I had absolutely zero intention of writing a ChatGPT blog post since so many have already written about it, and talked about it on podcast episodes, not to mention the countless tweets and post threads. There are districts already asking tech departments to ban ChatGPT sites and others similar to it, but I feel that banning it from school devices is not the answer. This is a complex issue, and it reminds me of the invention of the calculator, the computer, the internet, smartphones, Alexa, and Google Home Mini. Educators have dealt with revolutionary technologies for years, and yet critical thinking, creativity, and the love of learning still exist within the walls of school buildings everywhere. While educators do have control over the tools, it can still be a challenge to navigate their use within the classroom. The latest to create panic from secondary to higher education is the artificial intelligence (AI) bot from OpenAI, ChatGPT. While the negative uses of this AI can be found in many articles, blog posts, podcasts, and social media posts, this post will focus on the value educators can tap into when considering the potential uses of AI such as ChatGPT.
You’re wondering who I am (secret secret I’ve got a secret)
What is ChatGPT? It is a large language model developed by OpenAI, trained to generate human-like text based on the input provided to it. ChatGPT is capable of understanding and responding to a wide range of questions and prompts, and can assist with a variety of tasks such as answering questions, writing creative text, and more. While it is still in beta testing, educators all over the world are exploring it and realizing how mind-blowing the possibilities with it truly are.
Machine or mannequin (secret secret I’ve got a secret)
Ways Teachers Can Use ChatGPT
It only took me a few minutes of exploration to realize that this tool could lighten my teacher workload. Here are 5 ways to use ChatGPT as an educator:
1. Providing personalized tutoring and feedback: AI can provide individualized support to students by answering their questions and offering personalized feedback on their work. ChatGPT can provide students with access to additional resources and guidance to help them learn and understand the material. This could include links to relevant websites, suggested readings, or explanations of key concepts. AI like this can help students to understand and retain the material better, while also reducing the workload for teachers.
Having a personal tutor for each student sounds crazy, but that is exactly what ChatGPT can do or be. Maybe the new saying heard in classes around the world will soon be “Ask 3 then ChatGPT.” Students who have anxiety about asking for help from their teacher or peers may find this a great alternative. Teaching students how to get help from this bot and how to use it ethically is key here. While it is not 100% accurate 100% of the time yet, ChatGPT does a great job of explaining the answers or solutions it comes up with, and if students still aren’t sure, they can continue to ask it questions until they do understand the concept or process.
With parts made in Japan (secret secret I’ve got a secret)
As an English teacher, I am always looking for the most efficient way to provide timely feedback for student writing. ChatGPT may have the answer for me. If I provide the prompt, the student response, and ask how to improve the writing, ChatGPT then formulates a checklist, which is awesome, but it will continue into a rewrite of the student response. So if that seems like cheating to you, then I suggest you be the one asking ChatGPT for feedback instead of the students. There are times as they are learning to write a specific way, though, that the rewrite might be very helpful. Watching it rewrite a response in real-time could be the one way to show students how revision should work. There are lots of ways to use this, so ponder how it might or might not be useful in your classroom.
I am the modern man
2. Create Lesson Plans: AI can use Common Core, State Standards, or neither of those to create lesson plans for teachers.
If you are stuck for ideas, give it a spin on ChatGPT. It is very thorough, and once it produces those plans, you can then tailor them to fit the needs of your students, use them as is, or just use parts of the plan it produces. You may find the experience fun. Also, if you are having to teach or prepare plans for a position that you aren’t comfortable planning for, and thanks to the teacher shortage, there is plenty of that going around, consider asking ChatGPT. Maybe you need emergency plans for a teacher in your building or department. What if a long-term sub could use this for planning?
As you can see, ChatGPT gives thorough plans that include materials, objectives, a step-by-step procedure, a possible assessment, and closure when asked to produce lesson plans. To see the full plans it generated for this lesson, click HERE.
I’m not a robot without emotions, I’m not what you see
3. Enhancing group work and collaboration: AI can facilitate group work and collaboration by providing a platform for students to communicate and share their ideas. This can help to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
I have not worked out how this would work in my classes yet, but I am pondering how it might be used to do this. Of the 5 tips, it is the one I haven’t yet used or fully considered. If you have ideas on this one, tweet out your ideas and tag me or comment below.
4. Creating and grading quizzes and assessments: AI can create and grade quizzes and assessments, freeing up teachers to focus on other tasks. This can be particularly useful for large classes or for teachers who are short on time.
I’ve come to help you with your problems, so we can be free
I used ChatGPT to help me create a final over rhetorical devices and figurative language. It very quickly provided examples of similes, metaphors, hyperbole, personification, etc. If it can do a thing faster than I can, then I am all about letting it work for me. My motto with anything has always been to “work smarter not harder,” so NOT using ChatGPT to lighten my workload would go against that philosophy. I also plan to use ChatGPT for examples of strong work when I don’t already have them. I can also upload that example to services like turnitin.com so that it can check for work that is similar. At this stage, ChatGPT has produced similar products off of the same prompt, so for now, that might help stem the tide of cheating. However, I have also noticed that ChatGPT can’t yet incorporate two provided sources that are to be used in the response to the prompt, so consider that while creating writing prompts for students. It can use and cite two or more of its own sources, but it only ever cited one source when I tried this by providing the two sources.
I’m not a hero, I’m not a savior, forget what you know
5. Offering support for language learners: For students who are learning a new language, AI can provide translations and pronunciation assistance to help them understand and practice the material. This can be especially beneficial for students who are learning English as a second language.
This actually sounds very beneficial, and it could also translate written communication for sending out to parents, students, and the community. I can see a lot of value here.
Those five suggestions from ChatGPT are definitely areas that I have been considering as I explore the tool. My main goal is to find ways I can use AI like ChatGPT to lighten some of my workload while helping students increase their own learning. As a parent, I also see myself being able to help my child more confidently with his homework now too. And just like that, ChatGPT has given. me time to go to my son’s ballgames, do laundry, and maybe even read a book for pleasure.