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Feb 5, 2023

AI in Education Learning Community

Let's tackle this new language-generating AI tech in a more structured and thorough way. Sure, the jokes and comments on social media are cool, but we need to take a closer look at the tool before making any conclusions. The plagiarism debate, among others, is not productive since most people don't understand what they're talking about. And those students who use AI to cheat aren't eager to share their methods. As we gain more hands-on experience, we'll see how people use the tool for written content and how educators can teach them to use it better. Hence, I propose a professional learning community.

Here's my plan: (1) Each PLC member commits some time to playing around with the OpenAI language engine. Try out different prompts for real-life teaching, research, and productivity situations. (2) Meet bi-weekly on Zoom over lunch to discuss findings. (3) Eventually, find a way to rate the most productive prompts and come up with a list of the top-10 to top-25 most useful ones. This information may not be publishable in a scholarly journal, but it could be shared. To keep things manageable, I'm starting with my colleagues in the College of Education at Sac State. But others can easily start their own groups and work independently. It would be great to compare notes from different groups later. If there's enough interest, I may plan an unconference next fall.

There are many types of AI tools out there. The AI Chat is just the easiest to use and is strictly language-generating, which makes for a better comparison.

Just to give you an idea what sort of prompts can be tested: I found last week that AI excels at writing routine, formulaic texts that humans don't like to write. You can give it a couple of specific points and ask it to write a decent recommendation letter for a student. It's also good at converting lists into narratives. Copy a list of your job experiences from your resume and ask it to turn it into a narrative. One of its best uses is specialized editing, like making your text sound like it was written by a native English speaker. This can be significant for English learners of all ages. But my findings alone aren't enough. We need to collectively test, evaluate, and rate these uses to make meaningful conclusions. Anyone interested?

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