generative ai artwork

Teaching About Generative AI Art Creation

Jump into my classroom to see the articles, tools, and templates we're using to teach generative ai art creation (and to see me as a prehistoric cavewoman in a generative artwork piece.)

So many things are happening with Artificial Intelligence right now; much of it is generative AI artwork.

This week my students are using Adobe Firefly in a generative AI art competition being held in my classroom. Some. of them had extensive lessons in Adobe Photoshop last spring. Yesterday, they reminded me that I had told them that in a few years they could do in a click what was taking them weeks to do. And then one of them laughed and said,

“Back in my day…. last spring. It would have taken weeks to do in Photoshop what Firefly can do in seconds.

My student after a class period using Adobe Firefly.

We all laughed. But that is how much it is changing and how fast!

Generative Art Generation Coming to Your Favorite Slide Creation Program

Recently Google Slides added generative AI. I applied for the Google Workspace labs program (you can too – I used my personal Google account to test this.)

Google AI Labs
Google Slides Add in for Generative Artwork.

I'm eager to test this feature inside PowerPoint with Copilot, which is coming to many this fall sometime. Canva already has this with their text-to-image feature. Of course, this has all kinds of questions for creators.

Some Typical Prompts for AI Art Generation

Additionally, I've bought some books on artistic styles and terminologies because knowing the words to use is part of making AI art generation accessible to our students (and ourselves.) I'm also asking my sister who is a professor at SCAD lots of questions.

  • Artist: ____ In the style of ____ artist. (Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, da Vinci, Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Peter Paul Rubens, etc.)

This is one of the prompts with artists up at arms (and well it should), for you can also say “write in the style of” and insert a person's name. Or you could say, “write a script for a (insert popular series here),” which is much of why the writer's strike is happening. AI is at the center of Intellectual property debates everywhere.

“As Actors Strike for AI Protections, Netflix lists $900,000 AI Job”

The Intercept – Reporting on Hollywood's Controversy on AI – a reading assignment worth discussing
  • Medium: Oil painting of _____ (pastels, acrylics, watercolor, pencil sketch, charcoal drawing, photograph, 3d rendering, cyanotype, linocut etc.)
  • Styles: Cyberbunk Style, unreal engine 5 style (or any style), impressionist, film nior, photorealistic, futuristic
  • Portrait: A portrait of something
  • Types of art: Fantasy, Surreal, Nature, Medieval, Pixel Art, architectural rendering, photorealistic, fractal art, ferrofluid
  • Inspiration: Pop icons (another controversial and sometimes not available tool), aliens, video game monsters

Many ideas are out there for generating AI art, and the more you know the terminology and educate your human intelligence (HI), the more accessible AI art generation is to you.

Teaching About AI Art

1. Start with QuickDraw

Steve Dembo gave me this one at ISTE. I started with QuickDraw, which recognizes doodling along with the curriculum from the MIT Media Lab on AI ethics. I adapted their first Introduction to AI slide deck to incorporate Quick Draw and teach of data sets.

2. Understand Our Inability to Detect AI-Generated Artwork

We then headed into:

3. Discuss Reality Monitoring and Our Inability to Detect Real from Fake Anymore

In class we have discussed the article Deep fakes: can you distinguish between fake and genuine photos? and a concept called “reality monitoring.”

Again, more on Adobe Firefly later. But right now, I just wanted to mention that AI art generation -ethics and all – is here.

In psychology, we use a term called “reality monitoring” for how we correctly identify whether something is coming from the external world or from within our brains. The advance of technologies that can produce fake, yet highly realistic, faces, images and video calls means reality monitoring must be based on information other than our own judgments. It also calls for a broader discussion of whether humankind can still afford to default to truth.

It’s crucial for people to be more critical when evaluating digital faces. This can include using reverse image searches to check whether photos are genuine, being wary of social media profiles with little personal information or a large number of followers, and being aware of the potential for deepfake technology to be used for nefarious purposes.

The next frontier for this area should be improved algorithms for detecting fake digital faces. These could then be embedded in social media platforms to help us distinguish the real from the fake when it comes to new connections’ faces.

Manos Tsakiris – Professor of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London

4. Ending up in Adobe Firefly (Which is Free for Now)

I've taken them much further, and now we're creating in Adobe Firefly, but that will be a blog post for later this week. Let's just say I turned this photo.

Photo of me in my classroom looking afraid of something above me.

Into this one in 20 minutes on my first try. I will do it faster the next time because I'll know how to do it.

Sure, my hands look funny, and I forgot to take off my Apple Watch. But I did need to make something quickly to compete in our AI Art contest. (If you want the Canva template for this, here it is.)

Today in class, we'll be looking at our creations and seeing who has created the most realistic, most humorous, most creative, most outlandish, and best overall creation. (If you want those award templates on Canva, grab them here.)

We cannot wait to talk about this. The time is now.

5. AI Guidelines Discussion

Here's my current guideline poster for AI use. This may change — and certainly, I'll write about this more as well. Right now, my approved AI search assistant is Perplexity. AI – hat tip to Alec Couros for telling me about that one.

We have a verse we use about being wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We will use things to help us be wise while never using them to cause harm. Education is the way forward as well as developing the human intelligence and moral compass to wisely steward the incredible gift we are being given to improve humankind and not erode our trust in one another.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Valerie August 18, 2023 - 1:54 pm

Hi, Thank you for the information! I use tech in the class regularly. I am integrating AI this year and I want to ensure students use it responsibly. Great tips!

Vicki Davis August 19, 2023 - 5:58 am

Good luck. This is a challenging thing to discuss. Thanks for reading and sharing on my blog!

Bethany August 22, 2023 - 4:32 pm

I’m a college student who is just starting to learn about technology in the classroom, and it’s crazy to me that it has come this far! Your class assignment using it was very creative, but I also appreciate that you have rules in place about using AI. I never would have thought about that aspect of AI tech, so I appreciate reading how you’ve structured it in the classroom!

Vicki Davis August 23, 2023 - 9:35 am

This is a challenging time and AI is so new and changing daily. Discussing it up front and sharing is such an important part of the journey. Good luck and welcome to the greatest profession. Thanks for the kind comment.


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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere