For my summary CV, Bio and portfolio of writing, resources, workshops and work in international schools, please visit the About page here.
Strap in, as developments in AI, Machine Learning and automation have come thick and fast over the last two years, and really exploded over the last six months. This post is a demonstration of a couple of (free or trial version) tools that showcase capabilities in AI that will doubtless have an impact on the high school graduates of the very near future. The “jobs that don’t exist yet” of ten years ago – but that exist now – will be impacted quickly. Developments in science, technology, medicine and sustainability are already changing the way we can solve problems.
This post took under 30mins to go from idea to published output. The drafting of the text took under 5mins in each platform, and most of the work was pulling in some tweets and adding links and images. It would take extra work to add links, sources, depth and citations but it lifts the creator from the blank page in moments. These are early days for the tech, yet it can generate useful multiple drafts and iterations in just a couple of minutes. Imagine what it would be like in a few years…
Updates – the services in this post are all accessible with a Google account and don’t need mobile number or other installs. I’ve made a LibGuide with all the resources here, including a page on ethical considerations and some accessible AI & ML courses. I used PlayGroundAI for all the images (which includes Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2); you can also try DreamStudio for StableDiffusion (thanks Dalton).
Text Prompt: Impacts of AI on the jobs of the future
Using: Writesonic AI Article Writer 3.0. This example started with my topic and keywords, from which it generated example headlines, section headings and then written content. I made minor adjustments along the way, and with Grammarly built in, took no time to tweak to this content.
The rapid pace of technological change over the last decade has led many to wonder what the future may hold for jobs and the economy. Some have predicted that widespread automation will lead to massive job loss and a prolonged period of economic weakness. Others have been more optimistic, suggesting that new technologies will actually create new types of jobs and spur a boom in related industries.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment levels have been growing steadily since 2011 and are currently near record highs. However, there have been some notable changes in the types of jobs being created. For example, the BLS estimates that employment in the manufacturing sector fell by 3.8 million (about one-third) between 2000 and 2018. This decline reflects a shift in the structure of the US economy toward services, which now accounts for 80% of all jobs. Overall, employment changes have been modest, and there is no sign that automation is replacing workers at a significant pace.
Estimates vary widely, but most researchers believe that a significant number of jobs will be lost. McKinsey Global Institute estimates that about 40% of tasks will be automated by 2055, with about 60% of those occurring in the manufacturing sector and the rest in other industries. This level of automation is comparable to the rate of change observed in the past, but it is happening faster because the cost of automating is declining. Still, these changes will not lead to an overall reduction in employment because new industries and jobs will also emerge. It is unclear, however, whether the economy will be able to create enough new jobs to make up for those lost to automation.
Automation has the potential to disrupt many occupations, but some industries and occupations are more at risk than others. One study on automation risk in the US economy focused on the probability of automation in a large sample of occupations. Occupations with a high probability of automation include agricultural workers, mining machine operators, sewing machine operators, and many types of food service workers.
Many of the occupations that will benefit most from automation are in health care, education, and software development. The healthcare sector will grow significantly due to an ageing population, technological developments, and rising demand for preventive care. Advances in technology will allow the education sector to expand, especially online education. This will allow more people to learn at their own pace and from a distance.
The best way to prepare for these changes is to invest in people. This includes expanding educational opportunities, developing new training programs, and providing adults with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace. It is important to note that not everyone will be affected by automation in the same way. Workers who are creative and have social skills are less likely to be replaced by robots. Those who have the right mix of skills and are flexible enough to use them in new ways can also thrive in a rapidly changing economy.
While it is impossible to predict exactly what skills will be needed, our research shows that graduates who are creative and have strong communication skills will be well prepared to tackle whatever comes next. In addition, it is critical for workers to keep learning throughout their careers, as new technologies and industries emerge. This will allow them to stay relevant in the changing economy and continue to earn a living.
Prompt: Preparing today’s high school graduates for the AI future. (PeppertypeAI)
“It can be tough to predict the future, especially when it comes to the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, there are some things that today’s high school graduates can do to prepare themselves for a world where AI is developing quickly. They should focus on developing skills like creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, and researching opportunities in fields like data science and machine learning. With these skills and knowledge, they’ll be well-equipped to take advantage of the opportunities that AI presents.”
