With ChatGPT, Notion AI, and Google Bard coming onto the scene teachers are concerned with how students will use these AI Chat Bots in the classroom…but maybe we should be more excited about how ChatGPT can simplify our own systems and lives in the classroom.

5 ways to use ChatGPT and AI to Simplify your Classroom Task List Transcript

I want to talk today about five ways that you can use things like ChatGPT, Notion, or the Google version BARD. They are coming out to help you streamline and outsource different parts of your teacher schedule…now you can just let the robots take over.

To back up for a second, if you’re not really sure what I’m talking about, think about Siri and your Alexa. When you talk to them, they learn, give you back information, and they try to become smarter and figure out what you’re going to ask, or what types of answers you’re looking for. 

These AI programs are the exact same way except they work as a chat.  Think about when you go to a website, and they have a chat pop up saying that they have a person who is willing to help you if you’re struggling with the website at all. It’s not a person. It’s actually just artificial intelligence that they’ve programmed for common questions and answers. And if their artificial intelligence can’t answer it, then you’re actually forwarded on to a person and put in a queue to wait in line. 

These are different types of AI systems where you can input a question, it peruses the internet, and it pulls back a summary and a response for you based on what you said.  

ChatGPT is super fun to play with. Right now it’s still free. I don’t really think that’s gonna last super long, especially after I tell you some of the things that I’ve used it for and how amazing it can be. But it is a tool that not only can you ask it a question and it gives a response, but then you can tell it to modify the response and to update it in certain ways. 

Let me give you examples within the five different ways that I think you need to start using this in your classroom, and that I’ve already tested out.

1. Using ChatGPT or AI to Plan a Unit or Lesson Plans

We’re going to start off big with a heavy hitter. To give some background, I’m recording this episode on Monday. In my Instagram Stories earlier today, I walked through how I plan my units. 

I’ve created this science unit in this wonderful little unit planning kit spreadsheet, that I love, that tries to make it as simple as possible for new and struggling teachers…and teachers who have 8 million new preps every single year like I seem to have. 

I walked through how to plan a new Environmental Science unit. I have never taught Environmental Science, I don’t have any real background in it, and I am kind of figuring it out as I go. This unit is on pollution, which could go (in my thought) a million different ways. 

So in my IG stories, I walked through how I was going through the first couple weeks worth of lesson planning, but I came home, and decided to ask ChatGPT to create a unit lesson plan for me.

I went to the ChatGPT website, and I typed into the prompt…create a unit lesson plan outline, including daily plans for a high school environmental science class about pollution. 

It popped out a five day unit plan for me, including each day’s topic of what we will cover and suggested material/assignments to have students do. Now it wasn’t the actual assignment, but it did give me something like, have them do a reading assignment over this topic

Let me tell you, that was something I would have never thought about when I read it, and I was amazed. But then I went back through and I said I need to clear this up

Prompt two said, “extend this lesson plan into three weeks, covering land, air and water pollution in separate sections”. It gave me three weeks worth of lesson plans that covered all of those topics and broke them down into more detail so that each day I have a full set of plans for students. 

Now I’m not saying I would use this all the time, but I am saying it gave me an amazing place to start from. Especially If you are a new teacher who does not have resources. This was mind blowing. 

2. Use ChatGPT or AI to Generate Questions

Here’s another part that I extended off of that today. After it had made that rough unit plan (that I am going to go back to tweak and edit, add my own things…but man, is it helpful) I asked it to give me five open ended response questions for a summative exam over this material. And it did. It did. It was amazing. 

I had to go pick up my kids, so I never tested whether or not I could do true-false and multiple choice questions, but the question generation is amazing. I can ask it to just create a question bank for me of things that my students have never seen before, but apply to the material. They’re brand new questions. I don’t have to worry about if this scenario is “Googleable”, because it probably isn’t in this exact instance, and that was also a weight lifted off of my shoulders…because I do need to write a test with this unit. 

