top of page

Search Results

8 items found for ""

  • ChatGPT: The Next Big Thing or Overhyped?

    I've seen and read some comments and posts criticizing ChatGPT as just the latest overhyped tech. They point to the early days of Virtual Reality (VR) and Bitcoin, which were also heavily hyped and generated a lot of media attention. I can see where they are coming from. On the surface there are some similarities. These previous technologies did have a massive amount of hype around them. They were on the news all the time. Grandpa was asking about VR at the family party and even people who weren't into tech became crypto influencers pushing others to follow their lead. It does feel familiar ... but this isn't that. ChatGPT is not a fad that will fizzle into a niche use by a small percentage of the population like VR and Bitcoin. Here's why: VR is not easily accessible to the masses. It requires an expensive headset, a game platform, high-speed internet, and the ability to buy and learn games. What if you don't like games? What if you cannot afford the headset? Then you are out of luck. And Bitcoin? Still nowhere close to adoption by any meaningful number of people. The biggest use so far has been as an investment tool to make money buying and selling it like a stock. And from a technical standpoint it is still not easy to buy and use Bitcoin. It's certainly not mainstream or accessible to most people. Now let's take a look at ChatGPT. On the surface, the most obvious comparison is mainstream adoption. This photo below illustrates that; in two months ChatGPT has amassed 100 million monthly users. It took Spotify almost six years to amass that many users. Why so much less time for ChatGPT? Well, like Spotify, it's free, easy to use, easy to access and easy to understand. But the reason it's grown exponentially quicker beyond that, and the reason why it's not VR or Bitcoin, is because of the most important reason of all; there are a large number of valuable and immediate use cases. I'll share just three (there are many more) that I have personally come across to illustrate this: 1 - In one of my courses, the students are asked to create sales presentations for different technology types. Historically I give them some articles to read, we talk about it in class, and they head out to Google to do their own research from there and then return and report their findings and opinions. This is an entry level sales technology course, so they are not expected to have a solid grasp of the technologies they are researching. The students in my courses have learned to use ChatGPT as the starting point for their research instead of Google. The results from ChatGPT haven't been gamed by SEO and they are easy to read and digest quickly and they are the best "answers" I have seen on these topics in years. While some I know have griped about the poor quality or inaccuracy of ChatGPT's responses, I have experienced this only in a few cases and never with the entry level stuff my students are using it for. The discussions with students have been of a much higher level of learning and quality than I've seen before, and it's universal across all of my classes and with pretty much all of my students. Their learning outcomes have immediately improved. 2 - In another course I teach, students are asked to come up with some ideas for a website they can build a basic page around so that we can use it to drive traffic, setup analytics and so on. Historically students have had a tough time coming up with ideas and a tougher time getting the website looking good enough to help them get traffic they can measure. It's also difficult for them initially to understand how it all works together. By spending time with them inside of ChatGPT and some AI website building tools, they are producing very high quality, no-code websites and quickly. They are understanding easier and more efficiently how to integrate analytics. And they are coming up with much better ideas that are more easily suited to do these types of things. The results? Again, significantly better learning across the board. 3 - This post. Guess what? ChatGPT wrote 90% of it for me in under 60 seconds. I spent a few minutes editing it, putting it back into ChatGPT and editing it further ... but then it was pasted into here and published. Bet you didn't see that coming. Do you think there are other uses in the world like mine and this post? Yeah, maybe just a few. And this is just ChatGPT. Don't get me started (yet) on the creative uses I am seeing from the mad gold rush of AI startups when it comes to photos, videos and other creative content. The onslaught of innovation is here and the pace is going to continue to increase. Buckle up!

  • It's Alive ... Frankenstein or ?

    This article from some Stanford researchers was quite eye-opening. Through a variety of tests they've determined that the latest iteration of ChatGPT (3.5) has the cognitive ability of a human nine year old. Whoa. This means it can thin k, talk, reason and act like a human very much capable of taking care of themselves in most situations. This of course got me thinking, how long before AI tests at the ten year old level? 12 year old? 20 year old? It's an "adult" by then ... and what will that mean exactly. Makes your head spin a bit; or at least it does for me. Here is the LINK to the article.