Peppertype, like WriteSonic, has loads of content-type generators. This one also has options for tone, call to action and more.
Tool: CopyAI Prompt: Preparing Today’s High School Graduates for an AI Future. This has similar tools as WriteSonic and Peppertype, with tone and talking point options.
As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve, more and more jobs are being impacted by automation. New research suggests AI will affect some industries much more than others, but all industries will see some impact. High school and university students need to be given the skills needed for new job requirements and training for current jobs will also be necessary as certain jobs become more automated. This means teaching young people how to collaborate with robots and other technologies, rather than competing with them. Coding languages are essential to learn as they can help students develop app functionalities, helping them be adept in the technology era.”
You may be wondering: What will the future hold? Will my job be affected by AI?
The short answer is yes. More and more jobs are being impacted by automation, as AI continues to evolve and change the way we live our lives. In fact, a recent study suggests nearly half of all jobs could be at risk of being automated within the next 10 years (including yours).
You should prepare yourself for this inevitable shift in how society operates by understanding what types of occupations are most likely to face disruption from artificial intelligence technologies like machine learning (ML) or deep learning (DL), which allow computers to learn on their own rather than being programmed with specific tasks beforehand. You should also understand how these changes might affect your own career plans moving forward—and whether your education will help you stay relevant as new opportunities arise over time
When universities and high schools are preparing students for an AI future, they need to be taught about the new job requirements and training for current jobs will also be necessary as certain jobs become more automated. This means teaching young people how to collaborate with robots and other technologies, rather than competing with them.
In our current society, we have come up with a number of solutions that can help us deal with this problem:
Coding is a valuable skill that can be learned at any age. There are many free resources available for learning coding, and it’s important to take advantage of them as soon as possible. Learning to code will help you develop app functionalities, helping you be adept in the technology era.
In today’s society, coding has become a necessity for many jobs such as software development or data analysis fields. If you haven’t yet discovered how useful this skill could be when it comes time for college applications or job interviews (and beyond), now might be a good time!
In addition to coding abilities, high school graduates need to have stronger presentation skills as well as the ability to think critically and creatively when it comes to solving problems.
In today’s world, where technology is constantly changing and evolving, it is critical that students are able to communicate their ideas effectively in a way that will be understood by adults. Presentation skills can be developed through practice; however creative thinking is another skill that can be developed through practice as well. Both creativity and critical thinking require specific methods of learning which include: reading books; listening carefully while others speak; taking notes while listening or reading; asking questions when you don’t understand something someone has said/written down on paper (this may include questions like “why?” or “what if?”); drawing pictures with words written next too them so you get more information out of what someone says by visualizing how everything works together instead just hearing them talk about one thing at once without seeing anything else going on around them besides themselves talking about their own personal experiences but these experiences only apply within this particular situation therefore making sense only within context such as being able
to understand why something happened before doing anything else because then later after seeing results from doing certain actions we might say ‘gosh these things worked!’ But then again maybe not because maybe there isn’t enough evidence available yet.”
High school graduates are not getting adequate training for the future workforce which is going to be affected by AI. The technology will require workers who can creatively think critically and collaborate with robots, software agents, etc., in order to solve problems.
In order to prepare students for this future, it’s important that they learn how to work together with other people toward a common goal: solving problems using new technologies like AI.
It is clear that the future of work will be impacted by artificial intelligence and new technologies. High school graduates need to prepare themselves for this change, so they can be ready when these jobs become automated. Coding languages are essential to learn as they can help students develop app functionalities, helping them be adept in the technology era. There are a variety of websites available with free coding tutorials rounded up by age group, so there’s no excuse not to learn this skill that could give you an edge in your future career
The tweet thread below shows some very quick examples of concept images created in Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2 using the (currently free) PlaygroundAI.com platform. Click to see the whole thread; I’ll keep adding examples. You can see my Playground gallery (and copy the prompts) here.
You should definitely read this post – especially if you are a TOK, ethics, or digital media teacher.
