Four Questions to Consider on using ChatGPT in Education

So ChatGPT has been everywhere lately, and there is a lot of conversation about it in education.

This is a good thing.

You might also notice that many “experts” on AI are emerging, but no one can truly know the full potential of what AI will bring to our world. Many people sharing strategies aren’t necessarily experts in AI, as much as they probably are just great at learning and becoming adaptable to new opportunities for learning. That is an essential skill that takes time and energy to develop.

But as quickly as ChatGPT has arrived, one step behind was blocking it within education and in schools.

About four seconds after the winter break was completed in January, a friend of mine posted this on his Instagram story:

 

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Many decisions for what is blocked in education come from a lack of information, not an abundance. It is easy to say, “There is no value for ‘this’ in school,” which can often be a disguise for, “I don’t understand this new technology, so let’s just say it is bad, or pretend it doesn’t exist.”

But this technology does exist.

Is our focus on kids becoming great learners or becoming good at school?

 

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Things like ChatGPT can have tremendous opportunities for learning and growth, but we have to learn them ourselves to see the potential for what this type of technology can do for learning in education.

Too often, we try to skip to the “teaching” without doing the “learning.”

And I am not talking about “learning how to teach” a new tool or idea. I am talking about how to see the benefits and uses of new technology in our own lives and connect those ideas to the different disciplines and content we currently teach.

What I want to try to do today is share with you some ideas that may help with using ChatGPT with your staff for professional learning and ideas to make connections to how it can be used in the classroom. Please feel free to modify and adjust as needed to fit the needs of those you serve.

 


 

Starting Point – What are AI and ChatGPT, and how is it different from Google? 

 

I was thinking of how I would answer this question and went into ChatGPT and asked, “What is the difference between ChatGPT and Google?”

This might not have been the best question to ask because this was the answer I received:

 


 

“ChatGPT is a language model developed by OpenAI, while Google is a search engine and technology company. ChatGPT is a model that can generate human-like text based on a given prompt, while Google’s services include search, email, cloud storage, and online advertising, among others.”

 


 

So maybe, this wasn’t the best question to ask. So I tried again and asked the following: How can you use ChatGPT, and how does it differ from google search?

Already, the use of this program is forcing me to ask better questions. That is a good thing.

This is the response it gave me:

 

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That is a better answer because I asked a better question.

 

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But the best answer I have heard so far on this topic is from a video by Jaspreet Singh on “5 Ways You Build Wealth With ChatGPT.” He says the following:

 


 


“What is artificial intelligence and ChatGPT?

Aritificial Intelligence, otherwise known as AI is a digital brain it’s a separate brain that can now process and analyze information. You can compare this to the technology that we have now where when you ask something a question like Google, Google will then give you a place where you can find the answer to the question, so if you go to Google and you search “how do I start a popular YouTube channel?,” Google will then show you a number of different blog posts where it believes that you can find the answer to your question. Versus artificial intelligence, reads through all the articles on the internet, and then it provides an answer to your question.

ChatGPT is the first extension of artificial intelligence that’s available to everybody free of cost. The way that ChatGPT works is you can ask ChatGPT a question, and it will search the Internet and then process all the information that’s out there and then spit out an answer for you.”

 


 

Here is a one-minute clip sharing this and a bit more information as a great starting point for conversation.

 

 

As I watched this whole video, I thought about how powerful it would be to watch it in its entirety with staff to start a discussion on this topic. It is focused on the following five questions, and I think there are a lot of takeaways directly connected to education. Jaspreet focused on the five following questions in the video:

 


 

  1. What is AI/ChatGPT?
  2. What is the impact of AI and ChatGPT?
  3. How can you make money from ChatGPT and AI?
  4. What are the shortcomings of AI?
  5. Is this just a fad?

 


 

Inspired by Jaspreet’s video, I thought about four questions that would be great for conversation and exploration to lead during a professional learning day.

 

 

Four Questions to Consider on using ChatGPT in Education

 

 

1. What are some of the negatives and positives of ChatGPT?

 

This is a great way to start the conversation by discussing all of the negative implications of this type of technology. 

Some of the issues that I have heard already is that the platform is web-based, you have to use an email account to sign up, and it is “free” for now (there’s a saying that, “if something is free right now, you are the product!” which is a concern!), amongst other things. Not all of these things can be addressed, but I do think we must have the opportunity to share these and other worries. 

One of the many concerns is that this type of technology could lead to “cheating” and students just having ChatGPT write essays for students.

I understand that concern.

For years, I have shared in my presentations that “if you can google the answer to the question on the test, the question is probably not that good in the first place.”

It is not that students shouldn’t have basic knowledge but that they go beyond those basics. Are we focused on students simply memorizing information or developing wisdom?

One of my favorite quotes on the subject is the following:

 

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Wisdom and deep understanding should be the goal.

