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How Teachers Can Use ChatGPT in the Classroom with Secondary Students

Artificial generated responses (AI generators) like ChatGPT are all the hype right now and I am here with the burning question, "How can teachers use ChatGPT in the classroom with students."

I mean, it's obviously the moment we have all been waiting for-- AI taking over the world and making it easier than ever for our students to cheat. They can copy and paste straight from ChatGPT and the best part is the response doesn't actually exist on the internet, so it won't show in a plagiarism checker. This is why we love teaching-- the ever changing universe and joys of watching children use their brain to produce work!

Okay-- a little dramatic, right? Or not. Who knows!

What I will say is back when laptops and Google entered the classrooms, many teachers were resistant about that. Now we have many 1:1 settings and use the tools in our classrooms daily. Are there still challenges presented that make it a bit of a challenge-- yes. But we make it through and adapt as needed.

I've been thinking and thinking... and thinking. How the hell can I incorporate ChatGPT into my classroom and teach students how to use it responsibly (LOL is it even possible, right?).

I am going to share with you ten ways that ChatGPT can be used in the secondary classroom (well it says high school because that's what I teach, but it'll work for middles too).

  • Brainstorming: High school students can use ChatGPT as a brainstorming tool to generate ideas for their assignments or essays. The AI can provide them with a wealth of information on various topics and help them come up with new and unique perspectives.

  • Proofreading: Students can use ChatGPT to proofread their assignments or essays for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. They can also use the AI to identify awkward sentence structures and suggest alternative phrasings.

  • Synthesizing: High school students can use ChatGPT to synthesize information from multiple sources into a coherent and cohesive essay or report. The AI can help them identify key points and arguments and synthesize them into a well-written paper.

  • Fact-checking: Students can use ChatGPT to fact-check their assignments or essays. The AI can provide them with accurate and up-to-date information on a wide range of topics, helping them avoid plagiarism by ensuring that they are citing reliable sources.

  • Paraphrasing: ChatGPT can help students paraphrase complex sentences or ideas in their own words. This can be useful for avoiding plagiarism while still incorporating important information into their assignments.

  • Research: High school students can use ChatGPT as a research tool to gather information on a particular topic. They can ask the AI specific questions and receive a wealth of information in response.

  • Creative Writing: ChatGPT can help students generate creative writing prompts or story ideas. The AI can suggest interesting scenarios, characters, and plot twists, sparking the students' imaginations and helping them come up with unique and original ideas.

  • Vocabulary Building: ChatGPT can help students improve their vocabulary by suggesting synonyms and antonyms for words they use frequently. The AI can also provide definitions and examples of usage, helping students expand their understanding of the language.

  • Essay Planning: Students can use ChatGPT to create outlines and plans for their essays or assignments. The AI can suggest key points, arguments, and supporting evidence, helping students organize their thoughts and create a well-structured essay.

  • Learning about AI: Finally, students can use ChatGPT to learn more about artificial intelligence and how it works. They can ask the AI questions about its programming and capabilities, helping them gain a deeper understanding of this exciting and rapidly developing field.

Aren't these so cool-- it took me all of 7 seconds to generate that. Can you believe it's taken me a month to figure out that I can just ask ChatGPT how high school students can use the tool?! That shows we have to use our brain to get answers from the AI generator-- so I mean, students won't be not thinking at all-- you know the whole "work smarter not harder" thing? I think that applies here.

Click here to snag this ChatGPT interactive activity that explores the features of the AI generator.

ChatGPT obviously can be used to do some awesome brainstorming to get ideas flowing-- hence me writing this blog post and using it for a brainstorming tool since I was only coming up with dumb ass ways the kiddos can use it.

It serves as a powerful research tool to save time. Could I have went to Google and looked this up-- sure. But it would not have taken 7 seconds and generates exactly what I was looking for.

Specifically I asked ChatGPT this:

I then have the choice to keep the response it gave me or have it autogenerate a new one.

I know we have tools like Grammarly (like it love it, but man does the free version miss a lot. It can sure be sometimey).So it's interesting that ChatGPT is yet another tool students can use outside of the checking features embedded in a Google Doc or Microsoft Word document.

I decided to try it out with just one sentence out of curiosity-- I wasn't even aware that the AI could proofread, considering I'd only been asking it question.

Notice the first time I just typed a sentence with errors into the search area and it didn't correct my errors, but it started to congratulate me then gave me a warning about factoring in long term costs that come with buying luxury cars. I stopped the generator there because it wasn't what I was looking for and it haunted immediately.

The next time, I prompted the AI with more directions and added proofread and correct this sentence and it did so flawlessly, then told me why it fixed "treps."

I just paused while writing this and went back to the AI to ask it to do a little more-- I want it to improve my diction and use higher level word choice. Typically I make students head to Google and locate synonyms for lower level word choices they've made.

Well, ease your worries a bit my friends. We clearly see here if we ask for higher level diction, this creates some true robo-talk that we will hit with a red flag automatically-- we would know a student didn't write this.