Secondary Matters & Assembly Presentation on Artificial Intelligence (and ChatGPT)

Wednesday, 15 Feb 2023

It is Week 3 already at the college and it has been a busy and positive start for Term 1. Many staff have been involved in assisting new students settle into the college and especially our Year 7 students. 

Year 7 have completed their rite of passage on camp and re-entry welcome back to BDC on Monday with Mr Keen. Thank you to Tim and Joel for their camp organisation and the wonderful tutor staff Bess-Anne, Rach, Julie, Kelly, Simone, Paul, and James. We were blessed with great weather and lots of fun across the week. Congratulations to Year 7 on being away from the comforts of home and taking on the opportunity for challenge in many formats. This year there were a few more students than usual who were a little anxious about being away from home. Tutor staff worked extremely well with each individual and for some, this was a challenge bigger than the high ropes course. Well done to all for their efforts to join in and be part of camp while on this new experience.

Year 8 worked through a range of focus groups and teamwork activities for their pastoral day last week. Thank you to Mr Close and team for facilitating this day. Year 7 and 8 have commenced Kaizen this week and Year 9 and 10 have commenced their World Options courses. Year 11 have started all their senior studies and TAFE should be commencing shortly for those doing external courses.

A reminder that all students are now in their courses for the year (or semester for World Options). 

In our start of year assemblies our heads of house commenced with some friendly rivalry, and we look forward to seeing this at our swimming carnival this week.

We are having a re-focus on the BDC Way across the campus in Term 1.

The BDC Way nurtures character development, builds community and is immersed in transformative opportunities to become world prepared citizens. We hope to see service minded, generous and optimistic students and staff as we partner with families to develop the whole child (building our culture) and see this demonstrated through their day-to-day actions.

  • Prioritise wellbeing
  • Empower
  • Embrace diversity
  • Pursue excellence
  • Serve our community

In the first few weeks of Term 1, the focus has been embracing diversity as we welcome new staff and students and to pursue excellence in our action’s day to day and academic studies.

I encourage you to discuss the BDC Way at home and ask your children to give examples of where they may assist or welcome new people or ideas and where they are trying their best in school or how they welcome friends or people and strive to improve in academia.

Important Term 1 Dates

  • 22nd February, Ash Wednesday Service
  • 23rd February Year 11 Information Night
  • 1st March Year 10 Road Safety Information Night
  • 3rd March, Mud Run and Year 11-12 Elevate Study Skills Sessions
  • 13th March, NAPLAN commences
  • 22nd March, Year 8 and 12 Parent Teacher Interviews
  • 29th March, Year 9-10 Parent Teacher Interviews
  • 5th April, Year 7-11 Parent Teacher Interviews
  • 6th April, Easter Service
  • 7th April Easter Holidays commence

Our commencement for 2023 also brings the reminder that our college has extensive waiting lists across most year levels. Please encourage friends or future families they need to enrol now, many year groups are full for 2024 already. This includes kindergarten, but also across primary and high school eg Year 7. Please contact enrolments if you have any questions.

Please find the following articles, my introduction to AI and ChatGPT at our first assembly and the first Senior Spotlight by Lilly Atkin. Thank you for the start to 2023, welcome to our new families and staff to our community.

Read the Year 7 Vaccinations letter.

Simon Doyle
Assistant Principal (Head of Secondary)

Week 1 Secondary Assembly Presentation on Artificial Intelligence (and ChatGPT)

Part of our commitment at BDC to you is to assist your growth in becoming empowered to follow your dreams, pursue excellence, improve your self awareness, experience service and to graduate as world prepared young adults. Our conversations last week amongst greeting new staff, looking at HSC results and preparing for classes was an energetic discussion on something new, probably a major disruptor or at least a moment in time of innovation.

This was the commencement as a school with the conversation about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT. This is a free (currently) and accessible Artificial Intelligence chatbot. Many of you would be aware that it is designed to generate human-like responses to virtually any question.

Universities and schools across the world are now working with another disruptor since November 2022 which makes us investigate many aspects of our learning and teaching.  This has probably been on the agenda of every school this week.

What is AI and ChatGPT?

Created by a research lab, released in November 2022, OpenAI, ChatGPT can solve mathematical problems, suggest plans and checklists, write poems, essays, teaching programs, and compute computer code in seconds. It is not guaranteed to be correct or make sense in it’s response (please be aware).

From further readings and webinars, I also believe it has about 300 billion words of text data (it does not include reference to data now from 2022).

AI is part of everyday life for most Australians. We look at our health services, maps/navigation, facial recognition on our phones/banks, autocorrect, epayments, chatbots and virtual travel to name a few. What is new is that it is guided by human feedback. This training algorithm results in its output sounding exactly or close to a person with the response that is returned.

Our conversations as professionals last week fluctuated from what is it? to do we block it at school? to let's play with it, try it, ask it questions, google it. Across Australia and globally it has created the very opposite responses. Ranging from it will end schooling as we know it, predictions of google not existing in 3 years to a complete ban in every classroom and university due to a worry of plagiarism and copying AI output.

There are already several add-ons to help businesses and educators create resources, start an activity or a presentation, and even mark student work, all within seconds or a minute or two.

Entrepreneurs adapt to the changing needs of society and new innovations.

