I visited our Western Massachusetts Writing Project Summer Institute yesterday to give a workshop presentation about Artificial Intelligence, Ethics and Education and we began with an interactive Word Cloud activity. The prompt was: what words or phrases come to mind when you think of Artificial Intelligence. The Word Cloud above is their collective responses.
You can see that most had more of a negative reaction than positive, and the conversations about reservations about AI in society at large, and in schools, more specifically, were enlightening.
Many had never even tried ChatGPT or knew about Google Bard, never mind the raft of other tools that have come out. Only one participant in a K-12 school had had any discussions at the school level about the emergence of Generative AI, and no one knew of any school policies that have been put into place.
Our ethical discussions revolved around issues of privacy, of copyright, of bias and more, and then we moved into the ideas of whether Generative AI belongs in classrooms, and if so, how and why. This led to conversations about leveling reading texts, engaging in AI “thinking partners” for inquiry, creating outlines on topics and more. We did talk about copy/paste plagiarism (one of the Summer Institute facilitators — and our new WMWP site director — is a university professor, and she noted this is a big discussion point in content-area departments more than the English department).
The big takeaway for me was a rich discussion about the authenticity of student writing, and how teachers must be attuned to the writers in front of them, and the possibilities of using technology to guide that process (or not) but not to replace that work. Tapping into the writing activities gives students a unique voice and authority that AI tools just don’t have. (Yet?)
I used Curipod as my presentation platform — it is another AI site for making presentations — and if you want to see the presentation (and make a copy of it for your own use), you can by using this link.
Peace (and Wonder),