Schools may have doubts about students using AI in their schoolwork, but teachers have made chatbots their new classroom utility players.
A teacher needing to design a 16-week drama class asked ChatGPT to outline and sequence the course’s content.
It took three minutes, he told The Washington Post.
Next, he asked the chatbot to make lesson plans embodying state standards for a 90-minute class every other day for the 16 weeks. A few minutes later, he was reading the result and making adjustments to suit his own preferences and teaching style.
“This is one of those once-in-a-millennium technology changes,” he said to the WP.
More than 250,000 educators have signed onto “ChatGPT for Teachers,” one of a growing number of websites where teachers and administrators share experiences, strategies, and tips.
Teachers report using chatbots to plan lessons, design rubrics, formulate exams, and suggest effective classroom management and disciplinary strategies.
Some have used it to write different versions of the same text, with each version geared to students’ different ability levels.
One science teacher calls it “leveling” the text to make the same information easily available to all students, regardless of their skills. Doing that manually “would take hours,” the teacher said in a WP interview.
An English teacher has used a chatbot to rewrite news items about current events in language that made the subjects simple enough for 12-year-olds to understand. Now she’s thinking about using bots to help students choose essay topics and structures and even to critique their work.
In college classes in computer coding, professors have had students compare the code they’ve written with code created by AI.
One professor told students to use AI to complete an assignment, then had students critique the AI’s product. Students who found and corrected errors—citing their sources for the corrected information—got high marks, he said to the WP.
Students in his classes must match their AI-generated essays with their own reflections on the writing process and explanations of how a bot can produce inaccurate information. The students are required to turn in a record of their conversations with a bot that’s helping them find an idea to write about or get over a writer’s block.
A middle-school teacher gave students a five-paragraph essay a bot wrote and told them to improve it to prove they were smarter than AI. Many teachers report challenging students to “stump the AI,” which gets their competitive energy up.
TRENDPOST: Creative teachers are finding ways to introduce students to AI and for students and bots to work together. Over the next several years, AI will become a presence in every classroom. As teachers share what works, students will learn to use it as a supplement, not a substitute, in their education.
Crucially, chatbots can slash the demands on teachers’ time and energy, a key factor in their professional burnout and decisions to quit the profession. In that way, chatbots also will become a key teacher retention tool.