Artificial Intelligence

AI Is an Ally: Saving Teachers Time with ChatGPT

The time is now to welcome AI into classrooms as an asset and an ally. There are so many things that AI can do to support teaching and learning, from analyzing data for schools and districts, to enabling students to research and understand information in different ways, and — arguably the most important thing — saving time and energy for teachers so that they can focus on the parts of teaching that are less tedious and most important.

ChatGPT has really taken the spotlight over the last few months. While it’s not a perfect tool, it has surely kicked off a bit of an AI arms race, and there’s plenty of tasks that it can support teachers with for their day-to-day. Here are 5 ways that ChatGPT can save time for classroom teachers:

1. Support for Grading & Assessment

ChatGPT can help teachers save time by automating aspects of marking and grading. With its natural language processing, ChatGPT can analyze and evaluate student responses and provide instant feedback, giving teachers a starting point for marking. It can also support the creation of rubrics or other grading schema.

The key distinction here is between grading and providing feedback: While marking can often feel tedious, providing feedback can be one of the best and most impactful parts of teaching. And of course, it’s important that teachers can speak to why a student received a grade, and work with them on what that means for their learning going forward. ChatGPT can save time on the administrative aspects of marking and grading, giving teachers more time for thoughtful, connected feedback.

Potential prompts:

  • “Create a rubric to grade a 9th grade informational essay on the book Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds”
  • “Rate this paper against the criteria in this rubric <copy in existing rubric>”

As the AI readily available to teachers continues to evolve, things like adaptable game-based assessments that can measure broad skill sets will become more accessible, freeing even more time for teachers to focus on, well, teaching.

2. Lesson Planning Thought Partner

Obviously, there’s no shortage of digital content and tools available to teachers. They can be even easier to use and get more out of with the help of ChatGPT. Again, as a directional starting point, ChatGPT can develop lesson plans, question sets, writing prompts, and more. Those can then be plugged into a collaborative lesson delivery tool, or otherwise shared with students.

Potential Prompts:

  • “I am teaching a lesson about photosynthesis for grade 10 students in Chappaqua, New York. Give 5 ideas for contextually relevant examples on why photosynthesis is important to understand.”
  • “Create 5 assessment questions for a lesson about basic geometry for students in grade 1.”
There is also opportunity for students to use ChatGPT to provide context for their learning – using it like the deeper thinking alternative to Google that it is. Both students and teachers can use it as a thought partner, asking thoughtful questions to gain deeper and different understanding about topics, and developing key information literacy skills. As ChatGPT or other similar tools become approved and safe(r) for student use, there will be interesting opportunities for AI driven tutoring and support. With tools like Open AI’s Whisper, conversational AI that can provide students with ideas and support isn’t far away.

3. An Ally for Personalizing Learning

ChatGPT can also save time for teachers by helping provide personalized learning experiences for each student. Teachers can use ChatGPT to create customized lessons and assignments for individual students based on their learning style and preferences, reducing the need for teachers to create separate lesson plans. It can also provide ideas and goals for IEPs and help adapt instructions.

Potential Prompts:

  • “Craft an Individualized Education Program for a student in grade 7 with the following diagnosis, abilities, requirements: <input non-personal student data>”
  • “Analyze the following assessment responses and suggest the areas where the students should focus for further learning”

4. Supporting with Communications and Data Analysis

ChatGPT can also help teachers save time by automating communication with students and parents. Teachers can use ChatGPT to send automated messages to students and parents about upcoming assignments, tests, and other important information. The most direct form of this is using AI to craft communication, and it can also support with planning communication timelines, along with sorting or analyzing responses from things like parent-teacher meetings.

Potential Prompts:

  • “Craft a series of three emails reminding parents about our upcoming field trip to the zoo on April 15th, 2023. They need to be reminded about….”
  • “Analyze the following notes from 8 parent-teacher meetings to summarize and determine key themes”

5. An Ally for Life Tasks

In addition to helping you at work, Allow ChatGPT to help you with daily life tasks - things like meal planning, calendaring for family activities, or scheduling chores. It can also give you ideas about self-care, fitness, and more for you and your family.

Sample Prompts:

  • “Provide receipts and a shopping list for dinner for 3 weeknights for 4 people. It cannot take more than 30 minutes to prepare. 2 meals must be vegetarian. Do not include any soy products.”
  • “I have 20 minutes a day for physical activity. Make me a weekly plan for the best ways to relieve stress during that time:”

These are just a few of the ways that ChatGPT can optimize and save time for teachers. As tools like ChatGPT get even better, and more AI tools become accessible and available, it will continue to shape education as we know it.

Teachers don’t need to be experts in these tools and everything that they can do, but getting to know them and how they can be used to provide support on a regular basis is critical. Not only can they save time today, but they’re also foundational for the future of learning and of work. Today’s students will graduate into further education and work that is enhanced by AI, and into roles that require them to work with tools like this every day. It is vital that students begin to understand when and how these tools can be used, and for that to be true, teachers need to start getting comfortable with them.

There are lots of tools available to support you along your AI journey, like this webinar recording from Monica Burns of Class Tech Tips.

Finally, don’t forget to have some fun as you’re getting to know .AI tools. For instance, asking it to create from the perspective of just about anyone known on the internet can provide some delightful results, like this poem about ChatGPT itself, in the style of the Magic School Bus’s Miss Frizzle:

Hop on board, dear students of mine,
For ChatGPT is here to shine,
A teacher like no other you've seen,
A magical ride, a virtual dream.

With words as my wand, and data as my spell,
I'll take you on journeys, far and well,
Through the galaxies and deep blue seas,
To learn about the world with ease.

We'll explore the mysteries of the past,
And uncover secrets that will last,
Through the power of language and technology,
Our minds will soar with curiosity.

From history to science, and everything in between,
ChatGPT will guide you with wisdom keen,
So, hold on tight, and let's embark,
On an educational journey, bright and stark.

So come on students, don't be shy,
Join me on this adventure, high in the sky,
With ChatGPT as your teacher and guide,
The possibilities for learning are worldwide.