Education, A.I., and What It Means to Be Human with Dr. Bibi Pirayesh: Podcast Ep. 316

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When ChatGPT came out at the end of 2022, one of the first industries to be instantly impacted was education.

There were a lot of articles written bemoaning ChatGPT and schools announced they were banning the tool because students could use it to very easily and quickly write papers.

Sure, there will always be students who want to find a way to do less work. 

But, what if there’s a way that A.I. tools like ChatGPT can be used to improve education and to allow students to learn in a new way?

I knew that I had to have on the podcast Dr. Bibi Pirayesh to talk about this important topic. Bibi is an educational therapist and one of the smartest people I know. Get ready for a deep conversation!

Bibi and I talk about:

  • What the purpose of education is 
  • The current paradigm of education vs. what a new paradigm could look like
  • How A.I. tools like ChatGPT can benefit students and their learning, including issues around social justice
  • How I’m using ChatGPT in the university classes I teach and what students think about it
  • What it means to be human

This is the final episode in the current series on A.I. we’ve been doing for the past few weeks. (We’ll have more on A.I. in future episodes.)

About My Guest: Dr. Bibinaz (Bibi) Pirayesh is an educational therapist based in Los Angeles. Her K-12 education was spread across 3 countries, exposing her to many different curriculums and philosophies of education. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh in Neuroscience and Education. She holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University where she studied Developmental Psychology in Education with a primary focus on children’s development of mathematical thinking. Her own scholarship is concerned with the ethical and social justice implications that arise at the intersection of brain science and education. She is also Faculty at the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University.  

About Us: The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox. At Speaking Your Brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals clarify their brand message and story, create their signature talks, and develop their thought leadership platforms. Our mission is to get more women in positions of influence and power because it’s through women’s stories, voices, and visibility that we challenge the status quo and change existing systems. Check out our coaching programs at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com

 

 

Links:

Show notes at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/316 

Bibi’s website: https://www.laeducationaltherapy.com/

Bibi’s talk at our Brave. Bold. Beyond. Live Virtual Summit: https://youtu.be/A66uawV4CeY 

Discover your Speaker Archetype by taking our free quiz at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/quiz/

Join our Thought Leader Academy: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/academy/ 

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316-SYB-Dr-Bibi-Pirayesh.mp3: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Carol Cox:
We’re wrapping up this series on artificial intelligence, talking about how AI is going to fundamentally change education with my guest, Dr. Bebe Parrish, on this episode of the Speaking Your Brand podcast. More and more women are making an impact by starting businesses running for office and speaking up for what matters. With my background as a TV political analyst, entrepreneur and speaker, I interview and coach purpose driven women to shape their brands, grow their companies and become recognized as influencers in their field. This is speaking your brand, your place to learn how to persuasively communicate your message to your audience. Hi, and welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. I’m your host, Carol Cox. We are wrapping up this series that I’ve been doing all about A.I. Artificial Intelligence. If you haven’t listened to the past few episodes, definitely go back and listen to those after you listen to our conversation. Today, I have Dr. Bebe Parrish as my guest and she’s been on the podcast She was on back in 2020 as the world changed quite dramatically with the COVID 19 pandemic. And we talked about how Bebe was responding to that in her business and also with her speaking engagements because she was part of the group program that we ran at the time. And then she also joined us for our Thought Leader Academy at the end of 2020. Bebe is an educational therapist, so I invited her on the podcast to talk about how AI is going to radically and that’s my word. We’ll see if Bebe agrees or not radically change education. We’re going to talk about what does it mean to educate children? What does that look like? And Bebe has a lot of really intelligent and insightful thoughts about education, special education and social justice. Bebe, welcome back to the podcast.

Speaker2:
Hi. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so happy to be back.

Carol Cox:
Me too. Can you explain to us what exactly it is to be an educational therapist? Tell us a little bit about the work that you do.

