“It’s difficult to say exactly how tools like ChatGP will impact education, as there are many factors that could influence this. However, it’s likely that tools like ChatGP will make it easier for students to access educational resources and information, and this could potentially make it easier for them to learn. Additionally, tools like ChatGP may be able to help teachers by providing them with additional support and resources for their classrooms. Ultimately, the impact of tools like ChatGP on education will depend on how they are implemented and used.

What about the impact on the K-12 Sector in particular?

The impact of tools like ChatGP on the K-12 education sector could be similar to their impact on education in general. By providing students and teachers with easy access to educational resources and information, these tools could potentially make it easier for students to learn and for teachers to provide effective instruction. Additionally, tools like ChatGP may be able to help schools and teachers by providing them with additional support and resources for their classrooms. However, the specific impact of these tools on the K-12 education sector will depend on how they are implemented and used in that context.

How do we convince teachers that using AI doesn’t equate to cheating?

One way to convince teachers that using AI is not cheating is to explain to them that AI is simply a tool that can be used to help students learn. By providing students with access to additional information and resources, AI can help them to better understand complex concepts and improve their knowledge and skills. Additionally, it’s important to emphasize that the use of AI is not a replacement for human instruction, but rather a supplement that can support and enhance the learning process. Ultimately, it will be up to teachers to decide whether or not they want to incorporate AI into their teaching, but providing them with information about the benefits of these tools can help to convince them that using AI is not cheating.

How can I convince teachers of the benefits of AI?

To convince teachers of the benefits of AI, you could highlight some of the ways in which AI can support and enhance the learning process. For example, you could explain that AI can provide students with access to a wealth of information and resources that can help them to better understand complex concepts. You could also point out that AI can help to personalize instruction, providing each student with a tailored learning experience that is optimized for their individual needs and abilities. Additionally, you could discuss the potential for AI to save teachers time and effort by automating certain tasks or providing them with additional support. Ultimately, the key to convincing teachers of the benefits of AI will be to provide them with concrete examples of how it can support their teaching and help their students to learn.

Can you provide me with concrete examples of how AI will support teachers and help students to learn?

  • AI can provide students with personalized learning experiences that are tailored to their individual needs and abilities. For example, an AI-powered tutoring system could assess a students’ knowledge and skills, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and then provide them with customized lesson plans and exercises to help them improve.
  • AI can help teachers to automate certain tasks, such as grading assignments or providing feedback on student work. This can save teachers time and effort, allowing them to focus on more high-level tasks like planning lessons and providing individualized instruction.
  • AI can provide students with access to a wealth of information and resources that can help them to better understand complex concepts. For example, an AI-powered encyclopedia or search engine could provide students with instant access to a wide range of information on any topic, allowing them to learn at their own pace and explore their interests in greater depth.
  • AI can help teachers to identify students who may be struggling with certain concepts and provide them with additional support. For example, an AI-powered system could monitor student progress and flag any students who are consistently falling behind, alerting teachers to the need for additional support or intervention.

These are just a few examples of how AI could support teachers and help students to learn. Ultimately, the specific ways in which AI will be used in education will depend on how it is implemented and the needs and goals of individual teachers and schools.”

This article was not written by me but was written by Chat AI in response to my questions in bold. I urge all educators to test this tool for themselves over the Summer break as you’ll soon see that every response to an essay question is unique and can be spat out in seconds. Tools, like Turn It In, will no longer work as this new technology bypasses traditional plagiarism altogether. With the proliferation of posts across the media and social media this week your students already know about these tools and Chat GP is just the latest one to be released. Many students are already using Open AI and similar tools. I know this as students are telling us that there are students in your classes getting top grades for work they haven’t written. How will this impact your assessment tasks heading into 2023?

FSA Member schools were invited to join Mary-Lou O’Brien and Peter Hutton in conversation on Tuesday the 12th of May.

“Mary-Lou is a digital transformation leader, a change maker, an innovator, a self-confessed geek, a global explorer, a trend watcher, an Aussie retail pioneer, an intrapreneur & forever a student! In 1997 she became one of Australia’s internet pioneers when she launched Australia’s first online retail business, Australia Presents. With a varied background with an extensive cross sectoral history across education, travel and tourism, recruitment and retail, this conversation on how digital technology will redefine school-time in a post COVID world, is one not to be missed. Mary-Lou was a key change agent behind Melbourne Girls Grammar transformation to be positioned as one of the most innovative schools in Australia. A zoom link will be sent to FSA schools.”

