OPINION: Americans need help paying for new, nondegree programs and college alternatives — from hechingerreport.org by Connor Diemand-Yauman and Rebecca Taber Staehelin
Updating the Pell Grant program would be an excellent way to support much-needed alternatives

Janelle’s story is all too familiar throughout the U.S. — stuck in a low-paying job, struggling to make ends meet after being failed by college. Roughly 40 million Americans have left college without completing a degree — historically seen as a golden ticket to the middle class.

Yet even with a degree, many fall short of economic prosperity.

 

AI’s New Conversation Skills Eyed for Education — from insidehighered.com by Lauren Coffey
The latest ChatGPT’s more human-like verbal communication has professors pondering personalized learning, on-demand tutoring and more classroom applications.

ChatGPT’s newest version, GPT-4o ( the “o” standing for “omni,” meaning “all”), has a more realistic voice and quicker verbal response time, both aiming to sound more human. The version, which should be available to free ChatGPT users in coming weeks—a change also hailed by educators—allows people to interrupt it while it speaks, simulates more emotions with its voice and translates languages in real time. It also can understand instructions in text and images and has improved video capabilities.

Ajjan said she immediately thought the new vocal and video capabilities could allow GPT to serve as a personalized tutor. Personalized learning has been a focus for educators grappling with the looming enrollment cliff and for those pushing for student success.

There’s also the potential for role playing, according to Ajjan. She pointed to mock interviews students could do to prepare for job interviews, or, for example, using GPT to play the role of a buyer to help prepare students in an economics course.

 

 
 

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:





 

 

.

2024 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report® Teaching and Learning Edition

Trends
As a first activity, we asked the Horizon panelists to provide input on the macro trends they believe are going to shape the future of postsecondary teaching and learning and to provide observable evidence for those trends. To ensure an expansive view of the larger trends serving as context for institutions of higher education, panelists provided input across five trend categories: social, technological, economic, environmental, and political. Given the widespread impacts of emerging AI technologies on higher education, we are also including in this year’s report a list of “honorary trends” focused on AI. After several rounds of voting, the panelists selected the following trends as the most important:

 


Information Age vs Generation Age Technologies for Learning — from opencontent.org by David Wiley

Remember (emphasis DSC)

  • the internet eliminated time and place as barriers to education, and
  • generative AI eliminates access to expertise as a barrier to education.

Just as instructional designs had to be updated to account for all the changes in affordances of online learning, they will need to be dramatically updated again to account for the new affordances of generative AI.


The Curious Educator’s Guide to AI | Strategies and Exercises for Meaningful Use in Higher Ed  — from ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub by Kyle Mackie and Erin Aspenlieder; via Stephen Downes

This guide is designed to help educators and researchers better understand the evolving role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in higher education. This openly-licensed resource contains strategies and exercises to help foster an understanding of AI’s potential benefits and challenges. We start with a foundational approach, providing you with prompts on aligning AI with your curiosities and goals.

The middle section of this guide encourages you to explore AI tools and offers some insights into potential applications in teaching and research. Along with exposure to the tools, we’ll discuss when and how to effectively build AI into your practice.

The final section of this guide includes strategies for evaluating and reflecting on your use of AI. Throughout, we aim to promote use that is effective, responsible, and aligned with your educational objectives. We hope this resource will be a helpful guide in making informed and strategic decisions about using AI-powered tools to enhance teaching and learning and research.


Annual Provosts’ Survey Shows Need for AI Policies, Worries Over Campus Speech — from insidehighered.com by Ryan Quinn
Many institutions are not yet prepared to help their faculty members and students navigate artificial intelligence. That’s just one of multiple findings from Inside Higher Ed’s annual survey of chief academic officers.

Only about one in seven provosts said their colleges or universities had reviewed the curriculum to ensure it will prepare students for AI in their careers. Thuswaldner said that number needs to rise. “AI is here to stay, and we cannot put our heads in the sand,” he said. “Our world will be completely dominated by AI and, at this point, we ain’t seen nothing yet.”


Is GenAI in education more of a Blackberry or iPhone? — from futureofbeinghuman.com by Andrew Maynard
There’s been a rush to incorporate generative AI into every aspect of education, from K-12 to university courses. But is the technology mature enough to support the tools that rely on it?

In other words, it’s going to mean investing in concepts, not products.

This, to me, is at the heart of an “iPhone mindset” as opposed to a “Blackberry mindset” when it comes to AI in education — an approach that avoids hard wiring in constantly changing technologies, and that builds experimentation and innovation into the very DNA of learning.

For all my concerns here though, maybe there is something to being inspired by the Blackberry/iPhone analogy — not as a playbook for developing and using AI in education, but as a mindset that embraces innovation while avoiding becoming locked in to apps that are detrimentally unreliable and that ultimately lead to dead ends.