Speaker2:
Sure. So educational therapy is basically an approach to teaching students with different types of learning disabilities. So an educational therapist is specifically trained sort of at the cognitive and academic level to work with kids with learning disabilities. So it’s similar, somewhat similar maybe to something like speech language pathology, which is very specific to language. But educational therapy has to do with academics in general. So I work with a lot of children who might have a specific learning disability, like in reading, writing, math, ADHD students who are on the autism spectrum. So basically neurodivergent kids, kids who don’t fit that kind of mold that we have in the education system personally, and I think this is all educational therapists do this. I’ve just made my work around it very explicit. There’s also a lot of advocacy work because the issues that I certainly see in my practice is not so much around just what’s going on with the student and remediation work, but around actually what is problematic with the school system and the ways in which the school system basically disables the children and ways that we need to remediate that. So there’s also a lot of work that I do around that.

Carol Cox:
And how does social justice fit in with this?

Speaker2:
I really see learning disability as a social justice issue. I mean, obviously disability in general, the disability movement in general has been an integral part of central part of the civil rights movement from the beginning. But learning disability specifically, I don’t know that we talk about it enough as a social justice issue, but it is and there are very kind of severe places where we can see that, for example, in the, you know, what we call the school to prison pipeline or the fact that such large majorities of people who are incarcerated have learning disabilities diagnosed or undiagnosed, so that there are ways in that it’s just very apparent in our larger systems. But then there is also all the small ways, because the way that special education law is written or education we have to remember, is not really considered a rights in our country. So the school system is really only required by law to allow for access. And so there’s no protection or there’s no really even effort to make sure that students are meeting their true potential. And so just the way that the law is written excludes a lot of students from access to power, which is essentially what social justice is to me. So I think it’s a big issue and it’s one that we don’t talk about enough. So that’s why I try so hard to constantly be talking about it.

Carol Cox:
And I just remembered that you also spoke at our Brave Beyond Live Virtual Summit. This wasn’t an online event that we held that was live day long. We had incredible speakers like you deliver ten minute TEDx style talks. And I remember the opening story that you shared was when you were young, maybe about seven years old. You noticed that your dad wasn’t very good at something. And I think that really. Opened your eyes about this idea of a learning and education and our talents and skills.

Speaker2:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, obviously the time that my father was growing up there was really especially because he’s from Iranian. And so growing up in Iran, there was really no understanding of learning disabilities at all. Everyone just got ranked in terms of intelligence. And I remember that because he he was a very bright person. He was an entrepreneur. But he, you know, in direct contrast to my mom, who was very sort of scholarly and very good at school, I just there was just this moment where I felt such shame in him as he kind of in a very vulnerable way, revealed to me that he he wasn’t able to write well and that, like even when he was trying to draw something, he struggled with it. It was like a lightbulb moment where where I realized, Oh, you can be really bright, but not be able to do the tasks that schooling requires. And it was an important moment because in the schooling experiences that I was having, it was so incredibly hierarchical and kids who didn’t fit were treated really quite violently. And so it was just this lightbulb moment that made me think, Oh, maybe intelligence isn’t just reduced to the to what we do in school.

Carol Cox:
And I’ll share a link to your talk, your speech from our summit in the show notes so that listeners can can go listen to it. It was an incredible impassioned talk. I loved it. So, Bibi, let’s talk about what is the purpose of education. I know that seems like a very simple question, but I actually don’t think it has a simple answer. So can we talk about first, what is it that our current present day school system sees as the purpose, the goal of education? And then we’ll contrast that with what you feel like really perhaps should be the goal. And then then we’ll lead into the AI conversation from there.

Speaker2:
I mean, I don’t think that’s a simple question at all. I think that educators and philosophers have been trying to answer that question forever in our current culture and current system. It seems to me anyway, that the purpose of education and the purpose of our education system is essentially to prepare people for the workforce. I mean, that really seems to be it’s and I think that, you know, historically we know that the kind of schooling experiences that we set up were essentially a way to get people to then go into different factories and work there. Now, the job market requires different skills like critical thinking and writing and this and that. So we’re kind of pushing those, but we’re still pushing it into essentially the same basic fundamental system with the same ideology where the what we’re really trying to do is to train you for the workforce. And the workforce is going to require different levels of people. So we’re going to quite purposely, even though we don’t talk about it that way, we’re going to train people for those different levels. So, you know, the children who come from wealthier backgrounds, etc., get access to schooling experiences that train them for sort of like higher level CEO kind of creative roles.

