California Educator

April/May 2023

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Page 47 of 61

O U R C U R R E N T E D U C A T I O N A L M O D E L was created in the industrial age — it certainly wasn't designed to support the speed-of-light technological innovation we see today. With apps like ChatGPT and Photomath, our measures of literary understanding or even writing and mathematical ability no longer mean what they once did. Photomath and counterparts like Cymath, and even Google Homework Helper (found by pushing the Google search bar camera button on any Android phone with the Google Lens function), can render the need for understanding advanced math fairly unnecessary when it comes to completing assignments. Of course, students still need the skills learned for diverse career paths, but for those just trying to get through K–12 math, it's unlikely that they 'll see a reason not to use these workarounds. This may lead you to think that this is the time to put stricter bans on phones in the classroom or having IT block the sites altogether, as was done recently in New York. However, that's akin to shutting down cars or planes in the early 1900s. Instead, take a look at these new tech tools and how you can incorporate them into your teaching. Use new technologies to encourage student voice and enhance learning By Hedreich Nichols Making AI Tools Work for Your Classroom USE TECH TO RECONSIDER HOW WE ASSESS STUDENT UNDERSTANDING How can we embrace technological innovation and use these tools to amplify student voice and enhance learn- ing? The first thing is to realize that quantifying academic understanding is not the same as measuring an inch or a centimeter. Standards of measurement are human-made and based on the kinds of skills that we, as a society, value. Good writing has traditionally been used as a tool to measure aca- demic acumen, college readiness and employability. This new wave of tech tools gives us an immense oppor- tunity to rethink what talents and skills we value in students and which ones we overlook. For example, according to historical evidence, Harriet Tubman was nonliterate; however, she was obviously highly intelligent and successful. Likewise, your struggling reader or writer may be able to exquisitely express concepts verbally but not on paper, just as an engineering student may under- stand physics but struggle to write about it academically. In short, there's a difference between knowledge and mastery of the tools used to show knowledge. In that difference lies the great classroom potential of tools like ChatGPT and others. PREPARE STUDENTS BEYOND PEN AND PAPER Often, the reaction in K–12 is to keep students from their phones, lock down browsers, and use computer access in a privilege-punitive loop. If you're so inclined, Prince- ton senior Edward Tian has designed an app to detect AI writing "assistance." But the reality is that pen-and-paper assignments aren't preparing students for the world we live in. When was the last time you used paper and pen for anything important? Computers, phones, and apps are here to stay, so have honest conversations with students about time management, focus and integrity. Teach students how to use their phones and computers to connect with the plethora of learning resources available online. Having an encyclopedia in your hand is a beautiful thing! Teach media literacy and how to vet sources. Then allow students to learn the self-management necessary to navi- gate our digitally centered world. Finally, teach the value of honesty and integrity by rewarding progress, hard work and innovation as much as you reward the work of academically gifted students with As. 46 Teaching & Learning

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