Saturday, January 13, 2024

No time to learn AI? Use authentic learning

No time to to delve into the world of  AI? If so, you're not alone. Many of us feel a pang of guilt for not being able to spare the time to explore generative AI tools. However, it is much easier than you may think. 

The trick is to use chatbots for the regular tasks life brings to you. Anything, especially tasks you are not looking forward to do is a fair game. Think about updating syllabi, brainstorming assignments, developing grading rubrics, and planning lessons. The list extends to crafting administrative emails, organizing research data, summarizing articles, generating content ideas, and preparing meeting agendas. Try to ask a chatbot first. 

Now, it's important to temper expectations with a dose of reality. In about 70-80% of cases, AI will save you time right off the bat. However, in the remaining tasks, you might not see immediate gains, and they turn out to be easier done by hand. The effectiveness of AI heavily depends on the nature of your work and your willingness to stick to it and learn its nuances.

There's a learning curve, for sure, but it is not very steep.  The results are well worth the effort. For instance, AI's ability to generate first drafts, suggest edits, and even brainstorm ideas can significantly streamline your workflow.

However, it's crucial to understand the limitations of AI. It's not a magical solution to all your problems. Think of it more as a collaborative partner that can take on the heavy lifting of routine tasks, allowing you to focus on the more creative and complex aspects of your work. Literally, ChatGPT and its cousins shine in the most routine, most boring tasks, leaving you more time for creative work. 

The key to effectively integrating AI into your professional life is to start small, use the natural flow of tasks, and gradually expand its role as you become more comfortable with its capabilities. This will allow you to stay ahead of most students. Eventually you will also see how it could be used in instruction. But getting some first-hand experience is the first step. 

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