Speaker2:
And then there’s like a hierarchy that goes all the way down to some of you are just essentially being trained how to follow orders, how to sit still, how to say yes, you know, all of that. So and I think for all intents and purposes, I mean, even in the most wealthy, well resourced areas, for example, areas that I tend to do a lot of work in, essentially what you see is that the entire schooling experience is aimed at getting you to college. And then college is very much aimed at getting you into the workforce. And the success of education is measured by did you get into a good college and the success of good colleges? Did you get a good job and good being high paying? So I think that’s really the idea. I mean, capitalism, I think, is what basically defines what our education system is for right now. It’s odd because the ideological roots of our education maybe aren’t quite like that. When you read John Dewey, you know, you’re thinking, no, it’s all about democracy and creating conscious citizens and equity and all of these things. But that’s not really what we see in practice.

Carol Cox:
Yeah, baby, thank you for that. That was so well put together. So this is a this is one paradigm. This is the paradigm we’ve been living under for since really as public schooling became a thing in the United States in what the the 1800s, the 19th century to the present day. So that is the current paradigm. And as we talk a lot about on this podcast, the idea behind thought leadership a lot of times is that we’re challenging current paradigms and. Bringing to light a potential new paradigm that could be better. Bebe What do you feel like should be the purpose and goal of education? Which should this new paradigm look like?

Speaker2:
Again, there are a lot of people who have contributed to this conversation in really intelligent ways, but I think that the question around what is the purpose of education is directly tied to the question of what does it mean to be human? What is the purpose of kind of having a human life here on earth? Because the idea should be that whatever education we have is in service of that and should be in support of that and should be kind of helping us gain the skills and supporting us in in the actualization of our humanity, whatever that means. And I think that’s one of the reasons why this this AI conversation is is so interesting right now, because it kind of gets at the heart of exactly that. Know, education in recent years has been under a lot of even more so than usual. I mean, it’s always been under attack I feel like in the US again, I think because of capitalism, because so much of our education system is fueled by what happens in a private industry. And we have constantly seen reform movement after reform movement. And there’s this rhetoric, political rhetoric around how our school system is broken and how we have to fix it. And then we bring in a whole new reform system and somehow it doesn’t really fix it. And it’s because we don’t we don’t fix the ideological roots or address the ideological roots. We just keep changing the the curtains, so to speak.

Speaker2:
But in recent years, I think, one, because especially higher education has become so incredibly expensive, you know, and students are just debt ridden and they’re entering into an economy where they can’t really they’re not having experiences where this expensive education is going to even give you the leg up in terms of work, which was at least originally the plan. So there’s been a lot of questioning and pushback on what is the purpose of that. And then I think a lot of technological advances. I mean, if I can essentially get whatever I want on my phone or ask Google or, you know, figure it out on my calculator or whatever it is like, why do I need all this formal schooling? And then there’s been other ideological wars, I think, around what is allowed in education and what isn’t and how is schooling and teaching, indoctrinating children in sort of these different political halves of the country and all the wars that have come out. And then, of course, there was the pandemic which really shifted things and I think really put an incredible amount of pressure on teachers and then brought up these questions around, well, is my role really a teacher or am I just babysitting your children so that you can get to work? I mean, you know, so there’s been a lot of all of these questions have always been there. But like the last few years, I think it’s all really come into the forefront.

Speaker2:
And then now with this new introduction of AI, I think that we really, really have to ask some of these really important questions. And I know that I know that people fall under a lot of categories when it comes to kind of dealing with this. I think, you know, I’ve read articles and heard people speak about how this is the end of the English essay. And, you know, students are just going to cheat on everything. And I read something a couple of days ago about how this is the end of the flipped classroom, because we’re not going to be able to really trust that kids are reading and writing outside of the classroom so that we can use classroom time for discussion. And instead, classroom time is really going to have to be used for evaluation because that’s the only place where we can test them, you know, knowing that they’re not going to be cheating. So there’s people on this side and then there are people on the other side. Like I read something, I think it was at the Wharton School of Business, like gave one of their exams and found out like a huge percentage of students were already basically cheating using AI. And so some people are some professors are very actively and some school teachers who are very actively bringing in like Chad, GPT, et cetera, into their curriculum and expecting students to, for example, teaching, teaching, critical thinking, using GPT.

