Tag Archives: data

AI, AI, Everywhere

I had an interesting conversation with my sister and my father when we were together last weeked to celebrate my mother’s 88th birthday. I’m working on a blog post about the changing nature of work that I will post at some point, but as I looked for data to support my ideas, I was distracted by Pew Research Center’s collection of data related to Artificial Intelligence. In particular, two recent articles seem to conflict a bit in perspective, a sign that we are in a period of real volatility when it comes to this technology.

One article provides evidence that most Americans haven’t tried ChatGPT and aren’t concerned about its impact on their lives. The other reports on the growing public concern with AI. As for the former, I am reminded of a conversation I had with an early adopter of the first widely used virtual community, Second Life. It certainly had implications for the potential of online interactions, but you couldn’t get your real life hair cut or your real life tires replaced. Local communities were still going to be important. And, even with the rise of AI, I think that continues to be true. At some point, I suppose a robot will cut my hair or replace my tires, but for the foreseeable future, it will be flesh-and-blood Olivia and Proctor who help me with those services.

As for the latter headline, I think we should be concerned when a technology that we only sort of understand undergoes such a rapid expansion. The educators I know are learning all they can about AI, especially within their own fields of study. They are also engaging in conversations with colleagues about how to use the tools for their own productivity and with their students.

The Danger of Data: A Charter School Update

Interesting follow up to yesterday’s post about charter schools.  The Commonwealth Foundation points to evidence that more charter schools made Adequate Yearly Progress than traditional schools. It turns out that this positive trend was manufactured by the state’s Secretary of  Education by turning charter schools into districts so they have a lower standard to meet for AYP.

Diane Ravitch covered the story on her blog this morning, concluding, “This is the intersection of politics and education, where the data are adjusted for political ends.”

With a simple definition change, failing schools were now successful schools.  Their traditional counterparts did not have that same luxury so they continue to struggle to meet the increasingly stringent demands of the law. I’m reminded of a Pennsylvania school superintendent I interviewed several years ago.  He assured me that he knew his school would never reach the 100% pass rate but that he and his faculty was going to continue to work hard to help all their student succeed as long as they were allowed to do so. The deck is stacked against these educators in so many ways that the most amazing part is that they keep working every day.