Happy birthday to the cellphone! It was April 3, 1973, when the first cellphone call was made. Fifty years later and I’ve called someone on my cellphone once in the past 3 months. I use my phone more for ordering fast food, posting silly pics, and messaging than for calling.

Internet Travels

Of bits and bytes is my weekly round up of interesting links and ideas I discovered on the internet. It is published on Mondays for the previous week

Apps

The past week Google announced a bunch of new features for Chromebooks. I have a feeling two of the features will be very popular. The first is the ability to create interactive questions Γ  la Edpuzzle. Google’s interactive questions will probably not be as featureful as Edpuzzle’s, but they may be “good enough”. Practice sets were announced a year ago and they’re finally becoming available. A practice set is a shareable interactive lesson that’s available in Google Classroom. While it looks very cool, be aware that it is not available in the free Google Workspace for education.

On the Chrome front, Google is added Reading mode in version 114 and a web player for screencasts created on the Chromebook.

Also, if any laptop manufacturer is listening, we would love some 8GB Chromebooks for teachers that don’t cost as much as a Macbook Air.

Pedagogy

I’m getting a little burned out on all of the AI/ChatGPT stories, but then I’m afraid of missing something, so I get dragged back in! First up is ChatGPT at the college level. Will it kill the essay? It needs to get a lot better before it does that. Most of the text ChatGPT spits out is uninspiring drivel. It ups the word counts, but at what cost. Still, colleges are freaking out about it but I propose it’s too early to start making policy decisions.

We just had this discussion in our district as we were going through board policies and decided on holding off adding anything about AI. The problem arises from the simple idea of a definition of AI. Gmail has had writing assistance for a year or so at this point, so if you ban AI you name the use of Gmail. Goggle and Microsoft are integrating the use of AI into their products, so no one is going to escape. Has you district had these discussions? I’d love to hear about them!

If you wondering what direction AI is going to take in the writing process, check out the Writers Guild of America (WGA) guidelines. The WGA is the union of the writers of movies, TV, internet productions and more, so they have a stake in how AI is going to affect their members. Their guidelines are sensible, recognizing the use of AI as a tool and that “It is important to note that AI software does not create anything. It generates a regurgitation of what it’s fed.”

And here are some tips to pass along on mastering critical thinking.

Technology

One of the advantages of being neurodiverse (think ADHD) is the ability to hyperfocus. This happens to me when I’m working on a programming project. I can basically tune out everything, concentrating and working on the project for hours. All the while neglecting food, rest, and almost bathroom breaks. Unfortunately for the neurotypicals staying focused is getting difficult. Technology has been blamed, but it’s more than just phones.

Just in case you’re still using the Overdrive app for you library ebook loans, it is shutting down May 1st. I’ve already been using the Libby and it’s fantastic. With the Libby app I can check out ebooks from the local library. There is also a browser extension that will show what ebooks are available to you through the Libby app when browsing Amazon.

A look into the future of AI and laziness comes to us from Robin Bauwens on LinkedIn. They had a review who rejected their paper and suggested several resources to study to fix the paper. Spoiler alert, the resources were all made up by ChatGPT and didn’t exist.

Tips

The Free Learning List is a curated list of free learning resources available on the web. It is an extensive list that goes through YouTube channels, podcasts, websites, music, and even subreddits! They also have a free poster you can download or purchase for $20.

Pot Pourri

I’m so confused on the role of tech and our children’s mental health. One source says the evidence is week on the effect of tech and mental healt while another says that it’s “a reckoning for Big Tech” (Archive Link). In this round up is also a depressing article on the mental health of teenage girls.

Extra Credit

Here are extra links that I found interesting that may or may not be education related or interesting to you and I didn’t want to lose them.


Ryan Signature

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and join your fellow educators on the Eduk8me email list!


Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and join your fellow educators on the Eduk8me email list!