This fantastic podcast series by Professor Hannah Fry dives deep into the world of AI research at DeepMind in London, unpacking the history, development and applications of ML, DL and AI research.
Embedded below – one of my favourite episodes about AlphaFold, the project to solve the riddles of human proteome. Incredible developments and potential future applications in health and medicine:
For a (mostly optimistic) and fantastically-researched view on the world in 2041, check out Kai-Fu Lee‘s collaboration with Chinese sci-fi heavyweight Chen Qiufan. Ten short stories, ten regions, ten areas of development, all set in 2041. Extrapolating current tech to future implications in the style of Black Mirror, with explainers after each chapter.
Kai-Fu Lee’s predictions for the next 20 years, (Chinese with English subtitles):
A bit of a departure from education posts… over the summer here in Beijing, I got back into mixing and relearned some old skills. I also picked up some new technical skills, including the complexity of recording sets on a laptop without extra hardware. After getting it to work, I upgraded my laptop, lost access to some key software and had to find an alternative and start again. So here goes with a little evening project turning the screenshots into an infographic in Canva.
*On OS Big Sur, I was using SoundFlower, but this is not compatible with Monterey.
When you are mixing, you need to be able to hear the music from the speakers and record at the same time. To improve, you need to be able to record and listen to your mixes… but if you use a subscription music service (like BeatPort), your controller software might block recording directly.
Recording a mix normally uses extra cables and equipment. With a virtual cable and the Midi settings on Mac, you can create a Multi-Output Device to send the sound signal to the speakers and the recording software. Easy(ish) when you know how. A pain when you forget how.
I tried a couple of virtual cable setups, but the one that worked best for me on Monterey was BlackHole, a free download from Existential Audio.
Here is an infographic with the steps I used to make it work. You can get the pdf here. The trick is to go step-by-step and keep track of your settings. Click to make it bigger and zoom in.
I have a MixCloud account here.
MixCloud accepts DJ mixes and you can create a time-stamped tracklist, so MixCloud makes sure the artists are compensated if you use their tracks.
The MixCloud mobile app is great for following other DJ’s for inspiration and learning.
So there you go. I hope it helps. You can use a similar setup for things like recording voice-overs on gaming and commentary on videos.
A quick post to share a graphic (made in Canva) to visualise the objectives for the new MYP Interdisciplinary Learning Guide (link to source, MyIB login needed)*. I’ve also updated my MYP overview MegaSheet to include the new rubrics, though do please read and understand the full guide before you use them.
I am encouraged by the more streamlined approach to this from the 2015 guides, and think that the 2021 guidance will make it easier for schools and teams to do better things with teaching and learning in the MYP.
*For reference, here is the original sources diagram from the guide.
Back in 2015 I started building an MYP Megasheet of rubrics, subject-area overviews and other resources. Newly-added: some ATL tracking visualisations. There are some ideas for overall ATL development, as well as targeting a few specific skills and/or skills within each cluster.
One section of the sheet could be used for students’ target setting on ATL skills.
Radar Charts are Fab
I started working with radar/web charts as part of my MA studies in 2013, developing into a dissertation on The IMaGE Of An International School? Radar charts have a lot of potential to tell data stories, and you can see their application in tools such as the Mastery Transcript.
In the future I’ll have a go a making a classroom-focused data dashboard for ATL. For now, this is a toy to play with. Feel free to make your own copy and try it out.
*The IF Formula: a bit of a headmelter when it’s not simple TRUE/FALSE. Because the input table has interstitial lines to outline the ATL, it isn’t easily dragged-down, so I needed to type the source cell (D12 etc) each time. I’ll learn a better way eventually.
These are strange days. Despite everything that is happening in the world, we remain optimistic and thankful. With the world changing around us (and my own roles shifting, again), it has been hard to open the WordPress and just write. It has been ages since I last posted, and life is rushing forwards.
I’m nearing the end of two weeks’ It’s now three weeks since I got home from two weeks of isolated quarantine, alone in a hotel in Beijing. Super thankful that the family could do their quarantine at home, I had lofty goals of finishing up some old drafts and notes. But the laptop represents work: posting and creating slips aside in the need for balance.
