Putting the AI in Education: Stepping Toward Generative Artificial Intelligences 

Artificial intelligences (the plural is intentional) are clearly having a moment. I wouldn’t be surprised if TIME magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2023 ends up being ChatGPT. But the very popularity of the moment makes it harder to separate what turns out to be a critically important signal from all the noise. The hype is problematic, but the revolution is real. The odd thing about living through a technological revolution is you think it’s just another Tuesday. But things forever changed when OpenAI released version 3.5 of ChatGPT last December. Generative AIs went from entertaining but ultimately not very useful to virtually indispensable tools, and the change happened overnight.

My hope is that we all—individuals, teachers, students, parents, schools, and government officials—honestly wrestle with this revolutionary change and recognize it as so much more than a “cheat tool.” If we had known the full consequences of Steve Jobs showing us that first iPhone on stage in 2007 and its impacts on our lives, attention, interactions, children, environment, physical and mental health, what hard questions would we have asked? We didn’t ask. It seemed just another Tuesday—just Apple’s version of a mobile phone that not everyone had or even wanted.  

Generative AIs have the power to transform education. These technologies can do everything from poetry to code to digital art to research to essay writing. Adaptive learning models can empower teachers to customize instruction for each student’s needs, and students can even personalize a digital tutoring experience. While our upcoming session at bbcon 2023 will focus on where the tools are, we also hope to help shape conversations about where generative AIs are headed.  

Imagine empowering a teacher with generative AI to improve question-building workflows for online assessments and open-book evaluations. 

Imagine being able to ask your AI to review all your saved topics and suggest alternatives and improvements based on related assessments and grades. 

Imagine a coach using an AI to generate a detailed analysis of your best athletes’ movements to help other students learn, model, and improve their own techniques. 

Imagine your photography teacher able to explain different shot angles, subjects, apertures, and lighting techniques with nothing more than well-crafted prompts. 

/imagine indeed…

Join me and my colleague, Hiram Cuevas of St. Christopher’s School, at bbcon October 22–24 to delve deeper into AI in our breakout session, “Putting the AI in Education.” We hope to help paint a fuller picture, invite hard questions, and showcase the power of what these AIs are capable of with skillful prompting. 

Undoubtedly, the tools we use to shape the world end up shaping us. But if we’re genuinely committed to leveraging technology that builds a better world, I can think of no more relevant lesson plan to get right for 2023. See you at #bbcon. (P.S.: We also have t-shirts for the best audience-submitted prompts). 

*No AIs were used, consulted, or harmed in generating this summary of our bbcon session. 

Want to learn more about AI? Check out these other sessions at bbcon, too: 

Imagining our Future: Reflections on AI, Equity, and a Better World 

Brandolon Barnett, Head of Innovation & Philanthropy, Humanitas Technologies 

Join us for a session that weaves a personal journey from poverty, loss, and adversity to a career at the intersection of social impact and technology. This will be an honest and authentic conversation about the many obstacles confronted by under-resourced individuals and organizations striving to help drive social change. We’ll delve into both the risks of AI and the potential rewards that could come from leveraging these newly accessible technologies to build a better world through equitable innovations. Together, we’ll explore answers to the question – how might AI make the hard work of impact, and the often difficult paths to that work, easier and more accessible for us all? 

Using Generative AI To Drive Your Fundraising Outcomes 

Allison Fine, President, Every.org 

Beth Kanter, Author, Trainer, and Nonprofit Innovator 

Carrie Cobb, Chief Data Officer, Blackbaud  

Artificial intelligence promises new models of fundraising, using machine learning to drive better outcomes. Generative AI—which is capable of producing content in response to prompts—provides fundraisers with exciting new opportunities to personalize their constituent experience and redesign workflows and jobs. Generative AI is more than a trend, it’s a pathway to redesign your workflows with a human-centric approach, freeing staff to take on greater challenges.  

Confidently walk into the future with expert insights into the wide range of possibilities to improve outcomes, how to thoughtfully adopt new generative AI technologies, and unleash your fundraising potential. 

Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, and Your Technology Strategy: Finding the Right Fit 

Ian Craddock, Principal Product Manager—AI/ML, Blackbaud 

The history of generative AI dates back all the way to the 1950s. But a series of breakthroughs—including several over just the last decade—have catapulted AI to the forefront of our public consciousness. Much of the public discourse currently revolves around natural language models, and you’ve probably read commentary positing that ChatGPT offers a solution to virtually every problem. But capabilities and potential of AI are complex; business leaders must think carefully about the best role for these new technologies in their future strategy. Drawing from experience during and prior to his role as a product manager at Blackbaud, Ian Craddock will share an overview of some of the most significant milestones in AI development over his career. Ian will also discuss Blackbaud’s approach to utilizing AI and lay out an outcomes-based framework for leaders in the social impact space to identify the best opportunities to apply AI in their own organizations. 

AI in Action: Building Trust with Human-Centered, Responsible, and Effective AI 

Leah Payne, Director of Prospect Management & Research, Longwood University 

Carrie Goldberger, Senior Product Manager, Blackbaud 

Are you ready to put artificial intelligence (AI) into action? Join us for a session on how to build trust with AI that is not only human-centered and responsible but also effective and efficient. We’ll discuss the importance of understanding when to use AI and how to get comfortable testing AI in various scenarios. We’ll also examine the principles of responsible AI and the importance of AI literacy and dive into the need for transparency, fairness, and ethical considerations in order to foster trust and appropriate use. 

The Opportunities & Challenges of AI in Social Impact 

Carrie Cobb, Chief Data Officer, Blackbaud 

Linton Myers, Director, Innovation & Incubation, Blackbaud 

The world of AI is fraught with both opportunity and challenge. Hear from Blackbaud leaders in Data and Innovation as they relay the drivers behind our Intelligence for Good Strategy, balancing aspects of Responsible AI with key technology advancements such as Generative AI. This session will explore ethics and privacy in the age of AI as well as the benefits experienced through Blackbaud’s adoption of AI within its own solutions. 

Intelligence for Good™ — AI feature demos (Blackbaud Innovation Hub) 

Curious how Blackbaud will incorporate more AI features into our products? Come see the newest features and what’s coming next for AI at Blackbaud.