A lot of teachers think that ChatGPT will damage literacy levels.
I do not.
I’ve even heard people say that it will make students lazy.
In this blog, I will explore why literacy will be vital if students are going to effectively utilise AI in their lives and work.
When I refer to literacy I will be using the broader definition: The ability to read, write, speak, and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world.
Some people think that AI tools like ChatGPT will make students lazy because they will become reliant on them to do their written work.
This will lead to students leaving education lacking basic literacy skills because AI can just do it for them.
The thing is unless students have high literacy skills to start with, they aren’t going to get very far with a generative AI tool.
Anyway, literacy levels are terrible already. So what are we trying to safeguard here?
The question is:
Are we going to allow students to leave the education system with low AI skills as a consequence of inadequate literacy skills or is this an opportunity to simultaneously increase their literacy levels while developing their AI skills?
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The AI Classroom is a must-read for all educators!
The Connection Between Literacy and Artificial Intelligence
The truth is that the effective use of large language models (LLM) such as ChatGPT requires high levels of literacy. For it to work well, it needs clear and concise language to produce accurate responses. Poor literacy skills can lead to ambiguous communication, which can confuse the AI’s output.
An AI LLM is designed to interpret natural language. Inadequate literacy skills can result in grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and syntax issues that may compromise the AI LLM's ability to comprehend and respond to user queries accurately.
Communicating effectively with an LLM is becoming a major life skill. Those who can do it will survive in the AI revolution, and those who can do it well will thrive.
Large language models are designed to understand human language and then output a response. So, this means that we will be able to simply explain what we would like to happen or like to be created and AI will be able to do it.
Think this is in the future? Think again.
ChatGPT can produce computer coding simply by asking it. Check out my example here.
Runway video editor can edit a video to a very high level and all you have to do is type the instructions e.g. “Cut the clip at 1 minute 10 seconds and make that clip black and white.”
Midjourney can produce high-quality images based on your written instructions. The image of the astronaut near the top of this newsletter was created with Midjourney.
Some tools will create animations, lesson plans, videos, instructions etc simply by asking it with written words.
What does this mean?
In the AI revolution, creative skills are literacy skills.
It is our argument that literacy will become even more important, not less important.
By the way, the examples I have given above are available right now. What’s to come in the future will continue to change the world.
In BoredGeekSociety’s recent Medium post, he explored the work that is being done to connect LLMs to the physical world. Think robots with a ‘ChatGPT’ brain. The ‘Internet of Things’ is about to reach a completely new level.
Melissa McBride, the founder of Sophia School, is also working on integrating LLMs into the metaverse, giving users the ability to create new worlds by simply speaking them into existence.
In conclusion, literacy is as important as it ever has been. I would argue more important.
The false dichotomy of literacy versus AI is a red herring.
Both are now intimately connected.
So my practical question to you is:
How can we boost levels of literacy in our students using AI and how in return can we prepare students for the AI revolution with literacy skills?
Be sure to check out The AI Classroom book to learn how to stay ahead of the curve with artificial intelligence in education!
Want to read more about artificial intelligence in education? Check out these resources: