The Educator's Notebook

A weekly collection of education-related news from around the web.

Educator’s Notebook #417 (July 30, 2023)

    • Intrepid News
    • 07/26/23

    “Our conversation crisis has manifested in eye-watering political polarity. This bitter partisanship is not new, but fresh research has documented how it interferes with learning on college campuses and ultimately, decreases young adults’ faith in the power of communicating across differences. Their jadedness — and lack of ability and willingness to use conversation as a mechanism for compromise — is a fundamental threat to our democracy.”

    • Slow Boring
    • 07/18/23

    “ChatGPT has made cheating so simple — and for now, so hard to catch — that I expect many students will use it when writing essays. Currently about 60% of college students admit to cheating in some form, and last year 30% used ChatGPT for schoolwork. That was only in the first year of the model’s launch to the public. As it improves and develops a reputation for high-quality writing, this usage will increase. Next year, if college students are willing to use ChatGPT-4, they should be able to get passing grades on all of their essays with almost no work. In other words, ChatGPT-4 will eliminate Ds and Fs in the humanities and social sciences. And that’s only eight months after its release to the public — the technology is rapidly improving.”


    • New York Times
    • 07/27/23
    • New York Times
    • 07/25/23

    “The Education Department has opened a civil rights investigation into Harvard University’s legacy admissions policy, inserting the federal government directly into a fierce national debate about wealth, privilege and race after the Supreme Court gutted the use of affirmative action in higher education… The Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights has powerful enforcement authority that could eventually lead to a settlement with Harvard or trigger a lengthy legal battle like the one that led to the Supreme Court’s decision to severely limit race-conscious admissions last month, reversing a decades-long approach that had increased chances for Black students and those from other minority groups.”

    • New York Times
    • 07/24/23


    • Jonathan Haidt
    • 07/27/23

    “He then shows how we have systematically deprived children of free play since the 1970s and shows that adolescents' mental health has declined substantially over the same period. He notes that this is a correlation, not proof of causation, although experiments with animals support the claim that play deprivation causes anxiety and poor social development.”


    • Larry Cuban
    • 07/24/23

    “For me, however, closed doors did two things. In some instances, I doubled down and persisted—50 rejections in applying for superintendent posts—in other instances, it nudged me to open doors that I had not considered–going from the failed attempt to manage a governmental research group riven by racial animosities to administering the Office of Staff Development in the Washington, D.C. schools or getting rejected for a principalship and deciding to pursue a doctorate.”



    • Myra Roldan
    • 07/23/23

    “AI systems are taking on repetitive, physically demanding, or hazardous roles, allowing human workers to engage in more intricate tasks — this is where the term “blue-collar AI” comes in, these are roles that do not require the individual to have deep data science skills, be a researcher, or to build complex algorithms. “Blue-collar AI” professionals work within existing AI Infrastructures maintaining, integrating, using, and optimizing these systems.”




    • Aeon
    • 07/28/23

    “Enheduana does not offer clear answers to these questions, and I would not hold her up as a model for good living in difficult times. But her poems fascinate me in part because they describe, with dazzling intensity, a world where change is the norm. These are poems from, and about, unstable times. That is one reason I am drawn to them: I want to understand what it means to live in such a world, because I will probably have to.”

    • New York Times
    • 07/25/23

    “We have now arrived at a similar crossroads in the science of computing, a crossroads that connects engineering and ethics, where we will again have to choose whether to proceed with the development of a technology whose power and potential we do not yet fully apprehend… It was the raw power and strategic potential of the bomb that prompted their call to action then. It is the far less visible but equally significant capabilities of these newest artificial intelligence technologies that should prompt swift action now.”





    • McKinsey
    • 07/27/23
    • EdWeek
    • 07/26/23
    • Noema
    • 07/25/23

    “What makes good writing in a world with generative AI? Perhaps writing classes of the future will lean into the subtle ways in which human writing surpasses AI-generated writing and challenge students to write better than the machine… But perhaps ChatGPT also shows us that at a certain point, reading has diminishing returns. Maybe we also need to be trained on other kinds of data in order to write well, data that comes from being alive in the world over time, from accumulating enough experience to differentiate our own voice from others.”

    • EdWeek
    • 07/24/23
    • One Useful Thing
    • 07/23/23

    “There is no way for [schools] to harness this kind of power and creativity without, in some way, democratizing control over AI. Only innovation driven by [teachers] can actually radically transform [learning], because only [teachers] can experiment enough on their own tasks to learn how to use AI in transformative ways… We have considerable agency about how to use AI in our work, schools, and societies, but we need to start with the presumption that we are facing genuine, and widespread, disruption across many fields. The scientists and engineers designing AI, as capable as they are, have no particular expertise on how AI can best be used, or even how and when it should be used. We get to make those decisions. But we have to recognize that the AI tide is rising, and that the time to decide what that means is now.”

    • Advanced Science News
    • 07/11/23
    • TED
    • 07/01/23
    • Politico
    • 05/01/23

    “Encode Justice emerged from that ballot campaign with a focus on the use of AI algorithms in surveillance and the criminal justice system. It currently boasts a membership of 600 high school and college students across 30 countries. Revanur said the group’s primary source of funding currently comes from the Omidyar Network, a self-described “social change venture” led by left-leaning eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.”

    • Noahpinion
    • 12/01/22

    “What’s common to all of these visions is something we call the “sandwich” workflow. This is a three-step process. First, a human has a creative impulse, and gives the AI a prompt. The AI then generates a menu of options. The human then chooses an option, edits it, and adds any touches they like.”



Every week I send out articles I encounter from around the web. Subject matter ranges from hard knowledge about teaching to research about creativity and cognitive science to stories from other industries that, by analogy, inform what we do as educators. This breadth helps us see our work in new ways.

Readers include teachers, school leaders, university overseers, conference organizers, think tank workers, startup founders, nonprofit leaders, and people who are simply interested in what’s happening in education. They say it helps them keep tabs on what matters most in the conversation surrounding schools, teaching, learning, and more.

Peter Nilsson


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