Hello GPT-4o — from openai.com
We’re announcing GPT-4o, our new flagship model that can reason across audio, vision, and text in real time.

GPT-4o (“o” for “omni”) is a step towards much more natural human-computer interaction—it accepts as input any combination of text, audio, image, and video and generates any combination of text, audio, and image outputs. It can respond to audio inputs in as little as 232 milliseconds, with an average of 320 milliseconds, which is similar to human response time in a conversation. It matches GPT-4 Turbo performance on text in English and code, with significant improvement on text in non-English languages, while also being much faster and 50% cheaper in the API. GPT-4o is especially better at vision and audio understanding compared to existing models.

Example topics covered here:

  • Two GPT-4os interacting and singing
  • Languages/translation
  • Personalized math tutor
  • Meeting AI
  • Harmonizing and creating music
  • Providing inflection, emotions, and a human-like voice
  • Understanding what the camera is looking at and integrating it into the AI’s responses
  • Providing customer service

With GPT-4o, we trained a single new model end-to-end across text, vision, and audio, meaning that all inputs and outputs are processed by the same neural network. Because GPT-4o is our first model combining all of these modalities, we are still just scratching the surface of exploring what the model can do and its limitations.





From DSC:
I like the assistive tech angle here:





 

 

Learning On Purpose | What problem do you want to solve? — from michelleweise.substack.com by Dr. Michelle R. Weise

I quickly decided to take a different tack with my students, and instead asked each of them, “What problem in the world do you think you want to solve? If you could go to a school of hunger, poverty, Alzheimer’s disease, mental health … what kind of school would you want to attend?” This is when they started nodding vigorously.

What each of them identified was a grand challenge, or what Stanford d.school Executive Director Sarah Stein Greenberg has called: purpose learning. In a great talk for Wired, Greenberg asks,

What if students declared missions not majors? Or even better, what if they applied to the School of Hunger or the School of Renewable Energy? These are real problems that society doesn’t have answers to yet. Wouldn’t that fuel their studies with some degree of urgency and meaning and real purpose that they don’t yet have today?

 

Are Colleges Ready For an Online-Education World Without OPMs? — from edsurge.com by Robert Ubell (Columnist)
Online Program Management companies have helped hundreds of colleges build online degree programs, but the sector is showing signs of strain.

For more than 15 years, a group of companies known as Online Program Management providers, or OPMs, have been helping colleges build online degree programs. And most of them have relied on an unusual arrangement — where the companies put up the financial backing to help colleges launch programs in exchange for a large portion of tuition revenue.

As a longtime administrator of online programs at colleges, I have mixed feelings about the idea of shutting down the model. And the question boils down to this: Are colleges ready for a world without OPMs?


Guy Raz on Podcasts and Passion: Audio’s Ability to Spark Learning — from michaelbhorn.substack.com by Michael B. Horn

This conversation went in a bunch of unexpected directions. And that’s what’s so fun about it. After all, podcasting is all about bringing audio back and turning learning into leisure. And the question Guy and his partner Mindy Thomas asked a while back was: Why not bring kids in on the fun? Guy shared how his studio, Tinkercast, is leveraging the medium to inspire and educate the next generation of problem solvers.

We discussed the power of audio to capture curiosities and foster imagination, how Tinkercast is doing that in and out of the classroom, and how it can help re-engage students in building needed skills at a critical time. Enjoy!



April 2024 Job Cuts Announced by US-Based Companies Fall; More Cuts Attributed to TX DEI Law, AI in April — from challengergray.com

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Education
Companies in the Education industry, which includes schools and universities, cut the second-most jobs last month with 8,092 for a total of 17,892. That is a 635% increase from the 2,435 cuts announced during the first four months of 2023.

“April is typically the time school districts are hiring and setting budgets for the next fiscal year. Certainly, there are budgetary constraints, as labor costs rise, but school systems also have a retention and recruitment issue,” said Challenger.


Lifetime college returns differ significantly by major, research finds — from highereddive.com by Lilah Burke
Engineering and computer science showed the best return out of 10 fields of study that were examined.

Dive Brief:

  • The lifetime rate of return for a college education differs significantly by major, but it also varies by a student’s gender and race or ethnicity, according to new peer-reviewed research published in the American Educational Research Journal.
  • A bachelor’s degree in general provides a roughly 9% rate of return for men, and nearly 10% for women, researchers concluded. The majors with the best returns were computer science and engineering.
  • Black, Hispanic and Asian college graduates had slightly higher rates of return than their White counterparts, the study found.
 

