From education to employment

AI and Literacies at the FE Collective

In preparation for the upcoming FE Collective event, Vikki Liogier, Education and Training Foundation’s National Head of EdTech & Digital Skills, discusses AI and literacies. This article serves as an introduction to her session and recounts her exploration of the intersection between open AI and art.

A year ago, in September 2022, I began my journey into the world of art and AI. That’s when I decided to start an Instagram account to share my creative experiments and what I was learning.

So, what did I figure out? Well, the magic of generative AI was overwhelming. With just a few simple words, I could whip up not just one but several visuals in seconds. The simplicity of these AI tools is reminiscent of photography, where a mere click captures a moment. AI tools’ ability to easily generate vast amounts of high-quality images is simply astonishing. To put it into perspective, according to Jason Dorrier (Oct 2022), OpenAI claimed that DALL-E alone was generating over 2 million images a day!

But here is the catch: just like snapping pictures doesn’t make everyone a professional photographer, producing AI visuals doesn’t mean it is automatically good art. The real deal is using the right words and prompts. It is about the power of words!

The skill to craft compelling prompts through word associations, combinations, and clear descriptions are the keystones to enhancing our visual outputs. But it doesn’t stop there. Our proficiency in art and media literacy plays an equally pivotal role when directing AI to produce visuals. Our ability to envision and compose, our grasp of art history, and our knack for deciphering and interpreting visuals all contribute to the equation. Understanding colors, contrasts, techniques, and rendering processes allows us to provide clearer instructions to generative AI tools.

However, literacy in this age of AI encompasses more than traditional reading and writing. It extends to cover various facets of communication. AI technology, as it reshapes our world, influences a multitude of literacy dimensions—digital literacy, media literacy, information literacy, and beyond. When we discuss AI, we must acknowledge its far-reaching effects on these essential literacy skills.

Is OpenAI a friend or a foe in this brave new world?

OpenAI is, at its core, a tool. It is to Adobe Photoshop what Photoshop was to photography. What really matters is how we use this tool. Mastery of the tools at our disposal can take our creativity and performance to new heights. Literacies evolve and they are the foundation upon which individuals construct their ability to navigate the world they live in, encompassing traditional written communication and the ever-evolving digital, media and information-driven landscape.

It is not about people versus machines; it is about people and machines working in tandem to craft a brighter, more creative tomorrow. As educators, we have a job to do, preparing learners for the fast-changing world of work. Both adaptive and generative AI systems are and will continue to exponentially disrupt the labour market. That’s why we need to roll with AI’s potential, be open to learning, and use it to improve how we teach. By doing that, we can get learners ready for the AI-powered future.

To sum it up, my one-year journey into art and AI has been mind-blowing. Harnessing the power of generative AI is a game-changer!

As we gear up for the October FE Collective Event, I invite you to dive into AI’s potential. It is a tool that can inspire you and take your ideas to a whole new level while helping you become more efficient. Let’s harness the power of words and nurture our literacies in the age of AI.

By Vikki Liogier, National Head of EdTech & Digital Skills, Education and Training Foundation

Interested in meeting Vikki Liogier in person?

Join us at the FE Collective in Birmingham on October 17th!

The FE Collective is a significant event where we collaborate to create a sector-specific report, crafted by the sector, for the sector. Don’t miss the chance to listen to Vikki Liogier discuss topics like artificial intelligence, investments in the future sector, and progression.

To find out more, join us at the FE Collective – get all the details here.

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