Adventures in Technology Enhanced Learning @ UoP

Tag: podcast

The AI Podcast – How we did it!

(Co-writer: ChatGPT)

There’s no doubt Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have a huge impact on the future of education and assessment.  I can’t think of a day that has gone past over the past few months where some form of AI chat hasn’t started within the office, often causing a healthy level of debate.  From the outrage of academics that students are using AI to generate degree-level work to the supposed “arms race” of technology companies to be the first to detect AI.  There’s no end to topics of conversation on the moral, technical, ethical and legal issues surrounding AI.    

With the Tel Tales Podcasts due to re-launch in the coming months, we thought it would be good to put AI to the test.  Could we create an entire podcast episode from AI?  Would it matter that it was AI generated?  Is this even possible?

To start the podcast off, we gave ChatGPT an open-ended initial prompt as follows…

“Write 6 questions to ask ChatGPT in a podcast about the impact ChatGPT will have on education”

Within a matter of seconds, ChatGPT was processing through its algorithms and writing a response to our initial prompt.  In less than a minute, ChatGPT responded with the following questions…

  1. How can ChatGPT be integrated into educational institutions to enhance the learning experience for students?
  2. What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of using ChatGPT in education, and how can these be mitigated?
  3. In what ways can ChatGPT be used to personalize learning for students with different learning styles and abilities?
  4. How can ChatGPT be used to facilitate communication and collaboration among students and teachers in online learning environments?
  5. How might the use of ChatGPT impact the role of teachers in education, and what skills might educators need to develop to effectively work with this technology?
  6. Could you conclude and summarise the impact that ChatGPT will have on education?

Looking at the response that was given, the questions that ChatGPT generated are certainly a good starting point, although very surface-level.  One of the biggest critiques of ChatGPT is the lack of “nuance, critical-thinking skills or ethical decision-making ability that are essential for successful journalism” (Lock, 2022).  Arguably, the questions generated cover a range of topics related to the use of ChatGPT in education that could lead to interesting and informative discussions.  ChatGPT is impressive on a surface level, but the reliance on using a machine for interaction or to generate conversations could lead to a loss of genuine human connection. The ability to connect with others through meaningful conversation and interactions is a fundamental aspect of being human.  The concept of outsourcing this to a machine could have detrimental side effects on our well-being and social skillset.  We learnt the true value of human interaction during the COVID pandemic and the severe impact the lack of meaningful human interaction had on mental health (Okabe-Miyamoto, 2021).  Without delving too deep into the content and ethical issues around this, the process took seconds to complete, with a total lack of human interaction apart from a very basic prompt.  Quite a scary thought!

These responses were then fed back into ChatGPT one at a time with the prefix “Write a 200-word response for a podcast to the question”, the results of this can be found at the bottom of this blog post.  Again, ChatGPT has provided plausible-sounding answers to its own questions.  However, it’s nothing new that we haven’t spoken about before, or anything game-changing.  Essentially, it’s just a series of ideas strung together from datasets.  We see themes that come up in nearly every answer around the “personalisation of learning” for students and how we can use AI to “engage” students.  The overemphasis in the responses on ‘buzzwords’ really highlights the lack of real input from a human; someone who is living and breathing this – an academic, a student, a head of school, a support team, a principal etc. Can we blame ChatGPT for its response?  Not really.  It’s done a pretty impressive job of answering its own questions and has generated some plausible responses, some of which will be popular with teachers – such as the reduction of marking load to allow teachers to focus on 1:1 learning with their students.  A glimmer of hope perhaps that ChatGPT acknowledges that a partnership between AI and teachers needs to be developed to unlock its full potential.  Maybe the machines are not taking over, just yet!

“With the right approach and training, ChatGPT can help usher in a new era of personalized, inclusive, and effective education.”  

After gaining our content, we used Speechify, to generate the audio.  Speechify has a range of voice actors – everything from Snoop Dogg to Gweneth Paltrow and uses AI to produce a natural voice, sensing the tone and intonation of text. Although the prospect of having Snoop Dogg; albeit a slightly static and stiff version of the OG himself, hosting our podcast would be amazing, we opted for British voice actors ‘Michael’ to host the podcast and ‘Stephanie’ to be the guest.  In recent news, David Guetta has spoken out about the use of AI in music and that “the future of Music is within AI”. There’s no doubt that this process of bringing AI-generated text ‘to life’ is taking the moral and ethical issues of AI writing and voice generation to a new level.  Could it be the next big “deep fake”; where AI voices are being used instead of the human equivalent?  Or that AI voices become so indistinguishable from the real human nuance of speech that it blurs the lines between reality and the matrix?  Either way, the results were good and we’re now starting to hear the results of our podcast.

