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4 Things to Know About Chat GPT in the Classroom

Tool patterned background in shades of green with the words AI Tool Tuesday Chat GPT

Nicole Karod

Chat GPT is my original go-to AI tool. I use it a lot to do a variety of things including brainstorming and generating images.  If you haven’t checked out chat GPT you need to! 

AI Transparency: Chat GPT was used to help develop this post.  Chat GPT: 5%, Human: 95%.  I use it to maximize the readability, as well as make sure there is correct spelling and grammar. Here is the prompt that I used:

Prompt: “Read this blog post, DO NOT change the content.  Give me feedback on SEO* as well grammar and spelling (Copy and Paste blog post)” *SEO is Search Engine Optimization.

#1 What is Chat GPT?

Chat GPT is what is known as a Large Language Model (LLM). It was created by the company Open AI and launched on November 30, 2023.  GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer and is the language model that was created by OpenAI.  Chat GPT is generative AI, which is a type of AI that is trained on extremely large sets of data from the internet.  This includes images, books, websites, news, and more. The transformer (GPT), a neural network, can break down and understand text. Then, when you prompt Chat GPT, it uses what it has learned to generate a relevant response. 

Diagram of how Chat GPT works.  Books, newspapers go into a neural network where text is broken down then a response is generate.
How Chat GPT Works

When I asked Chat GPT to explain how it works like I’m 10, it gave me this answer:

“Imagine you have a big bookshelf with tons of books, and each book has lots of information in it. Chat GPT is like a robot that has read all those books and remembers everything in them. When you ask ChatGPT a question, it looks in its “memory” (which is like its virtual bookshelf) and finds the best answer it can.” – Chat GPT 

You can sign up for Chat GPT here.  It is free to use Chat GPT-3.5.  There is also a paid version, for $20 a month you get access to Chat GPT-4 which can chat with images, voice, and create images.  The subscription also provides the opportunity to build custom GPTs (an “assistant” that can help you with what you choose).

#2 What is prompting?

In large language models, like Chat GPT, it is important to give the AI instructions, to get the best output. It will give you a response with whatever you input, however, the better your input (prompt), the better your output will be. A person who prompts AI is known as a Prompt Engineer.  

There are many prompting models to help you get the best possible results.   

Check out Dan Fitzpatrick’s, author of The AI Classroom, free guide for prompting. 

He uses an acronym called P.R.E.P. to prompt the machine and E.D.I.T. to follow up with the output. 

P – Prompt

R – Role

E – Explicit

P – Parameters

E – Evaluate 

D – Determine

I – Identify

T– Transform 

Another model is John Spencer’s The F.A.C.T.S Cycle.  This model requires you to 

F – formulate questions, 

A – acquire the AI tool, 

C – create context, 

T – type the prompt, 

S – scrutinize the results. 

What I like about both of these models is that they both have human involvement.  You, THE HUMAN, are a part of the loop.  After you input the prompt, you check it to make sure it is your voice, and it’s accurate and appropriate for what you need.  You are collaborating with the AI to get an outcome rather than just having the AI do it for you.  

Stay tuned into our blog for more about Prompt Engineering and a Freebie!

#3 What do you need to know about Chat GPT as a teacher?

Chat GPT has an age limitation.  Users should be over 18 to use it independently.  Students under 13 should not use it at all.  For ages 13-18 you need to get parental consent for students to use it.  Take a look at this sample parental consent form, created by Kate for classroom use.  Stay tuned for how to use this in your classroom.

On these same lines, you often hear people talk about using Chat GPT as a tool to grade student work.  It CAN do this, however, should you?  These are the conversations happening right now, and it’s important that as teachers we are modeling the ethical use of AI.  My belief is if you need consent for students to use Chat GPT, you should also get their consent to put their work into it.  Remember, the AI uses the information that is input for future training.  Chat GPT is not Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) compliant.

Whatever tool you use, always consider the security and privacy of your students, as well as follow your district’s policies. 

AI Detectors?

AI Detectors (ChatGPT zero) – It is natural, with the headlines about cheating, to want to use a detector as a first response to determine whether students are using artificial intelligence.  However, detectors are very problematic.  They are proven to be highly unreliable and give many false positives.  This article from USA Today describes a classroom situation where a student has been falsely accused of using AI.  There are alternative strategies to manage the use of AI in your classroom, which promote positive relationships and learning in our students.

AI detectors are also biased against non-native English speakers.  This article from Advanced Science News states “Over half of the non-native English writing samples were misclassified as AI-generated, with one detector flagging nearly 98% of the TOEFL essays, while the accuracy for native samples remained near perfect.” 

#4 How can you use AI with students?

There are a variety of ways to use this with students.  In high school, it is important to teach your students HOW to use it.  To help students navigate using AI in the academic setting engage and model prompting for students and talk about the ethical uses of AI.  Have a clear classroom (or school) policy to guide students to best use cases, and let them know when it is and is not allowed.

Here are just a couple of ways to use it in the classroom:

High School

In high school, you can teach students how to utilize it as a thought partner.  

Here is a prompt that will provide a detailed outline. Depending on the student(s) you can customize it. 

Prompt: “You are writing an essay on the topic of ‘The Impact of Technology on Society.’  Please act as a thought partner to brainstorm key points and arguments for your essay.  Provide insights on the positive and negative effects of technology, as well as specific examples, and use these insights to create an outline for an essay, including an introduction, thesis statement, main points, and supporting evidence. Be sure to consider both the benefits and drawbacks of technology in shaping modern society.”  OUTPUT

Try flipping the script. Have Chat GPT produce several essays and have students analyze the essays for specific content.  Have students write the essay better, verify for accuracy, and change or add to the essay.  This teaches students the importance of keeping the human in the loop with AI. 

Elementary and Middle School

In middle school or elementary, you can use it with your class to engage students with a character from a book or history.  Students under 13 should not have accounts. You would do this activity in front of the classroom.  Here is a sample prompt:

Prompt: “You are Characters/Historical Name from Book Title*. Answer all questions using the knowledge Character would have.”

*You may give more context here if needed. 

Don’t stop there…, check out these prompts to use this same idea in different content areas:

Chat GPT Prompts

When you have the prompt in Chat GPT, ask students to come up with questions to ask.  Once this is modeled with chat GPT, as a whole group, ask students to do something similar using the RAFT strategy. 

We hope you will check out Chat GPT.  Play around with this tool and get used to it. Not ready to use it with students yet? That’s okay, but it’s important to try it out yourself and see the potential so that you’ll be able to use it with them soon.  We highlighted how you could use it with students, and the potential for teacher workload reduction.

Come back and visit next Tuesday, for more exciting AI tools. 

-Stay Curious, Stay Innovative!

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