Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) & Deep Learning (DL) have been featured heavily in the news and conversations about teaching and learning over the last few months - in particular since the release of OpenAI's ChatGPT and many other AI-powered applications.
At WAB, we have been researching and taking action on this over the last year, and WAB is well positioned to ensure that these innovations are able to enhance student learning without causing harm to our students. This guide has been developed to help parents understand the opportunities and challenges provided by these tools, and to show how we are taking effective action.
As you explore this guide, we have provided many links and examples, so you can learn alongside us on our journey to help our students become future-ready, innovative leaders who bring our mission to life: to connect, challenge, inspire and make a difference.
Scroll below for slides and video recording from our May 29, 2023, Parent Evening session on AI.
The public release of OpenAI's ChatGPT might in the future be seen as an event similar to the emergence of calculators, the internet and search engines in terms of its impact on how the world works with information. Some forms of AI have been in our hands over the last decade, including smartwatches, smartphones, internet algorithms, social media recommendations, online shopping, voice-powered home assistants, translation, navigation and much, much more.
Research in AI has been developing for many years and these last few months have created new opportunities and accelerated change across many industries, including education. The ability to use natural language processing to use AI-powered tools has opened-up potential for everyone, not just experts. Some examples of this include large language models (such as ChatGPT and the new Bing), and image diffusion models (such as MidJourney, Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2). Since November 2022, the accessibility of these tools has led to high interest, experimentation, creativity and some concern.
As more tools are adapted to for education and work, we keep a close eye on how they can be used effectively and safely in teaching and learning. Microsoft has been leading the way in user-focused AI, and in the coming months, we expect to see enhancements to core applications that will support learners, teachers and workers around the world in being more efficient and inclusive.
One currently desirable area of skills rapidly emerging in the workforce is the capacity to work effectively through prompting: the ability to direct AI systems to generate useful outputs from effective inputs. This is an emerging new literacy that builds on WAB learners' strong competencies in making connections between subjects, naming and noticing ideas and being able to articulately describe their intentions. The literacy of prompting combines domain-specific knowledge and vocabulary with creative and computational thinking. Although, as AI tools become more self-regulating and adaptable to our needs, we wonder, will prompt engineering remain a skill of the future?
Future-ready learners will be well-adapted to this rapidly-changing world. We might think of AI as "augmented intelligence", and learners who thrive in the future will be able to make the most of the affordances of new technologies. AI won't replace humans, but humans who use technology & AI well might have an advantage over those who don't.
It is critical to consider safe, ethical practices in all technologies, including AI, and we are actively researching and implementing best-practices in these domains. From user data security to thinking about the ethical implications of AI on the world, we place high importance on conversations that put ethics in the centre. How might powerful new technologies help create more sustainable and inclusive practices? How can we identify and mitigate for bias or other problems? How might we develop solutions that promote reliability and fairness?
From the IB, on Academic Integrity:
"Academic integrity is a principle in education and a choice to act in a responsible way so others can trust us. It means conducting all aspects of your academic life in a responsible and ethical manner. The IB expects students to produce genuine and authentic pieces of work, that represent their own abilities." IB. 2022.
Some might worry about the misuse of AI tools by learners, but we believe that teaching students how to use tools with integrity will prepare them well for the future. Our partner organisations, including the IB, are already aware of developments and our practices are in alignment - and showing the way - on how to thrive without cheating. Through a focus on Academic Integrity, students are taught how to research effectively, recognise their sources and create works of originality and creativity that enhance their information and media literacy skills through critical and reflective thinking. Our Academic Integrity guidelines are updated to include appropriate use of technology tools and how to cite and evaluate sources of information. This work begins in PYP and continues through MYP and DP, as part of technology integration and the Approaches to Learning Skills (ATL's).
Key to this, is the iterative nature of learning at WAB. Students and teachers work together on setting questions, researching, drafting, creating and taking action on feedback. At all levels of the school, teachers are mentors who encourage learners to share their work-in-progress, get feedback and develop their skills and voice. Although there are some tools available to check students' work for plagiarism and AI content, these are used as part of the learning process and in support of students on their journey to become knowledge creators, not knowledge imitators.
WAB has long been an innovative school, where we try new things to create powerful learning opportunities for our students. Across the curriculum, students are given opportunities to develop skills in research, technology, critical thinking and creativity. From our high-quality STEM programs, to our EdTech integration, students learn and practice knowledge and skills that will allow them to gain foundational understandings in innovation and create personalised, original work.
Already we have some examples of students learning with and about AI, including:
We are also starting to see technology tools improved for supporting learners working across multiple languages, and for personalising learning in subjects to meet the needs of individual students. Discussions of ethics and integrity accompany all of this work.
Workshops on the emergence and impacts of AI tools, including ethics and integrity, have been happening at the leadership level, with all of our ES, MS and HS Learning Leaders and with all of our Faculty from Middle and High Schools. Our wonderful EdTech & Library teams work closely with teachers in designing learning that is inspiring, and supporting teachers and students in the effective and ethical use of any technology tools and learning resources.
We are heading into an exciting and empowering future as AI becomes more widespread and integrated in our personal and professional lives. As part of our work at WAB to prepare learners for a future that is ever-changing, we continue to research and seek connections with industry experts. It will always be challenging to predict the future, but we believe that learners who are adaptable and model our mission and core values, will be able to thrive and take on any challenges. Innovation and wellbeing are at the heart of WAB's Strategy 2022+, and these developments in AI may act as further catalysts to meaningful action.
Across the world, there are many inspiring examples of AI and machine learning being used to make a difference for global issues and the communities affected by them. You can see some examples in the AIxSDG tab above. Innovations in AI are moving very quickly, and all major organisations have statements and commitments to ethics, inclusion and safety. You can see some of these on the tab above. If you are interested in optimistic potential futures of AI, Dr. Kai Fu Lee's AI2041 book is thought-provoking and entertaining. The open-source nature of some AI developments, including the world-leading HuggingFace spaces, are showing the way in terms of making a technology-enhanced future inclusive.
For parents who are interested in learning more about the influence and potential futures of AI on the world, we encourage you to explore these resources. We will continue to update these pages, and adapt and lead learning that can show the way to a future that is ethical, sustainable, inclusive and innovative.
Guide by Stephen Taylor (Director of Innovation in Learning & Teaching) for WAB. Image: Friendly robo-tiger and group of children, generated in MidJourney.
(If You) USEME-AI is a model for adapting to the impacts of artificial intelligence in schools, developed by Stephen Taylor at WAB in December 2022. It is designed to shape conversations and actions around teaching and learning in ways that can enhance ethical & inspiring learning, and has been shared and used in some other schools as well. Find out more in the tab above.
Some Top Tools for WAB
Some Other Useful Tools
Some Interesting Demonstrations