It was monsoon season in Mumbai.
I’d arrived in the city two days before, full of excitement and anticipation for the adventures ahead.
Yet in this moment I find myself huddled under a weather-worn blue tarp, desperately trying to withstand the merciless onslaught of monsoonal rains. As I observe the water level steadily climbing, I am faced with a choice – remain where I am, or venture forth into the unknown.
I make my decision and step into the murky water, the weight of my computer bag held aloft above my head. At first, I’m confident, but as the water level rapidly increases above my waist, I feel my resolve start to waver.
The currents grow stronger and objects float by, battering against my body, causing my heart to beat with a panicked rhythm, and a surge of emotions threatens to overwhelm me. And then suddenly, I feel a calmness.
Amidst the chaos and turmoil, I find moment to pause and as I stand there, surrounded by the relentless rain and rising waters, I am struck by the beautiful unpredictability and uncertainty of life. The twists and turns that we encounter along the way can be daunting, but they also present opportunities for growth, self-discovery, and resilience.
Adapting to the new normal
Life is unpredictable, however that really is the beauty of it. We live in a world that is chaotic, a tempest of impermanence and uncertainty. And while it can be a space of unknown, it can also be incredibly empowering and beautiful. The unpredictability and chaos that makes life all the more thrilling. We never know what challenges may come our way, but it’s how we choose to face them that defines us.
2003, thus far has brought with it a deluge of technological advancements and the monsoon that is Artificial Intelligence (AI), dramatically transforming the landscape of education.
For years, we’ve discussed the potential impact of rapidly advancing AI technology, and now, it’s finally here. It has changed the way we work, the way we learn, and the way we interact with each other. The once theoretical conversations have become a reality, and we are now faced with the task of adapting to this new normal.
So what exactly is AI (and what else is out there)?
“Generative Artificial Intelligence”, also known as AI-generated content, refers to the use of algorithms to produce new digital content without human intervention. These algorithms are trained on vast amounts of data, and generate outputs that are based on this information and minimal user input. The defining feature of AI is its ability to create original content automatically, without the need for human input beyond the initial training process.
So how do I learn more?
There are some amazing resources being shared by educators across Australia to help upskill educators in the area of AI.
Here are three of my favourites:
- Pip Cleaves is a Deputy Principal of Strategic Initiatives across four schools in NSW. She is the guru when it comes to all things AI and is known for her generosity for sharing resources. Head here to begin your own journey down “the AI rabbit hole”.
- Liam Basset is the Director of Digital Learning at Westbourne Grammar School and makes fantastic videos that break down AI into simple steps. Check them out at https://www.liambassett.com/videos
- Leon Furze is a former educator from Monivae College in Victoria. A highly respected author and speaker, his PhD explores the implications of Artificial Intelligence on writing instruction and education. Read more at https://leonfurze.com/2023/02/06/teaching-writing-in-the-age-of-ai/
It’s also important to recognise that AI-generated content extends far beyond ChatGPT.
AI technology has the capacity to create a wide range of digital media, including images, speech, video, music, and even code. With the ability to generate content in these diverse formats, AI is transforming the way we interact with and experience digital media, offering a new level of creativity, efficiency, and accessibility.
There is a great resource here from TechTarget to begin exploring AI content generator tools in every medium.
Where to next for schools & AI?
As schools navigate the implications of AI technology, it is important to build a culture in our schools that builds the collective capacity of educators to better understand how they can use this technology to improve their craft. Up until recently, we lived in a world where information was easily accessible. We had the ability to consume an unlimited amount of knowledge by watching videos on YouTube, attending TED talks, or enrolling in free online courses. We have entered a new era where knowledge is not only accessible but easily created. And with this it opens up real possibilities for where we head next with education.
Increasingly in our work with leadership teams, Future Anything is delivering Teacher Professional Development that explores how we build the capacity of our people to be able to respond to emerging trends and future proof the work we do.
This talks to our adaptive capacity – how well an organisation, school or system can adjust in response to new information or unexpected events. Put another way, it’s about understanding where we are now, so that we can anticipate changes that may happen in the future and build our capacity so that when those changes do occur, we are better equipped to respond.
The only constant is change.
As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus (535-475BC) said ‘the only constant in life is change’. This remains true more than 2500 years later. Experience tells us that what was important to us in the past years does tend to shift and evolve.
No one can predict the future… especially in a future of education that is ever evolving, however what we can predict with certainty is that there will be more change – a shift of priorities, an emergence of opportunities and unfolding of experiences we can’t yet imagine.
Truly… what an exciting time to be in education!
About the author: Jen Buchanan
Jen is a future focused educator who has forged a career as an educator in progressive schools in Australia and around the world. With a track record of creating positive, engaged and innovative learning environments in schools and adult learners, Jen is Program Director (Engagement) at Future Anything, where she leads and delivers a range of engaging, inspiring workshops and learning experiences for educators and students.
Jen is accomplished keynote speaker and presenter, and has a practical understanding of how to develop messages, create connection and energy with audiences and focus on learning outcomes.
Connect with Jen on LinkedIn here.