Do teachers spot AI? Evaluating the detectability of AI-generated texts among student essays — from sciencedirect.com by Johanna Fleckenstein, Jennifer Meyer, Thorben Jansen, Stefan D. Keller, Olaf Köller, and Jens Möller

Highlights

  • Randomized-controlled experiments investigating novice and experienced teachers’ ability to identify AI-generated texts.
  • Generative AI can simulate student essay writing in a way that is undetectable for teachers.
  • Teachers are overconfident in their source identification.
  • AI-generated essays tend to be assessed more positively than student-written texts.

Can Using a Grammar Checker Set Off AI-Detection Software? — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young
A college student says she was falsely accused of cheating, and her story has gone viral. Where is the line between acceptable help and cheating with AI?


Use artificial intelligence to get your students thinking critically — from timeshighereducation.com by Urbi Ghosh
When crafting online courses, teaching critical thinking skills is crucial. Urbi Ghosh shows how generative AI can shape how educators can approach this


ChatGPT shaming is a thing – and it shouldn’t be — from futureofbeinghuman.com by Andrew Maynard
There’s a growing tension between early and creative adopters of text based generative AI and those who equate its use with cheating. And when this leads to shaming, it’s a problem.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

This will sound familiar to anyone who’s incorporating generative AI into their professional workflows. But there are still many people who haven’t used apps like ChatGPT, are largely unaware of what they do, and are suspicious of them. And yet they’ve nevertheless developed strong opinions around how they should and should not be used.

From DSC:
Yes…that sounds like how many faculty members viewed online learning, even though they had never taught online before.

 

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.
 

ChatGPT remembers who you are — from thebrainyacts.beehiiv.com |Brainyacts #191

OpenAI rolls out Memory feature for ChatGPT
OpenAI has introduced a cool update for ChatGPT (rolling out to paid and free users – but not in the EU or Korea), enabling the AI to remember user-specific details across sessions. This memory feature enhances personalization and efficiency, making your interactions with ChatGPT more relevant and engaging.

.

Key Features

  1. Automatic Memory Tracking
    • ChatGPT now automatically records information from your interactions such as preferences, interests, and plans. This allows the AI to refine its responses over time, making each conversation increasingly tailored to you.
  2. Enhanced Personalization
    • The more you interact with ChatGPT, the better it understands your needs and adapts its responses accordingly. This personalization improves the relevance and efficiency of your interactions, whether you’re asking for daily tasks or discussing complex topics.
  3. Memory Management Options
    • You have full control over this feature. You can view what information is stored, toggle the memory on or off, and delete specific data or all memory entries, ensuring your privacy and preferences are respected.




From DSC:
The ability of AI-based applications to remember things about us will have major and positive ramifications for us when we think about learning-related applications of AI.


 

Shares of two big online education stocks tank more than 10% as students use ChatGPT — from cnbc.com by Michelle Fox; via Robert Gibson on LinkedIn

The rapid rise of artificial intelligence appears to be taking a toll on the shares of online education companies Chegg and Coursera.

Both stocks sank by more than 10% on Tuesday after issuing disappointing guidance in part because of students using AI tools such as ChatGPT from OpenAI.



Synthetic Video & AI Professors — from drphilippahardman.substack.com by Dr. Philippa Hardman
Are we witnessing the emergence of a new, post-AI model of async online learning?

TLDR: by effectively tailoring the learning experience to the learner’s comprehension levels and preferred learning modes, AI can enhance the overall learning experience, leading to increased “stickiness” and higher rates of performance in assessments.

TLDR: AI enables us to scale responsive, personalised “always on” feedback and support in a way that might help to solve one of the most wicked problems of online async learning – isolation and, as a result, disengagement.

In the last year we have also seen the rise of an unprecedented number of “always on” AI tutors, built to provide coaching and feedback how and when learners need it.

Perhaps the most well-known example is Khan Academy’s Khanmigo and its GPT sidekick Tutor Me. We’re also seeing similar tools emerge in K12 and Higher Ed where AI is being used to extend the support and feedback provided for students beyond the physical classroom.


Our Guidance on School AI Guidance document has been updated — from stefanbauschard.substack.com by Stefan Bauschard

We’ve updated the free 72-page document we wrote to help schools design their own AI guidance policies.

There are a few key updates.

  1. Inclusion of Oklahoma and significant updates from North Carolina and Washington.
  2. More specifics on implementation — thanks NC and WA!
  3. A bit more on instructional redesign. Thanks to NC for getting this party started!

