Opinion: AI needs brakes, CBE needs high-tech support

Opinion: AI needs brakes, CBE needs high-tech support

Any new technology presents challenges related to costs and benefits, risks and rewards. Atomic energy. Cars. Airplanes. Even antibiotics. But I’m late for a new ethical challenge in education created by technology, especially artificial intelligence. And I’m sad that tech is lagging behind in supporting skill-based education (CBE). If you are unfamiliar with CBE, again I recommend the latest book on the subject, From reopening to reinvention: (re)creating a school for every childby Michael Horn, or my column from last month.

I knew AI could create art and music, find cancers, and drive cars. But I had no idea of ​​the challenges posed by the availability of AI-powered writing software for our students and in our schools. I was appalled to find articles listing the best AI writing programs of 2022 that featured products that also check for plagiarism! I found lists of “best AI essay writing software”. Digging deeper, I found articles evaluating AI programs that write college admissions essays!

This is just one of the latest ethical challenges created by new technologies, which pose enormous problems for students, parents and schools. These are topics that all educators should discuss among themselves and with their students. I just don’t see them being discussed. The ethical question “Does the end justify the means?” seems entirely appropriate for schools to ask their students. And students need to explore these topics from all sides and perspectives, making it a very teachable time.

But there is more to the topic of “technology in education.” Here is what The Hechinger Report wrote last year on the subject of bias and accuracy:

“Now simple AI-based tools like these chatbots, plagiarism detection software and apps to check spelling and grammar are joined by new, more powerful – and controversial – apps that answer academic questions, grade assignments, recommend courses, and even teach.

“Newer ones can assess and score applicants’ personality traits and perceived motivation, and colleges are increasingly using these tools to make admissions and financial aid decisions.

“As the presence of this technology on campus increases, so do concerns about it. In at least one case, a seemingly promising use of AI in admissions decisions was halted because, by using algorithms to score applicants based on historical background, it perpetuated bias.

Who wins in a system where computer-generated essays are used in college admissions decision-making? Who wins when students can submit essays they haven’t written? Who wins when AI software admits students to colleges and universities?

And if those issues weren’t enough, I want to address another crisis. Lack of high-tech support for CBE is slowing down its vital adoption. I want to remind readers of a very recent article highlighting the huge software gap that needs to be closed if we are to improve our education system – a system where real human learning takes place. We need software that supports skill-based/proficiency-based learning and a whole new way of thinking about schools and education.

A recent story from the Center for Digital Education, “Aurora CEO: Competency-Based Education Needs Tech Support,highlights an interview with Aurora Institute President and CEO Susan Patrick. In it, she says, “educational technology companies that catch up with the emerging movement for competency-based education (CBE) become a vital part of the K-12 system of a future not too far”.

Supporting what I have written and spoken about for years, she is “adamant that the old one-size-fits-all model of moving every student through school at the same pace is not working and all signs point to a competency-based approach. and personalized learning as the future of education.

But tech companies, please listen – startups, please listen – angel investors, please listen. We need new software — really new — and we need it now. Existing software is old school in many ways, time and age related. I agree with Patrick that we need school software that supports “competency-based models that personalize learning for each student.” There have been improvements in some educational software and in access to educational materials, but there is still a gap — a big gap.

Please read the article, and re-read it. Patrick says, “(We need to) change the very purpose of our education system for human flourishing, human flourishing – the goals you set for graduates.”

As I wrote, the Mastery Transcript Consortium is just one initiative away from letter grades. Patrick says, “Technology needs to be applied to CBE and school systems should take a different view of the core elements of high school diplomas, transcripts, and ranking students and schools through GPAs.” She urges meaningful degrees “with evidence of the kind of learning and skills they have that employers and higher education institutions value”.

She shares my concern that we “need technology to support different teaching and learning methods that will ultimately allow students to take ownership of their education”. We need to let go of old-fashioned education models and the software that supports them, and”[w]We need to have better ways of recording student progress in terms of what they have demonstrated mastery of.

We both agree that “schools and districts and even states are hungry for a technology solution that can support competency-based education, but the field isn’t there yet and too much investment in edtech are still going one-size-fits-all. She says, “I would really like to challenge the edtech field to create more modern solutions for skill-based systems.

And this is how I will end. I encourage you to read his interview. As we discuss the ethical challenges of AI and education with our students, I encourage everyone to ask for software that can be used for good – to support pedagogical approaches that have learning as a constant. and are designed to help more students succeed.

#Opinion #brakes #CBE #hightech #support

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