After we had gathered our audio, we placed the audio files into Logic Pro X and used iZotope’s Ozone plugin for mixing and balancing.  The software uses AI to intelligently listen to the audio and suggest recommended settings.  We left everything with the settings that Ozone recommended for dynamics and equalisation – based on the audio files generated from Speechify.  It appears that gone are the days of building relationships with artists in a recording studio, akin to George Martin to refine and craft sound, when all that is needed is for an AI to “listen” and suggest settings, built on the foundations of those masters before. The final piece of the puzzle was to get some advertising for the podcast.  We asked ChatGPT to “write a tweet for @telportsmouth to advertise a totally AI-generated podcast for TelTales including hashtags” which has been used to advertise the podcast on our social media platforms.  We also asked Dall-e 2 to generate some AI artwork, with the prompt “AI-generated podcast from Tel Tales at Portsmouth University”, which you’ve probably seen before getting to this blog post. Did you even notice it was AI generated?  Had we not told you, would you have known? 

We loved creating this podcast.  In fact, it’s brought many more conversations into the office around the use of AI and how far we can (or should) push it.  Ultimately, ChatGPT is shaking the education sector to the core and making us re-evaluate our assessment methods – which is only ever a good thing!  ChatGPT is great at stringing a few sentences together to come up with a response.  However, is it not just generating content for content’s sake, with no real meaning?  Would you have even noticed this podcast was completely AI-generated, had we not told you?  Could we have made it more believable if we had “real-life” voice actors to narrate the script?  The answers ChatGPT gave for our podcast were plausible and spoke about relevant ideas and topics of discussion – but nothing more than that.  

With GPT4 on the horizon, will we see a ‘bigger and better’ version of this AI wizardry?  GPT4 promises to be able to respond to both text and images.  In theory, this multi-modal model should help the AI to understand the world we live in better and theorise more logical connections between datasets.  Perhaps this is only the beginning of our AI journey in education and further supports our need as educators to reevaluate our assessment methods.  As we’ve said before, this can only be a good thing!

Have we just done ourselves out of a job?  Probably not.  It is worth remembering that none of this was possible without that initial prompt and a “human” in the driving seat.  Does the future belong to AI? Not just yet, but it’s certainly one interesting journey we’re on!

Listen to the AI podcast 

Chris Wood

Follow me on Twitter @ChrisWoodTeach

References

Samatha Lock. (2022). What is AI chatbot phenomenon ChatGPT and could it replace humans? The Guardian. [Online]. 5th Dec 2022. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/dec/05/what-is-ai-chatbot-phenomenon-chatgpt-and-could-it-replace-humans [Accessed 14th March 2023].

Karynna Okabe-Miyamoto, Sonja Lyubomirsky. (2021). Social Connection and Well-Being during COVID-19. WHR 2021. 1(1), p.Chapter 6. [Online]. Available at: https://worldhappiness.report/ed/2021/social-connection-and-well-being-during-covid-19/ [Accessed 14 March 2023].

Artwork: AI-generated through Dall-e 2

Content: AI-generated through ChatGPT

Voice: AI-generated through Speechify

Mixing: AI-generated through iZotope Ozone

ChatGPT Responses

Question 1 Prompt:

Write a 200-word response for a podcast to the question “How can ChatGPT be integrated into educational institutions to enhance the learning experience for students?”

Question 1 Answer: 

ChatGPT, as a language model, has the potential to revolutionize the way students learn by providing personalized and interactive educational experiences. One way to integrate ChatGPT into educational institutions is through the use of chatbots. Chatbots powered by ChatGPT can provide students with instant feedback on their assignments, answer their questions, and provide additional resources that are tailored to their individual needs.

Moreover, ChatGPT can be integrated into learning management systems to create personalized learning paths for students. By analyzing a student’s learning history and performance data, ChatGPT can suggest customized learning resources and activities that are most relevant to the student’s interests and abilities. This can help students stay engaged and motivated as they learn.

Another way to integrate ChatGPT into educational institutions is by using it to create virtual learning assistants. These assistants can help students navigate complex topics, provide additional explanations or examples, and even engage in an interactive dialogue with students to promote deeper understanding and critical thinking.

Overall, the integration of ChatGPT into educational institutions has the potential to enhance the learning experience for students by providing personalized and interactive learning experiences that meet their individual needs and interests. By leveraging the power of AI, educational institutions can provide a more effective and engaging learning experience for students, preparing them for success in the modern world.

Question 2 Prompt:

Write a 200-word response for a podcast to the question “What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of using ChatGPT in education, and how can these be mitigated?”

