🎥Webinar recording


Nina Bamberg (00:02):

Welcome everyone. We’re really glad to have you here for our conversation about AI for early childhood educators. And so roughly the agenda that we’re going to follow here today is talking about why we think these conversations are still relevant to be having in the early childhood space, how early childhood educators can leverage the power of AI and how it can be used to create learning materials, as well as how we can start building AI literacy skills for early learners. And kind of a little bit, we’ll finish up with where we see the future of early childhood learning with AI and go into both a little bit the pros and cons of how AI might affect early childhood educators. But first, I know some of you may have found us in different places, so I’m just going to give a quick intro of who we are.

And so to start, pedagog.ai, we’re a education technology company providing resources, tools, knowledge. So we have a bunch of different resources out there and we visit schools and we talk to different teachers. We host a lot of webinars and we have some of our own AI tools that we’ll be showing you. And so our goal is really to help teachers at all levels navigate this world of AI, recognizing that it is still a very new and emerging technology and making sure that everyone has what they need to thrive in this space. And Beck, I’ll let you jump in and talk a little bit about what you do.

Beck Goodman (01:54):

Yes. Hey everyone, thank you so much for coming today. I’m really excited for this conversation. My name is Beck Goodman. I use she her pronouns and I’m the founder of Grow with Beck, which is an early learning company based in Manhattan, New York. We do both child facing services and in small groups providing kindergarten readiness preparation as well as early literacy and teaching reading for students ages three through seven. And we also work with schools. We have an early literacy curriculum that is present in some preschools here in the city as well as we develop some downloadable content that you might find on teachers pay teachers or Etsy, other platforms like that or for teachers to use in their classrooms.

Nina Bamberg (02:41):

Awesome. And so we’ll be going back and forth today and each offering some of our insights on some of the topics that I brought up today. But first, just quickly on why we think that this conversation, actually before we even get into this, I’m curious of all of you who are here, if you want to share either out loud or in the chat if and how you’ve used AI for your own purposes before, and just for us to kind of gauge where you’re all coming to this conversation from. And that way we can kind of help tailor some of what we say, but curious to know what have been your experiences with AI so far, or if you want to share even what grade or what age level you teach. We’d love to know where you’re all coming from. Again, feel free to unmute yourself or if you want to type in the chat, we’d love to get an idea of who’s here today.

Beck Goodman (04:04):

Well, I’m happy to pop in and share one.

Nina Bamberg (04:07):

Oh, great. So it seems like you’re coming with some experience so far. Beck, what was the story you wanted to share?

Beck Goodman (04:37):

Oh, I was going to share that both myself and I know my students interact with AI through Siri, Google Home, Alexa, which starting as soon as they can talk, they are pretty proficient in. So their interactions with AI really have already begun at home, but I know we’ll kind of get into that transition from home AI to school AI in a minute.

Nina Bamberg (05:05):

Awesome. Okay, well, thank you so much for sharing some of your experiences and feel free to pop in with questions in the chat or out loud at any time, and we’ll definitely leave some time at the end for a longer question period as well. But firstly, to start out, we know that or we’ve heard a lot that it seems like the early childhood space has often gotten ignored in this conversation about ai. And it’s understandable because when tools like Chat GPT were first released, it was very clear that teachers of older students in high school and college were immediately worried about how their students might use it unfairly or to cheat or things like that. And then slowly the conversation started changing to the ways that AI can be a tool and things like that. But we very much want to say that it is still very relevant for early childhood educators and students and for what those questions might be and kind of addressing some of those concerns.

So we definitely understand the concern that will this age of AI or promoting the use of AI increase screen time for students and will schools be reluctant to use AI because they might receive pushback from parents or other stakeholders? And how we would answer those questions is that we can build students’ AI literacy skills without having them interact with the technology or increase screen time. And we’ll get into that a little bit later, and that we can leverage all of the powers of AI to enhance the current capacity of teachers so that the power of AI can come in a multitude of different ways that can really enhance what’s already going on in the classroom, but doesn’t necessarily increase the amount of time that students are spending on screens. I know, Beck, were there any additional ideas you would add to these questions?

Beck Goodman (07:24):

Yeah, well, I think fundamentally when we think about AI, when you think about it in the two categories of is it a child facing product or an adult facing or teacher facing product in terms of where AI technology currently exists in the space for being able to be a child facing product, when we think about early childhood, not birth through seven, but probably around four through seven, we have to take into consideration what types of inputs the child can actively continuously put in for AI to be responsive to it. And right now, kind of alluding to what you were sharing, Nina, about the current products that are on the market, they really require both written or typed or even verbal communication at length in order for the AI platform to respond to the user’s needs. What we’re going to see come into the market definitely within the next five years, but potentially even sooner in the next one to two years are AI products that are not inherently screen-based AI that’s embedded into building blocks or a stuffed animal that becomes interactive and lifelike.

And so we’re going to talk a little bit about why those AI literacy skills, particularly as children are developing their understanding of reality and fiction as they’re developing their social emotional and relational skills, how these types of products can interact with that. But when we’re thinking about child interaction with AI right now, what we’re seeing in classrooms is that the adult is putting in the input maybe like an image generator as was shared in the chat or to create a decodable reader or something like that. And then the child is interacting with that in kind of traditional ways he on paper or maybe on a Google Slides. So we’ll talk a little bit more about the ways in which AI can develop and how it can become more present in your classroom in a child facing capacity. But for the next little bit, I think we’re going to talk quite a bit about how it’s adult facing. So

Nina Bamberg (09:30):

Yeah, so the next one that we’re going to get into is going to be how teachers can leverage the different powers of AI and some of the different tools that are out there. And so first we’re going to get into parent facing communications and all the ways that AI can be a helpful tool here. So the way it can draft general and personal email, it can actually help draft responses to emails as well. It creates pretty good newsletter templates or helps draft newsletters. It can create forms like permission slips and things like that. And why AI can be particularly helpful for these kinds of tasks is that it has because of the vast amount of data that it’s been trained on, it knows the general formatting conventions for these types of communications. So it’ll add the fluff part of emails for you. So I hope this finds you well or it can be prompted to take different tones if you want to communicate in a more stern way versus an empathetic way or however might be appropriate for the situation.

It understands some of those directions. And again, for when we’re talking about forms or newsletters or things like that, it understands the most common formatting conventions for things like that. And so it can be really helpful for you to use it as a tool and with very minimal input, get a good draft of something that is usable in your context. And so here’s an example of a newsletter template that I asked chat GPT to create. And so for here, I asked it to create a template for a monthly newsletter and I asked for the details that it’s for parents outlining upcoming events and important dates over the next month. Again, the example here of it, adding that kind of fluff for you, I hope this newsletter finds you well. It leaves blanks there where it knows that I need to fill in additional information and it formats all that for right? So you could do this once and then this could be a standard format you use for months going forward, or you could even continue the conversation with AI and ask it to put in certain events at certain dates and things like that. So it’s really good at tasks like this where there’s kind of a standard format for something and then it’s also adding some of that kind of more standard text that is probably going to be pretty much the same in most contexts no matter who’s writing it.

This is an example of using it for a more personal communication. And so for here, I ask it to craft an email to a parent who is reluctant to sign their four-year-old child up for speech therapy. And here I ask it to take an empathetic understanding tone and explain the benefits of early intervention. And so here again, it adds some of that standard email language for you, but then again, based on its own knowledge and training data, it has enough information to kind of answer some of those questions for me to explain the benefits of this therapy and of starting it as soon as possible. And so it adds some of those details that I asked for here and throughout. It does take that empathetic understanding tone that I asked for. And so it says a lot of, I understand emphasizing the importance of your child’s wellbeing and all of those things. And so it can be really good at things like that. And also if you have an email like this started and you need help maybe formatting it or adding some of that more understanding or empathetic tone to it, AI can be really helpful there too. So even if you’re not starting from scratch, it can have some of these helpful effects as well.

Also, I wanted to show, this is a tool that we have on our website and at the end of this webinar we’ll give you a quick little tour of some of the tools that we have available on our site. But this is one which is an email response helper. And so for this one, it allows you to put in an email that you received and then it’ll help you draft a response. And so you could see for this one here, I pasted in an email and asked a couple of questions about the context of that email and any notes that you have so far. And then it helps draft an initial response to that email. And so this is something else that AI might be helpful with, and we will share these slides in the same place that you accessed this webinar. These slides will be posted along with this recording.

And so these are just some more prompts that you might want to also try out, and you can come back to these, but there’s something like composing an update to a parent reminder emails, newsletters, and this is an interesting newsletter prompt or a way that you can choose to interact with AI where it says, can you ask me some questions? And then draft a newsletter. So if you don’t have all the details already and you aren’t sure where to start, that’s an interesting way to interact with a tool like chat, GPT or another chat bot where you can ask it to ask you questions in order to get the context right before it even drafts what you’re asking for. And then this is another email response prompt, a way that you could do it just in a chat bot if you don’t want to use a tool like the one I showed.