Description:

I recently created an AI version of myself—REID AI—and recorded a Q&A to see how this digital twin might challenge me in new ways. The video avatar is generated by Hour One, its voice was created by Eleven Labs, and its persona—the way that REID AI formulates responses—is generated from a custom chatbot built on GPT-4 that was trained on my books, speeches, podcasts and other content that I’ve produced over the last few decades. I decided to interview it to test its capability and how closely its responses match—and test—my thinking. Then, REID AI asked me some questions on AI and technology. I thought I would hate this, but I’ve actually ended up finding the whole experience interesting and thought-provoking.


From DSC:
This ability to ask questions of a digital twin is very interesting when you think about it in terms of “interviewing” a historical figure. I believe character.ai provides this kind of thing, but I haven’t used it much.


 

Are we ready to navigate the complex ethics of advanced AI assistants? — from futureofbeinghuman.com by Andrew Maynard
An important new paper lays out the importance and complexities of ensuring increasingly advanced AI-based assistants are developed and used responsibly

Last week a behemoth of a paper was released by AI researchers in academia and industry on the ethics of advanced AI assistants.

It’s one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful papers on developing transformative AI capabilities in socially responsible ways that I’ve read in a while. And it’s essential reading for anyone developing and deploying AI-based systems that act as assistants or agents — including many of the AI apps and platforms that are currently being explored in business, government, and education.

The paper — The Ethics of Advanced AI Assistants — is written by 57 co-authors representing researchers at Google Deep Mind, Google Research, Jigsaw, and a number of prominent universities that include Edinburgh University, the University of Oxford, and Delft University of Technology. Coming in at 274 pages this is a massive piece of work. And as the authors persuasively argue, it’s a critically important one at this point in AI development.

From that large paper:

Key questions for the ethical and societal analysis of advanced AI assistants include:

  1. What is an advanced AI assistant? How does an AI assistant differ from other kinds of AI technology?
  2. What capabilities would an advanced AI assistant have? How capable could these assistants be?
  3. What is a good AI assistant? Are there certain values that we want advanced AI assistants to evidence across all contexts?
  4. Are there limits on what AI assistants should be allowed to do? If so, how are these limits determined?
  5. What should an AI assistant be aligned with? With user instructions, preferences, interests, values, well-being or something else?
  6. What issues need to be addressed for AI assistants to be safe? What does safety mean for this class of technologies?
  7. What new forms of persuasion might advanced AI assistants be capable of? How can we ensure that users remain appropriately in control of the technology?
  8. How can people – especially vulnerable users – be protected from AI manipulation and unwanted disclosure of personal information?
  9. Is anthropomorphism for AI assistants morally problematic? If so, might it still be permissible under certain conditions?
 

Meeting Students’ Needs for Emotional Support — from edutopia.org by Zi Jia Ng
A new survey finds that a large percentage of students don’t feel that they have an adult to turn to at school when they’re troubled.

Only 55 percent of elementary school students (grades three through five), 42 percent of middle school students, and 40 percent of high school students in the United States have an adult at school they can talk to when they feel upset or stressed, according to a survey of more than 200,000 students across 20 different states. At every age, students benefit from a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a heart to understand them.

Here’s one strategy for helping to ensure that every student has a trusted adult at school.


Getting Middle and High School Students With Low Grades Back on Track — from edutopia.org by Christine Boatman
By sitting down with students and laying out just what they need to do to pass, teachers can give them the tools to succeed.

AN ANTIDOTE TO PROCRASTINATION
There are effective preventive measures that teachers can take to support middle and high school students with time-management and organizational skills. Still, some students inevitably may find themselves behind at the end of the semester and need individualized Tier 2 interventions as a result of their procrastination.

A Tier 2 strategy that teachers can use to support student efforts to pass classes during the end-of-the-semester scramble is the creation of individual PDSA (plan, do, study, act) cycles. A PDSA cycle is a process in which teachers and students work together to create a plan for improvement; implement, or do, the plan; study if the plan’s actions were successful; and act to create long-term improvement actions based on the results of the plan.

