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Look who's talking: ChatGPT is getting real

Just as I was about to click publish on today's blog, news drops from OpenAI about a huge update. Imagine this: ChatGPT is about to join the ranks of Alexa and Siri. If you are Plus subscriber, any day now you could be conversing with ChatGPT over dinner or wine. I can't wait to find out if we'll get to name our own bot. Oh, and did I mention you can now share pics and talk about them? If something's broken, take a few pics, upload to ChatGPT and ask for help and it won't get frustrated with you.

Now, while I'm a pretty darn excited to test out the new features, there’s also a tiny voice in the back of my mind saying, "Did OpenAI intentionally release this around Halloween?".

Today's development is the exclamation point for why panel discussions like the ones I participated in last week are crucial. The advancements are coming at us fast and furiously and we need to chat, debate and discuss to make sure we're using the tools for good and understanding the implications.

So, rewinding to last week's panel discussion "ChatGPT: Strategies for Back to School Success". First off, a huge thank you to EdNorth and the panelists. It was 90 minutes of pure gold. Okay, maybe I'm a little biased but we listened and learned as the educators shared stories of real classroom magic happening with ChatGPT.

ChatGPT in the Classroom
ChatGPT: Strategies for Back to School Success

Jacob Boe, a 6th-grade social studies teacher at Richfield Public Schools, highlighted the challenge of teaching students at varying reading levels. He's been using ChatGPT to tailor content to individual students. But here's the kicker: he ensures curriculum experts vet the AI-generated content. So far, ChatGPT's been hitting the mark.

David Bjorklund from BlueSky Academy shared a heartwarming story of an autistic student who found a conversational partner in ChatGPT. Interestingly, this student also pointed out the tool's potential misuse for cheating.

Ben Stanerson, teacher and technology integrationist from Minnetonka High School emphasized student involvement in shaping the district's AI ethics policy. He also noted a growing optimism among teachers who've attended ChatGPT training sessions.

Suzy Kaback, a 20 year literacy teacher educator, shared the pioneering work she is doing with incoming teachers, harnessing ChatGPT to enhance their prompting skills for more dynamic lesson plans.

Of course, our discussion wasn't without its skeptics. Concerns about student laziness and AI's occasional hallucinations were raised. The consensus? These concerns are valid and warrant attention. Perhaps it's time for educators to engage students in this dialogue.

Maybe, just maybe, it's an opportunity for teachers to learn from their students.

Now, you might wonder about my stake in this. I'm not an educator, but I am a mom and a big sister in the Big Brother's Big Sisters Program. I've seen firsthand the challenges students face, and I genuinely believe tools like ChatGPT can make a difference.

I'm convinced that students who engage with ChatGPT, understanding its strengths and limitations, are gearing up for a competitive edge.

Here's what meant the most to me.

Twin Cities Startup Week ChatGPT Panelists
ChatGPT: Panelists in order of how they are seated, left to right

When the panel discussion was over, it was clear none of us wanted it to be over. We had so much more to talk about.

We all agreed, we should get together monthly, share what's working, what's not working.

And now based on today's big news from Open AI, we will surely have plenty to talk about as we test the waters with the new features.

Our panelists also compiled some of their favorite resources

The video recording should be available soon. An AI helper was enlisted to help refine some audio challenges. Sign up to stay updated.

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