Okay, so in addition to parent communications, there’s other things that AI can be used for and for administrative support. So other tasks that you might do that involve paperwork, reporting, record keeping, all of those kinds of tasks. Again, reasons that it can be helpful for these kinds of tasks is that many of the tools are able to generate outputs in a table format. There’s tools that connect with Google Sheets or can be prompted to create an output in an Excel format or that’s exportable to Excel. And again, it can take appropriate tones and format or follow required formatting guidelines. And so again, it can be very helpful with all these different kinds of tasks.

This is an example, and for this one I use Google Bard because I wanted to show how it works here, how it connects with other Google tools. And so here I asked it to create a spreadsheet for a teacher of three to four year olds to track student progress on key development skills. And here you can see it just kind of chose those skills, but obviously I could have put in a more detailed prompt and actually told it what skills I wanted it to be measuring, but of course editable here and things like that. But just with a very simple prompt here, it created this spreadsheet format for me, and you could see this export to sheets at the bottom, which is a really cool feature of Google’s Bard tool because it is integrated with Google’s other apps. So if you ask it to create a spreadsheet, you can immediately open it in Google Sheets. If you ask it other questions, you can open it in Google Docs, you can even open it in a Gmail draft. And so that’s a tool that has some of those additional features that might be helpful, especially if you’re someone who already uses Google for a lot of things.

Oh, yeah, created on Bard, which is kind of like Google’s version of chat GPT. So yeah, no worries. Joyce, would it not work because it’s your school blocks it? Do you not use it because are you not allowed to use it or you don’t want to or you haven’t used it yet? I’m curious. Okay, well, we’re glad you’re here then if you haven’t been introduced to it. That’s the whole purpose of what we’re doing here today is to talk about the different ways that you could use it. So again, we’re here. The examples I’m giving now are about ways that you might be able to use it for administrative support. So in addition to communication things here, I had it draft a proposal to the admin at my school for additional sensory toys and other materials for four to 5-year-old students who need them for emotional regulation.

And so here it helped outline what that proposal might look like. And you could see in each section it gave me the details that I need to fill in. And you could probably definitely go back and ask it more, follow-up questions for it to fill in some more of those details for you. But it can also be a really helpful tool for something like this for outlining where if you’re feeling like you’re not sure where to start or you need some additional, even brainstorming help, something like this, it is a great place to start. It gives you an idea of even the sections you might want to include in this proposal. But on the other hand, if your school already has a standard proposal format, you could tell the AI that too. You could say, these are the five sections that need to be included in the proposal outline, what I might say in each section, or outline the details that I might give in each section or how I can argue for these materials in each section of this proposal. And so you can interact with it in a number of different ways to get at those different results.

For this one, as an IEP help example, I said I’m drafting an IEP. Take a professional tone and explain that the student is struggling to stay in their seat and initiate tasks. And so here again, and this is also a great example of a way that you can get help on a task that involves an individual student without compromising that student’s privacy or security by giving away their name or any information about them. All I said here was like, right, this is something that the student is struggling with, and I gave it the context that I’m working on an IEP, but I didn’t give any identifying information about the student that could violate education privacy laws or anything like that. And you could see here that because I didn’t give it a name or those additional details that chat GPT left it blank here for me and it filled in that I could go back and fill in that information. So it took the context that I gave it the tasks that the student is struggling with, and it expanded that information for me and added those additional details as well as get into the proposed goals and interventions that we could use going forward.

Again, some additional prompts in here that you could come in and try out. So again, a request for additional resources, a system design one, this is another cool prompt you could potentially try out. So let’s say you want to optimize a task that you’re currently doing that you feel like takes a lot of time, something that you could potentially enlist AI’s help with here. I said create a system for tracking parent teacher communications include a space for parent name, student name, date of communication, method of contact, key points and follow up needed. So the AI there can help you maybe optimize or streamline a task that you do a lot but you feel like is taking up more time than it should. Also, a faculty meeting example provide a format for recording minutes at faculty meetings. We’ve definitely heard from a lot of teachers that those kinds of tasks can be overwhelming and they see the benefit of a huge benefit to AI aiding there, or even after a meeting helping streamline notes.

So you could come into chat GPT or another AI after a faculty meeting and say, help me streamline these notes into a more organized outline. Help me pick out the key next steps that were discussed in this meeting and who was responsible for them and those kinds of things. So either before or after a meeting like that, the AI can be a very helpful tool. And another IEP example here. So based on provided data, you could put in the data, recommend short term instructional objectives and are benchmarks that align with the annual goals, so, so whatever the language used in the forms that you need to use, you can also you use that language with the AI before we go on to the next session. So this next bit is going to be a little bit more getting away from the more administrative workflow tasks and into a little bit more of the curriculum design and creating materials. But I can pause for any questions that have come up so far, or Beck, if there’s anything you wanted to add based on anything I just said.

