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AI LABS: Testing AI Tools and Practices With Real Students, and Real Teachers, in Real Classes

November 3, 2023  — A post-pandemic survey of just over 300 flipped learning educators found a majority were interested in exploring how flipped learning and ChatGPT might work in classrooms from K-12 to higher education. Considering that flipped learning educators are, by definition, innovators and early adopters, the interest was not surprising. A small cohort met for weeks to discuss how to approach a study. Three factors complicated the challenge:

  • AI was evolving faster than anything the group had ever experienced.
  • The hype, hope, possibilities, and pitfalls were overwhelming.
  • The education field faced a wave of promising but untested tools, courses, and resources.

The group agreed that the most important first step was to start personally exploring AI and exchanging observations and notes.

Fast Forward

Over the past eleven months, we’ve experienced a significant shift in our collective attitudes and thinking around generative AI. The community conversation has shifted from fears of cheating and plagiarism to widening interest in how AI can support student tutoring, lesson planning, assessment, and more. What has not changed is that no one knows what works and what doesn’t with real students and real teachers in actual classes, which is why the AI Lab is an essential step in the right direction.

AI Labs

The AI Lab project is a collaboration between MEF University, an entirely flipped institution; AALAS, the Flipped Learning Global Initiative; BRN, an education media site curating educator insights for 17 years; and a cohort of educators from K-12 to higher education. The Labs explore and test emerging AI teaching strategies and tools with students and teachers in active flipped classrooms. The experiments run in innovative schools where the flipped learning teachers and professors have the well-earned trust of school administrators, students, and community stakeholders. The result is a free hand to explore AI tools and practices vigorously, make mistakes, and learn from the process. One AI Lab is set up to push the boundaries of generative AI in education aggressively. The aim is to uncover quickly what works and where guardrails are needed based on real-world experiences. The practical insights uncovered in the last nine months are invaluable.

This month, we begin opening AI Labs to other institutions and flipped learning educators who want to participate in the project. To Join the collaboration or learn more, contact admin[at]aalasinternational.org