AI Technology: Cheating tool or my new personal assistant?

One day last month my husband was playing around with ChatGPT and he asked me to enter a prompt. I didn’t know a whole lot about this technology, other than what he had explained to me at that moment, and I wasn’t sure what to ask it to do; however, knowing I would be taking EC&I 830 in a few weeks, I asked it to write a 1000 word essay on the contemporary issues in Educational Technology. In literal seconds, ChatGPT produced a five-paragraph essay with compelling information about the topic. Strangely enough, the essay didn’t make any mention of the impact AI would have on the future of education. For as good as ChatGPT was at creating a well-written essay, it may have missed a fairly key point related to current issues in this field. I was honestly blown away by the AI tools Alec shared with us last week. My initial reaction to this technology was pure and utter amazement. Again, I knew very little about ChatGPT and AI technologies before starting this course but after seeing them in action, I was intrigued to learn more. After realizing the possibilities, I immediately signed up for a few accounts and started trying them out.  The first AI technology I attempted to use was Tome. I prompted it to create a slideshow to promote the Balfour Arts Collective to incoming students. This task was on my to-do list for an upcoming Information Night we are hosting in February, so I thought Tome could save me a few hours of work. For whatever naive reason, I didn’t think this tool would know anything about the topic I selected, but in a matter of seconds it produced a totally usable slideshow with a pretty convincing sales pitch. I mean, after reading it, even I was convinced I would be a great fit for the program. Of course, the product needed a few edits, but overall Tome completed this task in record time. Check out the rough version of the slideshow here. Not too shabby for 20 seconds of work. The next thing I played around with was ChatGPT. I am a dance educator and I wondered how this tool might be used by my students (or myself) to create dance choreography. Knowing that ChatGPT wouldn’t be able to create a visual representation of movement, I wondered if it could provide a description of a dance, similar to how I write out my choreography when I want to remember it (i.e. step touch R/L x2, pose for 4 counts arms in a v, walk forward for 4 counts R/L/R/L, walk back for 4 counts R/L/R/L). Here is my initial prompt and the response I got: Not exactly what I was hoping for. So after talking to my colleagues and trying their suggestions, I tried again prompting ChatGPT to use a form of dance notation called Labanotation. This yielded an interesting response. Check it out: So, although this AI-generated “choreography” is not super innovative (maybe even a bit cheesy), ChatGPT did a fairly decent job of describing a dance phrase that could be followed and performed by someone with a basic understanding of dance. Pretty cool if you ask me. But more importantly, this got me thinking…a dance choreography AI tool could be my claim to fame and my next million-dollar idea. Now I just need to find someone with the tech skills to make that happen.  After testing out a variety of prompts in ChatGPT, I have to admit I LOVE IT. Initially, I viewed AI tools as something students would use to cheat on essays (this article provides an interesting overview of these challenges), but I never thought of them as tools I could use to make my job as an educator easier. Over the past few years, I have struggled to find a work-life balance; new tasks are often added to teachers’ plates with no additional time to complete them. But the idea that these AI tools could save me time with prep and marking is pretty amazing. Of course, as teachers, we will need to learn to navigate this technology and understand the impact it will have on the subject areas we teach. We will also have a responsibility to teach our students how to use these tools in appropriate ways. But for right now, I’m just going to enjoy having a few more minutes of free time thanks to this amazing new technology.