ChatGPT is one of the fastest-growing consumer applications in history. Are you still on the fence about whether or not it is relevant, revolutionary, or worth exploring? Artificial intelligence (AI) has arrived, and it is here to stay. We are witnessing an abundance of artificial intelligence tools which can be used for a variety of purposes. Tools such as ChatGPT, Bing Chat, and Perplexity are used to generate human-like text. Midjourney, Dall-E 2, Stock AI, and Stable Diffusion are used for generating quality images from text. Assembly AI is used for turning audio into text. Fliki.ai and Synthesia are used to turn text into videos. Murf.ai is used to turn text into audio or do voiceovers. And Microsoft 365 Copilot, which was recently announced, is an artificial intelligence assistant that promises to exponentially enhance the productivity of Microsoft 365 users. So, how do teachers position themselves to get the most from these resources, and what steps should they take to ensure they are informed and prepared?
AI image created by Midjourney. (Photo source: Margareta Tripsa)
A bell curve is a distribution that occurs naturally in many situations. People can be placed in different locations on the bell curve according to their perceptions. This holds true when we discuss artificial intelligence, as well. Where are you positioned on the bell curve when it comes to considering the impact of artificial intelligence in education? Do you see artificial intelligence as a friend, as a foe, or perhaps you remain ambivalent? If you want to focus only on the dangers of AI or you are in denial thinking that this is not a relevant topic for educators or students, this article is not for you. While you may choose to close this tab and seek out articles that align more closely with your interests, rest assured that your students will not pretend AI does not exist. They will learn about it and will use it. In fact, many probably already have. They are the early adopters who will outsmart the early majority, late majority, and those that lag behind. If you take the time to learn, AI can serve as a tool to spark creativity and augment productivity within the classroom.
You have most likely heard about ChatGPT. Let’s take a look and see how ChatGPT answers the question “What is ChatGPT?”
“ChatGPT is a large language model created by OpenAI. It is an artificial intelligence program that has been trained on a vast amount of text data from the internet, including books, articles, and websites. ChatGPT is designed to understand natural language and to generate responses that are similar to those of a human being. Its purpose is to provide helpful and informative responses to questions posed by users.”
I also asked ChatGPT why teachers fear it and the answer I received was, “As an AI language model, I don’t think teachers have a reason to fear me. In fact, I can be a valuable tool to use in their classrooms. I can help students with research projects, answer questions, and provide resources to supplement their learning.” In brief, ChatGPT is a tool that answers questions.
When you need to write an article or do research, how often do you go to a physical library to use physical resources to seek answers to your questions? Google was launched in 1998 and searching for information was instantly revolutionized. Since then, research has been conducted primarily online. Now, after about 25 years, we are discovering a new way to search for information, a search that is powered by AI. Isn't it actually about time to innovate? Should that intimidate us?
Inspiration Through Practical Ideas
If you see this as an opportunity and not as a threat, you may be the educator who has the dispositions needed to innovate, be creative, and seek ways to educate the current generation of students using the tools of the 21st century. So, let’s explore some ideas that may inspire you!
15 ways ChatGPT can help educators be more creative or productive. The accompanying prompts are provided so you can use them right away and see the result for yourself:
- Search for answers to your questions, any questions.
- Generate questions on various topics at different levels of complexity. Sample prompt: Generate five questions on World War II for a Grade 7 class.
- Create quizzes. Sample prompt: Create a quiz with five multiple-choice questions that assess students' understanding of [insert concept being assessed].
- Explain things and simplify complex ideas. Sample prompt: Explain [concept being taught] like I am 5.
- Write engaging, higher-level thinking prompts for a class discussion on any topic. Sample prompt: Write four questions at the evaluating level of Bloom’s Taxonomy about the painting Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh.
- Write music or code. Sample prompt: Write a melody in ABC notation using a blues scale in E.
- Elaborate on ideas or increase the sophistication of a text. Sample prompt: Increase the Lexile level of the following text.
- Generate exemplary/sample essays: Sample prompt: Compose a model essay on social discrimination at a Grade 4 writing level.
- Write letters and emails (choose tone) and explain in a particular style. Sample prompt: Write an email to my students in Grade 4 explaining steps they can take to promote sustainability.
- Write poetry in the style of your favorite poet. Sample prompt: Write a love poem in the style of Shakespeare.
- Create humorous text or write original jokes. Sample prompts: Write a joke/poem about the Pythagorean theorem. Explain [topic of your choice] in a funny way.
- Have a dialogue as if it were a historical figure. Sample prompt: Can I have a conversation with you as if you were Abraham Lincoln?
- Generate interactive instructional engagements. Sample prompt: Create a list of interactive classroom activities for teaching multiplication.
- Grade essays and provide feedback. ChatGPT can be really useful for students, but it can also be quite useful for teachers. The AI tool can let you easily grade essays, and it even provides feedback on essays. For example, if you ask ChatGPT to grade an essay and it assigns it a grade of B+, it will tell you why the essay has been graded at B+ along with suggestions for improvements.
- Create lesson plans or slide show presentations. Sample prompts: Create a lesson outline on renewable energy that includes learning objectives, creative activities, and success criteria. Create an outline for a 10 slide presentation on colonizing Mars for a 6th-grade class.
AI can help you do a lot more, from building as many travel itineraries as you want to helping you prepare for a job interview. So, should we be intimidated by this new way of searching for information, should we pretend it does not exist, or should we learn how to leverage the new type of intelligence that exists today? Should we remain stuck in using the pedagogies and tools of the past century or should we dare to be more progressive moving into the future?
ChatGPT. (2023, January 18). How do you cite an answer in ChatGPT. [Response to user question]. Retrieved from https://chat.openai.com/chat
Rogers, E. M. (1962). Diffusion of innovations (1st). First Press of Glenco.
Margareta (Margo) Tripsa is a professional learning designer at the Education Development Institute, Qatar Foundation in Qatar. She has worked in education for over 20 years on three continents (Europe, North America, and Asia) both as an educator and as a leader. She has a master's degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) from Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, and an education specialist degree in instructional technology from Kennesaw State University, Georgia, USA.