I found a fascinating quick-read online about AI, and about how it relates to education and learning in general. Machines are learning on their own. They take the information available to them, and use it to make themselves smarter. But as the article states, not all learning is done this way.
We are stuck with centuries old methodologies, where schools and teachers act like the gateway to knowledge, but at a time when students can access all they want by simply asking Alexa. Finland understood this change and decided to get rid of the passive learning education and lecture format. Instead students are working in groups on topics of their choice, practicing problem solving. Teachers guide students as they are learning on their own.And so this week I took aim at evolving as a teacher, bringing this new methodology to my classroom. The technologies I used to facilitate this move (Google Classroom, EdPuzzle, and Verso) help to increase student collaboration, engagement, accountability and critical thinking, all essential qualities in society's strongest leaders.
Not everything went exactly as planned, but overall, the lesson was a success. As this was the first time my students used a couple of the Apps (and my first time as well), there were the normal hiccups. Some students were unable to login and spoke up, at which point we navigated through the glitch together. Others chose to use bumps in the road as an excuse to stare into the abyss of their empty monitor until I made my way around and urged them forward.
Using Verso, I had students summarize their opinion from their Google doc and anonymously post for the class to see. This helped guarantee student engagement. On the fly, I grouped students into two groups, those who agreed with the prompt and those who disagreed, and I asked them to write a contradicting comment to a post of a classmate who shared the same opinion. (It was my hope that this would help increase critical thinking.) Finally, given the content the students created and posted in Verso, I initiated a classroom discussion/ debate; again, a fun and outstanding source of critical thinking.
In the future, I think the biggest adjustment I would make is that of having more questions prepared for the class to respond to, both in small groups and as a whole, after they have posted individually to Verso. I anticipated that the Google doc and questions/ prompts contained within would be sufficient to drive class discussion throughout the period, but it was not. Looking back, the online interaction at Verso did not spawn a group/ whole-class discussion. (Perhaps the students were tired of the prompt?) I expect that having more questions would help launch the online discussion into the classroom.
Clearly, students could have engaged in a read/ recite lesson and successfully (debatable) come away having learned the content. But we know that we learn best when we deeply engage with the process; and we know that in society today, just knowing isn't enough.
It's what we do with the content once we know it that matters most.
In Westworld, how will the robots behave once they have consciousness?