5 Ways to Use AI for Global Ed

By Lottie Dowling | 28 March 2024

In February 2024, we saw the long-standing #GlobalEdChat move from Twitter to LinkedIn. With over 200 event RSVPs, it was encouraging to see educators’ interest in how to use AI tools for Global Ed.

Global Learning is a large domain that encompasses a number of frameworks, philosophies, and educational approaches, such as Global Citizenship, Global Competence, Social Justice, and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Itis underpinned by the concepts of Student Voice and Student Agency, emphasizing the role of students as active, empowered citizens of the world, focused on both their local and global contexts.

Generative AI (GAI) emerged as a mainstream technology in 2023, impacting various industries and sectors, including education. While GAI tools are useful in supporting educators, who are experts in their field, it is important to remember that all technology, including GAI, can be limited and have flaws. As such, they should never be relied upon to replace the expertise of an educator.

“Generative artificial intelligence (GAI) is a subset of AI, which specifically focuses on generating content, be it in the form of text, images, music, or other media”
Using AI in the Classroom, The Royal Society of Victoria

The event’s guest speakers featured Luke Stratton from Meg Languages, LeeAnne Lavender a Service Learning, Storytelling and Global Citizenship Consultant, and Dagan Bernstein, Capstone Coordinator at Hawaii Preparatory Academy and Community Engagement Lead at Ed3 DAO. They each shared the GAI tools each were using to support different aspects of Global Citizenship Education.

Five main ideas emerged from the conversation.

1. ChatGPT as a collaborative planning partner for Global Citizenship

Most educators have likely experimented with ChatGPT in some way by now. Like any subject, once you get your prompting right, ChatGPT can be a helpful assistant in creating and aligning existing ideas and lesson plans around Global Citizenship concepts, such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Social Justice Standards.

In my work collaborating with schools and educators over the years, curriculum alignment to Global Citizenship topics and frameworks has been an important piece, but one that typically requires a lot of work. Now, with tools like ChatGPT, you can align unit or lesson plans to the SDGs or quickly generate ideas for Social Justice activities linked to existing lesson plans.

As is the case with any educational technology, we must be critical users of technology, aware of its flaws and biases. We can see that GAI tools are useful as collaborative tools to generate ideas or help align existing lesson plans to existing frameworks, but educators must be critically reflective, choosing to select or reject suggestions and then, adapt them for their own contexts to ensure they are suitable.

Check out these blogs for further guidance on how to use prompting to align lesson planning for Global Ed and Languages education:

2. The Future is Not Fixed—Futures Thinking

I first came across Futures Thinking in the Inspire Citizens Global Citizenship Course. It became immediately clear that in order for young people to be active Global Citizens capable of creating purposeful change, they need to understand that the future is not fixed. This is a powerful concept. If the future is not fixed, then it is yet to be created. Who creates it and what it looks like is our responsibility, and comes down to our choice to step up and take action to help create the futures we want.

“In order for young changemakers to feel empowered to take action, they need to be able to visualize their desired future in a way that connects their actions with shaping this future. This is why Futures Thinking is an essential part of being a global citizen. “
– Scott Jamieson, Inspire Citizens

Futures Thinking empowers young people to be active creators of their own futures and those of others. These ideas can be used across the curriculum. It places students at the center of this concept, as future world builders, asking them:

  • What kind of world do you want to live in?
  • What kind of world do you think others want to live in?
  • What needs to change to make these worlds happen?
  • What can we do to make these changes to realize this future world?

World Building to Support Futures Thinking

World Building is commonly associated with Science Fiction, but has roots that go back to the imaginary realm of artists and poets from the 19th Century. World Building is generally seen as an imaginative task to build a fictional world, using a range of technological mediums. It may be embedded into any number of curriculum areas and tasks, linking strongly to English, and can develop a range of varying skills.

Engaging students in World Building within the context of Futures Thinking inevitably leads to creating different versions of Utopian futures students would like to see. These envisioned futures align with the core objectives of Global Citizenship work. Global Citizenship education aims for a better world for everyone. World Building designs that world.

In our LinkedIn chat, Dagan referenced Stanford’s 5 Approaches to Futures Thinking and explained how the chatbot he had written assisted students to approach Future Thinking. Dagan has ensured his Building Futures Mindsets and Practices chatbot can be accessed via ChatGPT 4 and used with students to support World-Building and Futures Thinking activities.

You can find further guidance in Leon Fuze’s Science Fiction for World Building blog, which has many practical strategies that can be adapted to a Utopian world-building task. Another tool that might be useful in World-Building is a landscape generator, to create the illustrations that accompany student-created worlds. For a bit of inspiration, consider the winning student-created “worlds” in Future of Life Institute’s Future Worlds student competition!

