3 Ways to Use ChatGPT in Your Classroom
December 14, 2022
The first time I logged onto the internet, I knew everything had changed. In an instant, I could share ideas with anyone, anywhere in the world. The world would never be the same. This week, people around the world are having that same experience. ChatGPT is, in the opinion of many informed observers, the first machine that passes the Turing test. AI has arrived.
This technology is different — both for educators and for the world. Watch it perform high-level cognitive tasks, from analyzing a blog post to evaluating arguments to creating a poem about a pirate who travels with a chimp through space until both of them feel a strange sense of ennui. Watching ChatGPT write inevitably evokes a wild surmise — a realization of the immense possibilities. Like when we first dialed up to AOL, people are sensing that this changes everything.
And this is just the beginning. GPT-3 is a more powerful version of ChatGPT. Google has a similar interface coming; people who have seen it in action say that it’s even better. And the technology is only going to improve.
What does this mean for education? No one knows, of course. In the next few years, the uses and applications of AI will evolve in both schools and in society. But at the dawn of a new day of innovation, here are just a few potential things you can do with ChatGPT in your classroom.
Artificial intelligence can respond intelligently to human prompts — but it is up to humans to create those prompts. By empowering more productive acts of creation, AI elevates the importance of curiosity. In the future, it will be increasingly important for students — for all people — to be able to identify and ask interesting, important questions.
Consequently, inquiry-oriented practices — practices that promote the development of curiosity by getting students to ask more of the questions and allowing them to pursue their own wonderings in the context of authentic investigations — will become increasingly important.
ChatGPT has read trillions of words. It culls its knowledge and wisdom from the collective works of humanity.
Consequently, it’s not really creative. The ‘G” in ChatGPT stands for “Generative,” but generation and creation are two different concepts. After reading a wide variety of ChatGPT responses, you’ll notice a marked lack of… weirdness. It’s unlikely to come up with something brilliant and bizarre. It’s unlikely to push the boundaries of what’s awesome.
For the foreseeable future, true innovation will only come from the weirdness inherent in our eccentric little selves — so encourage it in your students!
Get Authentic — and Get Altruistic
AI can allow students to do things that they couldn’t do previously. That’s not cheating — that’s possibility. Now that you have a superpowered class of children, how can you help them use their powers for good?
Project-based learning provides an incredible opportunity to leverage the power of technology for authentically important purposes. By challenging your students to apply their learning to relevant, real-world problems, you can allow them to utilize AI as a tool to help them do a more effective job.
For example, if students are creating a commercial to raise money for a cause about which they’re passionate, improving the quality of their script through the use of AI can allow them to be more effective fundraisers. Or if they’re writing letters to Congress arguing for a particular policy that they’ve researched, they could craft more persuasive arguments.
ChatGPT also does a surprisingly good job of creating code — if your student wants to develop a simple game to help share a concept or engage people in their learning, they can use AI as their own personal programmer.
Again, many teachers will have an intuitive aversion to these uses; they’ll feel like cheating. However, the true purpose of technological tools is to enable people to enhance their ability to make the world a better place. These uses of AI can empower students to have a more positive impact and can teach them to help shape the world of the future in kinder, more empathetic, more humane ways.