Creating a Culture Around AI: Thoughts and Decision-Making — from er.educause.edu by Courtney Plotts and Lorna Gonzalez

Given the potential ramifications of artificial intelligence (AI) diffusion on matters of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, now is the time for higher education institutions to adopt culturally aware, analytical decision-making processes, policies, and practices around AI tools selection and use.

 

Navigating the Changing Landscape of Lifelong Learning — from prsa.org by Susan B. Walton, Ph.D.

The first step to finding the right PR learning program is understanding what’s currently available to learners:

  • Undergraduate and graduate degree programs remain the pathway to earning a college degree in public relations, and now include more online options than ever before.
  • Certificate programs are shorter courses of study that often focus on strengthening specific skills, such as crisis communications or knowledge of a specific industry such as health care. They are offered through professional associations, employers, private entities or academic graduate programs, especially programs geared toward working professionals.
  • Microcertificate or microcredential programs may be even shorter and more focused than certificate programs. They can be a series of short courses and are usually focused on skills needed for a specific employer or job, such as analytical tools for a particular web platform. Successful completion of the microcertificate(s) may earn a microcredential, such as a badge, which can be displayed on the recipient’s social media sites.

If you’re a professional who’s considering jumping back into school, then certificate and microcertificate programs are excellent ways to dip a toe in the water.


On somewhat related notes:

Public Infrastructure on Skills — from the-job.beehiiv.com by Paul Fain
The search for population-level solutions to strengthen links between education and work.

The new Center for Skills by C-BEN seeks to bring clarity and coordination to the skills space. Launched this week with a $1.5M grant from Walmart, the center will attempt to create objective, reliable ways to assess and validate skills, to help bridge the gap between education and the workforce.

The center could help the millions of employers who are looking for skills-based solutions and aren’t going to build their own skills academies, says Clayton Lord, director of foundation programs at SHRM.

“It’s hard for small and mid-sized businesses to find their way into this conversation,” he says. “We can’t create something that is more arduous for employers.”


Closing The Skills Gap: An Inside Look At The Achievement Wallet — from forbes.com by Dr. Sarah DeMark

In the dynamic realm of today’s workforce, skills gaps are increasing. Highly skilled talent is out there, but information gaps and traditional hiring methods make it challenging for skilled talent and employers to find one another. While digital recruiting systems have made it more efficient to find prospective candidates, qualified candidates are often vetted out of the hiring process when they do not match the exact criteria, according to a study conducted by Harvard Business School.

With the rapid pace of change — think automation, new technology, and artificial intelligence — businesses must innovate and think about the best ways to create career mobility and career pathways for their workforces into the roles of tomorrow.

In Pursuit of Agency
Imagine a future where learners can instantly see where they stand in a crowded job market, assess their abilities and gaps, and identify opportunities for growth. Or where employers can identify candidates with specific, often hard-to-spot competencies and skills. Possible? Yes. Western Governors University (WGU), the country’s largest competency-based, workforce-relevant online university, is reimagining that future by deploying the Achievement Wallet for WGU students nationally and working students at educational institutions across the state of Indiana.

Also see:

 

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.


 

Colleges are now closing at a pace of one a week. What happens to the students? — from hechingerreport.org by Jon Marcus
Most never finish their degrees, and alumni wonder about the value of degrees they’ve earned

About one university or college per week so far this year, on average, has announced that it will close or merge. That’s up from a little more than two a month last year, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, or SHEEO.

Most students at colleges that close give up on their educations altogether. Fewer than half transfer to other institutions, a SHEEO study found. Of those, fewer than half stay long enough to get degrees. Many lose credits when they move from one school to another and have to spend longer in college, often taking out more loans to pay for it.

Colleges are almost certain to keep closing. As many as one in 10 four-year colleges and universities are in financial peril, the consulting firm EY Parthenon estimates.

Students who transferlose an average of 43 percentof the credits they’ve already earned and paid for, the Government Accountability Office found in the most recent comprehensive study of this problem.

Also relevant:

 

Instructors as Innovators: a Future-focused Approach to New AI Learning Opportunities, With Prompts –from papers.ssrn.com by Ethan R. Mollick and Lilach Mollick

Abstract

This paper explores how instructors can leverage generative AI to create personalized learning experiences for students that transform teaching and learning. We present a range of AI-based exercises that enable novel forms of practice and application including simulations, mentoring, coaching, and co-creation. For each type of exercise, we provide prompts that instructors can customize, along with guidance on classroom implementation, assessment, and risks to consider. We also provide blueprints, prompts that help instructors create their own original prompts. Instructors can leverage their content and pedagogical expertise to design these experiences, putting them in the role of builders and innovators. We argue that this instructor-driven approach has the potential to democratize the development of educational technology by enabling individual instructors to create AI exercises and tools tailored to their students’ needs. While the exercises in this paper are a starting point, not a definitive solutions, they demonstrate AI’s potential to expand what is possible in teaching and learning.