Speaker2:
Like you have the program, write your essay and then go through and critique like what are the ways that it worked, what are the ways that it didn’t work? And some educators are like, Well, we just have to go with the flow and kind of make sure that we adjust because this is the. New world. This is a new reality. And there’s no question that that AI is going to change education much in the way that the Internet, for example, did. Being able to get on Google and just Google anything and get answered. That was a huge difference than the way that you and I not to age as much for sure. I grew up and we all had to adjust to that. And there’s already all of these programs that are coming out that are going to like be able to tell if something is was created by chat or not. So there’s a there’s a lot of hoopla kind of around it, which is to be expected. You know, my sort of thinking about it is how do we how do we use this new paradigm shift that’s happening in our reality to ask the important questions about the paradigm of what does it mean to be educated or what is the purpose of education and what does it mean to be human. And I think the best article and I’ve been reading kind of a lot of different things on it, but the best article that I read on the topic was actually I think it was in The Guardian.

Speaker2:
It was a discussion with the musician Nick Cave. I don’t know if you’re familiar with I’m a big fan of his music, but it was essentially like, I don’t know what kind of discussion it was, but at some point someone in the audience was able to send him a song that was written by Chat GPT two to get his input on it. And his his response was like, This song sucks. Like, this is not a good song. And of course we know. We know that what these programs can do today is basically like their worst version. They’re going to continue to get better. But he said something really important, I thought and poignant that I think relates to this larger conversation. And he said, or at least I understood and I’m paraphrasing, but I understood what he said to mean. Look, it’s not about the song. It’s not about the poem. It’s not about the product that gets produced and gets out there when I write now, because I guess he was at the time working on an album, he’s like, When I sit at the piano, I have to bleed out this song that I’m going to be writing. And that is the that’s what songwriting is. It’s not the product. And I think that’s really, really important because even as we look back on all the technological shifts that we’ve had and I mean everything has been completely turned upside down already and will continue to to be so.

Speaker2:
But none of what has happened and I don’t think anything even that will come is going to change the core experience of being human. Nothing is going to make it, you know. Any different when you when you have to when you grieve the loss of someone you love, when you grieve the loss of love or a relationship, when you experience joy in intimacy or friendship with someone, when you, you know, the pain of the hard earned wisdom, when you’ve been like, backstabbed at work or something. These are the things that make you human. Because educators have been dealing with this question for a long time, you know, like students, you know, every time I have to work with a student around algebra, I still get the question, why do I have to do this? I’m never going to use this in my life. What is the point of this? And of course, the answer to that question is, yeah, you are. You probably never going to use any of this in your real life. Know, you don’t even have to really learn your timetable because we all have a phone in our hand. But the the purpose of that, the purpose of learning your time is that it builds your your memory capacity and it helps you really understand the logic of numbers and the reason that you do algebra or you learn a language or whatever is so that you can build neuronal connections for for logical, stepwise thinking.

Speaker2:
And that’s what you’re really going to be using. And I think it’s the same with these other conversations is what is the purpose of writing an essay? If, if I can just have a chat, do it right? And I think that’s a really important question, like what are educators teaching if what they’re teaching can just be done by a computer? And the answer to that, I think again, and it’s the thing that is getting missed all the time in our education system now, because our education system is about the product. It is about the five paragraph essay. It’s not about the experience of understanding going through the process of how do I collect my thoughts about a topic and express them. In some ways it’s the same old question. But now being introduced and brought back to us in a much more immediate way. And so I do think that as educators, we have to ask ourselves, what is the you know, what is it that I’m trying to teach? And is it if I’m just teaching these skills because these are skills they need for a job, but a computer program can do it. Essentially. Everyone’s going to be jobless now. And I think that’s one of the big fears, too, right now, because, you know, as technology has developed, a lot of jobs have become obsolete.

