#BRESA Tech Tips
Welcome back! We are looking forward to collaborating with you again this year and are excited to welcome our new readers. This newsletter is published monthly and is created by Berrien RESA Technology & Innovation Consultants, Amy Dirlam and John Phillips. We hope you find the resources and opportunities below helpful for inspiring innovative practices in your classrooms. Please share with others and take a minute to explore our issues from last year. Additionally, fill out this form if you have requests regarding content you would like to see in our newsletter or specific needs in your district. Enjoy the start of the fall season and feel free to reach out to Amy or John if you have questions or would like support.
Join us on October 12 for a day of exploration, engagement and fun as we share the FREE resources available to area educators through the REMC Association of Michigan. Serving Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties, Berrien RESA is home to REMC 11 and offers numerous STEM and classroom engagement tools that can be checked out and delivered right to your classroom.
This full day session will be hands-on fun for educators in all subject areas and grade levels. Lunch, SCECHs and give-aways will be available at this FREE event. Register by October 10 at https://bit.ly/3EuIlua
The season begins the week of September 18 and runs until the finals event on November18.
AI in Education
⭐ Guest Article by Keith McLaughlin ⭐
AI is changing and growing at an immense rate. In fact, by the time you read this, it is likely to be out of date. With that being said, here are some of my takeaways from the AI for Educators Conference hosted by TCEA this past July.
This is the elephant in the room. AI is an incredibly powerful tool and we should be encouraging our students to use it and interact with it as much as possible. Banning ChatGPT is not the answer! As they get older and enter the workforce (assuming the robots haven’t taken over by then) I can almost guarantee that a portion of their job will involve using AI as the amount and variety of AI tools is growing so rapidly and is integrating so many facets of technology. Our students need to get comfortable with using this technology. Our job should be to teach them how to use this technology critically and responsibly. Is there a potential that students will start using AI to do all of their homework? Of course. It would be silly to think otherwise. And the students most likely to use AI to do their homework are the same students who had one of their friends share their Google Doc with them and all they did was change the title. Students have been cheating as long as school has been around - this is just a new way for them to cheat that we are scared of because we don’t know that much about it. Thankfully, so far, most AI chatbots have such a bland writing style that it is fairly easy to determine whether or not your student wrote that essay. In any case, there are AI detectors* that you can use to see if the work that your student submitted is AI generated.
*I am not linking any detectors here because at this point they aren’t great. They are pretty good at detecting AI writing, but they also give a lot of false positives on work that students actually wrote themselves.
These are what “started” this whole thing. Back in November/December of 2022, ChatGPT took the education (and larger technological community) by storm. By the way, as of this writing, ChatGPT is already on version 4.0 - this is a paid version although I am pretty sure 3.5 is free. Chatbots are amazing tools. It is like being able to Google something without having to click on a bunch of different links to find the information you want. So what should teachers do? There are two primary things that you should do for your students:
- Teach students how to write good prompts and then revise those prompts in order to get answers to the questions they are actually asking.
- Critically analyze the content. Chatbots are biased - just like people. Use chatbots with your students to teach them how to critically analyze arguments for bias and accuracy.
This is a bonus for math teachers - don’t ask chatbots to do math. ChatGPT gets math problems wrong 98% of the time. The problem is the chatbots don’t do math - they get their math answers through reading a bunch of different math expressions instead of actually doing the problem.
OTHER USEFUL TOOLS
There are a large number of resources and free tools for AI in education, including several alternatives to ChatGPT for education. Matt Miller from Ditch that Textbook has also curated links to a host of resources related to AI in Education. Additionally, I would like to spotlight a couple. First, I used to love Edpuzzle - it is that tool where you take a video clip and insert some questions then assign it to your students. Of course, AI can do that now too. My new app for that is twee. Same thing as Edpuzzle, but the AI comes up with the questions for you. Another one is merlin. Merlin is a chrome extension that allows you to access ChatGPT 4 from anywhere on the internet. You do have a limited number of uses per month, though.
Lastly, as I mentioned before, the AI landscape is changing constantly and rapidly so if you don’t find something you like, wait a few minutes and I am sure some new thing will come out that you will love.
Keith is a physics/PLTW teacher at St. Joseph High School and a member of the Berrien EdTech Innovators Cohort (BETI). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Technology Showcase
The annual Student Technology Showcase sponsored by MACUL and AT&T will take place on December 6, 2023, in Lansing. We would love to see students from southwest Michigan represented at this event. Visit the STS webpage to learn more and register your team. Amy and John would be happy to help support you in taking a team of students. Applications are due by November 1, 2023.