Beck Goodman (25:57):

No, I mean I think they’re all great and very functional. I also, I’m a very big advocate for teachers personal and professional advocacy within the school setting. So I also want to encourage teachers, particularly because we’re experiencing so much turnover within our nation’s schools right now, and you’re often walking into a situation with little documentation or entering into conversations with administrators where you may not have the backing of anyone to provide particular language to you. This is a great way also to support your own self-advocacy in those settings, both by getting started in a new school really quickly if you weren’t left with much or tackling challenging conversations within a professional setting. So just have to shout that out.

Nina Bamberg (26:48):

Yeah, thank you. Okay, so like I said, this next part is going to be some more examples of the more curriculum design side of things. So here I used it to of the prompt I went with here was I said, write a poem that is designed to teach kindergarten students learn the sound of the letter S. And so write here, something else that AI might be helpful with is creating a quick activity like this or a quick material like this where you know what you need, the type of material that you need, you know what you’re working on that day and you need some kind of supplemental material. You can jump on chat GPT or another tool and ask for exactly that. And so here you could see based on my prompt, it created a poem that has a majority of the words that start with the letter S, and so can help with that particular practice if that’s what you’re focusing on that day.

Another tool that we have on our site does something similar except instead of writing out the prompt yourself, it scaffolds it a little bit for you. So we have a tool where you can choose if you want a story or a poem, what letter you want it to focus on, the grade of the student and the maximum word count that you want the story or poem to be, and it’ll do that for you. So here I asked it to create a story for practicing the letter B, and it created a short little story for me about the big brown bear. So another example of how you might interact with those tools. And again, at the end, we’ll show you where on our website some of these tools live, as well as a couple of new ones that we just put up today so that we’re very excited about.

Beck Goodman (28:52):

And can I just hop in and talk? Oh, yeah, yeah,

Nina Bamberg (28:56):

Go ahead.

Beck Goodman (28:57):

Yeah, I just want to hop in because right now, particularly in the early literacy teaching reading space, I’m sure we’re all aware of the national conversation that’s going on, kind of the transition, moving away from a whole language-based approach to a more phonics-based approach. And what that’s leaving is a real gap in our schools because the schools that have the means and the budget to go out and get rid of all of their leveled readers and bring in all phonetically controlled texts are able to do that. The schools that don’t have the funding to do that, or the teachers who don’t have the individual disposable income to do that are left with a mix match of curriculum and supplies and everything is catching up to that change. That’s a natural part of the transition. But one of the things that I’ve certainly used are tools similar to this to create the resources that you’re finding you’re missing, like phonetically controlled texts, decodable sentences, word lists that are following a particular rule, even newsletters to parents to discuss whatever you’re talking about in class as that gap closes between what the school districts and then their curriculum or resource providers are able to work out, this is a really great stopgap solution.

And also this is going to be, I think the new way of all supplemental material, particularly for the younger ages of threes, fours, and fives where there’s less regulation about what kind of content they’re interacting with. When you have more freedom as an educator, these are great ways to close those gaps. So you’re still curricularly aligned, but no longer confined to the resources that you physically have in the classroom or confined on some of the more traditional sites like teachers pay teachers.

Nina Bamberg (30:49):

Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for jumping in. Yeah. And so this next one, two is an example of something that AI is also really great at is simplifying complex concepts. And so you can rely on it. You want to explain something at a level that your students can understand, and I thought this was a cool one. I said, what’s an analogy I can use to explain the concept of energy to 3-year-old students? And here it compared energy to batteries in a toy and then talked about how batteries need to recharge and need fuel. And so it related it to things like food and sleeping, so things that students themselves can personally relate to. And so this is another great use of AI either in your planning or you quickly need an idea as a way to explain something. It’s pretty good at these kinds of tasks of quickly simplifying something or quickly coming up with an example like this.

Another one here, I asked it to write a short story that simplifies the concept of the water cycle for preschool students. And again here it created a personified raindrop character or water droplet character for this story and explained how it went from living in the ocean with all of its water droplet friends to evaporating, and then eventually it raining and coming back down to the water and talking about adventures on that journey. So taking a concept that students might learn at an older age but can be simplified in this way and something else that’s cool. And so I did this in the premium version of chat GPT, so the one that currently costs money, but it’s a great example of this because that version also creates images now. So after it created this story, I followed it up with the question of asking it to create the character that it had just created for the story.

