AI

  • A range of vinyl record covers in a shop
    AI,  analogue,  higher ed

    The price of process

    (Photo by Natalie Cardona on Unsplash) Like Maren, I read David Sax’s The Revenge of Analog last month, and some points in it chimed with some other thoughts I’d been having around AI. The book makes the case around how analogue industries and formats have revived despite their apparent inevitable demise in face of digital alternatives. It is sometimes too keen to reinforce its won hypothesis and ignores counter points (the education chapter had me wincing in places for over-simplification), but overall it marks an interesting reaction to technology. It can be viewed in some respects as an argument against technological determinism, that despite all of these predictions of doom,…

  • AI,  higher ed,  VLE

    Don’t you want me? Questions to ask of new AI-VLEs

    In my last post I was doing a backwards glance prompted by the Accenture-Udacity deal. In this one, I’ll look forwards. Apart from the MOOC angle, the other key aspect of the announcement was the investment in AI-enhanced learning environments. In terms of learning environments, the VLE/LMS has been the main player since around 2002. Prior to this there was a mixed economy, combining different commercial solutions, home spun set ups, open web tools. It was both a delightful cottage industry and something of a wild west. From the turn of the century the shift to an institutional wide, enterprise solution became inexorable until by the mid-2000s pretty much all…

  • AI,  edtech,  MOOC

    Don’t look back in anger (or anything else)

    Because I was too busy indulging in self-pity in my last post I forgot to blog about Udacity being acquired by Accenture to build a platform to take advantage of AI, blah, blah. Audrey Watters taking a rare foray back into ed tech to say “I told you so” reminded me to blog something. Audrey says it better, but that’s never stopped me before… There are lots of takeaways from this tale. Here are some that occur to me: Self-Reflection is the real unicorn. Investors like to talk about unicorn companies, but it seems the real unicorn (as in, it doesn’t exist) is any sense of self-reflection or humility in…

  • AI

    Welcome to the Wonkalarity

    If you live in the UK you will probably have seen the story last week about the Willy Wonka Chocolate Experience in Glasgow. It promised a rich immersive experience, but turned out to be a disappointing, depressing warehouse with some bad props. We get one of these stories every year usually about a Santa’s grotto which is, well, less than might be expected. These stories often go viral, the mismatch between promise and reality is ripe for memes. This one I think offers an interesting prompt for considering issues around AI. For a start the advertising of the experience used AI generated images, so there is a good example about…

  • AI

    True voyage is return

    In revisiting the 25 Years of Ed Tech book for the 30 years podcast, I’ve been struck by how often I find myself saying things along the lines of “we’re seeing this again now with AI” or “this came to the fore again during the pandemic”. The snobbery about elearning that was espoused during the late 90s? It was there again in the attitude towards online learning after the pandemic. The myth of cheap elearning? See the excitement over AI generated content. The desire to share and reuse learning content easily? Revisited during the online pivot. Second Life islands and virtual campuses? Hello metaverse. And so on. I guess it’s…

  • AI

    A grifter’s paradise

    So, what about that AI eh? I get it, there’s a lot of fun to be had and it will undoubtedly be really useful in education. I’m not anti-AI (I have a PhD in it, but back when we though symbolic AI was the way to go), and I’m going to do a few more posts on it – I get why it’s everywhere at the moment, it really will have a big impact. But at the same time, I’m also just really uninterested by it all. Part of the reason I’m getting out of the game (after one last job, obviously) is that in order to stay relevant as…

  • AI,  art

    The Emily Carr, Mattiusi Iyaituk & Tom Thomson approaches to AI

    (with apologies to real experts in Canadian art, and probably all Canadians. And artists.) Here comes an extended, and possibly inaccurate attempt at developing an analogy for how we approach new technology such as the internet and now, AI. How the perspective of Western Art came to interpret the landscape of Canada is, I’m suggesting, analogous to how higher education can come to understand the new landscape of an AI rich internet. Before we delve in, it’s important to note that Western Art, like higher education, is only one perspective, and a problematic one. But the point here is how any established area tries to understand something that is new…

  • AI,  edtech,  higher ed

    Generative AI & the taste of sweet surrender

    I’ve attended a lot of AI talks recently (I mean, even if I tried to avoid them I would still have racked up a few). And here’s my hot take for education – just go for it. I don’t say this as an AI enthusiast, I find it quite boring and kind of soul sucking, but shouting loudly and hoping it will go away isn’t a viable strategy. As I argued in my last post, it has a strong inevitability factor, and lack of engagement risks doing ourselves and our students a disservice. That’s not to say we shouldn’t fight to make it open, to avoid bias in datasets, and…

  • AI,  edtech

    The inevitability, or otherwise, of ed tech

    In Metaphors, I have a chapter about VAR (Video Assisted Refereeing) and Learning Analytics. In it I make the case that VAR got to the point where its implementation in football seemed inevitable. Everyone (fans, pundits, players, not sure about referees) wanted it – mistakes were made by refs, and then analysed in detail in the studio by pundits with access to multiple high definition camera angles. It seemed ludicrous that the ref, who was actually making the decisions, shouldn’t have the same access. I go into some of the problems with the actual implementation in the chapter, but I want to revisit that idea of ‘inevitability’ in this post.…

  • AI,  comics,  edtech

    The Cursed Earth post – the AI version

    In my last post I messed around with the idea of Judge Dredd’s Cursed Earth story as a metaphor for aspects of educational technology. I thought I’d try this idea as a ChatGPT prompt. It strikes me as a good example of the type of thing generative text isn’t very good at, because it’s quirky and relies on some depth of understanding. At OER23 Dave Cormier called this kind of AI “the autotune of knowledge“, and this seemed like a good example to test that notion. What it generated is below. Thanks, I hate it. I mean, it’s very impressive from such an idiosyncratic prompt, but it’s so bland it…

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