In PDSA cycles, teachers work with their students to create plans for success. These plans can be used either with a whole group or on an individual basis. Through working one-on-one with students this way, I’ve seen large gains in student achievement and agency.


A Student’s Perspective on Career and Interview Readiness — from gettingsmart.com by Tyler Robert and Todd Smith

Key Points

  • Sharing experiences in real-world learning is an asset when interviewing for early career opportunities.
  • Building confidence in not only being interviewed but also speaking about your skills in common language is a key part of creating effective pathways.

Asking Students What They Would Do If They Were The Teacher — from thebrokencopier.substack.com by Marcus Luther
one of my favorite practices we’ve normed in our classroom

Though it had been a bit since our previous check-in, the major drop in how students were doing overall was staggering—yet also very much tracked with the “vibe” of the classroom of late: students still feel pretty good about what we’re doing, but overall are exhausted and stressed, each in their own way but collectively as well.

My plan on Monday, then?

To share these results with the entire classroom followed by a simple question:

“If you were the teacher and you saw this feedback, what would you think and, more importantly, what would you do?”

And then I’ll listen to what they have to say.

Reflecting back on my own classroom over the years, though, too often the collecting of the feedback became a dead end as far as how students experienced this: they gave their results and then those results disappeared into the digital ether, in their eyes.


 

 

1 Chronicles 29:10-11 — from biblegateway.com

David’s Prayer

10 David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,

“Praise be to you, Lord,
    the God of our father Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.
11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
    and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
    for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
    you are exalted as head over all.


Why do the nations conspire[a]
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
    and throw off their shackles.”

The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
    the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
    and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
    on Zion, my holy mountain.”

I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:

He said to me, “You are my son;
    today I have become your father.
Ask me,
    and I will make the nations your inheritance,
    the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron[b];
    you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
    be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
    and celebrate his rule with trembling.

 

Do We Need Emotionally Intelligent AI? — from marcwatkins.substack.com by Marc Watkins

We keep breaking new ground in AI capabilities, and there seems little interest in asking if we should build the next model to be more life-like. You can now go to Hume.AI and have a conversation with an Empathetic Voice Interface. EVI is groundbreaking and extremely unnerving, but it is no more capable of genuine empathy than your toaster oven.

    • You can have the eLLM mimic a political campaign and call potential voters to sway their vote. You can do this ethically or program it to prey upon people with misinformation.
    • An eLLM can be used to socially engineer the public based on the values someone programs into it. Whose values, though?
    • Any company with a digital presence can use an eLLM like EVI to influence their customers. Imagine Alexa suddenly being able to empathize with you as a means to help persuade you to order more products.
    • An always-on, empathetic system can help a student stay on track to graduate or manipulate them into behaviors that erode their autonomy and free will.
    • Any foreign government could deploy such a system against a neighboring population and use empathy as a weapon to sow discontent within the opposing population.

From DSC:
Marc offers some solid thoughts that should make us all pause and reflect on what he’s saying. 

We can endlessly rationalize away the reasons why machines possessing such traits can be helpful, but where is the line that developers and users of such systems refuse to cross in this race to make machines more like us?

Marc Watkins

Along these lines, also see:

  • Student Chatbot Use ‘Could Be Increasing Loneliness’ — from insidehighered.com by Tom Williams
    Study finds students who rely on ChatGPT for academic tasks feel socially supported by artificial intelligence at the expense of their real-life relationships.


    They found “evidence that while AI chatbots designed for information provision may be associated with student performance, when social support, psychological well-being, loneliness and sense of belonging are considered it has a net negative effect on achievement,” according to the paper published in Studies in Higher Education.

Editing your images with DALL·E — from help.openai.com via The Rundown
You can now edit images you create with DALL·E
 

Guiding Students in Special Education to Generate Ideas for Writing — from edutopia.org by Erin Houghton
When students are stuck, breaking the brainstorming stage down into separate steps can help them get started writing.

Students who first generate ideas about a topic—access what they know about it—more easily write their outlines and drafts for the bigger-picture assignment. For Sally, brainstorming was too overwhelming as an initial step, so we started off by naming examples. I gave Sally a topic—name ways characters in Charlotte’s Web helped one another—she named examples of things (characters), and we generated a list of ways those characters helped one another.

IMPLEMENTING BRAINSTORMING AS SKILL BUILDING
This “naming” strategy is easy to implement with individual students or in groups. These are steps to get you started.