Speaker2:
Like we don’t really have someone be our travel agents anymore because we can all do that ourselves. And I think what GPT and other programs are doing is they’re now making kind of higher level jobs that were maybe always safe from technology. Now be suddenly the it’s not so I mean if if a computer program can write and writing is one of the highest level skills that we have, what does that mean for people who have jobs at these higher levels? And then I think that brings up all kinds of questions around social justice that are really important and access that are really important, which I hope we’ll talk about. But generally speaking, I think that the conversation is getting to the core of having to ask what is the purpose of an education or what is the purpose of educators? And I think that that’s a really, really important question for educators to ponder, and I think in the best case scenario. These kinds of technologies should push us toward getting closer to our actual purposes as human beings. But of course, I don’t think that that will be the case, and I think it’ll be really quite horrible because that’s what tends to happen with human beings. I won’t get into that. But yeah, that’s sort of thoughts on it.

Carol Cox:
Oh my gosh, be so good. So first of all, you are literally one of the smartest, most brilliant people I know. And so I feel so validated because the podcast episode I did a few weeks ago about how to thrive in the age of AI. I asked or I talked about this exact question like, What does it mean to be human when these AI tools can do so much of this knowledge work, information work, which for so long we thought was safe from technology and automation. And I talked about a lot where you talked about it, experience, emotion, right? Everything from joy to loss, excitement, disappointment, grief, all of those things that we experience as humans and like being embodied, like literally being embodied. And I know like as someone who is an academic, I live most of my life in my head, I forget like so much about what it means to actually be human and be in a body. And I feel like maybe we’re going to rediscover so much of that because we have this contrast with what the eye can do versus what it just literally cannot do, which is being in a human body.

Speaker2:
Well, you know, that actually is a huge I mean, there is so much literature and critique of Western epistemologies and Western empiricism and this idea that it is actually very disembodied. So when you look at science, when you look at science sort of empiricism being that which you can measure, when you look at our our academic world in general, it is actually very disembodied nowadays when everything is on Zoom even more disembodied. One of the things that we talk about a lot in the special education world is the importance of multisensory approach. So really bringing the child back into the body and back into the senses, because all of those things have to be building on top of each other in order for development to happen. And I think all of us who sort of work in these sort of more academic world are absolutely disembodied. And that is a huge critique and a very valid critique, I think, of Western science in general. And it’s not by accident that sort of like the most like the peak now invention and offering of Western psychology and Western science is now this like computer that can think but is completely but a huge part of what it means to be human is to basically live in a body.

Speaker2:
And we miss out on that, I think, in our modern age a lot. And then we’re told, Oh, you have to meditate and kind of like get back into your body or whatever, But that should be our everyday, all day experience. And it’s not I mean, and you sort of see it at every single level. I was listening to an interview with Anthony Bourdain a little while ago, and he was talking about how food, how in the modern world, we we became so obsessed with like, what is the quickest way that I can just get something into my body and move on with my disembodied life? And how so much of his work was about kind of coming back and saying, No, this, this experience that you get to taste food and that you get to kind of, you know, you plant it, you grow it, you watch it, you cook it. All of those things are really uniquely unique things that we should cherish as we only get this one experience here on the planet. So. So yeah, I mean, I think you’re absolutely right again. You know, and this was when all the whole meta stuff was beginning, when now we all like, get to have like an avatar or something.

Carol Cox:
Literally disembodied selves in the metaverse.

Speaker2:
Exactly. Literally. This embodied and I remember at the time thinking about this is going to be horrible for children with different types of learning disabilities because we’re making everything less and less and less and less sensory. And believe it or not, that is actually going to prevent our brains from being able to develop in healthy ways. So Marianne Wolff, who is a really important scholar kind of in the area of reading, you know, her more recent book was about because reading itself, being able to read in a two dimensional book, that itself is a human invention, and it’s an invention that really changed our brain. Our brains are not wired to read. This is one of the reasons why we have dyslexia, because that’s not like an intuitive thing for the human mind. And it changed the human brain. And she talks about how now in this digital world it’s going to again change the human brain. And the other day I was I came in this AI discussion. They were talking about how they’re coming up with this new program where you text like you put something in text and the program creates a video out of it or vice versa. I mean, that is that is going that’s going to be mind boggling for the brain and it is absolutely going to change our brains. But then again, it comes back to this question of even even if it changes the brain, even if it rewires it, does it really change the core of the human experience, which to me is the bleeding out so that Nick Cave was talking about. And I don’t think that it will. I don’t think.

