Here, we want to talk about how you can actually work with these incredible tools to improve your learning by freeing you up so you can concentrate on where the real value is: What’s happening inside your own head and what that means for your growth as an increasingly confident, educated, capable person (as opposed to just working through your educational tasks as quickly as possible). This is called metacognition – how you think about your own thinking, assess it, and decide what you need to take it to the next level.
One of the biggest challenges about this is that, in college, you’re doing a huge amount of your learning outside of class through self-teaching. As your own teacher, then, it might help to think like a teacher, many of whom love this saying – “the one doing the most work is doing the most learning.” To put that into action with A.I., we want it as our springboard, facilitator, coach, or starting point -- not as the actual doer of the work. A.I. can free us up to spend our time and attention on the activities that will have the biggest payoff in terms of our learning. Remember that, in response to certain prompts, A.I. has been known to make up quotes, facts, and even whole sources that are incorrect and/or simply don’t exist. In the A.I. world, these are known as "hallucinations." Don't be like the lawyers who ended up submitting fictitious cases in their brief and got fined $5000, as reported here by CBS News.
Just two more things before we get to the ideas below about how to work with these tools:
- What if one of the most important things about your learning is not just what you're learning and how efficient it is, but who you're learning it with? One of the things that helps us thrive the most in college -- and at every other stage in life-- is social connection. For every suggestion of how to use AI below, you can get out into the world, meet someone -- an academic coach, a tutor, a professor, a course assistant, another new friend in class -- and learn as we are built to do best -- interactively, in person, with each other.
- The deepest learning comes from the things youmake yourself -- the writing, the explanations, the projects, the ideas. Your ideas will always be built, to some extent, on those that came before you. Using AI ethically and responsibly, just like any other tool, not only improves your learning, it also means you get to express gratitude for the people whose work you're drawing upon. When you provide proper citations (i.e., identifying for your reader where you used AI to help generate your work), you clarify for your audience what you are adding to the world, so you get to lay claim to the ideas that are yours, your own contribution and original thinking!
See below where we’ve collected a few ideas for how to make that all work.