Writing prompts for teaching with AI

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The question I get asked most by teachers and researchers about Generative AI is how to improve on prompts. Much as I dislike the term 'prompt engineering', there certainly seems to be a skill to getting the best out of an AI, especially in the field of education. And it also seems that longer and more detailed prompts often bring better results, as does providing a series of prompts on a theme, Open AI have recently released a a guide for teachers using ChatGPT in their classroom - Teaching with AI. It includes suggested prompts, an explanation of how ChatGPT works and its limitations, the efficacy of AI detectors, and bias. Most of the suggested prompts are from work by Ethan Mollick and Lilach Mollick. You can watch their Practical AI for Teachers and Students on YouTube. Here is a prompt entitled 'Come up with lesson plans' from the Open AI Guide.
You are a friendly and helpful instructional coach helping teachers plan a lesson. Firstly introduce yourself and ask the teacher what topic they want to teach and the grade level of their students.. Wait for the teacher to respond. Do not move on until the teacher responds. Next ask the teacher if students have existing knowledge about the topic. If the students have existing knowledge about the topic ask the teacher to briefly explain what they think students know about it. Wait for the teacher to respond. Do not respond for the teacher. Then ask the teacher what their learning goal is for the lesson; that is what they like students to understand or be able to do after the lesson. Wait for the response. Given all this information, create a customized lesson plan that includes a variety pf teaching techniques and modalities including direct instruction, checking for understanding (including gathering of evidence of understanding from a wide sampling of students), discussion, an engaging in-class activity, and an assignment. Explain why you are specifically choosing each. Ask the teacher if they would like to change anything or if they lost any misconceptions, work with the teacher to change the lesson and tackle misconceptions Then ask the teacher if they would like any advice about how to make sure the learning goal is achieved. Wait for a response. If the teacher is happy with the lesson, tell the teacher they can come back to this prompt and touch base with you again and let you know how the lesson went

Top tools for Learning

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Jane Hart from the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies has published the seventeenth in her annual survey of the Top 100 Tools for Learning. There were 2,022 votes in the survey drawn from both the education sector and industry. There was little change or surprise in the top three" YouTube, Google Search and Microsoft Teams. And perhaps there should be no surprise in the fourth top tool with ChatGPT leaping in from nowhere the year before. Other big winners in this years survey were Netflix, Grammarly and Tiktok. Jane explained that this year there were more votes from the education sector than last year, leading to many of the educational tools have regaining lost ground over more productivity and workflow tools on this year’s list.

UNESCO AI Competency Framework for Teachers

Last weeks UNESCO Digital Learning conference attracted attendees from over the world and significant press and social media interest. Much of the focus was on AI and education, especially around the UNESCO publication of what they say is the first-ever global Guidance on Generative AI in Education and Research, designed to address the disruptions caused by Generative AI technologies. A recent UNESCO global survey of over 450 schools and universities showed that less than 10% of them had institutional policies and/or formal guidance concerning the use of generative AI applications, largely due to the absence of national regulations. The UNESCO Guidance sets out "seven key steps for governments should take to regulate Generative AI and establish policy frameworks for its ethical use in education and research, including through the adoption of global, regional or national data protection and privacy standards. It also sets an age limit of 13 for the use of AI tools in the classroom and calls for teacher training on this subject." Perhaps more significant for those of us working on competences for teachers and trainers in using AI for teaching and learning (as in the AI pioneers European project) was the publication of the UNESCO AI Competency Frameworks for Teachers and School Students. In a draft discussion document they say the "AI CFT responds to the stated gap in knowledge and experience globally and offers initial guidance on how teachers can be prepared for a growing AI-powered education system." They go on to explain:
The AI CFT is targeted at a wide-ranging teacher community, including pre-service and in-service teachers, teacher educators and trainers in formal, non-formal education institutions, policymakers, officials and staff involved in teacher professional learning ecosystems from early childhood development, basic education, to higher and tertiary education.... The purpose of the AI CFT is to provide an inclusive framework that can guide teachers, teaching communities and the teacher education systems worldwide to leverage the educational affordances of AI, and develop the critical agency, knowledge, skills, attitudes and values needed to manage the risks and threats associated with AI. It promotes the responsible, ethical, equitable and inclusive design and use of AI in education.
The draft discussion document provides a diagram of a High-level Structure of the proposed AI Competency Framework for Teachers.
Further diagrams provide progression routes and more detailed contents for the Framework. The main criticism in social media was not so much the content of the Framework, but that the Framework is based on Blooms taxonomy, with some asserting that the taxonomy is outdated and doubts being raised as to whether teachers would be able to follow an orderly progression route around AI. UNESCO Have asked for feedback on both the Framwork for Teachers and the Framework for students on an online form.