Carol Cox:
That it will. All right. So, so much good stuff. First, it reminds me that so Diane Diaz and I went to a TEDx event recently for where they were doing they had 15 speakers. You this is the TEDx Local TEDx chapter, and they had prepared their speakers. And there was one speaker in particular and he talked about how important music was to him and in his education and growing up. And then at the end he finished his talk and then they ended up having some extra time between speakers. So they brought up out a keyboard and had him play a piece of music. And as I was watching him play it and it was a lovely piece, I’m not sure what it was exactly because I’m not that musically inclined, but I was watching him and listening to it and I thought to myself, Sure, And I could write a piece of music and could play that particular piece of music. I mean, it does already. There’s AI tools that can do that and they’re lovely. But watching the joy on his face as he played. That’s what made the moment for me, not the level of skill he he happened to have to play that piece of music.

Speaker2:
Exactly. And that’s that’s the thing. The thing about being human is the experience of being human. And the I mean, it kind of breaks my heart. Like, as intelligent as it can be, it will never have the human experience. And so that’s why I think as as the idea is that we can I mean, technology, it has always been about how do we delegate all of the hard stuff, the hard parts of being human so that we can have the good parts of being human. Unfortunately, that’s not what usually happens. I mean, with all of our technology, human beings are more stressed today than ever. And I feel like, unfortunately this stuff is just going to add to our stress. But if you’re if you deal with it very consciously, and that’s not going to be the way that the larger culture deals with it. But if you deal with it consciously, then yes, the idea is that you still have to do the hard work In order for you to have the experience of playing music. You have to do the hard work of learning how to play that piece, and maybe you’ll never learn it as well as the computer program can, but you have something that it will never have. Although who knows? In the future, maybe.

Carol Cox:
Well, it reminds me of the movie Her, which, believe it or not, came out ten years ago. I mean, they were so ahead of their time. And actually I watched rewatched it recently in light of all this AI stuff that’s been going on. And that was exactly the whole point with those. The AI in the movie is that they really wanted to have a human experience. And so I don’t want to get into this right now, but this whole discussion of what happens when the AI is realize they’re not human, they don’t have bodies, and then what are they going to want from us or not? Like this is like the this is the topic of science fiction movies, but it’s not it’s not going to be science fiction for much longer.

Speaker2:
Did you see the film Ex Machina?

Carol Cox:
Yes.

Speaker2:
Oh, my gosh. That’s another one that I was just like, Oh, this is not that far into the future. Yeah, I mean, I think at some level we have to just be like, we’re going to be sharing the planet with robots, essentially, or at least with artificial intelligence. And we have to that’s just going to be a part of our reality. I mean, there are days when I wake up and I’m like, Oh, I’m so happy. I’m already halfway through. Like, I don’t think I can deal with this world. Yes, I know.

Carol Cox:
I feel the same way. Like, I’m so glad I’m not 20. I don’t know how I would feel if I was 20.

Speaker2:
Exactly. Exactly.

Carol Cox:
All right. So you mentioned about what educators are doing with these AI tools. I did an episode all about chat GPT and some of these image generator tools which are absolutely incredible. And that was from a couple of weeks ago. In addition to running speaking your brand, I also teach business and marketing classes at a university and I’ve been doing that since 2009, so a really long time. You know, my, my approach to the course curriculum, creating the course curriculum and teaching the students and these are digital marketing students, they’re getting their bachelor’s degree in digital marketing is to approach it with the how can I help them understand, you know, the bigger role of marketing, what it is that they’re getting into, but ultimately to give them the tools and resources to think for themselves. Because these things change all the time, like what I taught. If I teach a specific tool ten years ago, it’s going to change. But in December, when GPT came out and I started using it, I was like, Well, quite well. First of all, this is definitely going to change the marketing industry, probably first and foremost besides education is marketing is going to be dramatically impacted. Blog posts can be written, social media posts can be written, emails can be written literally with just a few text prompts. So I see a lot of educators who want to stick their head in the sand, prohibit it, say absolutely not. Students are not allowed to use any of these AI tools and then punish them for doing that. And I take the opposite approach because these tools are here. They’re not going away.

