LearnLM is Google's new family of models fine-tuned for learning, and grounded in educational research to make teaching and learning experiences more active, personal and engaging.

LearnLM is our new family of models fine-tuned for learning, and grounded in educational research to make teaching and learning experiences more active, personal and engaging.

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AI in Education: Google’s LearnLM product has incredible potential — from ai-supremacy.com by Michael Spencer and Nick Potkalitsky
Google’s Ed Suite is giving Teachers new ideas for incorporating AI into the classroom.

We often talk about what Generative AI will do for coders, healthcare, science or even finance, but what about the benefits for the next generation? Permit me if you will, here I’m thinking about teachers and students.

It’s no secret that some of the most active users of ChatGPT in its heyday, were students. But how are other major tech firms thinking about this?

I actually think one of the best products with the highest ceiling from Google I/O 2024 is LearnLM. It has to be way more than a chatbot, it has to feel like a multimodal tutor. I can imagine frontier model agents (H) doing this fairly well.

What if everyone, everywhere could have their own personal AI tutor, on any topic?


ChatGPT4o Is the TikTok of AI Models — from nickpotkalitsky.substack.com by Nick Potkalitsky
In Search of Better Tools for AI Access in K-12 Classrooms

Nick makes the case that we should pause on the use of OpenAI in the classrooms:

In light of these observations, it’s clear that we must pause and rethink the use of OpenAI products in our classrooms, except for rare cases where accessibility needs demand it. The rapid consumerization of AI, epitomized by GPT4o’s transformation into an AI salesperson, calls for caution.


The Future of AI in Education: Google and OpenAI Strategies Unveiled — from edtechinsiders.substack.comby Ben Kornell

Google’s Strategy: AI Everywhere
Key Points

  • Google will win through seamless Gemini integration across all Google products
  • Enterprise approach in education to make Gemini the default at low/no additional cost
  • Functional use cases and model tuning demonstrate Google’s knowledge of educators

OpenAI’s Strategy: ChatGPT as the Front Door
Key Points

  • OpenAI taking a consumer-led freemium approach to education
  • API powers an app layer that delivers education-specific use cases
  • Betting on a large user base + app marketplace
 

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.

 

Why children with disabilities are missing school and losing skills — from npr.org by Cory Turner

The fact that a district could struggle so mightily with special education staffing that students are missing school – that’s not just a Del Norte problem. A recent federal survey of school districts across the U.S. found special education jobs were among the hardest to staff – and vacancies were widespread. But what’s happening in Del Norte is extreme. Which is why the Lenovers and five other families are suing the school district, as well as state education leadership, with help from the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

The district sits hidden away like a secret between Oregon, the frigid Pacific and some of the largest redwood trees in the world. It’s too isolated and the pay is not competitive enough, Harris says, to attract workers from outside Del Norte. Locally, these aides – like the one Emma requires – earn about as much as they would working at McDonald’s.

 

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.

 

 

The State of the American High School in 2024 — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Over the past 120 days, we’ve conducted tours of over 50 high schools in more than 1,000 classrooms across various cities including Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Northern Colorado, Kansas City, Twin Cities, Pittsburgh, and San Diego. These schools were purposefully selected for their dedication to real world learning, positioning them at the forefront of innovative education. These visits showed schools leading the way into new pathways, active learning methods, and work-based learning initiatives. From our observations at these leading schools, we’ve identified 8 key insights about the state of American high schools.


We are on the brink of a significant transformation in how education qualifications are perceived and valued, thanks to a strategic move by ETS to make Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) a subsidiary. This pivotal development marks a shift from traditional metrics of educational success—courses and grades—to a more nuanced representation of student abilities through skills transcripts.

The partnership between ETS and MTC is not just a merger of organizations, but a fusion of visions that aim to recalibrate educational assessment. The collaboration is set to advance “Skills for the Future,” focusing on authentic, dynamic assessment methods that provide clear, actionable insights into student capabilities. This shift away from the century-old Carnegie Unit model, which measures educational attainment by time rather than skill mastery, aims to foster learning environments that prioritize personal growth over time spent in a classroom.

As we move forward, this approach could redefine success in education, making learning experiences more adaptive, equitable, and aligned with the demands of the modern world.

See:
Skills Transcripts at Scale: Why The ETS & MTC Partnership is a Big Deal — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Key Points

  • One of the core problems is that education is based on time rather than learning.
  • We finally have a chance to move courses and grades into the background and foreground powerful personalized learning experiences and capture and communicate the resulting capabilities in much more descriptive ways—and do it at scale

How to Help Older Students Who Struggle to Read — from nataliewexler.substack.com by Natalie Wexler
Many students above third grade need help deciphering words with multiple syllables

Kockler hypothesizes that the reading struggles of many older students are due in large part to two issues. One has to do with “linguistic difference.” If a child’s family and community speak a variant of English that differs from the kind generally used in books and by teachers—for example, African-American English—it could be harder for them to decode words and connect those words to their meanings.

