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Generative Artificial Intelligence in education: What all you Need to Know?

Category: School Coverage

Generative Artificial Intelligence in education: What all you Need to Know?

Since the release of new generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as ChatGPT, we have all been navigating the landscape of AI in education and its implications for teaching. As we adapt to these rapidly evolving tools and observe how students use them, many of us are still forming our own values about what this means for our classes. 

Our resources are intended to help you understand what these tools are and how they work. We'll discuss common concerns and considerations in the context of AI, such as academic integrity, accessibility, and ethical uses of the technology, as well as practical applications and pedagogical strategies for teaching and assignment design as you decide which approaches and policies regarding AI are the best fit for your classes.

What exactly is Generative AI (Artificial Intelligence)?

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is a subset of AI that employs machine learning models to generate new, original content, such as images, text, or music, based on patterns and structures discovered in existing data. The large language model (LLM) is a popular model type in generative AI. 

An LLM, like ChatGPT, is a type of generative AI system that can generate natural language texts in response to a prompt, keyword, or query. LLMs are typically made up of millions or billions of parameters that have been "trained" on massive amounts of text data, such as books, articles, websites, and social media posts, and can perform a variety of tasks, including answering questions, summarizing texts, writing essays, creating captions, and generating stories. LLMs can also learn from their own outputs and will almost certainly improve over time.

It is important to note that, while LLMs can answer questions and explain things, they are not human and thus lack knowledge and understanding of the material they generate. LLMs, on the other hand, generate new content based on patterns in existing content and construct text by predicting the most likely words. 

Because of the way LLMs work, it is possible for these tools to generate false content, explanations, or answers. LLMs may state false facts as true because they do not understand the difference between fact and fiction in what they produce. These created fictions presented as facts are referred to as "hallucinations."

What Impact Will Generative AI Have on Higher Education?

Nobody knows what the true impact of generative AI on higher education will be. The complexity and application of these technologies are rapidly evolving. What we do know is that generative AI is opening up new possibilities while also raising serious concerns about academic integrity, ethics, access, and bias.
Before we get into whether and how to incorporate generative AI into your courses, consider the following general steps: 

•    Reflect: Consider how you feel about generative AI. Concerned? Excited? Maybe a little of both? What additional information do you require to make an informed decision about whether or not to include it in your courses? 

•    Test it out: Experiment with relevant generative AI platforms, such as ChatGPT, Bard, or DALL-E 2. Choose a tool, then ask it to complete a task that you would assign to your students. What are the outcomes? Request that it revise the assignment and observe how it responds. Can you identify any potential threats to academic integrity or opportunities for student learning? 

•    Predict and inquire: How do you think students will use this technology in your class? Can you ask students how they use generative AI tools now? What level of clarity will students require to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate uses of these tools? Consider how you might modify assignments to include generative AI in your course, or to identify areas where students may rely on technology and turn those hot spots into opportunities to encourage deeper and more critical thinking. How might you put these tools to use in your classroom? Could generative AI, for example, help students generate practice problems?

•    Learn More: This technology is still developing, and none of us are experts. Be open to learning more and having ongoing conversations about the impact of generative AI with colleagues, your department, people in your discipline, and even your students. 

•    Set your parameters as follows: Determine whether and when you want students to use technology in your classes, and communicate your parameters and expectations to them clearly. Keep in mind that different instructors will likely have different ideas about how to use, or why or why not to use, generative AI tools. Be open and honest about your expectations.

The Upside: Possibilities for Generative AI to Benefit Learning Environments

We all want to discourage students from using generative AI to complete assignments at the expense of learning critical skills that will impact their success in their majors and careers. 
However, we'd like to take some time to consider the possibilities that generative AI offers. Here are a few ways it can benefit both students and faculty: 

Faculty and students alike could use generative AI to: 
•    Provide quick access to vast amounts of information
•    Assist diverse learners with varying learning abilities, linguistic backgrounds, and accessibility requirements.
•    Accelerate exploration and creativity, arouse curiosity, and suggest new ideas and ways of thinking.

Students could experiment with Generative AI to:
•    Improve your efficiency with course work and tasks.
•    Assistance with studying
•    Get more information about a topic that a teacher is covering in class by brainstorming ideas.
•    Improve their writing skills
•    Get immediate feedback
•    Practice your language skills in a secure setting.

Faculty could experiment with Generative AI to:
•    When not in class, act as a virtual teaching assistant by answering student questions, providing clarification, or providing guidance.
•    Create course content and materials such as lesson plans, quiz questions, sample problems, and writing scenarios.
•    Help with research tasks such as analyzing large datasets, identifying patterns, and developing insights and research directions.
•    Course objectives, course descriptions, syllabi statements, and course policies should all be written.

As you and your students prepare to investigate the use of generative AI tools, we recommend discussing course policies and expectations, as well as clearly communicating with your students when and how generative AI tools are permitted - or not. 

We also recommend that you consider the accessibility of generative AI tools as you investigate their potential applications, particularly those with which students may be required to interact. Finally, it is critical to consider the ethical implications of using such tools. These topics are essential if you plan to use AI tools in your assignment design.

Generative AI Literacy

While ChatGPT and other LLMs can help learners with a variety of tasks and activities, they cannot replace human creativity, judgment, ethics, or responsibility, all of which are necessary for learning. LLMs can assist a learner in writing a paper or a report, but they cannot teach the learner how to conduct original research, synthesize information from multiple sources, formulate arguments, express opinions, or properly cite sources. As a result, AI literacy is essential for both students and faculty.

We can define ethical generative AI literacy as the ability to comprehend, evaluate, and critically engage with generative AI technologies. Generative AI literacy includes skills such as recognizing when and how generative AI is used in various domains; assessing the reliability and validity of AI-generated outputs; identifying the ethical and social implications of AI applications; and creating and communicating with generative AI systems in ways appropriate to your course.

Just as we adapt to changing media environments, developing AI literacy will be an ongoing process, but it is critical to assisting you and your students in becoming more informed and responsible users and creators of AI technologies.

The Future is learning is here:

At Surmount International School, the SIS TINKERING LAB beckons students into the future of education, unveiling a dynamic Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory. Within this innovative space, creativity, curiosity, and collaboration converge, offering hands-on experiences and project-based learning. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, our lab provides a real-world understanding of AI and Robotics, guided by a dedicated team of mentors. 

Emphasizing interdisciplinary learning, creativity, and teamwork, students embark on projects with real-world applications. The TINKERING LAB fosters computational thinking, problem-solving skills, and a genuine passion for STEM fields, preparing students for lucrative careers in AI and Robotics-related industries. Welcome to a future of limitless possibilities!

Published on: 21 Dec 2023
School Coverage
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