Live Interview recorded May 2020

Digital transformation covers a huge number of processes/interactions/transactions and it can be a long journey as real change & culture-shifting takes time. It is also about having the right people and the right culture. Successful digital transformation isn’t just about technology but relies on the people involved and all projects should have customer-focused goals top of mind. 

Technology should only ever be seen as the tool that facilitates the transformation.

In an era where the rhetoric around education is very much about change, digital immersion and innovation, it has been recognised that the education sector is at odds with innovative cultures. This is due to the risk-averse nature and the pressure to ensure quality (Ellis & Goodyear 2019). The other factor that stymies innovation is the focus on testing and results e.g. ATAR, NAPLAN, PISA in Schools and similar data in industry e.g. targets such as sales figures that can distract from the true purpose of the business. 

According to the Australian government’s Tech Futures Paper released in Nov. 2019, the barriers to digital adoption in business include:

  •         low digital skills
  •         lack of awareness of benefits
  •         lack of time to research and trial new technology
  •         concerns about cost
  •         unreliable internet access.

So then, what does true digitisation look like? 

1.            There must be a vision, in Education, this may fall out of, or under, the Strategic Intent. The vision should be a strong, simple and succinct statement. A vision will set the compass and also provide the anchor for the change management process. You must know what problems you are trying to solve and know the benefits e.g.: 

  •         Better customer experience or access
  •         New revenue channels and possibly competitive advantage
  •         Greater transparency
  •         Agility & increases opportunities and the cultural appetite for innovation
  •         Employee empowerment
  •         Greater customer insights 
  •         Easier management of resources
  •         Access to a global economy 
  •         Easier collaboration across disciplines, departments, branches, faculties, sites etc

2.            There must be digital immersion led from the top down. In every organisation digital skills cannot simply be an add-on, all learning needs to be constructed around the emerging future of work. The digital economy requires a focus on new skills and I don’t mean just teaching every child coding, digital literacy and digital technologies. The skills for a digital economy need to be embedded in every subject, just like reading and writing is. The skills also need to be embedded within the recruitment process as unless your organisation either has the resources or is willing to support and train staff, you’d rather know what supports and investment is required at the initial stage of the recruitment process. With AI and Machine Learning already featuring heavily in industry, we need to focus on the skills that will be advantageous for our young people. We already know the skills shortages in Australia are far broader than just “coding” and include:

  • data management and analysis
  • cyber security
  • cloud computing
  • artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • robotics
  • digital design
  • software design
  • advanced mathematics and statistics.

Digital immersion includes the way we learn, online and blended models are imperative, as they are no longer just the way of learning in the future but are the way of learning now.

3.            BYOT- Bring Your Own Technology. True BYOD is now called BYOT after it was hijacked by Schools using the term incorrectly. BYOT is a FULL choice. BYOD is where Schools offer a choice between particular models (normally one will be Apple & the other Windows). In my recent position within a School, we introduced full choice, BYOT, for students and staff in 2012. 

The philosophy in a School many presume would be not to ban or prohibit, but instead focused on educating and preparing students on how to best manage the world they inhabit, but this is rarely the case. Our view was that technology is a ubiquitous component of modern life and mobile devices (inclusive of phones, tablets and laptops) are tools that are now integral to all our lives. Our philosophy was to use mobile devices as learning and communication tools and to support students to learn to manage these devices responsibly and safely. You can read more about this on my article from Feb 2019, Mobile Devices at School 

BYOT is also contentious for adults in the workforce and we all know the frustration felt at being told that we have no choice in our own personal device or platform. In this era, it should be borderless and not a platform, or brand reliant. When you allow employees to bring their own devices to work, it can create a more open, efficient and relaxed environment that benefits both parties. 

Some of the BYOT benefits may include: 

  • Save money by eliminating the need to buy employee devices and equipment, however the digital infrastructure must be in place first!
  • Increase employee satisfaction 
  • Boost productivity by allowing employees to use devices they are familiar and comfortable with.
  • Have up-to-date technology when employees get the latest and greatest devices (and they will generally find they are tax deductible).
  • In Schools it shifts the power from the teacher to the student

Although BYOT can also open the door to new risks and exposures, as long as the risks are understood, there are ways to add extra layers of protection to secure critical data and mitigate risk.