3. Chatbots for Global Citizenship

There are now a plethora of personalized learning GPTs for a whole range of purposes. Everything from Chemistry tutors to Marathon coaches. The number is increasing daily and there are many that link to Language and Cultural education, as well as other aspects of Global Citizenship Education, such as Futures Thinking.

Let’s look at a couple of examples:

Futures Thinking Chatbot

As we’ve seen, Futures Thinking is a core idea linked to Global Citizenship. In our chat, Dagan referenced Stanford’s 5 Approaches to Futures Thinking and explained he has created his own Building Futures Mindsets and Practices chatbot, based on these five approaches, that can be accessed via ChatGPT and used with students to support World Building and Futures Thinking activities.

Intercultural Guidance

For some personalized chatbots, the purpose is to become familiar with cultural practices in different cultures. Check out this one on Russian culture designed by Meg’s own Luke Stratton. It provides insights into the types of presents you should and shouldn’t give in Russian culture.

Given the rapid pace of technology development, particularly with GAI, chatbots for specific Global Ed purposes are bound to continue to develop and evolve, so keep your eyes peeled for ones that may suit your current Global Ed needs.

“Today’s technology is the worst our students will ever use – and the best we have ever taught with.”
– Brian Aspinall

4. Image Creation and Animation

Never before have we been so easily able to create that “perfect” image to support a lesson or learning experience.

Throughout 2023 I created and animated personalized images for the Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Design Sprints I facilitate with schools. These were always so well received by students and I believe it is worth investing time to create personalized avatars for unique teaching and learning experiences.

Creating personalized images not only engages students, but it can help ensure that the images and characters we use to resource the curriculum are reflective of diversity and are inclusive of intersectionality. We know that when students don’t “see” themselves in the materials they use in class, they quickly become disengaged. Creating your own images can avoid stereotyped images you may find in older teaching resources, which have been created unintentionally because of bias. Like all work in this space, we must be aware of our own biases when we create these images.

Creating images in programs such as Midjourney or DALL.E requires specific prompting to get the images you want. Like ChatGPT you need to practice and refine your prompting to get it right. Once you are happy with the images created, you can animate them using programs such as D-ID with scripts you’ve written.

A character created for Meg’s Cultural Diversity and Inclusion design workshops, created in Mid Journey and animated in D-ID with a script provided.

It’s worth noting that text-to-video creation (without sound) already exists. Pika already has this function and Open AI just announced their new AI model called Sora, which “can create realistic and imaginative scenes from text instructions,” producing videos up to one minute from a simple text prompt with high-quality imaging.

With multiple players already offering text-to-video creation, we can realistically see in the not-too-distant future, longer and more complex video creation from text.

The Environmental Impact

As an active and aware Global Citizen, being aware of our Sustainability footprint is essential. With online technology, we do not see much of the infrastructure that connects us to the internet and the sources that power this daily. While it appears we magically connect to the internet, facetime family and friends, and DM in real-time colleagues, this isn’t without a significant environmental cost. There are miles of cables embedded underground and through the ocean that have had their ecosystems disrupted to allow cables to be installed. The environmental impact of the amount of water computer servers use to avoid overheating is something often not understood or considered. These are just two examples of the myriad of ways technology impacts our natural world.

“While training massive AI models is incredibly energy intensive, it’s only one part of the puzzle. Most of their carbon footprint comes from their actual use.”
Making an image with generative AI uses as much energy as charging your phone, MIT Technology Review

GAI are emerging technologies with incredible benefits, but the environmental impact is still being calculated. Just as in all aspects of life, we need to be educated about our resource usage and the impact of our choices, before we can make responsible decisions using these technologies.

AI use and image generation are no different. Explore AI For Education’s lesson on AI’s Impact on the Environment with your students for a robust conversation about our tech choices as responsible Global Citizens.

GAI is a brave new frontier for all educators. Like all other technology, educators can use it for good, to empower themselves and their learners to be responsible Global Citizens that are conscious of their technology choices. This enables learners to become content producers of material that make people think and create a fairer, more sustainable planet for all.

The possibilities of how educators can use GAI towards Global Citizenship work are endless. How are you using it?


Australian Framework

USA Frameworks

For a deeper dive, explore these further resources around AI for Educators:

Lottie Dowling is a Primary School trained educator who has worked in a number of education roles internationally for more than 20 years including state schools and international schools in London, China, and NZ. She has worked as a Drama and Literacy specialist, in ESL and EAL roles, and now specializes in Global Citizenship Education. She is currently the Manager of Going Global at Meg Languages.

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