Educational Tools,  Teaching & Learning

AECT Reflection: Rob McDole on Seize the DAI 

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Like my colleagues, I spent three days at the AECT conference. I had contemplated not going because of mental fatigue. But I decided David Wiley—Chief Academic Officer for Lumen Learning and former president of AECT—may have something interesting to say about AI.  

As I approached his session, it was standing room only. Attendees filled the seats and others stood in the back and in the doorways. I found a table right outside and put my headphones in and joined the Zoom session from my iPad. I felt a little like Zacchaeus. 

From the start, the session was different from what Mr. Wiley had originally planned. He intended to show how to use ChatGPT and other AI models for instructional design. Instead, citing earlier conference sessions covering the topic, he showed how he was using AI as an educator and writer as well as in his work for Lumen Learning.  

He showed the prompts he used to create an AI session to guide graduate students through the process of finding and creating a research proposal. He showed how to have ChatGPT write a script on a subject, how to use another tool to create video from a picture of a real person, and how to use yet another tool to voice the video with the supplied script.  

Mr. Wiley concluded the session by asking attendees not if they were going to use it but if they wanted to be at the front leading. After a pause, he said that we are still at the beginning of one of the most significant technological advancements in history, but the door to lead in AI would close within the next year. If attendees wanted to help shape AI, they would need to seize the opportunity. 

The song Seize the Day started playing in my head, and Paul’s admonition to be wise and make the most of every opportunity (Eph 5:15-16) followed closely behind. Why? As of this writing, OpenAI boasts 2 million developers and 100 million active weekly users. The growth occurred via word of mouth without marketing in less than a year. With the cost of their most powerful model now cheaper than the one they released on Dec 1, 2022, the growth will continue.  

Jesus was willing to leave the 99 to find the one lost sheep (Luke 15:4-7). Should Christians shape AI? If we want to follow Jesus, we answer, yes. So, let’s seize the DAI. What are your thoughts? 

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