Artificial intelligence is here to stay, so teaching with ChatGPT and AI are hot topics of discussion and contemplation for educators around the globe.
This post was updated on February 16, 2023, to include a new and useful template for teaching with ChatGPT.
Since writing the blog post about what ChatGPT is and what it means for education earlier this month, the discussion over the good, the bad, and the possibilities has grown exponentially. In forums, in Facebook groups, in news and magazine articles, and in blogs there are contrasting opinions about how and why to embrace it or ban it.
I’m here to share with you some of the ideas I’ve read and heard. This blog post isn’t a reflection of my own personal opinion. I think as teachers, we all need to investigate and consider how it will affect teaching and what we do in our own individual classrooms.
How You Can Harness the Power of Teaching With ChatGPT and AI
First of all, try it out. Play with one of the available AI systems to get a feel for what they can and can’t do. In my previous post, I shared some examples of poems and a sonnet I asked ChatGPT to write. It covered all the basic components, but Shakespeare it ain’t.
Some people have said they’re using it to develop ideas for a project they’re working on, and they need some inspiration.
Others are using it to create social media posts. Could you spot one if you saw it?
Some people are using it to create entire posts on their blogs. (I’m not, in case you’re wondering. I’m typing and using an outline I created for this post. Old school, for sure.)
One teacher, mentioned in this article in the New York Times, said he used ChatGPT to evaluate some of his students’ papers. Unfortunately, he also said the evaluations were done well, and faster than he could have done them.
Teaching with ChatGPT can be a way to introduce an overview of new topics, or to be a creative springboard. However, the AI systems can be inaccurate, so a teacher’s watchful eye will always be paramount.
Some Schools and Universities Want to Ban ChatGPT
With the explosion onto the academic stage, many school administrators and school boards want to block access to it on the school servers. According to this New York Times article, some schools are rewriting policy to extend plagiarism to include generative artificial intelligence.
This might mitigate student access during academic hours, but what about after school when they’re doing their homework?
We need to rethink what, why, and how we give assignments. Students have given plenty of thought to how they tackle the assignments. Just check out the hashtag #chatgpt on social media to see how creative students can be!
The Good Ideas for ChatGPT in the Classroom
ChatGPT and other A.I. systems can be used to generate writing ideas.
It can be used to explain a complex topic in a way that is broken down into simpler parts.
It can be used to create an outline for an essay or a story map for fiction.
In the same article mentioned above, a high school English teacher had her students use ChatGPT to create an outline to compare and contrast two pieces of literature. She then had her students put their laptops away and complete the assignment in long hand writing.
Do you write quizzes for your students? You could use ChatGPT to generate ideas for questions. Some of them you’ll need to discard, but there will be some keepers in the mix.
The blog Ditch That Textbook has a fairly comprehensive post about what ChatGPT is, what it can do, and ways teachers can use it in the classroom. It’s being updated on a regular basis, so it’s one article I can recommend for you to get more ideas.
One application that I would certainly use it for would be to have ChatGPT write something and have students expand or enhance the writing. Is that so much different from a test-prep prompt that asks students to rewrite a beginning or a conclusion? Or one that asks students to make inferences?
The Frankenbot Template from Ditch That Textbook
Here’s a really effective way to use ChatGPT in class with a free template from Matt at Ditch That Textbook. It’s called the Frankenbot Template. You can download the Frankenbot Template for free in Powerpoint or Google. It requires students to get three different versions of a text from AI. Then they choose which parts to keep, and they must describe why they chose to keep those parts. Critical thinking, anyone?
It could be a tool for teachers to shorten planning and prepping. It can also be used to develop critical thinking in our students.
Another idea would be to have students use it as a translation checking tool if they’re English Language Learners or if they’re in a World Languages class.
What Could Be Bad About Teaching With AI
Teachers are concerned about students using ChatGPT to cheat on their homework. Undeniably, most students would love to have a robot do their homework. So the question becomes, “What do we do about it?”
Certainly there are plenty of apps and websites that can detect if a paper was written with A.I. One popular tool at the moment is GPTZero. But that just adds another layer of task work to a teacher already overloaded with work. I cringe just thinking about that.
Many teachers argue that students won’t learn if they have access to ChatGPT. However, I’m old enough to remember when these same arguments were put forward about computers.
Back in the day, when I was majoring in accounting, I created a spreadsheet to show the profit-and-loss of a company. My professor didn’t want to accept it because she didn’t believe I had actually done the work. I did manage to convince her that I had to know what I was doing in order to create the spreadsheet in the first place!
Perhaps, instead of feeling threatened by AI or thinking it will usurp learning, we can come up with ways to integrate it into learning.
You and I both know that something as shiny and new as ChatGPT and other AI systems are here to stay.
The Possibilities of Teaching Side-by-Side With AI
So what can we as teachers do, looking forward into a future full of A.I.?
First, consider the fact that this is the world our young students will be living in. They’ll be creating their lifestyles alongside AI. We should embrace that fact in order to properly prepare them for their futures.
I believe AI can be integrated in a thoughtful manner into the classroom to complement our instruction. We just have to decide how to do it.
Finding ways to embrace the new technology, (much as my accounting professor finally embraced computers) will open our eyes to creative ways to develop and refine our teaching with ChatGPT.