Carol Cox:
Sure, there may be some regulations or fine tuning of them, but we really need to see how we can use them to enhance and to help students learn. So I’ve incorporated them and some of the assignments that the students do. There’s some assignments where I say, don’t use the AI tools. There’s really no point in using them. You need to go do this on your own anyways. But some of them I explicitly say go use chat. Gpt for example, one of them they have to do a discussion post where they write their unique value proposition for their business idea. So like what makes your business idea great? Why do people want to buy it? They write it themselves, then they go put it in chat GPT and ask chat GPT to improve it and it comes back and I ask them, okay, so analyze, what did you like better or not about what the tool gave back? And most of the time they like it better because GPT is really good at understanding marketing and sales language. But here’s what I found so refreshing is that they said, Oh, I understand now how to improve the words that I use to make what I’m writing more compelling and more enticing. So they’re actually learning. They’re not. Using it to cheat. Because if I just said prohibited it, it said you can’t use it. They probably everyone wants to get a shortcut or wants to find a way when they need to save time, but instead they’re actually learning much more in an individual level than I have time to do for each student.

Speaker2:
I completely agree. And I think that there is real opportunity for teaching critical thinking skills around GPT. I also think that because I work with kids with learning disabilities, one of the things that I’ve been thinking about is how is this going to give more access to those kids? So in a case like that, if I put a blank sheet of paper in front of a child has who has, let’s say a language disorder or reading disability or writing disability, and I said, okay, I want you to write blah, blah, blah. They’re not going to be able to do that, right? And so they are never going to be able to practice this. Those other skills that are really important that come after you’ve already written that first piece. So I think and a lot of times in our work with kids, we have to provide that and then they can build on that. Otherwise they’re just stuck at that beginning point forever. And what I was actually thinking, I remember when I was myself an English language learner, and I remember when we had to do the college essay and I just had it was just like such a I was so paralyzed by the idea, like, what would I even say and how would I communicate what it is that I need to say and how am I going to make sure that it looks the right way.

Speaker2:
It’s sort of up to par with. And it was just such an overwhelming and paralyzing experience. The fact of the matter was that I actually had an incredible. Wealth of experiences and point of view to share that. I think that any of the colleges that I was applying to would have been really, really interested in. But that inability, because I was an English language learner, was just really, really getting in the way of that. So what if, for example, I had access to a tool like this back then, and to what extent would I have been able to use it to, to really express myself? And then then the question is, is that really cheating? I mean, is the is the university more interested in whether I can write this like, perfect sentence or are they more interested in how well I can kind of share and what have I gleaned from my actual real experiences in life, etc.. So I think that I think we have to be we really have to move away from and I still understand, like you have to learn the skills. I’m not saying that you don’t, but how could we use this technology to actually teach those skills instead of using using it again as a punitive thing, which is basically what we do in all of education, and that’s an ideological problem.

Carol Cox:
Yeah. So good. Bebe, Thank you for sharing that. And yeah, I really feel like there are so many opportunities if educators are willing and not just educators, but also the school systems are willing to be innovative and, and being willing to think beyond what their kind of instinctual reaction is, which is just to shut it all down. And I think that’s that’s that’s unfortunate. All right. So, Bibi, again, you are so brilliant. I so enjoy having these conversations with you. So for those of you listening, this is part one of our conversation because Bibi is going to be back on the podcast in, let’s see, probably about a month or so, because we’re going to be talking about for Women’s History Month in March about what has been going on in Iran with the protest by girls and women, and that had started back in 2022. And so because Bibi was born in Iran, she came to the United States when she was young. But I wanted to have her also on the podcast to talk about that, because it’s something that I have been watching and following and it’s been inspiring to me. But I know Bibi can give us a lot more of the the context and the history of that. For those of you listening also in the show notes, we’ll have a link to Bibi’s website as well as toward LinkedIn profile. So to make sure to connect with her there. Bibi, thank you so much for coming on to have this incredible conversation about how AI is impacting the education industry and what the possibilities are.

Speaker2:
Thank you so much, Carol, as always. Thank you. And till next.

Carol Cox:
Time, thanks for listening.

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