Well, that didn't happen. The next blog post, if/when it comes, is going to be a purge of titles of unfinished posts, drafts and notes. https://t.co/2iviqErSiT
— Stephen 🌏 Taylor (@sjtylr) April 18, 2020
So this is a post about the posts unblogged. To do them justice is more research and drafting than I can spare time or cognitive load for. Maybe the collection of titles tells its own story. Some would have been useful, to someone, about the time I was planning to write them. Maybe. Now I’m purging them to clear some head-space. More to come.
As the campus closure kicked in over Chinese New Year, with very little notice, and people scattered worldwide, we needed to get online and ready to keep teaching and learning. We thought it would be short, until it wasn’t. We will be finishing the year this way.
If you want to see some of what we’ve been up to over the last few months, visit WAB’s Online Learning Portal here: www.wab.edu/online-learning.
A personal impact of this was the need to pick up next year’s role (Dir. Innovation in Learning and Teaching) on top of this year’s (MYP Coordinator, Curriculum Coach, Teacher), as well as some tech leadership as we got over the first couple of months. Two huge jobs (plus), with a lot of responsibility, uncertainty, no transition, displaced and parenting has been a challenge. I’d say this remains the hardest thing we’ve had to do professionally and personally during my career, but lessons learned from hard yards previous have been invaluable.
I’m thankful for all our colleagues and friends who have really stepped-up as educators and humans, keeping learning going and spirits up. I’m thankful for the way the school has looked after all of us; we feel safe and secure, despite the difficulties.
Most of all, I’m thankful for my family. They’ve been troopers throughout this. Even though it has had emotional moments, it could have been so much worse.
I wonder how we’ll remember this time when they’re grown up.
UPDATE 2022: Thanks to Terea Marcum for updating this for the new Guide. Please click here to see her version. Thank-you!
Spreadsheet to help with comment generation and moderation of MYP Personal Project. It is a long job, particularly with large class sizes and teachers working across time zones. The comment bank aims to help keep comments aligned and neutral, and comments for individual students can easily be modified. See the video below for how it works.
EDIT – links to the old version removed.
Video: for the older version, but you get the idea.
This was a great challenge during the Learning2 Conference last week in Nanjing. It was my first time at the conference and I was looking for an experience that would push me and provide something to think about. I presented this short talk, and an extended session on Global Ignorance, Factfulness and Data-Informed Inquiry. You can see more action from the conference on #Learning2 on Twitter.
The “buoyant force” talk is based on an idea I started writing about in 2017 but had been thinking about as a coordinator for a while. The essence of it is that in our rush to “get ready for” the next stage, do we risk forgetting the forces that are acting on our curriculum on the way up the school? The images are a blend of my own photos and some from Unsplash.
Here are the slides for the workshop version of The Buoyant Force, presented at WAB’s Future of Education Now “Festival of Learning” Conference. The format was a series of provocations and discussion for participants (a mix of WAB and visiting educators) to engage in reflection on the forces acting on learners through transitions.
There is more depth on the original post, but here are some key ideas:
As many of our schools are in the process of change and reinvention, do we consider the buoyant force in our planning? For example, schools offering the MYP for the first time might have their older learners “test out” the Personal Project. How does that go with learners who have been enculturated to a different way of doing things? What would we expect to see with the following cohorts, who are more used to the programme?
Similarly, if we are going through dramatic change in a school, where are we investing the efforts? We can harness the buoyant force to drive the change by creating the change earlier in the continuum – and then planning for those learners pushing upwards.
Did they do something fab in Grade 8? Great, then how do we make the most of it in Grade 9? Is everyone on board? How do we expect to see this cohort raise our game?
This was my first Learning2 Conference. Despite following it for years, there was always a clash with school commitments, prioritising others on the budget or transition. I’m so glad I finally went I’m over conferences in the regular format and the opportunity and challenge of being an L2 Leader was well worth the time and effort. The people were amazing and it felt like a productive, supportive, calm and inspiring community.
When I agreed to do the talk I had the kernel of the idea, based on the blog post. In a day, with some coaching and feedback, I was pretty happy with the product. I’m very used to leading workshops and active conference breakout sessions, so “doing a talk” was a new experience. Watching it back, there is plenty I’d change. It’s a bit TED-y. The lights were bright. But the response was positive and we had some great conversations afterwards. I am expanding this into a workshop for our school’s “Future of Education Now” Conference, where we will unpack the big ideas.
