TeacherMade’s mission has always been to improve teachers’ lives by easing workloads, supporting effective practices, and engaging with students daily. So how is TeacherMade responding to the release of generative AIs like ChatGPT, Bing Chat, and Bard?
To be clear, I am fascinated by AI and have been using generative writing tools since Jasper’s launch in 2021. So with the release of ChatGPT 3.5 in December of 2022, I made the time to check it out. Though super-cool and an improvement over earlier AIs, it was also tedious because it took several prompts to produce what I wanted. Even then, its output could not be 100% trusted. It required editing and fact-checking, so it wasn’t much of a time-saver. ChatGPT 3.5’s capabilities were vast, but so was the amount of time and skill it took to exploit them.
After announcing the more powerful ChatGPT 4, I signed up and gave OpenAI my 20 bucks, trusting the hype. It may well be the best money I’ve ever spent. It’s so much smarter and faster than the free version, easily handling complex, multi-step prompts.
After immersing myself in large language models for many months now, I can say with impunity that reports of AI replacing teachers are greatly exaggerated. The number of Teachers could be reduced someday, but certainly not any time soon. But the question we’ve all had from the start – how will the technology impact students? – is starting to get some real answers. There are predominantly two types of AI tools for the classroom emerging:
- Tutor bots that interact directly with students as they work
- Prompt intermediaries to make content generation faster
AI Tutor Bots Have Limitations
Other companies see the best use of the new AIs as personal tutors for learners. Khan Academy’s Khanmigo is the first and best example of a tutor bot. Newark City Schools has been testing Khanmigo live in three schools for four months. The bot’s performance brings mixed reviews.
On the one hand, Newark’s teachers find Khanmigo useful as a “co-teacher” that allows them to devote extra time to students who need more guidance while enabling the self-driven students to work independently. On the other hand, there are big concerns that the bot might be doing too much of the thinking for students, potentially undermining the development of their cognitive abilities.
There are also financial implications for using AI-assisted tutor bots. Districts wanting to pilot Khanmigo this fall will pay a whopping $60 per student to do so. After the pilot, the cost may even go up. Khan Academy says AI is expensive, and we believe them. Though they offer a discount for districts where more than half of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, the long-term cost of AI in every school district is a major concern. Where will the money come from? What are the implications for districts that can’t afford it?
AI tutoring bots like Khanmigo have potential, but there are still many challenges to overcome:
- Tutor bots must complement rather than replace learning
- AI must become affordable before use in all schools
AI Content Generation Can Save Teachers Hours
“Prompting” is posing queries or instructions to an AI to produce a desired result. In short, you must know how to speak to an AI to get it to work for you. Companies are popping up daily to help educators produce curricular materials in seconds without learning prompt engineering. Instead of working with ChatGPT directly, you can use a site like Twee as your AI whisperer and bypass prompting.
(Tip: Though I like Twee and some other sites, learning to engineer prompts is essential, so please don’t skip this.)
The belief that all these new companies have in common is AI will bring a renaissance to teacher-created materials. But what are you supposed to do next? Chatbots can endlessly produce test questions, lesson plans, activities, and worksheets. How do you format the output?
Import Your AI-Generated Content Directly Into TeacherMade
So, where does TeacherMade fit into this evolving AI landscape? Unsurprisingly, we remain committed to serving teachers first and empowering them to work with their students. To that end, we’re employing AI for teachers to use with a new feature that will be released later this summer.
As seasoned AI enthusiasts, the best and least expensive approach for AI in the classroom is for teachers to use free or inexpensive AI generators like ChatGPT 4 to produce curricular content; then load the generated content into TeacherMade. Our importer will auto-magically turn the content into TeacherMade interactivities. Teachers will save time creating instructional materials, so they have more time to spend with their students. And all of this at a fraction of the cost of other solutions.
You can see this new TeacherMade AI feature in action at TEKSCon July 25-27, 2023, in San Antonio.
We’re Enhancing Our Features As AI Expands
Importing PDFs: We’re working on importing your existing PDFs and auto-magically converting them into TeacherMades. (Technology-shy teachers won’t be able to resist any longer.) We hope to have this completed in the next few months. And because you can make STAAR 2.0 item types in TeacherMade already, you can freshen up your older materials for use in today’s classroom.
AI-Assisted, Standards-Based Grading: We are enhancing the platform to employ AI to help you grade student writing. AI technology isn’t yet able to do an entire evaluation, but it can help reduce the time spent on each student’s writing artifact. And once standards are part of our platform in the next week or two, we might code AI magic into enhanced reporting.
Pre-Made Activities: Additionally, our subject matter experts are using ChatGPT 4 to assist in creating pre-made activities for the new TeacherMade Content Library. You will see the number of resources over this coming school year. (We’re using the YAG in the TEKS Resource System to guide what gets created and when. We aim to stay one or two steps ahead of you and your classes!)
What Is TeacherMade’s Stance on AI?
TeacherMade is sensibly putting AI into use where it has the best chance of success – in the hands of Teachers who can safely harness its power for the benefit of their students. It’s too early to say how tutor bots may impact classrooms, so in TeacherMade classrooms, students will continue to think for themselves with their human teachers guiding the way.
Trust the teacher and give them the productivity tools they need to succeed at a reasonable price – that’s what TeacherMade is about.
(This article was 100% written by a human educator, not a Chatbot. 😉
Worried about Student Cheating?? You can prevent students from pasting AI content into their assignments in TeacherMade. Click here <<