So I said, I asked it to create an image of drippy it’s water drop character, and it did. So that’s another fun use of a tool like this, especially one that has both those text and image capabilities that can interact in this way. But there are other image generation apps out there that are also free where you could do it separately and go ask, can you create a personified water droplet character? And it can, so there’s multiple tools out there that are good at the or that can do image generation, but I thought this was a good example of how now the way that this version of chat GPT works is that it can do both all within the same chat thread. And so it can create the story and then also help you illustrate it. And I could have done more than just one image. I could have asked it like show drippy flying up to the sky or show it raining or something like that. But I just asked it to create the character here. But you could continue that conversation if you wanted illustrations of more parts of the story.

Beck Goodman (34:29):

And the other thing that you can do to follow up, sorry, but one of the more time consuming parts of being classroom teacher, of course is differentiating both on students’ IEP or 5 0 4 needs and just their skill level that. So you can also follow up the creation of this story to ask it to differentiate it in three levels. One being only bulleted points, one being within this word range or using these types of language. And the third one maybe being the most complex. So it’s automatically differentiated, but it’s pulled from the same source text. That’s also a great way to collaborate with any SPED teachers that you have on your team to alleviate the workload on both of you and just make sure everything’s up to code, but without doing the labor that created it.

Nina Bamberg (35:19):

And that’s why we also on this tool, when we created it, we added that word count max feature or field there, so that if you’re creating a text like this and that the students you’re creating it for can only handle a certain length story. That’s why we did that. But yeah, I could have also added those details here for Chad GPT in the prompt if said, make sure the story is only a certain length long, but or as Beck just said, follow up the conversation and said, create two more versions of this story, one that’s longer and uses more complex vocabulary and one that’s shorter and uses less complex vocabulary or uses or tells the story in point format or something like that. Yeah, go ahead.

Beck Goodman (36:14):

This is just such a great example because I feel like it comes up all the time. The other great thing, and you’ll see this I think in the resource page a little bit later on, is the way that you can integrate two different platforms. So you get this story, you get the image, you might get some differentiated versions, and then you can put it into one of the resources you’ll see later and it’ll create it into a Google slide for you that’s aligned with what you said. So now you’ve developed an entire lesson plan. Obviously it takes an eye for detail, you have to read over it, but it’s put that all together for you. And so you have a full lesson plan based on an initial prompt.

Nina Bamberg (36:53):

Yeah, at the end we’ll get to some of those additional tools, but let’s move on because I feel like we’re already getting close to out of time. Also, something else that AI, especially image generations are good at, are bringing silly concepts to life. So let’s say you had an activity where you had students brainstorm funny animal combos or draw funny animal combos, and you wanted to then show them what their creations or their ideas might really look like. So this is an example. I asked it to combine a zebra and a hippo because why not? And that’s something that the student might find engaging. And so that’s something you can also use these tools for without trying to have to figure out how to Photoshop two different animals together or download other apps that might be more complicated to use or something like that. So it would be is another great use for this tool to kind of quickly bring a student’s fun silly idea to life. Okay, so this next part, we’re going to quickly get into some, oh, did I freeze? Okay, quickly get into some AI literacy skills that we can start building at a young age.

So yeah, I don’t know. Beck, did you want to take this part of talking through some of these?

Beck Goodman (38:20):

So I think one of the larger conversations that’s happening happening right now about child development and child rearing in general is how they’re going to interact with all of this new unfounded technology that now is surrounding with them. And obviously we all believe that knowledge is power. So that begins with significant education about what AI is and AI literacy beginning in an early age. So that can look like both kind of the more hard skills literacy of understanding what if then logic, right? If I say this, then that will happen. That’s kind of the foundation of much of coding, but it can also help with a lot of long-term literacy skills in terms of understanding the world around you, identifying reality from fiction, especially as we begin entering into the world of altered images or deep fake, that’s going to be obviously significant for all of us as grownups, but as children are developing their understanding of what real is and what fake is, it’s going to become increasingly difficult to have those conversations when you’re looking at a fake image of a real thing.

So we have a couple of examples I know coming up in the next slide to talk about what those images may look like. The other thing that is on the market now, but we’ll definitely start coming out with a bit more our hands on tools and activities that teach kids as early as three, what machine learning is, which is how AI learns and basic coding. This way it can kind of demystify the idea that there’s just this voice in Alexa that just knows what I’m saying and can respond to me, but it’s not a person, but it’s not a computer, but it kind of is both, so they can really kind of master how to interact with it from the very beginning. So I caught you right as you went down, but that’s what I got.

