A Teacher’s Guide To Using ChatGPT
By Rachel Arthur
The rise of AI in the classroom has brought about a new player in the edtech world: ChatGPT. As you may have seen in the news or on social media, ChatGPT is creating quite a buzz. But what exactly is it, and should we be embracing it or shunning it as a tool in the classroom?
ChatGPT is a language model developed by OpenAI, which has been trained on a vast amount of data, allowing it to answer questions and provide information on a wide range of topics. In essence, it is a sophisticated version of Google, constantly learning and adapting based on the information fed into it. With Microsoft’s recent partnership with ChatGPT, it is set to become a key player in the edtech world.
There are both fears and excitement surrounding the use of ChatGPT in education. On one hand, it has the potential to significantly ease the workload of teachers. On the other, there are concerns about how students may misuse this tool. So, let’s delve into the pros and cons and see what teachers really need to know about using ChatGPT
As with any new technology, there are certainly some fears and concerns when it comes to using ChatGPT in the classroom. Let’s explore some of these fears and discuss how we can address them.
Pupils using ChatGPT to do their work for them
The most obvious concern of powerful technology like this is that pupils will use its powers for evil rather than good. If pupils can use it to complete their work, then how can we use their out-of-class work to assess their progress accurately? If they use it to complete coursework or controlled assessments, how can we check for it before it goes off to the exam board?
Well firstly, pupils have to have access to it to be able to use it so unless you have devices for all pupils in all lessons, it’s unlikely they will be using it in class. If they do have devices, then monitoring your pupil’s screens and being clear about times you can and can’t use is important. Like with all controlled assessments access to certain tools are blocked so being clear about this with your classes will prevent these issues.
With homework, it is a different ball game, as you will not know if they have used it or not. So, think about the home learning you are setting and how it can be used. Be vigilant about the tone of work that is coming back from pupils and notice if there’s a sudden change in their writing style. Think about setting tasks the ChatGPT just wouldn’t be able to complete eg. Construct geometric shapes using a compass and a ruler for a maths lesson or plotting and analysing data using a graph or chart to make inferences for a geography lesson.
Embedding misconceptions or inaccuracies
Like any new software, Chat GPT isn’t 100% accurate. When you load the website it has a disclaimer about its limitations “ May occasionally generate incorrect information”, “may occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content” and “limited knowledge of world events after 2021” therefore you have to be cautious to check any work you use it to produce and use it as a lesson to teach pupils that not everything they read online is true..!
Before you go and get this new tool to generate reports for your whole class be aware that there are concerns about GDPR and the privacy of pupil data. To address this, it is important to ensure that ChatGPT is being used in compliance with all relevant privacy regulations. So, don’t just drop your whole class list into the chat bar, get it to generate reports and then add the pupil’s names in afterwards!
Training and support
There is also a fear that some staff may resist using ChatGPT in the classroom and may become resistant to all tech in the classroom, potentially undoing the great work being done, especially for SEND pupils. To address this, it is important to provide adequate training and support to help staff feel comfortable and confident using ChatGPT. This may include providing training sessions, workshops, or online resources, as well as ongoing support and guidance as needed.
With the fears and warnings out of the way let’s get to the good bit, how can we use this tool for the power of good in our classrooms and reduce our workload?
One of the key areas where ChatGPT can be of assistance is in the planning of lessons. By using ChatGPT, teachers can quickly generate ideas and structure their lessons, freeing up more time to focus on other important tasks.
Creating assessment rubrics
Another area where ChatGPT can help is in the development of rubrics. Rubrics are an important tool for marking pupils and providing meaningful feedback but creating them can be time-consuming. ChatGPT can automate this process and provide teachers with customised rubrics based on their specifications, allowing them to spend less time on this task and more time on other areas.
Marking pupil work
ChatGPT can also provide valuable support for assignment feedback. By using the model, teachers can generate detailed and personalised feedback on student work in a matter of minutes, improving the speed and quality of feedback. This, in turn, can help students receive the guidance they need to improve their work and achieve better results.
Another important task for teachers is report writing, and using ChatGPT can help with this as well. By using the model to generate anonymous reports, teachers can save time and focus on more meaningful tasks, such as analysing student performance and developing strategies for improvement.
ChatGPT can also be used to create gap-fill exercises, which can be a valuable tool for improving student understanding and language skills. By using the model to generate exercises that are tailored to specific skill levels, teachers can provide students with the right level of challenge and support.
For your own professional development
The benefits of ChatGPT extend beyond the classroom and can also support your own professional development. If you’re seeking a new role, you can utilise ChatGPT by entering the job description and your CV, and it will generate a personalised covering letter for you. Additionally, if you want to stay up-to-date with the latest research in your field but don’t have the time to read in-depth, you can request a summary from ChatGPT. With just a hundred words, you’ll be able to grasp the key points without the effort of reading through the entire article.
First things first, sign up for an account and have some fun! Explore its features, ask it a few questions, and see what kind of answers you get. Trust us, the more you play with it, the more you’ll understand its capabilities and how it can enhance your lessons.
When it comes to using ChatGPT in the classroom, it’s important to give your pupils clear instructions. Make sure they know the purpose of the tool and how to use it effectively. Give them some guidelines on what types of questions are appropriate to ask and what types of information should not be entered into the system. Be aware of those misconceptions – it isn’t always right!
When writing commands for ChatGPT, it is important to keep a few things in mind to ensure that it accurately understands and responds to your request:
- Be clear and concise: Make sure your commands are specific and to the point. The more concise your request, the more likely it is to provide a relevant answer.
- Use proper grammar and punctuation: ChatGPT is trained to understand written language, so it is important to use proper grammar and punctuation when writing commands.
- Provide context: If your request requires context, make sure to provide it. For example, if you want to know a specific country’s capital, include the country’s name in your request.
- Avoid ambiguity: Avoid using words or phrases that have multiple meanings. This will help ChatGPT understand what you are looking for and provide the most accurate response.
- Use natural language: Write your commands as if you were asking a question to another person. This will help ChatGPT understand the intent behind your request and provide a more natural response.
- And one last thing – privacy is key! Never enter any personal information, including the information of your pupils, into ChatGPT. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, and any other sensitive information. We want to keep everyone safe and protected.
ChatGPT is a valuable tool for teachers and has the potential to revolutionise the way we approach many of the tasks and responsibilities that come with the job. From generating lesson plans and providing feedback to answering questions and supporting professional development, ChatGPT offers a wide range of benefits that can help teachers save time and improve the quality of their work.
However, it’s important to remember that like any new technology, we must adapt to its use and find the best way to integrate it into our work. Just as math teachers didn’t stop teaching math when the calculator was invented, we can use ChatGPT as a tool where appropriate, and still complete tasks without it. In the end, it’s up to each teacher to determine how they want to use this new technology to support their workload and professional development.
You will always be the expert in your classroom and no matter how good the robots get nothing will compare to the way you know and care about your classes. So, let’s embrace technology if it will reduce our workload and give us more time to do the thing we love – teaching!