AI Innovation

The INcomplete Guide to AI in the Classroom

That’s right. It’s INCOMPLETE. Why? Because AI and the tools around generative AI are changing at a rapid rate. So even while I write this blog (and yes, it’s me, not ChatGPT…although that would be a good lyric), there are things changing in the field. So there’s no way it will ever be truly “complete” for the foreseeable future.

For the classroom, the implications for how we change and do research, writing, storytelling, and just about everything in between will be changing…and I think for the better. We’ll be asking our students to continue to build on the critical lens with which we ask them to discern their Google searches. We’ll be asking them to tell us whether the AI is accurate or not. One thing is for certain…it will be disruptive.

While the future is uncertain, here are just a few ways I’ve seen generative AI like ChatGPT being used in (and out) of the classroom. But before we go there, here are 5 quick examples of how we are using AI in our classrooms (and might not even know it).

  1. AI-driven tests that personalize questions based on student responses. My kids take NWEA’s MAP assessment three times a year and I like how it adjusts the complexity and difficulty based on the student response and response time.
  2. Learning another language with tools like Duolingo that analyze your pronunciation and grammar on the fly and make adjustments based on your performance.
  3. Chatbots – No so helpful in the classroom but they are useful for community and parent feedback or interaction with the school or district.
  4. Predictive text – Our phones complete our thoughts or our gmail suggests an ending sentence to sign off on an email to save us time.
  5. Automated grading – Some interfaces, like Google Forms, Turnitin, etc have AI algorithms quickly grade on the fly and present the findings in a tidy summary report.

Most of the AI we’ve used up to this point have been responsive AI, meaning it relies on our inputs to generate a response. Generative AI isn’t much different as it does rely on a prompt, but as it improves, its reliance on human interaction will decrease. Enter the “Terminator-Skynet” scenario here and why educators are a little unnerved about the future. In one case, ChatGPT actually hired an actual human to help it solve a captcha. That said, here are just a few initial ways generative AI could save time, money, and frustration when it comes to education both in and out of the classroom:

Writing Assistance

This to me is the first thing that came to mind when I showed the power of ChatGPT to some 4th graders recently. I had them write out as many words of a story as they could in two minutes. Then I had them repeat the task only by using their Chromebooks. Then, I had them do it with predictive text. Finally, I put a prompt in ChatGPT and had it write out 1000 words in less than two minutes. Of course the story itself was generic and needed some personalization, but it showed them how this could help them get started with writing. If they have a solid outline, it’s even more powerful.

Time Saver for Teachers

New AI tools like Curipod and the soon to be released CoPilot by Microsoft are going to help teachers save time…assuming they have the time to learn how to use it. They can use AI to generate lesson plans, ideas, presentations, and help with automatic grading. These tools can analyze data quickly and even create presentations based on what the data showed. It can look at your upcoming calendar and give. you talking points for your next meeting or give you a list of project outputs for your students. If done well, and with fidelity, using AI to save teachers time is the biggest reason I think we need to be pursuing it further.

A Virtual Assistant

You’ve got that TPS report due by Friday but don’t have any idea where to get started. Let AI look through your email and documents to give you a starting rough draft on that report. Maybe you need an updated job description for a position in your department, let Open AI write it for. you, then make tweaks as needed. You are planning to present at a conference in a couple of months but don’t have a really good title or description, let ChatGPT build one for you. Running late to a Zoom meeting? Use the new Zoom IQ tool to help you summarize what has been said before you joined.

Creating flyers, graphics or newsletters

I was blown away when I discovered the text to Image AI tool built into Canva. Yes, there are lots of other AI image generators hitting the market, but this was the first that was embedded in an educational tool. I immediately used it to build out a flyer or my neighborhood crawfish boil, but also started thinking about how powerful it would be for a student utilize this tool to create an image based on something they made up. I even made the blog graphic using the tool (prompt: White male with beard writing a blog) The only limits are the students’ imagination!

Making a video review of material

Like all generative AI tools, generative video is just scratching the surface. Doing a quick search (via ChatGPT) I was able to find several different generative video services that can do just about anything with a prompt. Some of the early permutations of this are kind of strange or even a little creepy like this AI-generated ad, but I think the potential in this field for creating accompanying visuals is tremendous. While I wrote this entire newsletter using human intelligence, I decided to summarize my opening couple of paragraphs using a video AI tool called Pictory. Here’s the resulting video:

It took me a couple of minutes to configure which images I wanted to use and what music and narrator to use. but from the moment I hit “copy” of my text and pasted it into Pictory to the final video, it took a total of 13 minutes. It actually took longer to generate the video than to build it.

All this leads to what’s next? As I said at the beginning, this is an incomplete guide to AI in schools. We still have a long way to go. Over the last few weeks and in the coming months, I’ve been hosting several different conversations with experts in the various fields to ask them about the implications of AI and what is next in terms of education. Here’s a couple that have already been released:

What’s Next in Education

Data Analytics and AI to Transform Education

That said, I’d also like to hear from you, the reader. If you have any thoughts that you’d feel comfortable sharing on a podcast, webinar, or other medium around AI, please feel free to reach out to me and let me know what you think.

The future is incomplete, but one thing is for certain, it’s going to be joint effort of AI and humans that make it great.

Carl Hooker is an international speaker, podcast host, entrepreneur and author. He’s written 7 books on the use of technology in schools and his latest book Ready, Set, FAIL! is currently a best seller in the education field. For more information on how to bring Carl to your next district or conference event, check out his speaker request page.

About MrHooker

Educator, global speaker and consultant, event organizer, educational strategist and CEO of HookerTech LLC, Future Ready Schools Faculty member, author of the 6-book series "Mobile Learning Mindset" and his newest book "Ready Set FAIL!" He also is the host of the ISTE Learning Unleashed podcast and the UnDisruptED podcast by Future Ready schools. He is most importantly, a husband and father of 3.

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