Nina Bamberg (40:25):

No, thank you. I just noticed that my computer wasn’t charging and so it yelled at me. But yes, we have a couple examples of a few of the things brought up here in the next slides. So for the first one being identifying reality from fiction. And so the way that you can use these AI image generators to create unrealistic images that can help students make some of those calculations for themselves and have some of those conversations about is this real? Does this match with my understanding of what I see in my daily life? And so again, here an example of someone, a young student riding a kangaroo over, there’s like, did that really happen? Do we think that that’s something that could really happen? Or the middle image where I asked it to create a standard food item but make everything the wrong color. So you could have a conversations of, are pickles really purple or why is the bread this color, those kinds of things. And then in the image of a dog flying, do we think that’s real? Those kinds of things. And so you can use AI image generators and all of these different ways to help students navigate some of those questions and be prepared for a world where things might be manipulated and things might not always be what they seem and prepare them to be spotting some of those things.

And here’s an example of a very basic coding tool that you might want to try out. So this is a tool called Scratch, and it actually allows students to create their whole own different things. This is just kind of their very basic feature that they let you play with, but it’s basically they can stack these different actions on top of each other and then see how it affects how their little cartoon moves is how it works. But you can also use the site to create games and other easy programs and things like that. So it’s a very child-friendly early way that students can start playing around with some of these tools and start getting a basic idea of, as we said, how algorithms work, how AI really works on the backend and things like that. Okay, so this last section here is just kind of a quick conversation on where we think the future of early learning with AI might be and getting into where we see some of the positives of that, but also where we see some of the negatives and maybe how we can help mitigate some of those negatives. And so the first one is facial recognition technology. And I know Beck, you have a lot of thoughts on this one about both the positives and the negatives, so I’ll let you talk about it.

Beck Goodman (43:34):

So what we’re anticipating seeing in the early childhood space, particularly before first grade, is a lot of AI that’s used as a diagnostic tool for early intervention services like speech or OT or PT or what have you. One of the most important things that you can have when referring a child to any of those services is rich data about what they’re doing. And AI is a great way to get that data. So a couple of ways that this could look like, and again, we’re thinking in the future, not necessarily right now, but this could look like a student who has some difficulty with multi-syllabic words, wearing a microphone that listens to that student talk, and does a count of how many times a student correctly produces a multi-syllabic word or initiates a multisyllabic word or substitutes in a different word in order to avoid a particular sound production, et cetera, right?

That’d be really significant for a speech pathologist. Similarly, we may see, we know a lot of classrooms right now already have cameras in them. Those cameras may be equipped with facial recognition technology to be able to look at students’ behavior, look at their facial expresses and body language, analyze the situation and be able to alert the teacher that potentially a behavioral disruption is coming on, or to just keep track about what those behavioral triggers were. I mean, the possibilities are of course endless. That can be really helpful data. A couple of pitfalls, one in the least ethically ambiguous way is that we are entering an era where data analysis is becoming a really key skill because AI’s main purpose is going to be to provide us data in these ways, but misconstruing it due to human error or not being a data analyst is definitely something that’s going to impact the way that we utilize it.

The other thing is that, one, we know that technology is only as good as the people who build it. So when the people who build it build it with implicit bias, that’s going to be magnified and amplified infinitely when a facial recognition software identifies particular students with particular behaviors as particularly difficult, which are things that we’re already kind of seeing in terms of mass data collection. And the other thing that can definitely go wrong with this is what the use of data is. So because AI does not pull data from just one student, it pulls from tens of thousands of hundreds of thousands of data points enable to be able to learn and then share its feedback. One of the concerns is what kind of data are we taking that will predict certain trends? So a good example of something that we already have been grappling with in terms of how data is used is we know that literacy rates for third graders is something that is used to make predictions about how many inmates there are going to be in prisons in 12 years when those eight year olds are then 20. That’s complicated for a number of different reasons, but as we get more and more specific data sets that are tied to individuals, the implications that those, that data is going to be used later on in that child’s life for particularly either nefarious or just kind of not so ethically clear purposes, is definitely a consideration for schools to begin thinking about as they implement this technology.

Nina Bamberg (47:19):

And the next technology we’re going to talk a little bit about is AR and VR technology or augmented reality and virtual reality. And on next slide, we also have a couple examples of some tools that are already out there, but we definitely see potential for it expanding even more in the future, but I’ll let you talk a little bit more about that.