So let’s return to the original statement; “if you can google the answer to the question on the test, the question is probably not that good in the first place.”

Thinking about this question in the context of ChatGPT and writing an essay, if AI can write the essay, are we having students make their own connections and create a deep understanding, or are they giving answers that lack “humanness” in the response?

This “negative” can be turned into an opportunity to revisit what we ask of students and how they share a deep understanding of what they have learned.

 

2. What are some ways that ChatGPT can be used in our everyday lives?

 

Before jumping into how to use ChatGPT in education, I think it is a great idea to see the value of it in our own lives.

I saw this TikTok on utilizing ChatGPT in making a dinner menu for kids who are picky eaters, and it was pretty compelling:

 

@zoltronic

ChatGPT is going to change the world very quickly. #ai #nneaurallink #chatgpt #gpt3 #greenscreenvideo #ai #openai #kosher #naturallanguageprocessing #bot #robot #future

♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

 

Seeing this video, I thought about how I could use this in my own life.

I wanted to train for a half-marathon, so I wanted a schedule. Too often, when I would do an Internet search for training schedules, I would bump into paywalls, hidden documents, or just a bevy of advertisements.

I decided to ask ChatGPT for a half-marathon training schedule for 16 weeks, but only list the last eight weeks of training.

The schedule was pretty good, but I wanted the long runs to be on Sunday and to list all lengths in kilometers instead of miles. It then spits out a schedule, which I then ask to put into a table form, and I have been using it ever since (I am on week 13, and it has been going great!).

What is critical in this scenario is that I had to have some training knowledge (I have run a few marathons before this) to understand if the schedule provided is on the right track. But this process took me about four minutes, versus the HOURS of searching online for something that might fit my criteria.

If I see the value of this type of technology in my everyday life, then it might fit into what I do in my work and classroom.

 

3.  How can we use ChatGPT in our current roles to make our lives easier and improve learning?

 

As quickly as ChatGPT was blocked in many schools, I also saw many educators sharing ideas on how they could use it to make their work more manageable and, as Jaspreet shared, use this as a “second brain.”

Tyler Tarver shared this video on how teachers could use ChatGPT to help build a lesson plan:

 

 

What I appreciate about Tarver’s video is that he uses the technology to give ideas or even outlines, but identifies the necessity of the teacher knowing the students in the classroom and making modifications based on their needs, as ChatGPT would not be able to do that.

(It was also interesting to see how so many different ideas are being shared on utilizing ChatGPT to save time through creating, like this video on mass-creating content using Canva and Google Sheets.)

In my podcast creation, I have recently done some book reviews and shared my thoughts and insights into what I have learned. As I have been putting together the outlines for the podcast, I have been using ChatGPT to write quick summaries of the books that I can read out.

For example, in a book review of “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, I asked ChatGPT to do the following:

 

“Give me a Twitter thread summary of the four agreements in 10 tweets or less.”

 

I used what it shared and, with some modifications, read them in my podcast and provided a reference that I utilized ChatGPT to garner that information. 

So how do you know I read the book?

Because I went beyond that summary and broke down specific quotes, what they meant to me, and how I connected the ideas to my own learning. 

Through the process, I wanted to model that using this technology for my learning was a time-saver, but I had to go beyond. It saved me a ton of time writing something that would be almost generic sounding and provided more time for deep reflection.

In my opinion, that was time well spent.

 

4. How can we help students utilize ChatGPT for their learning in and outside of school?

 

Now that people have spent time seeing the value of something like ChatGPT for their learning, THEN it is time for a conversation on ways that we could have students use this in their learning, in and out of the classroom.

In “Innovate Inside the Box,” I shared the following:

 

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If people have sufficient time and access to play around with their learning, they will more likely see how it can be implemented and guided for student learning. It is essential to default to the expertise of your staff in this situation, but provide them with time to a) use the technology themselves and b) have time to explore with their colleagues and team on how they would suggest using it in their own disciplines or roles.

In “The Innovator’s Mindset,” I wrote the following:

 

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The same is true with adults. I

If it is vital to helping our students, then providing time to explore and create during professional learning opportunities is necessary.

 


 

When Khan Academy first came out years ago, many worried it would “replace teachers.” I never had that concern.

My thought was if those videos are simply a replication of how people teach, then we should be concerned. But school is more than content and information.  Khan Academy never replaced teachers, but it became a supplemental resource in many cases. That is how I see the potential for ChatGPT as a resource or “second brain” that can be utilized but never something that will replace great teachers.

That being said, if time and guidance are not provided for professional learning, this will be seen as a constant fight instead of an opportunity to be embraced.

Never in the history of ever has something gotten better by ignoring it, only by learning and growing to move forward.

In a time of artificial intelligence, wisdom will become more critical than ever. But that wisdom takes time to grow and develop.

For our students and for us.

 

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