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It can be challenging to figure out how to respond to the emergence of artificial intelligence, especially in the context of education. Some school districts have responded by banning the use of ChatGPT. Others are experimenting but remain unsure of the benefits and drawbacks. Of course, what we are seeing is just the beginning of the impact artificial intelligence will have on teaching and learning.

Regardless of what may lie ahead, there are immediate opportunities for educators to leverage chatbots, such as ChatGPT, to lighten their load and reduce the time they spend with a variety of common, but time-consuming tasks. Of course, just because these tools are available does not mean that they should become a substitute for professional judgment and skills. Nevertheless, here are ten ways in which chatbots can save time and provide opportunities for educators to engage in other high leverage activities:

  1. Plan lessons. Chatbots can make activity suggestions, provide instructional strategy ideas, and identify potential resources. Benefit: Less time must be spent planning and more ideas are available to draw from.
  2. Collect information and research. Chatbots can reduce the amount of time spent searching the internet and elsewhere for information to support instruction. A well-formed prompt can generate a succinct summary of a wide variety of information. Benefit: Less time spent searching and researching.
  3. Generate ideas to help students see purpose and utility in what we are asking them to learn. We can infuse these ideas in discussions to reinforce connections and help students to place greater value on what they are learning. Benefit: Ideas and strategies to draw from, and students who are more engaged.
  4. Locate examples and suggest applications for new content and skills. We can use these examples and suggestions to help students see utility in what they are learning, and we can design activities that take advantage of potential applications to keep students engaged. Benefit: Reduced time researching and better learning connections for students.
  5. Modify content to match student learning readiness. Students learn best when presented with content that they can comprehend and that matches their skill level. Benefit: Less time spent modifying or interpreting challenging content and more learning success.
  6. Provide succinct background information. Many students need additional background knowledge to benefit from our instruction. Chatbots can collect information and present it at the specific grade or reading level of the student. Benefit: Immediate resource to tap and more learning success.
  7. Suggest ways to connect one academic discipline to another. Cross discipline learning tends to be more meaningful and can aid in retention of content and skills. Students often fail to make these connections and finding meaningful connections can be challenging and time consuming. Benefit: Reduced time spent researching and planning and improved student success.
  8. Provide feedback and suggestions in response to student work. Chatbots can offer guidance for word choice, grammar, and syntax. Our follow-up conversations can add our feedback on the content and quality of their work. Meanwhile, we remain aware of areas of struggle and positioned to provide support. Benefit: Reduced time analyzing and providing supplemental feedback on mechanics while remaining focused on the concepts and content of student writing.
  9. Grade student tests and quizzes. For some types of assessment, such as multiple choice and short answers, chatbots can grade student responses, and in some cases provide feedback to students. Of course, chatbots can also generate questions and develop writing prompts. Benefit: Reduced time spent preparing assessments and grading by hand.
  10. Compose correspondence drafts. Deciding where to start and how to frame information in correspondence, particularly sensitive correspondence, can be a challenge. Chatbots can provide a place to start and content to edit and shape to support our message while maintaining our voice. Benefit: Access to starter ideas and wording and reduced time planning and composing correspondence.

Of course, the next question is how best to use the additional time that chatbots help us to create. Here are five ideas to consider:

  • Conferencing with students about their learning
  • Providing high-level feedback to students
  • Counseling students regarding effective study strategies
  • Building strong relationships with students
  • Engaging students in authentic, performance-based assessments
  • Taking a breath . . .

We may not be able to predict the future and artificial intelligence’s impact on education. However, there are important and useful purposes to which the technology can be applied now. Of course, the more experience we develop with artificial intelligence the better able we will be to make decisions about it and leverage its potential.

Read more: Ten Ways ChatGPT Can Save Time and Support Instruction

Thought for the Week

Simply pulling a strategy “off the shelf” or defaulting to the most recently read article or staff development session topic may not generate the results we seek.

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