Thank-you L2 & FOEN Teams!
In leadership roles in spaces with many moving parts and challenges, I’ve learned that unnecessary ambiguity can lead to unnecessary conflict. As a coordinator we can often predict where some of these conflicts might arise.
In something as complex as an international IB school, with a range of perspectives and experiences, having the “truth” to hand can be an effort and relationship-saver. Thinking carefully about the cultural forces of expectations and language can shape more positive interactions.
I’ve more recently started to lean on the phrase “here’s where we’re going with this” (Ron Ritchhart), in making as clear as possible to my colleagues and students the direction we’re going… and that it’s a shared journey.
We can invest time to make time (COT), to set the stage for productive collaboration, through resourcing, accessing “truth” documents and being clear with intention and the use of language. Through clarity of message, direction and resource we can minimise the chances of someone’s energies being sapped on surface-level frustrations. We want the mental energy to be spent on productive, collegial discourse.
Another line I love in Brené Brown’s post is “talking about someone rather than talking to them is unkind.” So much so, that in the agendas I control, we have two guiding questions at the top:
Simple principles, easy to live by.
They have helped me mature and maintain calm over my journey so far.
A rough metaphor for leading from the middle, the Middle Leader Sponge often has to clean up spills and messes and absorb the stresses or worries of others so that they can go about their own job without passing on that stress. Sometimes an approach needs the soft side. At other times a little more scrubbing gets the job done but the sponge can’t afford to cause new damage.
However, a saturated sponge can’t absorb any more and could end up creating new messes if one tried. There are times it might feel like trying to soak up the mess of a broken sprinkler system, set off by little fires in many rooms.
The Middle Leader Sponge needs to find ways to wring out the worry, so that they can get back to it. How do you do it?
A quick post to share an animated gif, made in the new Keynote 9 update. It is a rebuild of a lower-quality animation I made years ago and use often, inspired by a cartoon I saw but cannot track down again (and I’d love to find it). I have used it in the context of critiquing my own MA dissertation and more frequently in conversations about not over-describing the 7-8 level of MYP assessment criteria.
A growing concern for me in MYP is the power this line from MYP subject guides can have on the opportunities and expectations for and the language of learning in the classroom:
Subject groups must assess all strands of all four assessment criteria at least twice in each year of the MYP.MYP Subject Guides
There is a danger that we ignore the heart of the discipline in anxiety for “getting it right” in terms of assessment; that reporting drives practice. Don’t boil teaching and learning down into a checklist. We can do better, we can enjoy it more and we can collect acceptable evidences of understanding in a range of forms.
Connecting to this, here are a couple of really powerful posts from Grant Wiggins: On Intelligent vs thoughtless use of rubrics (and part 2 here). It’s not the first thing generated and should not be over-described in the first round of a project, or we risk shutting down the avenues for true inquiry. For another MYP parallel, here is an older post connected to my “all in one” project, focusing on “zooming in” to the third band. Jennifer Gonzalez’s single point rubric is well worth reading
A post that really influenced my thinking on authenticity in assessment and learning opportunities was this, from Grant Wiggins. It defines authenticity as:
Authentic tests are representative challenges within a given discipline. They are designed to emphasize realistic (but fair) complexity; they stress depth more than breadth. In doing so, they must necessarily involve somewhat ambiguous, ill structured tasks or problems.Grant Wiggins
He outlined 27 characteristics that can be used to develop assessment tasks and learning opportunities, which I summarised in this table:
An important takeaway from this, is not that “real world” is better than (or less than) anything else. It is more that when everyday usage of the content diverges from authenticity true to the discipline, we should aim for sophisticated authenticity rather than shoehorning-in some “pseudocontext” and pretending it is “real world”. It is better to think as a mathematician in a sophisticated inquiry than to not think at all…
Similarly, the following on the force of Opportunities, from Ron Ritchhart’s Creating Cultures of Thinking (graphic by me) can be considered. Note the call to “authentic intellectual engagement”.