Beck Goodman (47:44):

Yeah, so in the conversation around young children and technology, particularly screens, the kind of main voice in that conversation is that screens are not inherently wrong. It’s the issue of what your child is not doing while they’re interacting with the screen, right? They’re not building, they’re not running, they’re not jumping. And that’s leading to rises in both speech delays and social emotional delays or difficulties, as well as finding gross motor delays. We’re seeing it pretty clearly in the data right now, but once the technology evolves to move away from a screen into something that a child can either physically interact with like blocks or a stuffed animal or they can interact with in a virtual world like VR or AR that may provide some offset to some of the delays that we’re seeing. So imagine a world where an occupational therapist can create an activity for a child, or you as an educator could create an activity for a child where their job is, they wear goggles and they have to pop bubbles with letters in them.

And so that’s getting them up and moving, which is going to fix or help mitigate some of the concerns with the motor delays because it’s providing more opportunities for engagement, even though it’s still technologically based. Of course, on some of the challenges with this is undoubtedly there’ll be some data that comes out that talks about what the consequences of this is either for other skill sets of the child or their ability to sustain attention on things that are not technology and not designed to be particularly engaging. I know, and I am sure many of you here also feel this, that the attention span or ability to be bored or to wait or to just sit in stillness in these kids is significantly reduced from anything we’ve really ever seen before. And a part of that is because of the technology and the content that they’re exposed to is so geared for their hyper engagement. Every second there’s a transition. I mean, if you think of melon, right? That screen transitions, I think every four seconds there’s a new frame to make sure you can’t look away. That’s definitely going to have developmental impacts on the child. So this will probably fit into that as well, but mitigate some of the other components that we’re seeing in terms of delays related to technology.

Nina Bamberg (50:22):

And so some of the tools, I just wanted to shout out this Google Arts and Culture tool, it used to be called Google Expeditions, I think, but it has things on it like virtual field trips and some of these games and things like that. So they’re VR based games that students can kind of go on little adventures and things like that, which is really cool. And then, oh, we wanted to, oh, I know Beck, you have to go in like 30 seconds, but we also, if you want to quickly talk about the benefits of the text to speech technology.

Beck Goodman (51:01):

Oh, absolutely. So the methodology of schooling right now is really based on the benefits of differentiation and teaching to an individual student. And so this speech to text technology is going to really broaden the way we’re able to do that in early childhood setting because it’s going to broaden the way a user can interact with the technology no longer to use chat GPT. Do you need to be able to type? What if there was a platform where a student could wear a headset and talk into it and have that same interaction totally on an auditory platform, that would of course yield a tremendous amount of data about that student’s communication skills, but we’ll also open up the realm for them to be able to do the inputs into ai. And the other thing, of course, is this is going to be a really huge tool for students with language-based learning disabilities where writing or even students with some fine motor skill difficulties where writing is not the recommended course for their coursework, and in their IEP, it outlines different accommodations, like working with a one-on-one aide to act as a scribe.

This technology will again, free up the teacher, but enable them to do the same work independently as opposed to relying on a person to scribe what they’re writing. And then just a tool suggestion. A quick plug is there is a program right now called Audio Pen do ai, which although I wouldn’t recommend it in terms of an accommodation, something that it does do really well is it allows you to speak and it’s intended for you to ramble as you speak, and then it will put it into text and consolidate it. This might be a really great way to work with some of our older early childhood students, so that’s maybe a second grader to talk about what strong writing looks like or be even able to have a student independently write a story and it’ll take out all of those ums and stutters that are adorable when a 4-year-old does, but makes it very difficult to understand what they’re saying.

Nina Bamberg (53:13):

Yeah, absolutely. And then just quickly to wrap up, the last thing we had here is some other interesting tools that we’ve come across doing research for these things. So phonics and stuff.com, it has a bunch of different literacy based games and activities. I think Curry Pod was the one that you mentioned before of where you can put in, so for example, how she said before you could put in something that you’re already working with and come out with a set of slides and as well as links to maybe a Kahoot or some other kind of materials that you could quickly use. And so again, another tool you could add as a quick idea generation. And then there’s also, again, probably a tool that would maybe be more appropriate for our older early childhood students question. Well, again, it can help create questions for other platforms like Kahoot or Quizlet or Schoolology, if those are things that you’re already engaging with. And I know Beck, you have to head out, but the rest of us will stick around for a couple minutes if you all have any questions.

Beck Goodman (54:32):

Alright, well, thank you so much for having me. If anyone’s interested in talking more about this, obviously I’m a nerd about it, so you can reach me at growwithbeck.com, grow with Beck on Instagram, Facebook, all of the different platforms, and I hope you all have a wonderful day. Bye. Thank you so much.