  • Lance Armstrong, ChatGPT and Scholarship Essays

    As I have been talking about AI and ChatGPT with people from all around the US, there have been a number of new concepts and discussions that have come up. These discussions have caused me to consider some scenarios in EDU that I had not previously considered. One that continues to pop into my mind is that of the scholarship essay. I've been fortunate to sit on scholarship committees for a few years now. The applications are typically weighted according to three things; grades, need and essay. The grades are what they've earned and cannot be changed. The need is what it is with regard to their personal or family finances. There is always a large grouping of applicants with similar grades and financial needs. So that leaves the essay as the differentiator, and I can tell you the quality of essays, historically, varies widely. There are many that aren't very good at all (sadly). There is another sizable group that is acceptable, but nothing that stands out. And then there are the great essays that make it obvious who gets the first round of scholarships. What happens when the first two categories, the "not very good" and the "acceptable" suddenly all get bumped up because applicants use AI? Maybe even to the point where they are equal to, or better than, the applicants whose essays would have previously stood out. Does this reward those with scholarships they previously wouldn't have received? Is that a bad thing? What if an AI essay beats out a non-AI essay for a scholarship? These dollars can have a massive impact on the recipients life. Scholarships often make the difference between being able to go to college at all. If winning scholarship essays are being written by ChatGPT, what should be done? Anything? Perhaps scholarship essays are delivered in person as presentations instead of digitally submitted. Or is it in a live Q&A format? That could potentially hurt the better writers though. These great writers may not like to present. They may not be good at it. They may be uncomfortable in a live environment. If any of these are true, it punishes them. AI detectors won't work. Especially when the stakes are high, as they are in receiving scholarship dollars. Applicants will take the extra time and care to run their work through AI detectors. They will do what it takes to submit essays that will escape detection. Enter the Lance Armstrong defense. If every potential scholarship applicant could be using AI, then if you aren't using ChatGPT, will you be able to keep up? Will the winners just be the best at not getting detected? Or will the rules change? I don't know the answers. But this is something I have been thinking a lot about.

  • New Questions about AI in Education

    I've been having a lot of conversations with various people about AI in education. There are so many things to discuss! I've personally been thinking about it probably a bit too much. Some of the topics that have come up in these discussions, and in my own thinking, are things I previously had not considered. In no particular order, here are a few: 1 - Students get scholarships mostly due to three factors; need, performance and essays. If the need and performance bars stay the same, the differentiator is essay writing. What happens to the competitiveness of obtaining a scholarship when almost overnight everyone and anyone can up their essay quality dramatically? I can tell you after having been on a scholarship committee for years that the gap in quality for essays can be very broad. I suspect this will change and change fast. 2 - Graduation and completion rates are a big deal to universities. Funding and fundraising are usually tied to these two metrics. In some institutions, the majority of their funding and fundraising are tied to these outcomes. Many argue that this should in fact be the case. Regardless of your view on how funding happens, if AI helps students get better grades, finish faster, or finish at all, those numbers go up. Is there a perverse incentive here for administrators and others to look the other way? The more students they graduate and the faster they graduate them, the more funding they get and/or have access to. 3 - What rules, if any, should teachers be operating under in terms of how they use AI? In the creation of assignments and lectures, how do they use these tools? How do they cite them? Do they? In grading work I have the same question. If a teacher has 50 assignments that are all pretty much identical in their answers, is there a concern (ethically, professionally or otherwise) if the AI does the grading it was taught to do by the teacher? 4 - If students learn to leverage AI in a way deemed acceptable by their college of choice, can they take significantly more hours? Will it spur students who had previously stopped taking classes to come back and finish? Can it encourage students that might not have come to college at all to now do so because they think they can manage it better? Are any of those bad things? So many questions! More to come ...

