ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot trained to understand typed prompts and generate content that sounds human, is the fastest-growing web platform ever. For a couple of months, I’ve assessed how ChatGPT handles dozens of common teacher tasks. It’s not perfect, but the chatbot can reduce the 10 hours and 40 minutes a day that the average teacher works by automating the first drafts of our most time-consuming professional writing.
In the paragraphs that follow, I’ve divided these tasks into the following categories: planning instruction, handouts and materials, differentiation, correspondence, assessment, and writing instruction and feedback. Welcome to the revolution.
Category 1. PLANNING INSTRUCTION
With its mighty language processing and generation capabilities, ChatGPT can streamline planning when you’re developing the following assets:
- Unit outline: When you align its output with the Common Core State Standards, the AI tool is able to craft a unit outline for any grade level, subject, or timeline.
- Lesson plans: Ask ChatGPT to write a lesson plan on, say, Westward Expansion. The tool composes assessments, activities, scaffolding, and objectives. Want that in the form of problem-based learning or revised for a flipped classroom? ChatGPT can adjust the lesson plan according to your instructions.
- Slide shows: When directed to outline a slide show for any topic and grade level, ChatGPT creates an intuitive organization and adds formative assessment questions if requested.
- X-factor instruction: When I asked ChatGPT to devise a “challenging and creative approach to teaching metaphors” to students, the tool described an activity that involved integrating student-created metaphors into original stories conveyed through visual genres (e.g., a comic strip, a storyboard).
- Simplify topics: Having difficulty articulating an advanced concept? Ask ChatGPT to “explain the topic to a first grader.” Here’s the tool’s simplified explanation of chloroplasts: “Chloroplasts are little green things inside plant leaves that help the plant make its own food. They are like tiny factories that use sunlight, air, and water to make the plant’s food.”
- Discussion questions: Use ChatGPT to write engaging, higher-order prompts for a class discussion on any topic.
Category 2. HANDOUTS AND OTHER MATERIALS
Perhaps ChatGPT’s biggest time feature is that it can generate text for materials and handouts that target your specific instructional needs. It can do the following:
- Develop instructions that describe cooperative learning roles and expectations.
- Generate assignment directions with a detailed overview, grading criteria, a description of the required format, and task details.
- Create solved examples of math problems, chemistry equations, etc., with explanations of each step.
- Build a prereading or advance organizer by extracting critical and unfamiliar vocabulary from a chapter and listing keywords with their definitions.
- Provide word problems—for example, using ratios: ChatGPT gives the problem, the formula for solving it, and a full explanation of the procedure.
- Compose a syllabus (boilerplate) that includes a course schedule, late-work policies, and a description of how assignments will be graded.
- Make flash cards with questions and answers.
- Produce posters that list classroom rules, 10 reasons why algebra is important to the students’ future, or the 20 most common writing errors of high school students, with short definitions and examples included.
Category 3. DIFFERENTIATION
Need a choice board for an art activity? Boom, done. Ask ChatGPT to create a passage, chapter, or book summary for students who need support. The tool can also function as a text compactor that analyzes readings and creates more concise and condensed versions. Furthermore, the AI will generate differentiated rubrics for an assignment so that each heuristic emphasizes customized expectations and levels of challenge.
Category 4. PROFESSIONAL CORRESPONDENCE
Using ChatGPT, teachers can streamline communication with parents, colleagues, and administrators via AI-composed welcome-to-class letters, newsletter copy, volunteer and donation requests, supply lists, grant and field trip proposals, assembly programs, and permission sheets.
Category 5. ASSESSMENT
With careful oversight, teachers can use ChatGPT to quickly create a variety of assessment materials.
- Quizzes: Ask ChatGPT to create tests on specific topics using any type of question format. Paste a passage into the chatbot or identify the title and chapter of a classic piece of literature, and the AI will produce a test bank and answer key.
- Rubrics: ChatGPT will compose a rubric for any type of student performance. Depending on the needs of the user, examples include analytic, holistic, and developmental rubrics, as well as rating scales.
- Checklists: The tool can develop an observation checklist to document students’ academic, social, emotional, and physical progress.
- Cloze tests: ChatGPT can create a Cloze comprehension test, where words are removed from a passage, and the reader is asked to fill in the blanks to test their understanding of the main ideas, vocabulary, and sentence structure of the passage.
Category 6. Writing Instruction and Feedback
With ChatGPT’s assistance, teachers can improve their students’ writing skills through a range of tools and features.
- Prompt generator: The tool can compose writing prompts for any genre and include a corresponding rubric.
- Essay improvement: Submit sections of student writing to ChatGPT, and it will suggest enhancements.
- Grammar feedback: When kids make grammar errors, teachers can direct ChatGPT to define, describe, and identify how to improve the error and also provide examples.
While ChatGPT amplifies our pedagogy and automates routine tasks, it’s easy to overlook its greatest weakness: The tool always sounds authoritative, even when disseminating inaccurate content. Erroneous and polished bloviation pops up in human communication as well. Nevertheless, we must check all AI-produced information for accuracy and usefulness before it reaches students.
The chatbot’s prose represents another shortcoming. Without clear directions from the user, it comes off as canned, like it was written by an algorithm, when a prerequisite for uplifting, informing, and empowering students and school stakeholders is correspondence that sounds like you, not Wikipedia. Using ChatGPT responsibly means always viewing its compositions and curricula as first drafts.