 

The AI Tools in Education Database — from aitoolsdirectory.notion.site; via George Siemens

Since AI in education has been moving at the speed of light, we built this AI Tools in Education database to keep track of the most recent AI tools in education and the changes that are happening every day. This database is intended to be a community resource for educators, researchers, students, and other edtech specialists looking to stay up to date. This is a living document, so be sure to come back for regular updates.


Another Workshop for Faculty and Staff — from aiedusimplified.substack.com by Lance Eaton
A recent workshop with some adjustments.

The day started out with a short talk about AI (slides). Some of it is my usual schtick where I do a bit of Q&A with folks around myths and misunderstandings of generative AI in order to establish some common ground. These are often useful both in setting the tone and giving folks a sense of how I come to explore generative AI: with a mixture of humor, concern, curiosity, and of course, cat pics.

From there, we launched into a series of mini-workshops where folks had time to first play around with some previously created prompts around teaching and learning before moving onto prompts for administrative work. The prompts and other support materials are in this Workshop Resource Document. The goal was to just get them into using one or more AI tools with some useful prompts so they can learn more about its capabilities.


The Edtech Insiders Rundown of ASU+GSV 2024 — from edtechinsiders.substack.com by by Sarah Morin, Alex Sarlin, and Ben Kornell
And more on Edtech Insiders+, upcoming events, Gauth, AI Reading Tutors, The Artificial Intelligence Interdisciplinary Institute, and TeachAI Policy Resources

Alex Sarlin

4. Everyone is Edtech Now
This year, in addition to investors, entrepreneurs, educators, school leaders, university admins, non-profits, publishers, and operators from countless edtech startups and incumbents, there were some serious big tech companies in attendance like Meta, Google, OpenAI, Microsoft, Amazon, Tiktok, and Canva. Additionally, a horde of management consultancies, workforce organizations, mental health orgs, and filmmakers were in attendance.

Edtech continues to expand as an industry category and everyone is getting involved.


Ep 18 | Rethinking Education, Lessons to Unlearn, Become a Generalist, & More — Ana Lorena Fábrega — from mishadavinci.substack.com by Misha da Vinci

It was such a delight to chat with Ana. She’s brilliant and passionate, a talented educator, and an advocate for better ways of learning for children and adults. We cover ways to transform schools so that students get real-world skills, learn resilience and how to embrace challenges, and are prepared for an unpredictable future. And we go hard on why we must keep learning no matter our age, become generalists, and leverage technology in order to adapt to the fast-changing world.

Misha also featured an item re: the future of schooling and it contained this graphic:


Texas is replacing thousands of human exam graders with AI — from theverge.com by Jess Weatherbed

The Texas Tribune reports an “automated scoring engine” that utilizes natural language processing — the technology that enables chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT to understand and communicate with users — is being rolled out by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to grade open-ended questions on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams. The agency is expecting the system to save $15–20 million per year by reducing the need for temporary human scorers, with plans to hire under 2,000 graders this year compared to the 6,000 required in 2023.


Debating About AI: An Easy Path to AI Awareness and Basic Literacy — from stefanbauschard.substack.com by Stefan Bauschard
If you are an organization committed to AI literacy, consider sponsoring some debate topics and/or debates next year and expose thousands of students to AI literacy.

Resolved: Teachers should integrate generative AI in their teaching and learning.

The topic is simple but raises an issue that students can connect with.

While helping my students prepare and judging debates, I saw students demonstrate an understanding of many key issues and controversies.

These included—

*AI writing assessment/grading
*Bias
*Bullying
*Cognitive load
*Costs of AI systems
*Declining test scores
*Deep fakes
*Differentiation
*Energy consumption
*Hallucinations
*Human-to-human connection
*Inequality and inequity in access
*Neurodiversity
*Personalized learning
*Privacy
*Regulation (lack thereof)
*The future of work and unemployment
*Saving teachers time
*Soft skills
*Standardized testing
*Student engagement
*Teacher awareness and AI training; training resource trade-offs
*Teacher crowd-out
*Transparency and explainability
*Writing detectors (students had an exaggerated sense of the workability of these tools).

 

Wonder Tools | Best apps for building good habits — from wondertools.substack.com by Jeremy Caplan and Andrea Engstrom

Most New Year’s resolutions are buried by now. April’s a great time for a fresh start. So today’s post focuses on simple, useful tools to help you revive a good habit or two. Read on for my favorite app for tracking habits and a few alternatives.

Streaks

 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian