The Educator's Notebook

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

Educator’s Notebook #418 (August 6, 2023)

    • Middle Web
    • 07/31/23

    “The most common way of discussing current and controversial topics is the classroom debate. While I enjoy good debates, they might not be accomplishing what we want them to, and unless we take the time to build foundational skills and dispositions they might actually be getting in our way… There are other effective dialogic models available, but what they all have in common is an emphasis on student voice, listening, comprehending opposing views, and validating the lived experiences and values of others even though they may differ from our own. These are skills that we and democracies around the globe need to address the current crisis, prove that Dr. Rosenberg is wrong, and demonstrate that a bright future for democracy is still possible.”

    • The New Atlantis
    • 07/01/23

    “So what’s different now? What follows in this essay is an attempt to contrast some of the most notable features of the new transformer paradigm (the T in ChatGPT) with what came before. It is an attempt to articulate why the new AIs that have garnered so much attention over the past year seem to defy some of the major lines of skepticism that have rightly applied to past eras — why this AI moment might, just might, be the real deal.”





    • EdWeek
    • 07/31/23
    • NAIS
    • 07/15/23

    “More schools are now offering “certificates” or “institutes,” which become the equivalent of a high school major. This is tapping into a level of student agency and autonomy that is positively fueling passions. In turn, this is leading to students becoming better decision-makers, which correlates with less stress and better time management, and the evidence suggests students are finding themselves better prepared to take on challenges.”



    • The Millions
    • 08/03/23

    “What draws me to Milton is the language—those gorgeous, labyrinthine, serpentine sentences which unspool across dozens of enjambed lines.”








    • UNESCO
    • 08/01/23

    “There is little robust evidence on digital technology’s added value in education. Technology evolves faster than it is possible to evaluate it: Education technology products change every 36 months, on average. Most evidence comes from the richest countries. In the United Kingdom, 7% of education technology companies had conducted randomized controlled trials, and 12% had used third-party certification. A survey of teachers and administrators in 17 US states showed that only 11% requested peer-reviewed evidence prior to adoption.”

    • Hechinger Report
    • 07/27/23

    “More than two hours a day is associated with slower growth in social skills, researchers said, but academic skills appear unaffected.”

    • ASCD
    • 06/26/23



A.I. Update


    • Twitter
    • 08/05/23
    • New Yorker
    • 08/02/23

    “The film takes place entirely in an empty office, late at night, some time in the near future. Leah (Sera Barbieri), a customer-support agent for an A.I.-companionship company called Iris, sits alone at a sparingly lit desk, monitoring calls and dealing with frustrated clients. She helps them navigate the high-tech service and fields feedback about Svetlana, Siobhan, and Rachel—a few of the various personas of artificial-intelligence companions that Iris provides.”

    • Twitter/Meta
    • 08/02/23
    • McKinsey
    • 08/01/23

    “The findings from the survey—which was in the field in mid-April 2023—show that, despite generative AI’s nascent public availability, experimentation with the tools is already relatively common, and respondents expect the new capabilities to transform their industries. Generative AI has captured interest across the business population: individuals across regions, industries, and seniority levels are using gen AI for work and outside of work. Seventy-nine percent of all respondents say they’ve had at least some exposure to generative AI, either for work or outside of work, and 22 percent say they are regularly using it in their own work.”

    • YouTube/Wharton
    • 07/31/23

    “In this introduction, Wharton Interactive's Faculty Director Ethan Mollick and Director of Pedagogy Lilach Mollick provide an overview [of generative A.I. models]… They take a practical approach and explore how the models work, and how to work effectively with each model, weaving in your own expertise. They also show how to use AI to make teaching easier and more effective, with example prompts and guidelines, as well as how students can use AI to improve their learning.”

    • Twitter/Encode Justice
    • 07/30/23

    “This opportunity is open to students passionate about researching and analyzing the impact of AI on society and who have expertise in at least one key issue area. Members of the AI Issue Advisory Council will interface closely with our executive team, with opportunities to contribute to major U.S. AI policy projects in the coming months and advise stakeholders including @WhiteHouse and members of Congress. We are specifically seeking youth to serve as advisors on Criminal Justice and Policing, Climate and Sustainability, Labor, National Security, Democracy, and Health.”


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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