  • Three Critical Elements To Successful AI In the Classroom

    I've thought a lot about how students can game the system using AI, as well as how those with better intentions might not get the learning I'd hope they would. I think I've come up with some ways to combat this that are really important to successful student use of AI. They are: Students have to provide screenshots of all of their inputs (prompts) and outputs (text, picture, presentation, etc). They cannot provide text or something they can manipulate in any way. I have to be able to see exactly what they asked the AI to do. A tiny benefit to them is this takes less time; simply snap some screenshots and done. Students have to do the same thing with the outputs and results of these prompts by showing them in the form of screenshots as well. These two elements are easy for them to do. The third element is more nuanced and takes additional teaching effort as well as student practice. This is based on my belief that students must present their understanding and knowledge that the outputs produce in their own words. Doing so in their own words means they are sharing this in somewhat of a teaching capacity. In order to present well, they need to know what the progression of their prompts and asks mean, what the AI found or did for them, then understand those things, and understand them well enough to share without notes or long sentences to rely on. As is well known, teaching something is one of the highest forms of learning mastery. This process is meant to help them have a stronger grip on what it is I am trying to help them learn about. And so, this is where my method for doing presentations in all of my classes (with or without AI mentions) comes in. I've taught and required this presentation format for over a decade. I believe it is absolutely, unequivocally, the best way to present almost any material. While I give it a name, I certainly didn't come up with this. It's a combination of many different presentation methods. Anyhow, I call it "Alex's Five Immutable Laws of PowerPoint Presentations" and I am very picky about this being followed exactly as outlined. Here is that outline. I hope all of this is helpful detail into what I think are really important pieces for using AI properly as a learning tool. ******************************************** Students, In no particular order, my requirements for your PowerPoint submissions are: 1 - Bullet points only. No paragraphs. No more than three sentences, but preferably one or two ... and not even full sentences if you can. It's a bullet point and you are to speak to and about it. If you aren't presenting this live, please use a voice recording or voice over tool so I can hear what you have to say as the bullet point appears. You are welcome to record video with a screen share as well if you prefer. I just need to hear you explain things to me since the bullet point is meant to be very brief. 2 - The font should be larger as well so it is super easy to read and takes up space. Again, these are very brief notes, not a crutch to read and rely on. A 24 point font is a good size to start with but you may need to go a bit bigger or smaller depending on your wording and text length. 3 - Each bullet point must appear one at a time. No fancy animations, whoosh sounds or anything like that; just a click of the spacebar and another bullet appears. Why? Because if your slide has all of your points on it, they are reading those points and not listening or paying attention to you! This means each slide has a headline at the top and then it is blank. You click and your first bullet point appears and you speak about it. Then you click again and your second bullet point appears to speak about and so on. 4 - Please use a nice looking template. This means it's not plain, but also that it isn't overly designed or too busy. Some white space and a little bit of color. I know that is somewhat vague and that is okay. I just want to you to get in the habit of making your presentations looking nice and professional but I still want you to choose a style that fits your taste. 5 - Use images when you can! Some of the best slides have an image and very few bullet points. Sometimes if it is the right image, no bullet points at all. You can even use AI to create images for you! If there is no text, your audience will be immersed in listening to you talk about the image and will be dialed into your message. Do not overdo it though; too many images can have them start to tune out. It needs to be one dropped in here or there to keep things interesting. A specific example would be on a ten slide PPT, maybe two of them are image only. It's great though if every slide has a solid image along with the bullet points, but again, pick good images and don't force it. You have to be presenting live or on video for this to work obviously. If you are turning in something that will only be read, you'll always need bullet points to explain the image. Also, if you have a bunch of text you want to share that you didn't write (say a screenshot of a Chat GPT outcome), you should screenshot that and show it as an image. You don't want to have to bullet point and explain all of that text. You don't want to read it to them, either. A screenshot allows them to breeze over it and not tune you out.