Question 2 Answer: 

The potential benefits of using ChatGPT in education are numerous. ChatGPT can help personalize the learning experience for students, offer instant feedback and support, and assist with knowledge acquisition and retention. Furthermore, ChatGPT can assist in the creation of more engaging and interactive learning materials, which can improve student motivation and learning outcomes. However, there are also potential drawbacks to using ChatGPT in education. One concern is that the technology could lead to overreliance on AI, causing students to disengage from the learning process and rely too heavily on ChatGPT to provide answers instead of engaging in critical thinking and problem-solving. Additionally, there is the possibility of biased or inaccurate responses from ChatGPT, which could negatively impact learning outcomes. To mitigate these potential drawbacks, it is important to ensure that ChatGPT is used in conjunction with traditional teaching methods to encourage critical thinking and promote deeper learning. It is also important to ensure that the technology is thoroughly tested and evaluated for accuracy and fairness. Finally, it is important to provide appropriate training to both educators and students to ensure that they understand the role of ChatGPT in the learning process and can use it effectively. With these measures in place, the potential benefits of ChatGPT in education can be realized while mitigating potential drawbacks.

Question 3 Prompt:

Write a 200-word response for a podcast to the question “In what ways can ChatGPT be used to personalize learning for students with different learning styles and abilities?”

Question 3 Answer: 

One of the most promising applications of ChatGPT in education is its ability to personalize the learning experience for students with different learning styles and abilities. ChatGPT can analyze a student’s learning history and performance data to provide tailored resources and feedback that meet their individual needs.

For students who are visual learners, ChatGPT can generate images, videos, and other multimedia resources to enhance their learning experience. For students who are auditory learners, ChatGPT can generate audio recordings or podcasts. For students who are kinesthetic learners, ChatGPT can suggest interactive activities or simulations that allow them to engage with the material in a more hands-on way.

In addition, ChatGPT can provide targeted feedback and support that is customized to a student’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, if a student is struggling with a particular concept, ChatGPT can generate additional practice problems or explanations to help them master the material.

Overall, the ability of ChatGPT to personalize learning for students with different learning styles and abilities has the potential to significantly improve learning outcomes and engagement. By leveraging the power of AI, educational institutions can create a more inclusive and effective learning environment that meets the needs of all students, regardless of their learning style or ability.

Question 4 Prompt:

Write a 200-word response for a podcast to the question “How can ChatGPT be used to facilitate communication and collaboration among students and teachers in online learning environments?”

Question 4 Answer: 

ChatGPT can play a vital role in facilitating communication and collaboration among students and teachers in online learning environments. One way ChatGPT can achieve this is by creating virtual assistants that can provide real-time feedback and support to students. These virtual assistants can also help teachers by answering common questions, grading assignments, and providing additional resources to students who are struggling.

Moreover, ChatGPT can be integrated into online discussion forums and chat rooms to promote collaboration and engagement among students. ChatGPT can help students connect with one another and facilitate group discussions and peer-to-peer learning.

ChatGPT can also be used to create virtual study groups that can help students collaborate and learn from one another. By analyzing students’ learning histories and performance data, ChatGPT can suggest study partners or groups that are most likely to benefit from working together.

Finally, ChatGPT can be used to facilitate communication and collaboration between teachers and students. ChatGPT can help teachers provide real-time feedback to students, answer questions, and provide additional resources as needed. This can help create a more supportive and engaging learning environment that promotes learning and academic success.

Overall, the use of ChatGPT in online learning environments has the potential to significantly enhance communication and collaboration among students and teachers, creating a more engaging and effective learning experience for all involved.

Question 5 Prompt:

Write a 200-word response for a podcast to the question “How might the use of ChatGPT impact the role of teachers in education, and what skills might educators need to develop to effectively work with this technology?”

Question 5 Answer: 

The use of ChatGPT in education has the potential to significantly impact the role of teachers. With the introduction of AI-powered virtual assistants, teachers can offload certain tasks like grading, answering common questions, and providing additional resources. This can free up more time for teachers to focus on providing personalized and individualized support to students.

However, with the introduction of AI-powered technology like ChatGPT, educators will need to develop new skills to effectively work with this technology. Educators will need to become proficient in using and managing AI tools to create effective learning materials and assessments. They will need to understand how to use ChatGPT to personalize the learning experience for students, as well as how to integrate it into their teaching practices to facilitate communication and collaboration among students.

Moreover, educators will need to develop skills in data analysis to better understand student performance and adjust their teaching accordingly. They will need to be able to interpret the data generated by ChatGPT and use it to provide more effective feedback and support to students.

In summary, while the introduction of ChatGPT has the potential to significantly impact the role of teachers in education, it also presents an opportunity for educators to develop new skills that can help them create a more engaging and effective learning environment for their students.

Question 6 prompt:

Write a 200-word response for a podcast to the question “Could you conclude and summarise the impact that ChatGBP will have on education?”

Question 6 answer:

In conclusion, ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionize education by providing a personalized and engaging learning experience for students. It can help educators offload certain tasks and enable them to focus more on individualized support to students. It can also facilitate communication and collaboration among students, promoting a more inclusive and supportive learning environment.