At BDC Mr Johnstone has called for staff to be on a research team to explore ethical use, awareness raising and be future minded of possibilities with AI (and ChatGPT). His article is also located on our website.

ChatGPT could be a good tool as we get to understand it, use it ethically and adapt to changes that this may bring. This is the BDC Way and becoming world prepared. However, this disruptor is both exciting and causes us to pause and raise questions.

ChatGPT confirms what we already know -there are many forms of information online and in the media. How do we know it is valid or true or unbiased? These are the skills or capabilities that we will continue to develop and use to be a critical thinker, be creative, and project manage to a desired outcome that is ethically based.

Industries, including education will continue to evolve and adapt to technology. Hopefully, it may eliminate repetitive stuff, document creation and it will probably integrate with many platforms already existing like Microsoft Office applications, interactive media. People have already written children's books, created AI formed artworks and sold them.

AI and School Assessment?

At schools and universities, one of the first areas discussed is assessment. We all know that we should acknowledge the use of other people's work, diagrams, and data. Otherwise, it is plagiarism. A performance, creating artworks, major works speaking a language or moving for example all require practice, progress logs and teacher assistance. In these examples, assessment is usually ongoing and then often a final or summative performance or product or conversation is assessed. In other words, we see something demonstrated along the journey and assess what is demonstrated.

Very few of our assessments are take-home essays or report type of tasks. Our Staff with Heads of Faculty will review tasks 7 to 12 as they do each year. Written responses will still occur, and tasks reflect the application of a concept or an experiment or analyse an extract. Your assessment task may be an application through an open book stimulus or responding to a media clip or bringing in a clue card to an unseen question, evaluating, analysing, or justifying are just a couple that come to mind. Yes, exams will still exist eg the HSC.

It is important to remember that assessment is not just about awarding a grade or a mark or a rank. It is about providing feedback to improve learning.

If you haven't connected the idea yet, we won't be blocking ChatGPT (not at this stage). It is not helpful to think that schools can control this technology.

The Future with AI (and ChatGPT)

We have started a new era. People can access ChatGPT at home, phones wherever there is wifi. Over time we hope to have clear ethical use and guides (plagiarism guidelines are already in place) and to also look for the benefits in an education setting while becoming aware of the concerns and questions of ethical use as responsible global citizens.

The skills, capabilities and dispositions across each KLA will become more prominent. Your ability to collaborate, communicate, create, problem solve, apply, move, perform, and analyse as capabilities becomes even more central to our teaching and learning. This year we are creating our first steps to recognising these capabilities via an electronic credential and a badging process. So, you may get recognised for your creative skills in English and receive a badge for your skill level or badge for project management in Mandatory Technology. 

We want to provide a platform for you to demonstrate your range of skills, opportunities beyond the classroom, future capabilities, Round Square Ideals, and middle school outcomes, recognising programs under the BDC Advantage and including your academic reports. Our badging initiative builds upon our academic reports and should demonstrate overtime a more complete picture of your skills and experiences.

BDC already has a focus on strong literacy and numeracy skills, capabilities, skills, and support services like the Chapel, LRC, rites of passage, camps, that assist you to make social and emotional sense of the world. This assist in building the capabilities for a global employment market that values creativity, innovation, and design. These opportunities and programs make our staff and teachers second to none. The staff are innovative, pursue excellence and with a focus on wellbeing and have a focus on the future for our students.

Our staff, the people you are with every day, are still the key to helping you develop your capabilities and passions through learning and the opportunities beyond the classroom that are part of the BDC Way. I hope each of you want to make a difference each day to the people you are surrounded by something an innovation like ChatGPT can't do.

Thank you and welcome back to the college for 2023.

Senior Spotlight Term 1 Week 1 by Lily Atkin

Lily Atkin Year 12 2023

"I have been in your position before, sitting on the Branson Centre floor ready to hear another senior spotlight. I have heard hundreds of speeches, but I truly only remember one. It was the first senior spotlight I ever heard as a brand new, little year 7 about first experiences and trying new things. This speech really resonated with me and helped me become the confident person I am today. This is the first experience that many of you will have with a senior spotlight. I hope this is the speech that you remember throughout your time at Bishop Druitt College.

So, for the first senior spotlight of 2023, I will be talking about first experiences and trying everything once. In life, there are many things that we don't necessarily want to do … like rockets tech. But we must get through it all one step at a time. At the start of a new year, you always hear the someone say the phrase, new year… new me. I hope that you can take that phrase and apply it in your own life. I want you all to leave here feeling as if you are prepared to have new experiences. It is a new year and a fresh start. This year is a clean slate. Everything from the past year has been said and done now it’s time to live your own life and have first experiences in other ways.

New experiences are scary. Whether you are new in a class where you don’t have any friends or are new to another situation, it is scary and intimidating. But despite that I challenge you to walk a different way to your lockers, sit at a different table, join a new sports team. Just try it all once. Every year, every day is a fresh start to try new things. I hope that you will do that not only for me but for yourselves."

Thank you, Lily


BDC School Blazers - the latest version. 

If you have a BDC Blazer that you no longer need, we are happy to receive them. BDC will be establishing a modest Blazer Bank for students attending Round Square Conferences and Exchanges to borrow. 

Please bring blazers to the front office at the college.