With so many things grabbing the attention of administrators, AI seems to be taking a back seat in the minds of many. But why? Is this a problem we need to care about or talk about? The US Office of Educational Technology says,
“Everyone in education has a responsibility to harness the good to serve educational priorities while also protecting against the dangers that may arise as a result of AI being integrated in educational technology.”US Office of Educational Technology: Artificial Intelligence
What happens if we wait a month?
I've divided this article into Part 1: Why We Can't Ignore AI(Anecdotal and Empirical Evidence), Part 2: AI in Everyday Educational Tools, and Part 3: 8 Steps Schools Can Take. I will post this over the next few days.
Part 1: Why We Can't Ignore AI: Anecdotal and Empirical Evidence
The Growing Influence of AI: Why Timing Matters
If you want to remove a weed, grab it when it sprouts. If you wait, you might find that it will take a chainsaw and a crew of several able-bodied strong people to get rid of it later – if you can at all.
Such is AI.
AI hasn’t just sprouted; it is overgrowing… exponentially, even as it is being put into every app. It is already too late to get rid of AI. But in many cases, attempting to do so would be a terrible mistake.
A Classroom Perspective on AI Change: My Students Feel Like Last Spring Was Ancient History
Recently, my students used Adobe Firefly in my classroom's generative AI art competition. Adobe Firefly can generate deep fakes in seconds which used to take my students weeks to do in Photoshop. A student took a photo of him in the hall and turned it to him in a boxing ring. Another student sat in her chair with her head down and put herself at a bus stop in New York City. The photos are so realistic that their own families can't tell they are fake.
Some of them had extensive lessons in Adobe Photoshop last spring. Yesterday, they reminded me that I had told them last spring that in a few years, they could do what was taking them weeks to do in a click now.
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! So fast that my students feel like last spring was ancient history.
The Data: The Accelerating Pace of AI
The empirical evidence backs them up.
- AI is expected to see an annual growth rate of 37.3% from 2023 to 2030. (Grand View Research)
- Statistics shared on Forbes Advisor are staggering: 64% of businesses expect AI to increase productivity, AI will have an estimated 21% net increase on US GDP by 2030, and 25% of companies are turning to AI to address the labor shortage issue. These apply to schools too.
- For example, at ISTE 2023, the New York City Public school systems said they reduced call volume to their IT Support line by 30% when implementing an AI support chatbot. (See my interview with Microsoft VP Lydia Smyers)
- While 69% of consumers prefer the use of chatbots (Salesforce), 60% of millennials say they have used chatbots and 70% say they have had a positive experience (Forbes).
- Even moreso, 90% of businesses report large improvements in the speed of complaint resolution using AI Chatbots.(MIT Technology Review)
- In their article “Top 5 Use Cases of Conversational AI in Education in 2023, education is one of the top 5 industries benefitting from chatbots and conversational AI applications.
- Georgia Tech used a chatbot named “Jill Watson” as one of the nine TAs for a 300-student classroom. It answered 10,000 messages with a 97% success rate. It took months before one student finally realized the TA was a bot. (Wall Street Journal)
- “Georgia State University introduced an AI Chatbot, Pounce, that prevented 324 students who claim they would have dropped out had it not been for the chatbot's guidance.” (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
- There's more…
A recent McKinsey report stated that 2023 is “Generative AI's breakout year” and is worth a read if you are a leader of your organization.
Why We Can't Ignore AI
In the next post, I'll share how AI is being built into all of the tools you use now. Finally, I have eight steps that I've found that many schools are doing with success as they navigate through this time. I'll share those in Part 3.
4 Action Steps to Learn About AI in Your Field.
- Look at your area and use a tool like Perplexity.AI to investigate case studies of how AI is being used in your area of responsibility.
- Load a long PDF document (like the US Department of Education 71-page paper on AI) into Bing Chat Enterprise and “talk to it” by asking it to summarize, pull out key quotes and such.
- Engage with conversations on the social media or PLN tool of your choice. Set an appointment to talk with someone about AI in your field.
- Listen to a podcast about AI in your area of expertise and see what other schools are doing.
Oh, and step 5. Come back here for Part 2 and 3. This has been a work of weeks and I would like it to be helpful to you!
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