Nina Bamberg (54:50):

Thank you. Yeah, as I said, we’ll stick around for a couple minutes if anyone has any final questions, thoughts, or anything else that they want to share. All right. If not, thank you all so much for coming. We will get a recording of this webinar posted along with these slides in the next couple of days, at least by Monday. So keep an eye out for those. And once those are up, feel free to share with any colleagues that you think might also be interested. It’ll remain up and it’ll remain free for anyone that wants access. And you can find that in the same place on our website. Oh, wait, shoot. Anthony, did you want to show, we wanted to show a little bit just quickly our toolkit on our website so you know where to get some of the tools that we just mentioned.

Anthony de Marte (56:00):

And just to introduce myself quickly, I’ve been hiding in the background this entire call. My name is Anthony and I am the operations manager here at pedagog.ai. And here is our toolkit. So you all, in order to be on this webinar had to register for an account on our site. So when you log back in next you’ll see this lovely little, I don’t know, I’m losing my words, four o’clock in the afternoon, but you’ll see all of the options for resources that we have right here. You’ll click on toolkit, and right now we have them broken into three different categories. We have curriculum and lesson development, professional development, and administrative helpers. Also, if it looks like I’m looking off screen, I’m looking at the monitor where the screen is. You’re not on my main laptop right now. So right now, the early childhood tools that I want to highlight are in our curriculum and lesson development.

So have, this is the tool that Nina was talking about earlier, the story poem generator, that’s just letter focused. So if you are teaching a lesson on the letter G and you need a hundred letter story geared to first graders all about the letter G, you can put all that information in and it’ll draft something fun up for you. The one I want to pull right now is a phonics focused one. So say I want to write a story about two going on the animal theme from earlier, two zebras at the zoo. And then the phonics rules that I want to focus on are short vowel E sounds, and let’s say we’re going for spelling kindergartners and let’s make the story 50 words.

And so here is a 50 word story that our tool just came up with. And the great thing here is you have an option to export it to Google Docs. If you want to edit further, you can also edit in here as well. And then you can also give, we have these kind of quick feedback buttons at the bottom of the page. So if you’re like, no, 50, were just too short, let’s go longer, let’s go shorter or redo just means you just want it to give another try because this is just the first of many different responses that could have come up. And then custom feedback. So if you are like, oh, I also want to include short vowel a sound in this story, that’s something that you can put in and it’ll go in and change that. And then I’ll go back and show, I’ll go back and show our, so we also have one that is a vocabulary focus.

And so this one, it’s the same format. It’s just if you have a list of 5, 10, 15, 20 vocab words that you really want to emphasize in a story, this tool will do that for you as well. I had like 20 words in before, and it was a story about a kid who wanted to take a nap, and it was a very scattered list of words like ahmond, joy, sleeping, just kind of these random words that I just kind of plopped in. And I did a really great job at synthesizing all the words and making them cohesive in this really little story about a kid who just wanted to take a nap. So I’ll also highlight while I’m in here, just I’ll highlight our Were Nina, which one do you think is fun that I should pull up? I’ll let you choose.

Nina Bamberg (01:00:24):

The only thing I was going to say, that email helper one that I showed before was back in the administrative helpers tool section.

Anthony de Marte (01:00:31):

You’re looking, you can go in there for sure.

Nina Bamberg (01:00:33):

Those the, oh yeah, we have one that’s the email response helper is that first one. So that’s where I was doing that before, a newsletter helper, which does something similar as I showed on chat, draft a newsletter, permission slip. We’ll help drop that. Yeah,

Anthony de Marte (01:00:55):

I like

Nina Bamberg (01:00:56):

Working on IEP assistant in here as well. And that should be up.

Anthony de Marte (01:01:03):

Yeah, even I’ll just show quickly this agenda maker for a meeting. So say you have a 20 minute, excuse me, you have a parent teacher meeting. Say it’s 20 minutes, say parents of eighth grade social studies student. And then we want to say, we want to summarize the student’s progress in the class and suggest ways to improve timeliness. Timeliness in submitting assignments. And it’ll just give you a really quick, this is where it is. This is a rough outline, and it gives you space to take notes and do next steps, which again, and brainstorming what something like this might sometimes

Nina Bamberg (01:02:06):

Get more detail than that too. But

Anthony de Marte (01:02:08):

Also brainstorming something like this and just figuring it out. Could be 15 minutes here where putting the information and you saw it was no more than kind of 60 seconds

Nina Bamberg (01:02:22):

Awesome. Well, thank you for showing that. But yeah, no, we hope that you check those out and explore some of those tools. But thank you all so much for coming today. Yes, those are all free right now. We do have an upgrade version if you want to use the tools on a more powerful AI technology. But the ones that he were just showing are completely free. All you need is an account on pedagog.ai. But yeah, thank you all so much for coming.

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