools?
Conversations about AI in the Classroom
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And we have those conversations. So let’s talk about conversations.
Conversation #1: What Can We Celebrate?
So first, what’s good that we can promote and celebrate art in this technology? First of all, learning to ask creative questions will help get creative answers out of the tools we use. We can quickly create bonding experiences with other humans. If we can ask creative thought-based questions that will help us improve those relationships, we can have better tools to enable those who are challenged with written expression so they can create better.
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We can help with programing, coding and algorithms and become more successful in those, particularly if you know how to ask the right questions.
So for example, I was teaching pivot tables today, and eventually pivot tables will have some AI built in and if they’ll know to ask for them, they’ll be able to create some pretty powerful pivot tables if they know how they’re used and what they’re used for.
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So again, understanding the terminology and how to ask the right question is going to be very important. We can even love other humans better. My students got suggestions for Valentine’s gifts based on their significant others preferences and got some really good advice that at least two of them followed and I thought the suggestions were pretty, pretty quick. It was actually much easier than using a search engine.
Conversation #2: What’s Missing in This That We Can Contribute to the Conversation?
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Now, what’s missing in this that we can contribute to the conversation?
Missing Item #1 – Cite Your Sources Chatbot!
So first of all, AI is studying data sets that it is it quoting how do we let Artificial Intelligence get by with something we don’t allow humans to do?
It is not making it easy for us to research or validate what it says. So if it can’t create the language, it can certainly link to appropriate hyperlinks where it got the information or an appropriate hyperlink that is related to that information, it needs to be easier to fact check.
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Missing Item #2 – Teaching AI About Truth
We all know that our world is suffering from a loss of truth. So another piece of this is when it study the dataset going into chat, GPT and even some of these other datasets, it’s not telling the program if it’s true or false. And you could argue about true and false, but there’s definitely some things that are true.
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Gravity is a truth. There is truth in the world. They’re still there. So we get bias whether we want to or not, particularly when we interject lies into the data. And I’m not sure there’s enough transparency for the people who for the unwitting to know if something is true or not.
Missing Item #3 – Citing Works Written By AI
Now, I was really concerned when I asked GPT how do you cite works written by AI?
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So these are the guidelines. It said, “number one, identify the authorship of the work. Was it written by human or AI? Number two, If the work was written by a human and assisted by AI, the author should be credited. Number three If their work was generated solely by AI, you can include the name of the AI system in the organization responsible for creating it.”
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So my problem was with the number two. It says If the work was written by a human and assisted by the author should be credited. Well, what happens when we are basically the AI’s muse and we write a question and it creates a response, and how do we know that that response is different enough from what’s already online that we won’t accidentally plagiarize someone?
Updating Acceptable Use Policies to Consider AI
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So there’s some real issues with this. Now we updated the acceptable use policy at my school relating to this, and my concern is if we won’t quote Wikipedia because of sourcing issues, then how can we quote AI? But if a student is going to use AI first of all, they have to have specific permission from the teacher in terms of a writing assignment, and they have to fully disclose it and they have to quote it.
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But we’re going to discourage quoting it because it’s not quoting or being transparent about its data sources. So I think are thinking about quoting it as a source and about its writing capabilities is truly flawed. And we need to have some conversations about this and move it forward.
Conversation #3: Now, is there anything evil in this that we can stop?
Concern #1 – Understand What AI Is and Isn’t – AI Doesn’t THINK!
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So first of all, AI is not thinking. It is not sentient. It is doing what it is told.
Concern #2 – We Need Data Set Transparency
Second, we need data set transparency. We should be able to know what data was studied. They should be able to have that in a database. And in fact, I know they do. They’ve got to. So we should be able to say, “Hey, what data went into this?”
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And ideally, you know, it should be able to generate sources for us.
I have a friend who just said I have my second research paper where I’ve quoted a thousand sources. Well, ChatGPT has a thousand sources. It has a thousand sources, but those hyperlinks and sources should be there, even if it has to pick one with the different things in common.
Concern #3 – Truth Matters
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So the third thing is it’s trained, but it’s not told what’s true or not. So we need to have a way to provide input at every step of the way to handle bias more effectively.
Concern #4 – AI Has Bias Inherited from the Data Set It Studies
I will say when I asked it politically charged questions, there was definitely a bias that I could detect in answering politically charged questions, and so forth.