  • First ChatGPT Assignment Outcomes

    In my previous blog post I shared with you the first ChatGPT and AI assignment I gave my students. There were a few questions from them initially. Most were around the type of question to use as their first prompt as well as a few around what I was looking for to show prompt progression. Overall there were few questions though. I tried to make it clear that this was only an attempt to get them trying the tools and that my grading would be extremely lenient. I was focused on them understanding the process and requirements as well as getting a base level of comfort with ChatGPT. I also made an important change that I sent in subsequent announcements and discussion. I realized that if I had them cut and paste the text for their prompts and prompt results that this left open the possibility for easy cheating. They could enter whatever they wanted if it was text only. Unfortunately you have to design things so that the temptation or opportunity for cheating is as low as possible. Because of this I changed it up and required them to take screenshots of their prompts and results. This is actually easier for them to do and also makes cheating very difficult. After sharing that change, the work started to flow in. For my online courses, they submitted a PowerPoint with either VoiceOver added or they recorded themselves presenting it on video with the PowerPoint on screen; basically a Zoom type of screen recording while sharing their screen and work. For the in-person classes, they presented the same work, but live. I should note I have a VERY specific style I ask them to present in. I will write about that in my next blog post. This style not only makes for the best presentations (it really should be followed for presenting, no matter the reason) but it requires them to think more deeply about the question and answers. They have to learn about both and speak to what they've learned. As is well known, the ability to teach someone else about something really helps with mastery. This is why they present and why they present in my required format. Namely with short bullet points that require them to speak to the topic. No notes, no sentences to read. Just them, in their own words, explaining and discussing what they found. Using this presentation requirement, the results blew me away! I also learned of a significant additional benefit I had not previously considered. I'll mention among the things I observed: 1) The quality of their findings was outstanding. It was at a level I would expect much later in the semester (this is week three). In fact, I would say the quality was better than many I see near the end of the semester. It was obvious and dramatic. 2) The progression of prompts was overall good but not great. I will teach them continually about this. It's really an opportunity to improve their critical thinking and a great chance to help them with this. Some students nailed it, others not as much. Overall as I mentioned, for a first try, the quality of prompts was pretty good. 3) What they presented regarding their interpretations of what they found was overall significantly better than I had expected. They understood at a higher level what it was I was looking for and they were able to explain it to me. Here is the part I mentioned earlier that added a significant benefit I had not previously thought of. Since the quality of their presentations across the board was overall pretty good, the other students in class (not online because it is asynchronous) was also good! They were hearing quality answers from other students in their own words, over and over again. Even if through a very base level of osmosis, and of course as a higher level of learning for some, they were hearing the good stuff over and over! Wow. I hadn't considered that. The class as a whole was a really strong learning experience for both the presenter and the audience. Again, wow. I am really excited to see these types of things continue to play out. I will document them here as they do.

