ChatGPT and Dall-E and AI, Oh my! Part 2: A Balanced Approach

Tech tips

By Rachel Riggs and Zoe Reinecke

Read Part 1 of this blog series to explore tools that use AI and important considerations for educators.

Activities and Conversations to Get Started

During the pandemic, teachers took on massive, dynamic roles in their programs and demonstrated incredible resilience when it came to learning new tools and applying them in new, creative ways. So, when we talk about machines replacing humans, it’s important to recognize that AI is a tool and not a teacher. This acknowledges the benefits and limitations of machines. There are things machines are very good at like completing repetitive tasks, classifying large amounts of data and inputs, using algorithms to identify patterns or solutions and inform decisions, and more. Likewise, there are things that teachers are truly incredible at, like using creative approaches, leveraging resources that go way beyond data sets (like other humans), personalizing learning experiences, and adapting to new tools and technologies. Not to mention building relationships with learners through socio-emotional connection that transcends what AI-powered technologies are capable of! 

Some ways to get started with AI: 

  1. 💡 Use ChatGPT. That’s it, that’s the tip! Just use it! There’s a reason this went viral. It’s cool. Ask it to write you a song. Ask it to develop an activity that teaches fractions in the context of shopping at the grocery store. Ask it to develop your next rubric. If and when you bring a chatbot to your classroom, engage learners in a critical conversation addressing the topics outlined in Part 1 of this blog series. Some of these ideas from Matt Miller provide a good starting point for that conversation (Grade the bot, e.g.).
  2. 💡 Check out the image generators like Fotor, DALL-E, and AutoDraw by Google Creative Lab. As you’re developing slides or flashcards for your next class, one of these tools might be helpful. Even Canva is using AI with its text-to-image generator. Furthermore, think about how you can introduce AI in the classroom in a way that aligns with the learning objectives. In an ESOL class, for example, learners could practice writing detailed AI prompts to develop their use of adjectives. For vocabulary practice, display AutoDraw in the classroom and have learners take turns sketching objects from a vocabulary list. Use Padlet in a collaborative class activity where learners write summaries of a story and use “I can’t draw” to generate images of the characters.

If and when you introduce image generators in your classroom, include considerations about the drawbacks (more on those in Part 1 of this blog series). In the example of practicing with adjectives, learners might enter a prompt with no physical description first, discuss and compare the results, and then add their adjectives in a second round of image generation.  Be cautious about using an application like Lensa AI. Instead, perhaps in a lesson about Personal Information, in which learners practice filling out registration forms and the like, ask learners to describe other scenarios where they share their information online or give applications access to their devices or profiles. Do they know what the company does with their information?  Here are some learning materials in the Digital Skills Library that address privacy and security.

AI can perform repetitive tasks, but it is still limited. Teachers are still superior at building relationships with students, experiencing authentic emotions, and developing complex questions and explanations. AI may relieve you of some administrative tasks, allowing you to spend more time designing fun and creative learning experiences that cater to the needs and interests of students. How can you use this freedom to explore how to integrate technology and AI into your lessons? When you strategically leverage AI, you might find that it enables you to focus on the aspects of teaching that you most enjoy.

Make AI Part of Your TI (Teacher Intelligence) 

It’s a great time to lean into your humanity as a teacher. Unlike a machine, you can use your individual experiences to navigate change. While programmers try to write code to enable AI to understand empathy and equity, these are elements already at your disposal and you can use them today to support adult learners as they navigate the changing landscape of technology. Use the tools and machines that are available to you. While AI performs the tasks that you assign to it, think creatively about how this will free you up to be superhuman! 

Interested in reading more? 


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