Step 1. Introduce the student to the exercise.
Step 2. Select a topic for practice.


[Opinion] It’s okay to play: How ‘play theory’ can revitalize U.S. education — from hechingerreport.org by Tyler Samstag
City planners are recognizing that play and learning are intertwined and turning public spaces into opportunities for active learning

When we’re young, playing and learning are inseparable.

Simple games like peekaboo and hide-and-seek help us learn crucial lessons about time, anticipation and cause and effect. We discover words, numbers, colors and sounds through toys, puzzles, storybooks and cartoons. Everywhere we turn, there’s something fun to do and something new to learn.

Then, somewhere around early elementary school, learning and play officially become separated for life.

Suddenly, learning becomes a task that only takes place in proper classrooms with the help of textbooks, homework and tests. Meanwhile, play becomes a distraction that we’re only allowed to indulge in during our free time, often by earning it as a reward for studying. As a result, students tend to grow up feeling as if learning is a stressful chore while playing is a reward.

Similar interactive learning experiences are popping up in urban areas from California to the East Coast, with equally promising results: art, games and music are being incorporated into green spaces, public parks, transportation stations, laundromats and more.


And on a somewhat related note, also see:


Though meant for higher ed, this is also applicable to the area of pedagogy within K12:

Space to fail. And learn — from educationalist.substack.com by Alexandra Mihai
I want to use today’s newsletter to talk about how we can help students to own their mistakes and really learn from them, so I’m sharing some thoughts, some learning design ideas and some resources…

10 ideas to make failure a learning opportunity

  • Start with yourself:
  • Admit when you don’t know something
  • Try to come up with “goal free problems”
  • Always dig deeper:
  • Encourage practice:
 

Immersive virtual reality tackles depression stigma says study — from inavateonthenet.net

A new study from the University of Tokyo has highlighted the positive effect that immersive virtual reality experiences have for depression anti-stigma and knowledge interventions compared to traditional video.

The study found that depression knowledge improved for both interventions, however, only the immersive VR intervention reduced stigma. The VR-powered intervention saw depression knowledge score positively associated with a neural response in the brain that is indicative of empathetic concern. The traditional video intervention saw the inverse, with participants demonstrating a brain-response which suggests a distress-related response.

From DSC:
This study makes me wonder why we haven’t heard of more VR-based uses in diversity training. I’m surprised we haven’t heard of situations where we are put in someone else’s mocassins so to speak. We could have a lot more empathy for someone — and better understand their situation — if we were to experience life as others might experience it. In the process, we would likely uncover some hidden biases that we have.


Addendum on 3/12/24:

Augmented reality provides benefit for Parkinson’s physical therapy — from inavateonthenet.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 John 3:18 (New International Version)

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Psalm 120:1 (New International Version)

A song of ascents.
I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.

 

From DSC:
Given this need…

We need to take more of the research from learning science and apply it in our learning spaces.
…I’m highlighting the following resources:


How Learning Happens  — from edutopia.org
In this series, we explore how educators can guide all students, regardless of their developmental starting points, to become productive and engaged learners.

These techniques have resonated with educators everywhere: They are focused on taking advantage of the incredible opportunity to help children reach their full potential by creating positive relationships, experiences, and environments in which every student can thrive. In fact, the science is beginning to hint at even more dramatic outcomes. Practices explicitly designed to integrate social, emotional, and cognitive skills in the classroom, the research suggests, can reverse the damages wrought by childhood trauma and stress—while serving the needs of all students and moving them onto a positive developmental and academic path.


Also from edutopia.org recently, see:

How to Introduce Journaling to Young Children — from edutopia.org by Connie Morris
Students in preschool through second grade can benefit from drawing or writing to explore their thoughts and feelings.

The symbiotic relationship between reading and writing can help our youngest students grow their emergent literacy skills. The idea of teaching writing at an early age can seem daunting. However, meeting children where they are developmentally can make a journaling activity become a magical experience—and they don’t have to write words but can convey thoughts in pictures.

7 Digital Tools That Help Bring History to Life — from edutopia.org by Daniel Leonard
Challenging games, fun projects, and a healthy dose of AI tools round out our top picks for breathing new life into history lessons.

We’ve compiled a list of seven teacher-tested tools, and we lay out how educators are using them both to enhance their lessons and to bring history closer to the present than ever.