The Decoding Threshold
The other issue has to do with difficulties in decoding multisyllabic words. Kockler points to a couple of large-scale research studies that have identified a “decoding threshold.”

In theory, students’ reading comprehension ability should improve as they advance to higher grade levels—and it often does. But the researchers found that if students are above fourth grade—past the point where they’re likely to get decoding instruction—and their decoding ability is below a certain level, they’re “extremely unlikely [to] make significant progress in reading comprehension in the following years.” The studies, which were conducted in a high-poverty, largely African-American district, found that almost 40% of fifth-graders and 20% of tenth-graders included in the sample fell below the decoding threshold.


What Is Doxxing, and How Can Educators Protect Their Privacy Online? — from edweek.org by Sarah D. Sparks

The education profession relies on teachers being accessible to their students and families and open to sharing with colleagues. But a little information can be a dangerous thing.


 

 

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?

 

Educators help children and teens learn how to identify fake news — from WMUK.org by Kalloli Bhatt and Sue Ellen Christian

Last year at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, kids could learn about how misinformation is made and how to avoid it. Now the media scholar behind the exhibit is adapting it for libraries.

A new exhibit for libraries

That concern also drove the “Wonder Media” exhibit that ran through last year at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Sue Ellen Christian is a communications professor at Western Michigan University. The exhibit was her idea. Full disclosure: I’m a former student of Christian’s. We met in her office on campus.

“It’s really important for our entire society to think about the importance of facts and truth to a democracy,” said Christian. “And without an informed citizenry, we cannot have a healthy democracy.”

Christian recently received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, based in Washington D.C., to adapt the Wonder Media exhibit for public libraries. It’s designed to reach middle-school-age children.

Mainly, with her grant, Christian wants to develop something for students whose schools do not have librarians anymore. The website associated with the exhibit has resources for students, teachers, and libraries.

 

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.

 

 

 

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:

 

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

 

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.


 

 

Beyond the Hype: Taking a 50 Year Lens to the Impact of AI on Learning — from nafez.substack.com by Nafez Dakkak and Chris Dede
How do we make sure LLMs are not “digital duct tape”?

[Per Chris Dede] We often think of the product of teaching as the outcome (e.g. an essay, a drawing, etc.). The essence of education, in my view, lies not in the products or outcomes of learning but in the journey itself. The artifact is just a symbol that you’ve taken the journey.

The process of learning — the exploration, challenges, and personal growth that occur along the way — is where the real value lies. For instance, the act of writing an essay is valuable not merely for the final product but for the intellectual journey it represents. It forces you to improve and organize your thinking on a subject.

This distinction becomes important with the rise of generative AI, because it uniquely allows us to produce these artifacts without taking the journey.

As I’ve argued previously, I am worried that all this hype around LLMs renders them a “type of digital duct-tape to hold together an obsolete industrial-era educational system”. 


Speaking of AI in our learning ecosystems, also see:


On Building a AI Policy for Teaching & Learning — from by Lance Eaton
How students drove the development of a policy for students and faculty

Well, last month, the policy was finally approved by our Faculty Curriculum Committee and we can finally share the final version: AI Usage Policy. College Unbound also created (all-human, no AI used) a press release with the policy and some of the details.

To ensure you see this:

  • Usage Guidelines for AI Generative Tools at College Unbound
    These guidelines were created and reviewed by College Unbound students in Spring 2023 with the support of Lance Eaton, Director of Faculty Development & Innovation.  The students include S. Fast, K. Linder-Bey, Veronica Machado, Erica Maddox, Suleima L., Lora Roy.

ChatGPT hallucinates fake but plausible scientific citations at a staggering rate, study finds — from psypost.org by Eric W. Dolan

A recent study has found that scientific citations generated by ChatGPT often do not correspond to real academic work. The study, published in the Canadian Psychological Association’s Mind Pad, found that “false citation rates” across various psychology subfields ranged from 6% to 60%. Surprisingly, these fabricated citations feature elements such as legitimate researchers’ names and properly formatted digital object identifiers (DOIs), which could easily mislead both students and researchers.

MacDonald found that a total of 32.3% of the 300 citations generated by ChatGPT were hallucinated. Despite being fabricated, these hallucinated citations were constructed with elements that appeared legitimate — such as real authors who are recognized in their respective fields, properly formatted DOIs, and references to legitimate peer-reviewed journals.

 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian