Use AI as your personal teaching assistant.

Difficulty: Easy

Cost: Free to start

Time: Negligible

The term AI conjures very different connotations for different people. Some may worry it will lead to a future dystopia à la Terminator while others hope it will solve all the world’s problems.

At its heart, AI is a field dedicated to using computers, and often machine learning, to approximate, mimic, or even improve upon human decision making and problem solving.

Thanks to heavy investment in AI technology and a dash of Moore’s Law, technology that used to be scarcely available to enterprises at enormous cost is now cheaply available to the public.

While we all know AIs can be useful for pattern identification and numerically driven tasks, they are quickly becoming a force in the fields of text analysis and generation.

A site called OpenAI has made its GPT-3 algorithm available for use in applications or as a playground. While it can be used for some extremely advanced cases, it can also be used simply as a time saver for teachers.

While I think it’s plenty fun as a gimmick, there are some pretty useful cases for using AI to generate content for lessons.

  1. Use OpenAI to generate questions

Coming up with word problems for math can be a bit annoying. While there are endless resources online that you can comb through to find the right problems, having the problems come to you is so much more convenient.

OpenAI can also generate science questions given a topic and the number of questions desired.

For any subject, the word problems won’t all be winners, but it’s easier than signing up for 10 websites that will spam email you until the end of time for a few resources.

2. Make a grammar correction game. Can the students beat the computer?

OpenAI is testing a grammar correction feature. As it is currently in Beta, sometimes OpenAI gets it right, and sometimes it’s way off. This is a great opportunity for a game. Students love competition, and what’s better than man vs machine?

Here’s how you can use OpenAI for a game:

Put in a sentence for the AI to correct on the left half of the screen.

Write instructions for what should be corrected at the bottom of the screen.

Play the game according to the following rules:

–If the AI makes the correction but students miss it, the computer gets a point.

–If the AI is wrong but students are correct, the students get a point.

–If both are correct, both get a point.

Feel free to adapt this as you see fit for your classroom. It’s a great review game.

3. Use OpenAI as your own personal version Jeeves from AskJeeves

Remember Jeeves? You can ask questions and get answers back. He’s your personal search butler.

You can also request specific types of resources. Typically more specific searches are better, but there are some diminishing returns.

4. Finally, you can use AI to identify themes, moods, sentiment, and more in texts.

This is, perhaps, OpenAI’s most impressive feature. You can put in a chunk of text and request some information about it such as mood, theme, etc. This can be a high level skill for many people, but the AI handles it very well.

Here, I’ve requested the mood and some reasoning.

Making these requests and sharing out the results is is a great opportunity for a conversation starter in class.

How did the AI identify the mood? What evidence do you think it used? Do you agree or disagree? Do you think it missed anything?

Students are sometimes loathe to disagree with one another, but disagreeing with technology doesn’t carry any emotional weight.

Bonus–Write stories based on other stories.

You can feed OpenAI segments of text and have it write a new story for you. This can be a lot of fun, and maybe it will make your next independent reading passage.

I fed the AI a bunch of inspirational stories from LinkedIn and had it write me a story. Here’s what it came up with:

Steve Musk was born in rural Alabama. He was raised by a single mother who worked two jobs to make ends meet. Despite his difficult upbringing, Steve was a bright young man with big dreams. When he was just a teenager, he started working on cars. He was always tinkering with them, trying to make them better.

One day, while he was filling up his Mustang at a gas station, an older gentleman pulled up and asked him to help fix his mower. Steve agreed, and the two of them spent the next hour chatting. The older man told Steve about his life and how he’d been through some tough times, but he’d never give up. This conversation inspired Steve to never give up on his dreams, no matter how hard things got.

A few years later, Steve was in college and studying hard. One day, his professor gave each student a balloon and told them to inflate it, write their name on it, and throw it in the hallway. Then the professor mixed all the balloons up. The students were then given 5 minutes to find their own balloon.

Despite a hectic search, no one found their balloon. But Steve didn’t give up. He kept searching until he finally found his balloon. This experience taught him that if he never gave up, he could always achieve his goals.

Today, Steve is the CEO of one of the most successful companies in the world. He is a self-made billionaire who is constantly innovating and changing the world. He is an inspiration to everyone who knows him, and he continues to make a difference in the world every day.

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