Can you use the popular AI tool ChatGPT to save time? Over the past few months, I’ve looked at numerous ways for educators to save time using this new chatbot. If you’ve followed along with my blog and podcast in the past, you know that working smarter, not harder, is a big theme of the resources I share.
In today’s blog post, we’re not looking at the role of ChatGPT in education from the student perspective. However, there have been plenty of articles recently on what this means for students to write essays or conduct research with ChatGPT. If you’re curious about these conversations, check out this article from The Atlantic, or this one from Edutopia, about the impact of ChatGPT on classroom instruction.
Can teachers use ChatPGT? You bet! ChatGPT isn’t COPPA compliant, and it’s not designed for students. Of course, that doesn’t mean kids of all ages won’t try and use it – but for today’s purposes, it simply won’t be the focus of this post. Instead, I want to share ten ways you can use ChatGPT to save time. And while you play around with this free tool, you can also get a sense of what students might use it for and the potential impact in classrooms.
10 Things Teachers Can Do with ChatGPT to Save Time
How does ChatGPT work? After you set up an account, you can start typing in prompts or questions. You can use complete sentences, write a general task, or ask something very specific. Use this link to set up an account.
One way you can make the most of ChatGPT is to accelerate your workflow — or work harder, not smarter. I recently sat down with Angela Watson from the Truth for Teachers podcast to chat about this topic during a live recording session at the FETC Conference.
The ten things in the list below are all time-saving tips, and I hope as you play around with ChatGPT, you will share what you learn with other educators. Maybe you’ll even tag me on social media (find me on Instagram and Twitter) to let me know what you learn, too.
Regular readers of the blog know that I often focus on ways teachers can save time (like “8 Time-Saving Tips for Teaching with Podcasts – Easy EdTech Podcast 182” or “7 Google Calendar Tips for Teachers“). The ten tasks listed below are things you probably already do. But with ChatGPT, you can do it faster. And you might find that the result is even better than your first attempt at doing it on your own – especially if you’re tired or just spent after a long day.
Have a field trip on the calendar? Try using the prompt “Write an email to remind families about our field trip to the museum next week.” As you can see in the screenshot below, the email that ChatGPT wrote for me has a simple format and gives me space to add specific details.
If you’re stuck on what kind of feedback to give students, try asking ChatGPT. Use the prompt, ‘My students are writing persuasive essays, and I want to give them feedback on their introduction. What kind of things can I say to them to help strengthen their writing?” The response from ChatGPT gave me a few ideas I can customize for a group of students.
Rewrite a Sentence
Worried that part of a task or email doesn’t sound quite right? Use the prompt, “Rewrite this sentence so it is clearer.” Then add your sentence to the query box. You could also ask, “Rewrite this sentence, so it is [fill in the blank with: friendlier, more concise, simpler].”
I just returned from speaking at the FETC conference in New Orleans. So with New Orleans still on my mind, I decided to try the prompt, “Where can I go to find primary source documents about New Orleans state history?” Although I might have put this in a Google search, I love how ChatGPT came up with answers and descriptions so I can now search more efficiently.
Simplify an Explanation
Sometimes it’s hard to keep things simple. If you’re struggling to write something in a concise manner, or you’re looking at the directions you want to give students, and you feel like something is missing or just too complicated, place it in ChatGPT. Add the prompt, “Simplify this, so it is less confusing,” then paste the paragraph you wrote.
Breakdown a Process
When I write a step-by-step guide, I reread it multiple times to ensure I didn’t miss a crucial step. Instead, you might use a prompt like “Explain the process of turning in an assignment in Google Classroom” and then customize it for your group of students. This prompt can save time by giving you a starting point instead of writing entirely from scratch.
Video Titles and Descriptions
Do you make videos for your students, or are you interested in flipping your classroom? Try having ChatGPT write the video titles and descriptions for you. For example, you might ask, “Write a catchy title and informative description for a video for my students about the lattice method for multiplication.” Of course, you don’t have to use this exact title and description, but it can certainly save you time if you are uploading a unit’s worth of videos into YouTube.
Earlier this year, I shared some of my favorite keyboard shortcuts on the podcast. If you’d like to find a quick list without having to scroll through a handful of responses on Google, try asking ChatGPT. For example, you might say, “Make a list of keyboard shortcuts for Google Calendar.”
A popular way to start the day in a classroom is to ask students to write about a relevant topic. You might tell ChatGPT to generate a list of writing prompts for you. Once you see the suggestions, you can modify them to meet the needs of your students. Here’s what ChatGPT came up with when I asked, “Make a list of 10 writing prompts I can share with students to have them write about endangered species.”
One of the ways I’ve used ChatGPT to save time this year is to revise my emails. After I write an email, I will paste the text into ChatGPT with the prompt “Rewrite this email so it is friendly, clear, and professional.” Of course, you can modify the adjectives to fit your goals and substitute them with words like concise, serious, brief, or silly.
You might find that ChatGPT is helpful in various ways – not just teaching. Here are a few bonus tips to try out:
- Give me a recipe for lasagna for two people
- What day of the week was [add your date of birth]?
- Make a list of holidays in March
Did I write this blog post with ChatGPT? Nope, but it did help me out with a few winter blog posts, including this one on video journals and this one on making animated videos. If you’re ready to get started using ChatGPT to save time, create a free account and use one of the prompts listed above. I can’t wait to hear what you think! Share your ideas on social media and tag me @ClassTechTips on Instagram and Twitter, or just send me a DM if you have something awesome to share!