Playfulness and AI – Northumbria University

Last week 30 Playful Learners met up at Northumbria University to explore AI and Playfulness. This post is a summary of what we got up and the agenda, pics and resources are all on this Padlet, so you can follow up on your favourite parts.

A lady in dungarees and a man in a hoodie stand in front of a projector screen that says Northumbria University
Katie and Alex introduce the event

We started with Malcolm Murray and Matt Wood from Durham introducing us to the tools to create chatbots and character generation using AI. Here are the ChatBots that we made, you might enjoy chatting to (until they each reach 250 questions, which is the free version limit).

Example ChatBot

Next up, Joe Shimwell talked to us about how he uses AI for ideation rather than idea generation. AI can work the way you want it to work – so let it act as a critical friend, or support you, or ask you challenging questions – and don’t let the AI outsource the best part of you: your creativity.

Joe Shimwell: “Your playful creative side is the best part of you:
treasure it, develop it, don’t outsource it”

We rounded off Day 1 with a game of Blockbusters and presentations from some playful PhD students: Rachelle O’Brien and Vici Daphne Handel.

Rachelle helping us explore our love (or not) of surprises

After a night out in Newcastle, we woke up on Friday morning ready for more! George Robinson got us using AI for music generation and Katie Piatt got us using Padlet for art. See our outputs on the “I Can’t Sing and I Can’t Draw” Padlet. We discussed the murky world of AI and copyright, when works like this are considered derivatives and how we should reference their use. For now, we haven’t got any definitive answers, but good practice is to list the prompt you used, the service you used and the date you created the work.

“Muppets in the style of cheese” created using Padlet AI on 24/11/2023

We also learned about David Anderson’s Dice Cafe at the University of Lincoln, a way of supporting digital and interactive classroom experiences.

We rounded off using all we had learned to generate an A-Z of Playful AI resulting in a great list of ideas and some rather concerning images!

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Our in-person events are always free – you just pay for your own travel and accommodation and the host institution provides a room and some catering. We hold an event each April and November, alternating the locations. If you would like to host a future event, do get in touch. Our next event will be in April 2024 – details to follow!