Concern #5 – We Need to Realize that AI is Fallible and Can Make Mistakes
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We need to understand and teach that machines are fallible. They are not always accurate. And this is a problem because people think if a computer generated it, that’s always true and that’s absolutely not true.
There’s also a beautiful beauty in being human, being fallible, and having opinions and then changing those opinions.
Concern #6 – AI Detectors Don’t Work
We also have to know that AI detectors don’t work.
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I’ve heard quite a few podcasts on this lately, so you can’t go and paste text in and accuse students. You must know their writing style, and there need to be opportunities for them to write in class pretty much by hand if possible.
Concern #7 – Humans Are Still Needed and Are Needed to Be the Creative Spark for All of These Tools
So the last is that humans are still needed and creative. We each have our own unique identity and if we can learn to ask creative questions, we can have good creative answers that are not something we necessarily wrote, but definitely something we inspired.
Concern #8 – We Should Hold AI Accountable
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As I said before, we are his muse and we can be its inspiration, but we must also be his taskmaster and accountability partner for sure.
Conversation #4 – Now what’s broken that we can improve upon?
I’ve already mentioned some of these, but data transparency, linking to sources, being able to report issues we must focus on truth and personal integrity as well.
Personal Integrity is More Important Than Ever
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So as a human, just because you can trick an AI detector does not mean it’s okay to submit another’s work as your own. AI is another entity besides you. So personal integrity is more important than ever in a world with AI. We need to understand that this is another revolution, but it doesn’t replace our identity as beautiful and unique humans who have value and are unique.
AI Can Be A Challenge That Can Enhance Education
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Now, last thing I’d like to quote is some research quoted by shown a core in an article called New Harvard Research Reveals a Fun Way to Be Successful, and they studied people who were positive outliers as it determined with change. And it found that when there were changes in the economic landscape or the political landscape or an educational institution, they saw those changes not as threats but as challenges.
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And this is what they said, “And we watched those groups of people over the next 3 to 6 weeks. And what we found was if we can move people to view stress as enhancing and a challenge instead of a threat, we saw a 23% drop in their stress related symptoms. It produced a significant increase not only in levels of happiness, but a dramatic improvement in their levels of engagement at work as well.”
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So if we can start seeing these as challenges, not as threats and ways that we can magnify existing human intelligence, it’s very important because while we call this a AI, Artificial Intelligence is really still something that we humans have created. It’s actually seeing intelligence by studying huge datasets of human writing. So in the end it is just magnifying existing human intelligence.
Humans and AI Working Together in the Future
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There is always a place for the creative, unique, divergent thinker in this world.
And most likely, for example, the legal profession. Most lawyers will partner with AI tools to help them write better. And for quite some time, lawyers have been using tools to paste in different contract language. So I’m just going to be a helper for them, as it will be for many different professions.
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Giuseppe Mazzin said, “Slumber not in the tents of your fathers. The world is advancing. Advance with it.”
I do believe that there is great opportunity here, that there are great challenges, but there are also opportunities and that we need to be part of those opportunities. I’ve brought all of this into my classroom. My students are doing assignments with ChatGPT seventh grade up.
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We have discussed our modified acceptable use policies (AUP), when we can use it, when we shouldn’t be using it. And then also we’re working very hard to be familiar with a student’s method of writing. This does mean probably writing classes will have to be a lot smaller than they used to be, but that’s just part of being a teacher.
Teachers Are More Important Than Ever
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And in this environment, a true teacher who builds relationships with her students and knows them is more important than ever. So I hope you found some great examples of things that you can do in your classroom with Artificial Intelligence, and I hope you’ll be part of the conversation. This is a I wouldn’t even say it’s 1.0. I’d say it’s a high .01.
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That’s where we are and we’ll be moving forward together. But we need to be having these conversations with our students and not treating this as something that is a threat. It could be a threat if none of us have personal integrity. But as I said, personal integrity and truth are more important than ever. Thanks for listening and I look forward to hearing what you think on Twitter or email me at vicki at coolcatteacher.com.
Thank You to EVERFI our sponsor today.
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Thanks for listening. Thanks for listening to today’s episode and thank you to everybody. I hope you will check out their free lesson plans and financial resources. Celebrating financial literacy at everfi.com/coolcat.
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Yeah I thanks for listening. You’ve been listening to the ten minute Teacher podcast. If you like this program, you can find more at coolcatteacher.com. If you wish to see more content by Vicki, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter @coolcatteacher. Thank you for listening.