So it can do questions, whether you want those for exam questions, or you want them for quizzes or just homework.

3. Use ChatGPT or AI to Create a Rubric

I have had ChatGPT make a rubric for me. An entire rubric that was tiered to the different expectations. I told it, I need a 75-point rubric for a project where students designed a sustainable city. Then I gave it basically the intro paragraph that I put on the assignment for my students. 

I did have to go back and tweak some things, but creating a rubric from scratch is also not my favorite thing. However, it did that for me, and it pumped it out and I could edit it. I could ask it for clarification, to put in an additional topic, and it would do all of those things. 

So Unit Lesson plans, test or assignment questions, and rubrics…those three are already big timesavers, especially if you are a teacher who is new, has a new prep, or is just kind of struggling to feel like you can stay afloat. Those things are going to help kind of rescue you and bring you back to the surface. 

4. Use ChatGPT or AI to Create Templated Emails

But some of the more a-typical ways that I would actually suggest teachers use these types of tools in their classroom, would be to write things like templated emails.

Those types of emails, you know, that you’re probably going to be sending out to parents over and over again. Maybe about a policy in your classroom, or cell phone usage, or students who maybe were absent from class that day. You can have ChatGPT write up an email to parents, and just leave it as a blank template where you can plug in a student’s name, or you don’t even have to. Save that into a Google Doc and copy and paste whenever you’re ready to go. 

This is something that I plan to do this summer just to get prepared and ready to go for the next school year, especially once I know what I’m teaching. That way I can be plug-and-play ready with all of my parent communication upfront at the beginning of the year. 

To do this, I would actually sit down with your syllabus and say, write an email to a high schoolers parent who has violated ‘this policy’ as written in the syllabus. Then I would copy and paste that part of your syllabus in there. Let it go ahead and create all these templates for you. Don’t forget to do the positives, but also sometimes those negative ones it’s nice to have something prewritten for you.

5. Use ChatGPT or AI as a Decision Maker

The last way that I’m gonna recommend you use these chatbots is actually as a decision maker to help relieve yourself from all the decisions that we do have to make.

It’s going to seem really weird, but right now, ChatGPT is actually compiling for me a list of 10 different conferences in the Kansas City or St. Louis metro areas for this summer. All are related to high school science educators. It’s giving me a summary of what each conference is about, what they promote, and the types of things that I can learn there. It’s narrowing it down for me based on statistics of page views, and what people are searching for. So I know that these are backed recommendations from other people. 

Right before that I had to create a list of 10 different ways I could spend a $1,000 educational grant in a high school physics classroom. You can even have it do something as simple as what lunch should we get from this area for this day, and see if it pops up anything useful. 

It’s kind of weird to treat it like that, but it is almost a better Google because you’re not just going to get a whole bunch of websites as a response. You’re going to get a robot telling you what it thinks you might like. You can always filter the situations from there. 

Use it to take a load off of your shoulders, and make some decisions that are kind of difficult to just think through when you don’t have the brainpower already. It’s nice to have that little backup. 

Now ChatGPT, Notion and Bard, like I said, are not probably always going to be free, but currently they are if you’re willing to wait for the downtime, so when people are not using them as much. 

I think it’s a really worthwhile use of your time to get on board sometime this spring, or this summer to set yourself up for success in the fall next year by utilizing some of these tools that we’ve talked about and more. 

P.S. I just had it write out a rough draft for a letter of recommendation, because I’ve never written one of those before. Now I can take it and tweak it. 

So the uses are limitless. As long as we’re using it for the right reasons, and we are not trying to copy and plagiarize work from ChatGPT (like some English students are), then we can use it for all the amazing benefits it is. 

I hope that you got something out of this. If you have any more ideas on how you might be able to use these chatbots in the classroom to simplify your days, go ahead and leave me a message on Instagram @engineerdoeseducation or @simplesystemswithsampodcast. Until next time. 

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44: Essentialism Book Summary, part 2- Explore your Options


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