As the dust settles on the AI rollouts, teachers are coming to terms with the realities of AI tools in the classroom. Your students will no doubt look for shortcuts, and many questions about academic integrity exist. But the silver lining is that teachers can also use AI and ChatGPT (and save time!).
Understanding AI helps educators stay in step with students and understand the skills needed for future careers. ChatGPT (or similar AI) seems intuitive, but it’s easier said than done. You may even get frustrated and declare it easier to write yourself. The problem lies in inputs or prompts.
Before you can get the most out of ChatGPT, we need to define some common terms in prompt engineering.
In the context of AI, a “prompt” refers to a user’s specific instruction, question, or input to elicit a response from the AI system. The starting point or guiding text helps direct the AI’s generation of a coherent and relevant output. The quality and clarity of the prompt significantly influence the AI’s response. A well-crafted prompt can produce more accurate and useful outputs, while a vague or ambiguous prompt may yield unpredictable or undesired results.
Just like any question-or-answer scenario, context helps AI formulate better responses. Who is the audience? What is their background and skill level? By considering the context, AI models can better understand the user’s intentions and provide more relevant and coherent outputs.
If you ever feel like your ChatGPT outputs are not at the level of your students, you may need to give the AI model more context in your prompt.
The temperature parameter is used to modify this distribution. A higher temperature value, such as 1.0, leads to more randomness and diversity in the generated text. It allows for a wider range of word choices, including less likely or more creative options. On the other hand, a lower temperature value, such as 0.5, makes the model more focused and deterministic, selecting the most probable words and producing more conservative outputs.
If you feel like the responses you’re getting from AI are stale, try adjusting the temperature.
Here are our go-to strategies for writing better AI prompts for your classroom.
Treat AI prompts like the directions you give your students. As teachers, you’re uniquely qualified to provide specific and clear instructions. (You’ve had a lot of practice!)
So think through the times you have had to refine instructions for your students. The directions were probably not clear enough. Use the same mindset while AI-prompting. It’s the number one thing that makes your responses less than ideal.
There’s a difference between “Can you explain photosynthesis?” and “Create a lesson plan to introduce photosynthesis to a middle school class.” The first is likely to give you an encyclopedia description of photosynthesis. But the second example gives you actionable steps to teaching and explaining a new concept to your class.
It’s better to give ChatGPT too much context information rather than not enough. Explain the age and skill level of your class. Include interests so that ChatGPT can cater to examples to grab their attention.
It’s tough to come up with ideas to keep every class relevant. ChatGPT can help. You can use roleplay to pose questions and examples to your students. Here are a few ways ChatGPT can bring in relevancy through role play:
Your students must see the material in different modes before learning it deeply. You can cater to diverse learners by inputting material you have already taught and asking for it in another format. (A song about Pythagorean Theorem, anyone?)
If you struggle to be concise and add many contextual details, you’re not alone. You may want a concise explanation, but it must be extremely specific for your audience. Put your concept into quotes so that ChatGPT can understand you want to focus on that particular concept.
Sometimes you have one great question but prefer more versions for practice or a quiz. You can give ChatGPT an example of an item and then ask for more versions. This also works if you’re differentiating assignments.
You may get a great response, but you need it to be shorter for your students’ attention. Add your desired length to the prompts.
Similarly, you can ask for longer pieces of information to be summarized. This a great option for topics that need simplification.
Ask ChatGPT to give you the necessary teaching material – tests, quizzes, worksheets, or lesson plans. The great part about AI is the results are so instantaneous, and you can see what you get and try again.
As you experiment with writing prompts, try refining your responses before starting from scratch. There are two reasons for this: you are learning, and ChatGPT is learning. You practice creating prompts, allowing you to see the effect of small tweaks. But also, inside the same session, you’re teaching ChatGPT more about what you want and what your students need.
If you open up ChatGPT and have zero ideas. Consider putting your material in and asking for prompts. Try inputting your learning target and see what you get. This is also good for big-picture planning (i.e., unit planning).
ChatGPT helps teachers create learning materials faster. We give you the platform to turn your materials into digital activities with auto-grading.