The Educator's Notebook

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

Educator’s Notebook #429 (November 12, 2023)

    • Teachers College
    • 12/15/23

    “Four eighth-grade English language arts teachers, initially most concerned about their students’ disinterest in reading, stopped assigning any particular book and instead gave students wide access to books written for young adults, let them choose what to read (or not), and gave them time to read and openly discuss the books. We studied these classrooms for two years and followed some students two years into high school… Here’s what we learned. The students, most of whom reported previously reading little or nothing, started reading like crazy—in and out of school—and their reading achievement improved. While this was the initial motivation for the teachers, it became the least interesting outcome. Students reported becoming better people, a change also noticed by their parents and peers. Reading engaging narratives about characters with complicated lives, they reported, helped them become more empathetic, less judgmental, more likely to seek multiple viewpoints, morally stronger, and happier. Yes, happier. They reported improved self-control, and building more and stronger friendships and family relationships.”

ADMISSIONS

ADOLESCENCE

ASSESSMENT

CHARACTER

COGNITIVE SCIENCE

DIVERSITY/INCLUSION

HEALTH

HIGHER ED

HUMANITIES

LANGUAGE

LEADERSHIP

READING/WRITING

SAFETY

STEM

    • Lapham’s Quarterly
    • 12/15/23

    “Bose, who performed for the duchess of Gotha, designed an experiment that turned ladies into electric Venuses. For this demonstration, which he called “Venus electrificata” and which Franklin later renamed the “electric kiss,” a lady stood on an insulated stool while a gentleman tried to kiss her, only to receive painful sparks from her lips. Gentlemen, in their turn, could perform their virility by “inflaming spirits,” that is, setting fire to alcohol with electrified swords. For those who preferred a less aggressive model of masculinity, Bose designed an electric “beatification,” which made a luminous halo appear above a person’s head.”

    • New York Times
    • 12/15/23

SUSTAINABILITY

TECH

WORKPLACE

Z-OTHER

A.I. Update

    • TechCrunch
    • 12/15/23

    ““With Open Empathic, our goal is to create an AI that goes beyond understanding just words,” Schuhmann added. “We aim for it to grasp the nuances in expressions and tone shifts, making human-AI interactions more authentic and empathetic.””

    • Academic Platypus
    • 12/15/23

    “I was talking [with my son] about how bad AI detectors are, and that they should all be banned and I was complaining that one of my students told me that his professor was actually marking down students if their work showed up in the AI detector in TurnItIn when, out of the blue, he offered the following: “Your student should use Claude AI. Everyone knows that Claude doesn’t show up on AI detectors.”

    • Sense and Sensation
    • 12/15/23

    “If we follow the tale, this all might be ok in the end.  Eucrates learned his lesson — when asked to perform the magic, he says, “if it once becomes a water carrier… we shall be obliged to let the house be flooded with the water that is poured in!”  His lesson is much like the cautionary words of Mustafa Suleyman, founder of Inflection AI, in an interview with the Center for Human Technology: “The challenge for the next century is going to be what we don't do rather than what we do.” Perhaps we can learn this lesson, too.  But what does that look like in practice, and how do we learn it collectively?”

TECH/AI: EDUCATION

TECH/AI: ETHICS AND RISK

TECH/AI: GOVERNMENT AND LAW

TECH/AI: INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT

    • Stephen Wolfram
    • 12/15/23
    • Open Content
    • 12/15/23

    “Generative AI greatly reduces the degree to which access to expertise is an obstacle to education… We haven’t even started to unpack the implications of this notion yet, but hopefully just naming it will give the conversation focus, give people something to disagree with, and help the conversation progress more quickly.”

    • Arxiv
    • 12/15/23
    • Arxiv
    • 12/15/23
    • One Useful Thing
    • 12/15/23
    • One Useful Thing
    • 12/15/23

    “While everyone benefits from feedback on their writing, not everyone has access to an expert editor or teacher, and many students get feedback only rarely. So we created a GPT to provide specific, actionable feedback… Then, rather than just writing the essay for the student, the GPT returns an edited, marked in red copy of the Word document with advice based on rubrics. This is obviously a prototype, but the fact that writing instructors can now create a GPT that can provide personalized advice in their personal style, and then give that GPT away to people all over the world to improve their writing, is exciting.”

    • OpenAI
    • 12/15/23

    “We’re rolling out custom versions of ChatGPT that you can create for a specific purpose—called GPTs. GPTs are a new way for anyone to create a tailored version of ChatGPT to be more helpful in their daily life, at specific tasks, at work, or at home—and then share that creation with others. For example, GPTs can help you learn the rules to any board game, help teach your kids math, or design stickers. Anyone can easily build their own GPT—no coding is required.”

    • OpenAI
    • 12/15/23
    • OpenAI
    • 12/15/23
    • New York Times
    • 12/15/23

    “They differ from the regular ChatGPT in a few important ways. First, they are programmed for specific tasks. (Examples that OpenAI created include “Creative Writing Coach” and “Mocktail Mixologist,” a bot that suggests nonalcoholic drink recipes.) Second, the bots can pull from private data, such as a company’s internal H.R. documents or a database of real estate listings, and incorporate that data into their responses. Third, if you let them, the bots can plug into other parts of your online life — your calendar, your to-do list, your Slack account — and take actions using your credentials.”

TECH/AI: USES AND APPLICATIONS

TECH/AI: GENERAL

Issues

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

Subscribe

* indicates required