Calling all Geometry Teachers
Math & Technology Performance Tasks
The performance tasks will engage participants with Sphero Bolt Robots, Flying Drones, Tinkercad, and VR headsets and how these can be used to connect the CCSS for Geometry with these resources. Participants will receive lunch and leave with practical activities to engage students in the Geometry content. Register by September 15.
Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023, 08:00 AM
Berrien RESA, Saint Joseph Avenue, Berrien Springs, MI, USA
Berrien EdTech Innovators (BETI) Cohort 2
Attention educators interested in furthering your innovative use of technology in your classrooms!
- Are you an early adopter of technology tools in your classroom or school district?
- Would you like to collaborate with other educators and learn more about engaging students with technology?
- Are you interested in sharpening your presentation skills?
- Would you like to be paid for your time and participation?
Berrien RESA is offering a series of workshops and collaboration time for educators interested in furthering the innovative use of technology in their local districts. You will be paid a stipend for attending all sessions and will receive on-site support offered by Berrien RESA Technology & Innovation Consultants. Series begins on October 10. Register at https://bit.ly/3R4zKWu by October 9.
September Tech Tools
Civil Air Patrol is an official auxiliary of the Department of Homeland Security. This is a volunteer group that assists with aircraft recovery or disaster support when called upon. With their emphasis in aerospace, they have a ROBUST resource bank of STEM education materials that you get to access for a one-time educator $35 membership fee. After the first year, membership is FREE. Also, as part of your membership, you can get STEM kits with robots, rockets, and other amazing resources sent to you for FREE. Check this out today!
In addition to the sound effects app, this resource also offers activities and lesson plans for your favorite books arranged by category. Visit their learning resources page to learn more.
SWM School Library Leaders
Are you working in a school library in Berrien, Cass or VanBuren county? Would you like to collaborate with other school library personnel and be paid for your time? Berrien RESA will be offering three formal opportunities for you to engage and connect with one another this school year. There will also be other informal meet-ups and a Google Group established for sharing and supporting one another. Mark your calendars and sign up to be on the invitation list. All library personnel are welcome to join.
2023-23 Meeting Dates (4:15-6:00 PM)
October 12, 2023 at Berrien RESA
December 14, 2023 at Location TBD
April 11, 2024 at Location TBD
MACUL 2024 Call for Speakers
Do you have an innovative idea to share utilizing technology in the classroom or your school? Submit your proposal to present at the 2024 MACUL Conference. Proposals are due October 10 by 5 PM. The annual conference will take place on March 14-15 in Grand Rapids. We would love to see educators from southwest Michigan sharing their expertise. If you have an idea but aren't sure about the application process or would like help preparing your submission, reach out to John or Amy for assistance. You can also visit the MACUL events page to learn more.
Statewide Professional Learning Opportunities
CS for Michigan
Register now for the annual CS for Michigan Conference taking place in November at Oakland Schools. Day one will be held on November 2 with workshops in the morning and a leadership summit in the afternoon. The education conference will occur on November 3 and will offer a full day of learning with a keynote speaker and breakout sessions.
MACUL Certified Coach
Register now for a five-month cohort experience designed to maximize your instructional coaching skillset and provide you with networking opportunities with other educators from across the state. Collaboration will be virtual, with the exception of the culminating in-person event that will take place during the 2024 MACUL Conference. Registration fee for the cohort includes full MACUL conference attendance in Grand Rapids. Learn more by visiting the MACUL Coaching Certification webpage.
REMC continues to offer free online courses each month where participants can earn up to 10 SCECHs. Visit the REMC Professional Learning page for more information. October courses will begin on October 9 and include the following options and MANY MORE:
- Assessment Tools
- Creating a Digital Makerspace
- Digital Citizenship
- OER to Support Personalized Learning
- Igniting Student Curiosity with Inquiry and Technology
STEM Resources Available for Check-Out
The Technology Services Department at Berrien RESA has a variety of STEM resources, equipment and materials you can check out for use in your classroom.
Visit our REMC Resource Webpage to learn more about the items that are available. To check out a resource, please complete the resource checkout form found on the webpage.
We have lesson plans to share if you aren't sure where to begin. You could also come to the resource extravaganza on Oct. 12! We would love to come and help you do an activity with your students or staff. Email John or Amy to set up a time.
How can we help?
We would love to hear your suggestions on how we can best support you. Please complete this form if you have some ideas regarding content you would like to see in our newsletter or specific needs in your district. Also, please feel free to share this newsletter with others and if you are interested in subscribing, simply email email@example.com with the subject line "Tech Tips". Finally, as always, feel free to contact John Phillips or Amy Dirlam directly for all of your educational technology needs.
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