Many educators have tried out ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence-powered tool that can instantly generate a response to seemingly any prompt, and they say it—and other similar tools—have helped them improve their work.
They’ve used generative AI tools to plan lessons, help struggling students with their assignments, streamline feedback on student work, and more.
Artificial intelligence technologies replicate human-like intelligence by training machines and computer systems to do tasks that simulate some of what the human brain can do. It relies on systems that can learn, usually by analyzing vast quantities of data and searching out new patterns and relationships. These systems can improve over time as they take in more information.
Of course, there are potential downsides to the new technology. It can produce inaccurate or biased responses based on faulty data it draws from, and it has the potential to cause huge data privacy problems. Experts have cautioned that when using these tools, it’s important to know how they were trained and what datasets were used. It’s also important to be skeptical about any information these tools provide and to double-check it with a trusted source.
ChatGPT, created by research laboratory OpenAI, is one of the most popular generative AI tools, being the first on the scene. Since its release last year, many more like it have cropped up. Below is are other generative AI tools teachers are using to help them with their work:
Google Bard and Microsoft Bing Chat
Bard and Bing Chat are, respectively, Google’s and Microsoft’s competitors to ChatGPT. Bard and Bing Chat function similarly to ChatGPT: They aim to give human-like answers to questions. They’re free and easy to use. They can write lesson plans and emails and provide feedback on assignments. But there are some differences.
For instance, the free version of ChatGPT was only trained on data available up to 2021, while Bard and Bing Chat can give more up-to-date information. Bing Chat runs on the premium version of ChatGPT, which has been trained on a wider range of information and is more advanced than the free version, while Bard uses a different model. Bing Chat also often cites where it got its answers, while Bard and ChatGPT do not.
Like ChatGPT, these chatbots are prone to making up information or producing biased responses. When using these tools, it’s best to always double-check the facts with other sources.
Hello History, Character AI, and other persona chatbots
Hello History, Character.AI, and other persona chatbots allow users to have real-time conversations with bots purporting to be historical figures, world leaders, and even fictional characters. The tools are trained on data available online and are supposed to mimic the speaking style and tone of their characters. These tools could be helpful for students to learn more about historical figures or fictional characters, but they are usually powered by the same technology behind ChatGPT, meaning that they can provide inaccurate information. For example, when Education Week’s Alyson Klein asked an Obama chatbot about his education record, it got a lot wrong.
DALL-E, Midjourney, and other art generators
Midjourney, OpenAI’s DALL-E, Adobe Firefly, and other similar tools can generate realistic and detailed images from textual descriptions. Students and teachers could use these tools to generate artwork to use in their assignments or presentations. But there are ethical concerns. Artists have filed lawsuits claiming that these companies trained AI tools on their artworks without consent. And experts say, while it’s good for brainstorming, it’s always better to ask students to create art without the use of these AI tools, so they can learn to be independent of these tools.
Education Copilot and other “teacher assistants”
Many education-focused AI assistants have cropped up, as well. Here are some examples: Education Copilot, Teacherbot, and Eduaide.AI. They all do tasks that ChatGPT can do for educators. They can generate lesson plans, handouts, writing prompts, project outlines, student reviews, and more. It’s unclear whether these tools are powered by the free or the premium version of ChatGPT, but many come with a cost, so educators tend to use ChatGPT instead.
AI assistants in existing ed-tech tools
Many ed-tech companies that are fixtures in the K-12 world have also added AI features to their products. EdPuzzle, an online video editing and formative assessment tool that lets teachers cut, crop, and organize videos, has added an AI assistant that can automatically generate questions that teachers can add to their video assignments. It can also grade students’ answers based on teachers’ ideal answers. Kahoot, a game-based learning platform, has also added a feature that can automatically generate questions based on any topic a teacher chooses. Canva, a free graphic design platform that has an educational version, added “Magic Write” and “Magic Design” features that generate presentations and documents based on any prompt.
A version of this article appeared in the September 20, 2023 edition of Education Week as Beyond ChatGPT: The Other AI Tools Teachers Are Using