4.            Digitised processes and systems – moving towards paper-free! In 2020 I’m shocked when I hear of fax machines in use and paper-based diaries/calendars being printed at huge expense. When I began at MGGS we had departments spending thousands of dollars monthly on printing, we had a print room and a full-time staff member manning it. We started distributing the print reports, providing live printing figures and not only the monetary figure but also the number of trees cut down all in an effort to raise consciousness. Combined with the compulsory use of the LMS for all staff (and ours was an LMS but also a full portal that managed all School communications and housed information pages and group pages across the community). Once the curriculum was moved online we quickly saw an improvement. We digitised forms initially by turning them into PDF’s, but as the technology develops there are platforms that allow workflow to be built in too, saving a huge amount of time if built correctly. Digitising all internal and external documentation across the whole organisation allows for much faster editing, collaboration and publishing.

The demise of the ‘school diary’ wasn’t just about saving trees or the cost-saving, but was actually about teaching real-world skills, skills required in the digital economy. Students were taught from Year 8 how to use Outlook Calendar for diarising and making appointments. From Year 9 they would need these skills to book fortnightly appointments to meet with their wellbeing coach, fitness coach, and the content experts (the educators) as they navigated their way, at their own pace, through the curriculum which was all online. This was a battle based on “this is how we’ve always done it” but once won, meant that our students were leaving with a mandatory skill required at both university, in the workplace, and in life.

5.            Physical infrastructure: In my time at MGGS I worked on three building projects and in each, the technology infrastructure was more sophisticated. It was always a battle to keep up with the rapid pace of technology and with an eye to future-proofing, it was difficult when we recognised that the best outcome in many implementations would be just 3-8 years. The spaces in which we live and work can tell you so much about an organisation. In a school that has been digitally transformed you wouldn’t expect to see a teacher desk at the front of rows of student desks. The technology now allows a teacher to roam the room with a tablet and stylus, connected to screens and allowing them to be the “guide by the side” rather than the “sage on the stage”.

In the workplace, the changes are more drastic, as we see far more transient arrangements: far more flexibility and freelance and remote options have almost become the norm in larger enterprises.

6.         Data is the new commodity of the digital economy, and we’re seeing it driving productivity and allowing organisations to leverage emerging technologies such as AI and Machine Learning.  Artificial intelligence facilitates the analysing of data, categorising information, recognising patterns and making decisions. It is challenging the traditional notion of education and will encroach on how we all work, if it isn’t already. 

7.         Cloud: I almost left out this one as most organisations, if not already there, are well on their way. Where we used to run applications or programs from software downloaded on a physical computer or server onsite, cloud computing allows people access to the same kinds of applications through the internet.

Cloud offers:

  • Flexibility
  • Disaster recovery
  • Automatic software updates
  • Capital-expenditure Free
  • Increased collaboration
  • Work from anywhere
  • Document control
  • Security
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Flexibility

From the length of this article, you can tell that there is just so much to cover and each of these areas could be a stand-alone article. I plan to elaborate on each of these further down the track, but in the meantime if any of this is of interest, or if you need further information, feel free to get in touch as I’d love to hear from you.

Yesterday I came across this on Twitter (via @carljackmiller), a post that has since gone viral. Besides the fact that I’d never heard of James Burke before, this video of him from 1985 blew my mind.

He delivers his ideas on how the world will be impacted by the digital age. He talks about global communication channels, global knowledge, open-source and says “We could operate on the basis that values and standards and ethics and facts and truths all depend on what your view of the world is… And that there may be as many views of that as there are people.”

He also predicted that a microchip could keep a tally on those opinions and record them in a way that has never previously been possible.

Watch it here (it’s only 2 mins I promise):

I’m struggling currently to predict and plan for the next ten years as I witness Moore’s Law in action daily and the incredible pace at which the digital landscape shifts. In education, we turn to our students for guidance and this recent paper came from a Financial Times competition asking students from around the world to re-imagine education;   however, some of the highlights were:

  • “Bricks-and-mortar learning is obsolete, Enter pop-up classes
  • traditional college degrees might as well dissolve into thin air. As AI innovations push our social machine
  • Blended E-learning, you can study on your own, focusing time on strategic topics through a plan personalised for you.
  • AI learning assistant grades and offers feedback on your assignments, guiding you through difficult problems step by step, reteaching you concepts from scratch if necessary.
  • Mastery and project-based learning will form the cornerstones of a futuristic education system.
  • Classroom design would also be largely redefined. Interlaced with technology, with moving walls, flexible seating, standing desks, OLED surfaces all over and augmented reality, classrooms will become interactive learning hubs, ensuring each and every student is actively engaged with the learning material.
  • New Technologies: AI, AR, VR & MR  to make education a more interactive and engaging experience”

I look forward to working with the students at MGGS in the next month to gather their thoughts on re-imagining education from a digital transformation perspective to inform my upcoming strategy planning and I’ll post my findings of their predictions & expectations back here in Term 3.