However, the use of ChatGPT in education also presents some potential drawbacks, such as the risk of over-reliance on technology and the potential for bias in the data used to personalize the learning experience.

To mitigate these drawbacks, educators must be trained in how to effectively integrate ChatGPT into their teaching practices and be able to interpret and analyze the data generated by the technology. It’s also essential to continue to monitor and address any potential issues related to bias and ethical concerns.

Overall, ChatGPT has the potential to significantly enhance the learning experience for students and support educators in creating more effective and engaging teaching practices. While there are potential drawbacks that must be considered, the benefits of using ChatGPT in education are too significant to ignore. With the right approach and training, ChatGPT can help usher in a new era of personalized, inclusive, and effective education.

As a sidenote, I used ChatGPT to create the tweet to accompany my blog post, please see below. The possibilities with ChatGPT are endless!

ChatGPT AI-Generated Tweet

🎙️ Listen to the new Tel Tales podcast generated entirely by AI 🤖🎧 Join us for fascinating stories and insights about AI and beyond. #AIGenerated #TelTales #PortsmouthPodcast #TelTalesPodcasts 🌊🎉

Podcasts – Listening In

Header image used under Creative Commons Licence. Taken by Jonas Smith from Flickr

Podcasts are episodic audio files that can be automatically downloaded when they are publicly made available. The most familiar podcast congregator is iTunes. However, there are many other sites and apps that provide access to a vast range of podcasts. For iOS there is Overcast, Castro or paid options like Pocket Casts and iCatcher. On Android there is Podcast Republic and Player.fm both of which are free and very customisable.

Photo used under Creative Commons Licence. Taken by Kreg Steppe from Flickr

The wonderful thing about podcasts are that no matter what your interests are you are bound to find lots of podcasts that talk about them. You can listen to more common topics such as comedy, technology, sport and education to more specific podcasts that talk about the Arts and Activism!

Podcast are free but the big ones are subsidised through advertising and sponsorship. This can get annoying at times but is easily skipped or ignored until the program starts and keeps the rest of the process all free which is, I think, the key to what makes podcasts great.

Full disclosure… I have not actually listened to any of the podcasts I am about to list but using “education” as a search term using player.fm (an android and web-based podcast site) I find podcasts from named sources such as ‘Times Higher Education’ , ‘TED Talks’ and ‘The Microsoft Innovate Educator Spotlight Series’. However, there are also series produced by unknown individuals and groups who are just passionate about their subject.

Podcasts are a great source of opinion and discussion that you might not meet your normal sphere of work or study. The joy and fear of the internet reign with the ability for anyone to have a voice. Anyone can, but actually very few maintain the content but when they do it can be interesting to hear the evolution of a podcast from when they first start to what they release now.

It is also a great outlet to produce material around subjects you are passionate about. Podcasts (unlike vodcasts or video channels) can be produced on the smallest of scales. A microphone like the Snowball by Blue can be bought for £60 and used to produce high-quality audio recordings. On a Mac, the free program GarageBand allows simple quick recording and editing features, the same can be had on a Windows machine with Audacity.  The biggest commitment is that of the time to record your ideas and producing it as a continuing series. This can be daily, weekly or monthly but requires that regular input to provide content to those that might want to listen.

The choice of listener or producer is easy to start with. Start with just listening and it can give you that idea of how you want to produce or present a podcast you are planning. It may just be a passive activity providing you with ideas and thoughts to investigate that might help enhance your work.

With the relative ease that a podcast can be produced, it can easily be used to develop your learning and teaching practices. A feed from the podcast can be added as a block to a Moodle unit. This gives your site a dynamic content section that is always updating and progressing as you produce the resources for the podcast.

Working with podcasts around your subject matter could help contextualise problematic topics that slow down learning with some students. It can be used to talk broadly about your subject and bring in other areas of interest you don’t have time to cover in the traditional teaching avenues. This can then help develop the reading and activities a student has to engage with. A reading list is essential on every unit but with a potentially long list to try to get through an apathy could occur where it feels like there is too much, but through a book review section of a podcast or developing ideas citing your sources (that are all on the reading list), the student can engage with your enthusiasm towards the material and subject matter.

Considering the effort that can go into a podcast, it is a valid concern to as why should I bother producing anything at all, recent figures show that 1.7% of the time Americans spend listening to audio is devoted to podcasts. In late 2014, the BBC (a large producer of Podcasts in the UK) announced record figures for podcast downloads of its programmes. People are now able to listen on the go and are not limited by the technology anymore. With phones able to do what once expensive MP3 players could do, the limitation of where you listen has vanished. For students on a commute to university it might be a good chance for them to get into a learning mindset before they arrive, and as a podcast rather than a vodcast it can be listened to while driving as well as walking or getting public transport.

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