Gave a Keynote at City of Glasgow College on 'AI for Learning'. I've rarely seen an audience m ore engaged, the question and answer session could have gone on all day! Indeed, I spent the whole day, including attending another excellent session run by Joe Wilson and had innumerable conversations with teachers who approached me - this is Glasgow, people are open and friendly. Honestly, the entire day was positive, nay exciting, a real buzz about this technology that I’ve never seen before when I give such talks. They weren’t obsessed with ‘academic integrity’, indeed well aware that academics themselves pulled stuff from all sorts of sources themselves, that assessment was all a bit lazy, and were smart enough to laugh and nod at these points.
Ally Robertson, who teaches troubled kids at West Lothian College gave the best use of ChatGTP I’ve heard to date. He asked his students, some who had been in serious trouble with the law, hoodies up, a challenge. ”Anybody have a use for this ChatGPT thing?”. One lad joked that his Tinder profile was rubbish. “Could it do a better job on that” They laughed, tried it, and that day his hits went from zero to 90! Ally loves the tech, and sees it as a powerful engagement and learning tool, especially for these seriously, disengaged learners.
Free from the hubris of Higher Education, these teachers were close to their students, personally committed to their success and could immediately see the potential of the technology. Joe Wilson showed an aggregated site with dozens of generative AI tools, urged people to try it, which they were doing throughout the day. In other words they gave permission to students and faculty to use the tool, as long at they mentioned that they had used it. This was so refreshing.
I should also thank Clair, Derek and Joe, the senior managers there for inviting me. Joe, long a champion of vocational learning, took me to the Sloane bar, we had a couple of pints, a bit of a laugh. The College is fantastic, the people dedicated to teaching and Megan, the student who spoke and sat on the panel, was superb. This is what technology in learning should be about – a positive, objective appraisal of the potential of technology with plenty of real examples and conversations – it is, after all, called CHATgpt!