ChatGPT & Generative AI

Meaningful Professional Development on AI

The SAMR framework for tech integration can help teachers work together to figure out how AI might be helpful in their work.

July 8, 2024
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As a technology fan, I was fascinated by the unveiling of ChatGPT. I was eager to see what skills students would need to move forward in this new technology landscape, and I used Ruben Puentedura’s framework for technology integration, SAMR (which stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition), to examine how AI could be beneficial in schools and beyond. 

I also considered what support teachers would need to meet students’ new needs and used all of this information to develop a four-pronged approach: creating an AI professional learning community (PLC), facilitating professional development sessions; highlighting teacher leaders; and developing digital communication strategies.

Creating an AI PLC

I initiated the Artificial Intelligence PLC with our literacy coach, who had a trusting relationship with our faculty. Our initial discussions focused on how AI was not a substitute (the S in the SAMR framework) for teachers, but a way to augment (A), modify (M), and redefine (R) learning when presented strategically. 

We discussed including students and teachers, IT and administration, the media specialist, and anyone else who wanted to be involved. I asked our coach to open a space where teachers could share their ideas and findings asynchronously as well; we used Google Spaces to do so. 

We also discussed the vision. It focused on shifting our thinking from limiting students to pen and paper in an effort to prevent cheating, to instead harnessing AI to open doors that support skill development. We considered how AI can help students brainstorm ideas for a paper or motivate them to build background knowledge (through tools like SchoolAI) or to study or develop language skills with tools like QChat

When facilitating an AI PLC, it’s important to encourage members to try new things—but to also request that they evaluate new tech tools for privacy issues. Provide a technology evaluation protocol that includes the following:

  • Does it meet privacy requirements (FERPA, COPPA, etc.)?
  • What permissions must you grant when using the platform? 
  • What information is accessible? 
  • Does the platform store information about the students, their locations, etc.? If so, for how long? What does the platform do with the information? 
  • What is the function of the platform, and is that function a privacy concern? (For example, slides or documents that include information that should not be shared, private discussions, student or colleague names, etc.)
  • Is the function of the platform helping students learn ethical use? 
  • Does the platform align with the school’s mission, vision, and curricula? 

Together, examine safety frameworks as they develop—such as through ISTE, Digital Promise, Common Sense, and more.

Other Professional Development Programming

In addition to the PLC, I created interactive posters that exposed teachers to different tools—like Eduaide and MagicSchool—and strategies they could use to meet students’ needs or streamline responsibilities, using AI to prevent burnout. Posters contained best practices, tutorials for the strategy/tool, QR codes for videos and samples, and a Padlet where teachers posted questions or shared successes. I introduced them in a department meeting and encouraged teachers to engage with them. 

I also facilitated professional development (PD) sessions on ethical AI use employing the SAMR framework. After considering how MagicSchool and Eduaide can support lesson planning, differentiation, and more, we talked about how these tools can support some of the routine tasks teachers face, streamlining their workflow.  

Highlighting Teacher Leaders

Once teachers had time to experiment with the tools I presented, I focused my energy on a few teachers who dove deeply into the material. We discussed how they were using the tools presented, and several teachers found other tools, like Diffit, to support differentiation and planning. 

After several months, I requested that these teachers present their use of AI to the staff. They hosted sessions during a school PD day, where teachers could choose what they would like to learn. Some of the sessions were “Differentiation with Diffit,” “Lesson Planning, College Recommendations, and Activity Creation with MagicSchool,” and “Developing Higher Order Thinking Questions with Eduaide.”  

Digital Communication for Consistent Encouragement

I noticed that teachers needed more AI literacy support, so I created a newsletter: AI in the Humanities. This newsletter highlights best practices, new AI tools, teachers’ integrations of AI, and insights from AI thought leaders like Matt Miller, Amanda Bickerstaff, Ethan Mollick, Kevin Roose and Casey Newton from the podcast "Hard Fork," and more. 

Hallway conversations helped me gauge insight on teachers’ integrations, comfort zones, and both teacher and student needs. Identifying early adopters opened doors for teachers to take calculated risks with integration. 

One particularly successful integration came from a new teacher who was working on a research paper. He was teaching students about acceptable AI use, using MagicSchool’s student chatbots, with which they received and evaluated feedback on their papers. After finding a post on student-composed disclosure statements, I asked him if he would be interested in trying them out. He was excited to take the risk, so we discussed annotating the sample statement using different-colored highlighters and outlining what students should include. A few weeks later, he shared an email with student-composed AI disclosure statements that were excellent examples of AI literacy in the classroom. He then presented this idea and his students’ examples to the department. 

This four-part approach to AI professional learning has provided teachers in my school the autonomy to test AI tools while considering SAMR to ensure that students and colleagues develop an understanding that AI is not a substitution for their thinking or expertise. They’re trying new things while learning what works and what needs to be examined and reworked. And both teachers and students are learning the importance of reflection, considering how best to move forward in this technology transformation.

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  • Professional Learning
  • Technology Integration

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