AI Assistants and Education in 5 Years According to Gates

I do agree with his take on what education will look like for the vast majority of young and old people with access to the web in the coming decade. Needless to say, AI is going to be a big driver of what it means to learn and how most humans experience that process in more authentic ways than currently available…

AI is about to completely change how you use computers | Bill Gates:

In the next five years, this will change completely. You won’t have to use different apps for different tasks. You’ll simply tell your device, in everyday language, what you want to do. And depending on how much information you choose to share with it, the software will be able to respond personally because it will have a rich understanding of your life. In the near future, anyone who’s online will be able to have a personal assistant powered by artificial intelligence that’s far beyond today’s technology.

My 12 Problems

Here are the “12 Problems” I’ve built my current life around. These are non-negotiables, and they are also the focus of everything I do. If a situation doesn’t fit into one of these problems, I’ll generally relegate it, delegate it, or ignore it. 

I don’t generally recommend this practice for everyone. It’s a very difficult ethical standard to hold, and it can be cumbersome to run the mental math of “which problem am I trying to solve?” at any given time.

However, this approach’s clarity and focus far outweigh the negatives.

Here are my 12 Problems. I highly urge you to come up with your own:

  1. How can I have a positive impact on this world?

  2. How can I thrive while operating contrary to the dominant social or cultural trends?

  3. How can I inspire young people to appreciate learning as a practice?

  4. How do I provide for my family while remaining true to my calling?

  5. How can I live with the most ethical sustainability while not sacrificing my enrichment in balance with the Creation?

  6. How can I be the best role model for my espoused ideals and ethics as presented to my children and students?

  7. How can I live according to nature (kata phusin in Stoicism)?

  8. What does it mean to really be an effective teacher who can make connections and expand the worldview of my students?

  9. How can I be a good Dad, and what does that mean?

  10. How can I be a good partner, and what does that mean?

  11. How can I explore my own self and brain and express that in my life?

  12. How do I always maintain my own curiosity despite the challenges that the outside world might present?

Dangers of the Common-Knowledge Effect

Fascinating research here on the usefulness of team decision-making versus independent decision-making based on similar variables:

As counterintuitive as it seems, increasing the number of people involved in a difficult decision will likely decrease decision-making quality. Whatever unique knowledge individuals could offer to deliberations often goes unshared or disregarded. When decision-making stakes are high, don’t let your valuable UX insights fall victim to the common-knowledge effect. Be a vigilant team facilitator to ensure that all of us are at least as smart as each of us.

Common-Knowledge Effect: A Harmful Bias in Team Decision Making:

Podcast: Zane’s Ice Dragon

It’s Monday, and we’re not together in class (weird), but we’ll fix that tomorrow on Optimistic Day. Get some rest, take your vitamins, and drink water… big week ahead! Here’s what is happening in Life Science, Environmental Science, and AP Physics!

Paper Airplanes

I love incorporating paper airplanes into my classroom lessons on dynamics, flight, movement, gravity… the list goes on and on. They’re so applicable to so many scientific principles but also appeal to the curious nature inside all of us that loves to fold and learn…

History of the Paper Airplane: Paper Flight Technology Inspires Drones:

“The magic of a paper airplane is that all of these little flight corrections are happening continuously throughout its flight,” Ristroph says. “The plane is hanging under a vortex that is constantly swelling and shrinking in just the right ways to keep a smooth and level glide.”

Emotions as Constructions

Emotions are not reactions to the world. You are not a passive receiver of sensory input but an active constructor of your emotions.

How Emotions are Made – Lisa Feldman Barrett

Every teacher (and parent) should read this book. It’s transformative on many levels regarding our own personal development and how we should think about the emotional health and support of young people!

Thinking About Screentime

I’ve become much more of a book person as I’ve gotten older. Also, notebooks. That would seem quizzical to my younger self that reveled in every new productivity and reading app released on iOS or Android as I combed through blogs, subreddits, and Twitter lists, looking for the latest and greatest note-taking app.

Alas, getting old is interesting.

Screentime is definitely something that’s been on the front of my mind for the last few decades as I’ve welcomed children into this world (including Lily as of August 1!) and young people ranging from 12 to 18 into my classrooms. 

I plan to read this book, so I’m using this as a space-saver for myself to return to when I’m done (and in the middle of the school year).

Screentime is a fascinating cultural concept. The amount of “screentime” we actually consume is lower than it’s ever been (no, really). But is the measurement of “time” really what we should be focused on or worried about?

Regardless, my students will still have their devices in the “off” mode, and we’ll focus on the great ideas with our brains, pen/cil, paper, and each other’s voices like we’ll continue to not have devices on during dinners or downstairs time here in our home…

A Different Way to Think About Screentime:

Parents have a hard time when they don’t know something. I’ve written this elsewhere, but I think one of the basic things that underlies a lot of the book bannings and pronoun panics from parent-activists on the far-right is the very simple fact that parents don’t know what their kids do all day. My daughter Maeve is 7, and I volunteered this spring to help with a field trip for her first-grade class. The bus was late, and so I ended up just sitting in her classroom for about 45 minutes while the day went on as usual. Maeve is very talkative, and she loves telling us stories about her day, but it wasn’t until I sat in that classroom that I realized how little I actually knew about what the ordinary beats of that day were like, what the social dynamics were, what kind of job her wonderful teacher — hello, Mr. Diego Fernandez — is tasked with doing.

Are highlights worth it?

One of the biggest revelations I’ve had this summer doing in-depth research on Mind Body Education (thanks to the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning and Wilson Hall for introducing me to current educational psychology research these past few months) is the value of retrieval practices in classroom learning.

A particular eye-opening part of that summer learning for me is how we process information as learners immediately and in the long-term. This quote from Willingham’s Outsmart Your Brain hit me particularly hard as someone who has been a highlighter for the last 20 or so odd years! I’ll be writing more about these topics in the next few days. Thanks to Readwise for resurfacing this quote from my readings earlier this summer!