  • My First ChatGPT Assignment

    After sharing the "why" behind my embracing of ChatGPT and AI, it was time to test things out with the students for their first assignment. Below is what one of the online classes received. In my next post I will talk about how these assignments went after they turned them in: Class, This is exciting! Change is afoot and I love it. ChatGPT and AI are the single biggest disruption to education and business that I have seen in a very long time. Maybe since the Internet itself became a thing. And you are on the front end of it! So exciting ... and so much opportunity! You get to be an expert even though you are yet to graduate. So, let's learn about it and help you use it. I made a video specifically about this for you to watch in the announcements. Please watch it if you have not already. As a reminder, I am allowing you to use ChatGPT and AI in my classes for assignments. However, there are some rules associated with its use because at the end of the day I want to prepare you for the real world and also help you learn. Here are my guidelines for ChatGPT and AI use: 1 - Tell me that you chose to use the tool(s) and list them by name. ChatGPT is the most likely tool you will use, but I am providing a list of others in the links below. You can also find others you want to use as well. The key is you share with me your choice! For ChatGPT you need to go to and click the link at the top that says Try ChatGPT. From there just setup a free account and off you go. Be aware that they get overwhelmed with traffic sometimes, so you may have to try again if the tool is unavailable due to heavy traffic. Don't wait until the last minute for your assignments if you use this tool because you may not be able to access it in time. 2 - You can and should start out by cutting and pasting various questions from the assignment into the tool. This is only the beginning of your work with prompts. You’ll continue to refine them so they get more and more specific and detailed. For this first assignment, you’ll do your best along these lines and when you turn in your prompt screenshots, I’ll be able to give you feedback and help you get better at it. I will also be providing some articles and other content to help you. Overall, you’ll need to share all of your unique prompts or any other inputs you gave the system. I want to see your thinking on the prompt side and what trial and error you encounter. Again, you will get better at this over time with practice and I will help you get there. Don’t sweat it too much this go around. 3 – Take screenshots of the results of the prompts for every prompt entry you did for #2 above. 4 - You present in class a PowerPoint of what you think of the results. Please refer to my announcement regarding Alex’s Five Immutable Rules of PowerPoint Presentations for specific guidelines on your PowerPoint submission. Bullet points, large font, images, appearing bullets and so on. You’ll see what I mean in that announcement. Now, onto the assignment! I want to go over the following posts and articles:| LinkedIN Post #1 LinkedIN Post #2 LinkedIN Post #3 For this first assignment, and using ChatGPT and perhaps other tool(s) listed in the article #2 above, I want you to produce a PowerPoint that has five to six slides that begins to answer the question of “What makes for a great sales proposal as a person selling a SaaS product?” I want you to choose a product and company specifically for this question. They should both be real so the systems can help you with real world answers that would be tough for you to find on your own. An example might be: “Help me write a sales proposal to sell the Podium software to a customer” And then … “Write a sales proposal to sell the Podium software to a small business owner” And then … “Write a five paragraph sales proposal to sell the Podium software to someone that owns a small retail store” The slides include: Slide 1 = Tool(s) you used Slide 2 = Screenshots of the unique prompts you entered Slide 3 = Screenshots of the results you received for each prompt Slide 4 and 5 (or more if necessary) = Your unique interpretation of the results in your own words and with your own opinions and insights. If this is in person, you will present this so we can discuss it in real time. If it is an online submission, you will do a voice over with your slides or record you presenting them. Remember, you are speaking to the bullet points, you are not reading anything to me. This is conversational and where you show me that you didn’t just cut and paste modified answers. This is where the learning happens! We will discuss this more in class (or online), but that is the outcome. Remember, you have to follow the guidelines and rules. Again, this is exciting and I really hope you see the opportunity in front of you and use it for good ... and not evil :) Thanks! Alex

  • ChatGPT and My Teaching Epiphany

    When I saw ChatGPT for the first time, I had two simultaneous and immediate reactions: 1 - This is incredible. 2 - This is the greatest cheating tool ever invented. How do you reconcile two things that are seemingly at odds? That was the question I have been wrestling with ... until a few weeks ago when it became very clear to me what to do next. ChatGPT and other tools like it are world-changing. I honestly cannot think of something that has hit me this hard and fast since the Internet itself. ChaGPT and its peers will revolutionize business in many ways. My students have to know how to use this technology for their ultimate benefit ... and not just as a better way to cheat the system (any system). The difference between these two options isn't really on them right now, it's on me. I have to convince and inspire them to think about these tools in a way that will help them see what an incredible time it is to be in their shoes! They are on a level playing ground with all of the people that have long since graduated and are in the business world. Chat GPT is just as new to them. Name another thing that has this kind of an impact where a sophomore in college can have the same skill level as a ten year VP of Sales? I cannot think of anything. From that vantage point I began creating rules of engagement for using AI in my classes. And not just using AI, or accepting AI ... but encouraging the use of AI! Little did I know this would be hugely controversial in some circles and bring almost immediate national attention (more on that in another post). So, I set about to create my first assignment, but prior to that, I sent this video to my students: After sending this video, I began to build and then publish my students first assignment. I'll share about that in my next post ...

bottom of page