By: Kimberly Ingraham-Beck
“I’m irrelevant, aren’t I?” This is what one teacher asked me after I showed him a demonstration of ChatGPT’s speech-writing capabilities. No, I don’t believe we are. This is my 12th year of teaching and my 6th year as a Computer Science teacher. My feelings may be different than most, but I’ve been studying the development of artificial intelligence (AI) for several years. In my personal opinion, AI is here and will change everything. There is no going back; it is here to stay. So we, as teachers, must adapt.
Artificial Intelligence Programs
ChatGPT entered the scene at the end of November 2022. Google’s chatbot, Bard, was released to the public in March 2023. According to Bard, ChatGPT is better at generating and summarizing text, while Bard is better at surfacing relevant information to questions. One major downside to ChatGPT is that all of the data it is pulling is from September 2021. So we cannot ask it questions on more current topics. There are several other chatbot programs and more are being released all the time. I am only focusing on these two for this post.
How should we adapt our assignments so students don’t just use ChatGPT or Bard to complete them?
- Hands-on activities: We need assignments to try to incorporate more hands-on activities. Students will learn the subjects better and they won’t be able to use artificial intelligence to help them complete them.
- In-class assignments: Teachers can also keep assignment work to in-class time. This encourages students to work independently of artificial intelligence programs.
- Collaboration: Encourage students to work together. Collaboration and discussions can help students develop their own understanding of the material.
How should we use artificial intelligence programs in the classroom?
There are so many amazing ways we can use this powerful tool in the classroom! Here are some of my favorites.
- Instant feedback – In my Game Development with Unity course, a student had a compiler error, and Unity wasn’t giving any hints. He asked his neighbors for help to find the error, but they couldn’t find it. I had him run it through ChatGPT, and it found it right away. This is also great for students who struggle with grammar and/or spelling. It can help them proofread assignments.
- Starting points – Many students may struggle to find a topic or, if they have a topic for an assignment, they don’t know where to start. Artificial intelligence programs can help them by giving them ideas for topics. It can also help them create an outline for their paper, come up with additional talking points, find sources, and much more.
- Exam preparation – Students can use artificial intelligence programs to help them study for exams. They can use it to generate practice questions and provide explanations on different concepts they’re struggling with.
- Career guidance – Students can use these artificial intelligence programs to learn more about possible careers and career paths.
- Learning a new topic – Students can simply use ChatGPT/Bard to learn more about anything and everything they want to know about. It is the same as “Googling” something but now it responds in a short answer rather than having you click on the links to read more about it.
How can teachers use these artificial intelligence programs to improve their own lives?
I have found artificial intelligence programs to be amazing creative helpers and time savers in my teaching. I have used them to write parts of grant applications, letters of recommendation, emails, social media posts, lesson planning, curriculum development, professional development, presentation outlines, and more. There is no limit to what these programs can do for you. Give them a try! If you’ve used ChatGPT, give Bard a try and vice versa.
Artificial intelligence programs are not the end of teaching, they are just another turning point. They are inevitable. They are here. Let’s learn how to work with them to give our students the best education possible.