From my perspective, these were the best insights from a brilliant article. The article is Our Students’ Future in an AI-World is Debatable.

The more I read these, the more I see a roadmap for becoming an AI Thinker, a topic I will have to explore in another blog entry. As I read I read the key points in my notes from the article again, it seems like a rationale for doing the same old thing that we have consistently failed to do across education institutions. Is that good or bad? On the positive side, it grounds our use of AI tools in the best we know about humans learn and think. On the bad side, it means that the tools we’ve spent so much time learning to use have changed. Now, we have to ask ourselves, How well do our developed learning, thinking, communication, and collaboration strategies and skills lend themselves to use of AI-powered thinking?

This is What Humans Do

For me, this insight puts fear of AI in its place. That’s because isn’t becoming a tool-using, critical thinking person always going to be what we do? And, the main thing that changes is the tool we use? If it’s not a stick to get ants out of a hole, it’s an AI chatbot to model a problem and engage in rapid prototyping of a variety of solutions.

No matter where you fall on that continuum of tools (e.g. stick to AI), critical thinking, communication, collaboration matter.

Reconfiguring Our Brains

It reminds me of one of my favorite books, The Genesis Machine. A radical new understanding of physics enables powerful new technologies. But the researchers/physicists of the new tool can’t use it UNTIL they reconfigure how their brain works. That’s what we’re facing with AI…reconfiguring our brains to take full advantage of AI.

So HOW exactly do you configure or reconfigure your brain to take full advantage of new tools? Or even more simply, how do you rewire your brain for new environments and tools to survive?

That’s the magic of becoming an AI Thinker. How exciting!

My Notes

Here are the takeaways from Rao and Bauschard’s wonderful article, Our Students’ Future in an AI-World is Debatable, that got me thinking in these pre-dawn hours.

How can we prepare our students for the AI-driven workplace of the future? The answer is not prioritizing teaching them AI tools that may become obsolete by the time they graduate but… helping them develop the metacognitive skills they need to succeed in a world where AI, synthetic biology, and quantum computing will rapidly advance. It’s…apparent that the traditional higher education model, concentrating on memory, repetition, and long-form written expression of what is known, is insufficient as we struggle with this new and constantly changing reality.

In today’s rapidly changing world, the most valuable skills will be

  • the ability to think critically,
  • continually identify complex problems,
  • solve these problems,
  • question our assumptions, and
  • exercise our meta-cognitive faculties to adapt to new situations.
  • communicate effectively and collaborate one-on-one and in groups, both with each other and with interactive AI tools
  • meta-cognitive skills including metacognitive awareness, self-regulation, and the ability to think critically about one’s thought processes.

Developing…metacognitive abilities equips learners with the higher-order thinking skills necessary to effectively leverage AI tools, evaluate AI-generated information, and maintain a competitive edge in an increasingly automated workforce.

My Reflection

Essentially, the takeaway here is straightforward:

develop students using proven, evidence-based instructional strategies as well as how to be a part of the scientific community via debate within the context of AI-powered work.

As I read this, I am reminded of Jonathann Rauch’s _The Constitution of Knowledge _.

Jonathan shares in his book:

A scientist is a trained professional who is plugged into thousands of others through journals and universities and scientific organizations. They have their own rules and customs, resources, and vocabulary.

That’s powerful right? How are we going to use AI according to our own rules and customs? Jonathan goes on to write:

As humans, we all outsource our interpretation of reality and even our perceptions of reality, to our social groups and personal networks. What will become scientific knowledge is produced collectively through the clashing and meshing of a variety of points of view.

As long as background beliefs can be articulated and subjected to criticism from the scientific community, they can be defended, modified, or abandoned in response to such criticism.

So, in the context of AI, it’s not enough to prepare our students and young folk to

  1. Think critically in meta-cognitive ways, identify and solve complex problems. It’s ALSO super-important that we:
  2. Communicate and collaborate with each other, as well as
  3. Test our ideas, our perceptions and interpretations of reality, in a scientific community. That is, a community where our ideas can be tested by others , errors brought to light, and those ideas corrected or discarded.

Very powerful concepts. I can’t wait to explore this further in a subsequent.