Integrating Technology Into Collaborative Professional Learning — from edutopia.org by Roxi Thompson
Incorporating digital collaboration into PD gives teachers a model to replicate when setting up tech activities for students.

 

This Teaching Routine Takes Just 5 Minutes. Its Impact Lasts Much Longer — from edweek.org by Elizabeth Heubeck

Second grade teacher Kaylee Hutcheson greets her students as they enter their classroom to start their day at Hawthorne Elementary School in Mexico, Mo., on Feb. 14, 2024.

 

How a Hollywood Director Uses AI to Make Movies — from every.to by Dan Shipper
Dave Clarke shows us the future of AI filmmaking

Dave told me that he couldn’t have made Borrowing Time without AI—it’s an expensive project that traditional Hollywood studios would never bankroll. But after Dave’s short went viral, major production houses approached him to make it a full-length movie. I think this is an excellent example of how AI is changing the art of filmmaking, and I came out of this interview convinced that we are on the brink of a new creative age.

We dive deep into the world of AI tools for image and video generation, discussing how aspiring filmmakers can use them to validate their ideas, and potentially even secure funding if they get traction. Dave walks me through how he has integrated AI into his movie-making process, and as we talk, we make a short film featuring Nicolas Cage using a haunted roulette ball to resurrect his dead movie career, live on the show.

 

From DSC:
After reading the book entitled “Love & Hate” by Bill Halamandaris — a book about Henri Landwirth, the founder of the Give Kids the World Village — and “On Purpose” by Pamela Landwirth, I was struck with several thoughts. Below are just some of them:

  • There is enormous power in a vision.
  • People want purpose and meaning in their lives. They want their lives to count. To matter.
  • People want to work for an organization that is concretely making the world a better place in which to live.
  • People want to buy from businesses that are making a positive contribution to the world.
  • Both love and hate are powerful. But let’s choose to go forward with love.
  • Parents, grandparents, and/or other guardians of critically-ill children carry enormous, hidden burdens. Let’s try to notice those burdens and help them out.
  • Life is precious.

Let's remember this -- Despite what we may hear and see, life is precious.


From DSC:
Recently, a group from our church went to serve down at the Give Kids the World Village, in Kissimee, Florida. I wanted to relay the specialness of this place and say a few words about the Founder of the Give Kids the World Village: a man by the name of Henri Landwirth. Over the last few weeks in the Orlando area, the Holy Spirit helped me to think about the power of a vision, as both Walt Disney and Henri Landwirth were visionaries.

But first, it’s important to note that Henri survived FIVE concentration camps during WWII. He had no name there. He was known only as B4343.

Henri:

  • Was in concentration camps from ages 13-18
  • He lost both of his parents to acts of mass murder
  • Henri survived FIVE YEARS of hunger, torture, and horrendous conditions
  • He faced what looked like certain death several times

Yet as I was reading the book entitled “Love & Hate”, I kept wondering if I was seeing the fingerprints of God on Henri’s life.

After the war, Henri went in search of former Nazis, for whom he was filled with hatred. And while I don’t have time to relay the fateful day that changed Henri’s perspective and his life, the bottom line was that he didn’t want to become like his former captors the Nazis. Surprisingly and amazingly, he chose love, not hate.

Fast forward to Henri’s coming to America, working very hard, and climbing up the ladder of the Holiday Inn organization.

Then fast forward even further to the time Henri was looking for a location to build his vision. Quoting from page 139:

Henri took his checkbook and began looking for a location for Give Kids the World Village. He found it almost immediately in Kissimmee. When Henry looked at the lot, he could already see the Village there. Where others might have seen rows of burned orange trees and wetlands, Henri saw villages, a place for kids to fish, and a castle. “I could see it all,” Henri says, “as if my dream had already come to life.”

A few last notable things about the Give Kids the World Village:

  • According to the book by Bill Halamandaris, the Village was built with ZERO CONTRACTS and NO ADVERTISEMENTS from those who helped create the village! This is underheard of for $60+ million worth of facilities and the millions of dollars’ worth of donated services.
  • The Village has thousands of volunteers and it takes 160 volunteers per day to keep it running
  • Since 1986, Give Kids The World Village has welcomed more than 188,000 families from all 50 states and 77 countries.

So I want to leave you with the idea that we were witnesses of – and participants in – the tremendous power of a vision.

 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian