Dear Escalante Middle School Community,
In September I had the opportunity to attend a national education conference in Houston to learn about new trends, opportunities, and technologies impacting the educational landscape nationally. The closing conference honed in on technology, specifically artificial intelligence and predictive analytics known as GPT-3 software that was on the horizon.
If you aren’t aware yet of what GPT-3 is, I’m sure you will be soon. It is a fascinating Google Search if you’d like to investigate on your own, or you can read more about it in Willemena Kwapo’s EdWeek article titled “This Technology Can Write Student Essays: Is There Any Educational Benefit?”
The bottom line is that GPT-3 software creates original text and does the thinking and writing for the consumer. Here is an excerpt from Kwapo’s article:
“I then directed it to “write an analysis essay about Romeo and Juliet.” It returned a simple four-paragraph essay about the story. The essay is clear and concise, and it does read like something a human—possibly a student—would produce. It returned a complete paragraph that consisted of no glaring errors.”
The implications of this software are pretty massive. A recent Atlantic article asked the question. “Is the College Essay Dead?” and schools will need to adjust very soon as a growing number of students are already using GPT-3.
While GPT-3 is just now starting to impact how we assign and evaluate student work, we have yet to fully understand the ramifications on learning. However, there are other aspects of technology advances that we know are having excessively damaging results. It is absolutely essential that we talk to our kids again and again about two important messages.
Never send an image to anyone else under any circumstances that show you naked or partially naked.
If you take a photo or video of someone being harassed, picked on, or embarrassed, do not forward it around on social media. This is textbook cyberbullying and causes the victim of the event to relive the trauma again and again. Moreover, please talk to your child about the character flaws inherent in the person who snapped that photo and video instead of helping out. We need to train and teach our kids to be upstanders and stand up for people, rather than documenters intent on producing content for YouTube, Snapchat, and Tik Tok that embarrasses others at best or causes them to relive their trauma again and again at worst.
Thank you for your support and efforts to help our kids navigate new technologies that are being produced so rapidly. Through proactive conversations, I am sure that we can raise a generation of kids who will still do the right thing, even when it’s the hard thing.
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