AI is No Joke!

When I moved to TX from WI back in 1986, I was so grateful to Triple A for their Trip Tiks to help me navigate the route. Decades later, thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI), now all I need is my phone and a map app.

With pretty much the same route options, the benefit, of course, is the speed with which this was spit out as well as the up-to-date features that it provides, pretty much all for free. With Trip Tiks, I put in an order and a few days later I got to pick up a suggested route that had been done by a human. With a highlighter. And lots of time on his/her hands.

And though AI has been around for a while, it has just recently spiked my interest because of its implications in education and the classroom. Last summer, I decided to show my Father, who's 86 now, what ChatGPT can do. So we gave it a prompt and watched how quickly it curated this info:


He was flabbergasted, especially since he's not even on the internet. At. All. Oh sure, he has a smart phone, but only for phone calls. No email. No texting. No data. His first question was "who wrote that?" He knew he didn't, though it appears as if he did, and he simply could not wrap his head around this phenomenon. To be honest, I hardly can either.

So let's dig in. It appears to be an essay written in the first person by my father, who was a dairy farmer in Wisconsin for a quarter of a century. But, buyer beware; in Dad's words, all that glitters is not gold! We have some misinformation; he was never a cranberry grower nor was he a ginseng farmer. We used to pass some ginseng farms on our way to deliver cotton seed, but that's another story for another day. Shouldn't AI be smarter than that? Or are students who are researching Agriculture in WI supposed to catch that error? Issues like this one have prompted the genius idea for MisInfo Day for college-aged kids in the Seattle area. 

That afternoon, we went on to ask AI for essays by me, my husband John, even our friends, Dr. Michele Borba and Houston Kraft. So interesting and kind of creepy all at once. Check out the one that AI is pretending I wrote based on my prompt:
So for about a year, I've been reading everything I can about AI, its capabilities and its weaknesses. Then comes the day earlier this year when I come face-to-face with a real-life situation: The artist that I hired in Bangladesh to illustrate my latest picture book uses AI to assist with his artwork. It's just a tool, right? So now I have skin in the game. I read as many articles like this post about AI artwork as I could. It is amazing what AI can do to enhance our art. But there's also that part that's a frightening foray for me into uncharted territory. So I went to ChatGPT again, to ask for some artwork.


In both of these prompts, the animals had issues with their legs: 
Too many. Too few. Bent, crooked, backward.

Turns out that limbs are a limitation for AI;
check out this playground scene I requested.

So when Barbie Monty, a teacher friend in FL, went on Twitter seeking a speaker to talk to her fifth graders who are researching AI for their Exhibition this year, I volunteered to connect with them. For fun, I asked AI one more thing, to talk about empathy in the voice of their teacher, first to see if they could hear her voice and second to compare and contrast with the paragraph in my voice.
I also showed the other examples, we talked about AI-generative vs. AI-assisted, we discerned between creation and curation, then I shared these points to ponder:
What a timely topic for our learners to lead us into the future understanding and using responsibly; I cannot wait to hear how their Exhibition goes.

How are YOU using AI these days besides just maps?

Here's how you can use AI in the World Language classroom.

And a sixth-grade teacher in our district uses it for an ELA project.


Turns out you can even ask it for advice; when I wrote in the ChatBox that I was exhausted a lot, I got all of these self-help 'trip tips' and wellness strategies, to enrich and enhance my journey through life.

🤟 Happy April, dear reader.









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