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Bard and Chat GPT Are Telling Us What They Want Us to Know

Listening AI

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I’m back in school, much to my sons’ amusement. I recently completed 

Google’s Cloud Skills Boost course on generative AI. I have since enrolled in Coursera’s fabulous Prompt Engineering for ChatGPT.

Before I started the Coursera class I decided to ask Bard and Chat GPT what skills I needed to be successful. 

This is what ChatGPT offered me: “In summary, effective communication and collaboration with ChatGPT involve a mix of technical skills, language proficiency, critical thinking, ethical awareness, and a good understanding of both the AI’s capabilities and its limitations. As AI technologies evolve, these skills may continue to adapt and expand to facilitate more productive human-AI interactions.” 

Bard went into greater detail yet shared advice along the same lines as its fellow LLM (ChatGPT and Bard are large-language models, the type of generative AI that is rapidly changing the world): “When communicating with Bard, it is important to be clear and concise in your language. When communicating with Bard, it is helpful to structure your thoughts and ideas in a clear and organized way. This will make it easier for Bard to understand what you are trying to say.”

As AI Evolves, Human Skills Must Keep Pace

One should note as well that ChatGPT has told us what the future holds: “As AI technologies evolve, these skills may continue to adapt and expand to facilitate more productive human-AI interactions.”

As mentioned in the first blog in this series, the skills defined in the Partnership for Learning 21st Century Learning Framework must be updated to reflect the need for humans to master the skills necessary to work effectively with the avatars of generative AI such as ChatGPT and Bard. As AI evolves so too must our communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creative skills.

The inexperienced user may think that communicating with ChatGPT or Bard is similar to working with an amped-up version of Google search. It is not. The moment you create your account you will learn that both LLMs use the language and conventions of human conversation. Each exchange is called a “chat” because that’s exactly what it is. Engaging with an LLM is a profoundly different experience from entering “Who won the 1973 Super Bowl?” into a search engine.

LLMs As Perfect Listeners

When you ask a question (in LLM lingo, this is a prompt, which will be the subject of the next two blogs) both Bard and ChatGPT respond the way a human would. A thoughtful, patient, and attentive human. The more clearly you express yourself the more fully the LLM will understand what you want from it. If you give it context the LLM will use that to craft a response that uses the context as valuable information that shapes the conversation. Think of an LLM as the perfect listener.

One of my favorite nieces, not much of a listener herself,  is a senior in high school. She is taking three Advanced Placement courses this semester. At a recent family gathering she confessed she is angry because her classmates are using ChatGPT or Bard to produce their homework. My niece is a Luddite, but an ethical one.

Upskillings Students To Be Effective, Ethical AI Users

up-skilling students

The quandary before students, parents, teachers, principals, superintendents and school boards should not be the banishment of AI. That genie is out of the bottle and it is never going back inside. The question should be: “How do we provide our students and teachers the skills and knowledge they need to use generative AI effectively and ethically?” 

Notice my use of the word “knowledge” in the prior sentence. A later blog in this series will explore the importance of domain knowledge in effective communication with an LLM. The more you know and input into your prompt the better the LLM output will be. The programming phrase “Garbage In, Garbage Out” was first uttered in 1957. It is still true today.

The death of content knowledge is a familiar lament, uttered loudly by educators after the iPhone launched in 2007. At the same time, The Partnership for 21st Century Learning faced criticism for promoting the primacy of skills over content. That was not the case then and it’s not the case with ChatGPT or Bard. One of the many great things that the Center for Excellence at New Tech High does is customizing professional learning to equip districts, schools and teachers with the skills In fact, they already have professional development around this very issue!

Content Knowledge Still Matters

As we used to say at P21, you have to communicate, create, collaborate, and critically think about something, and that something is content. Bard and ChatGPT don’t like to talk to dumb people. Just ask them.

Note: This is the second in a series of blogs that will explore the intersection of 21st century skills, project-based learning, and artificial intelligence. Up next: Generative AI and language arts standards.

David Ross (@davidPBLross) is the retired CEO of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning and the former Senior Director of the Buck Institute for Education (now PBLWorks). David was an 11th grade American Studies (History and English 11) team teacher. David created curriculum design templates, exemplary projects, rubrics for critical thinking and collaboration, and project management techniques.

David Ross

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