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ChatGPT in the Classroom - Teacher’s Lounge Chat with Meredith Dobbs of Bespoke ELA

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Becky Zerr: Well, welcome, welcome. I'm glad to have you here with us today. So why don't we just start off and just get to know each other a little bit. So tell me about Meredith. Who are you? How'd you get started with teaching and all of that good stuff?

Meredith Dobbs: Oh my gosh, it feels like

it was like, It's so long ago. It's like 20 years ago at this point. Just about on the dot. Yes. Yeah. that's scary to say. I never thought it'd be this old. So I just, I don't know. I always loved English class. I had an amazing AP literature teacher my senior year of high school, and I remember telling her, Mrs. Shannon, I said, I'm gonna be a teacher just like you. And she looked at me and she said, why would you want to do that? But I love English class. And I was just like, I wanna be like you. And so, now and 20 years later, I definitely look in hindsight and go, oh, I know why Mrs. Shannon actually said that to me. Now I get it, I do get it. But still, you know, still enjoy it. So I'm still teaching high school English and now also college dual credit English classes primarily.

And, this year also some more AP Lit coming back in. So, nice. Yeah, so I've been around. I've been around for a while. Fantastic. 

Becky: Teacher was my senior English teacher. So shout out to Mrs. Curtis if you're listening. So, oh, that's amazing. 

Meredith: Hey, Mrs. Curtis, we love you. 

Becky: Yes, everyone needs to have that inspirational English teacher in high school. It's just a must. I agree. 

Meredith: I agree. I agree. Yeah, completely. 

Becky: All right, very cool. So I read your blog post about chat. I love that cause it's been weighing on my mind lately. Now I teach in the virtual classrooms these days, but I mean, we're starting to see some of it creep in there and I know it's gotta be happening a lot for our classroom teachers.

So, I mean, this is just a huge issue from what I'm hearing, pairing it to like the advent of calculators, right? And the internet. So yeah, what is your view on all that? 

Meredith: Well, you know, I think the word that they use in the tech industry is disruptor, you know, and I think when you're in tech industry, that's a positive thing, right?

You wanna be a disruptor because that means you're really, you know, you're changing the way everything is done. And this is definitely disruption and absolutely going to change the way that we teach moving forward. And I already know, like from talking to other, you know, teacher friends and things that it's causing a lot of anxiety and a lot of uncertainty and, even just a lot of debate already about, you know, do we use it?

Do we not use it? Do we ban it? Do we invite it to the classroom and, work with it in the classroom and model it for students, or you know, exactly where do we draw the line in terms of what's acceptable and what's not. So, no, it's definitely a disruptor. It's happening for sure. 

Becky: Oh, absolutely. And I keep thinking back, ever since I first heard that calculator analogy, I was like, okay, well what did math teachers feel like when calculators first started really coming into existence? That must be kinda what we feel like now. 

Meredith: Absolutely. Absolutely. Like, you know, and, you know, I think the calculator's a great analogy.

I think Internet's a great analogy. I think what it comes down to is really, and I've read a little bit about this, you know, in some articles online, is just really figuring out and coming back to your expectations, your standards, your objectives, your goals. If the goal is to teach students how to.

Add and subtract without a calculator. Then maybe they don't use the calculator just yet, but maybe when they're in calculus right? Or something like that's far more advanced and clearly they're way above and beyond addition as attraction. Maybe it's okay to use the calculator to help some support.

The calculations just go a little faster. So I think chatGPT is gonna be kinda similar to that, right? Just really figuring out what are your goals, what are your objectives, what is it? If it's just to summarize something, chatGPT is gonna like nail that. Like it can summarize like nobody's business, so maybe not use it for that, but for other things like brainstorming essay topics.

So I think it really just depends on, yeah, you know, what those standards are and how we can use the technology. But just like a calculator, like you said, I love that. 

Becky: Yeah, and it's really building on what you said earlier, it's learning to walk before you can run, and then once you have the basic skills, yeah, use it to run, but absolutely.

Yeah. But I can definitely see where there's room where students could take advantage of this serious things with it. So how do you see teachers combating that? 

Meredith: Oh, that's the million dollar question right there, isn't it? That's the million dollar question. I mean.

Becky: I don't have a million dollars to give you, if you answer it, 

Meredith: I mean, listen, even if you did, I don't know if I can answer it like, you know completely, because there's so much to take into consideration. But I know, like, for example, I heard with this GPT 4 version that, you know, has come out like the newest working version of this thing.

What did it do? Like it scored a high on an SAT test. It was able to like pass like the LSAT or something crazy like it was able to pass all these AP exams just by itself. So, you know, it's very powerful and that can be really frightening. So, you know, in terms of, oh wow, in terms of combating that, that kind of machine, you know, I know big districts out there in New York City is one I think.

I think Los Angeles is one of big districts out there are banning it, you know, in their schools, on their computers. So that's one way I guess to find out is how your student, how your school is going to provide access to that or not for students, through their, you know, I feel like your one-to-one school, the Chromebooks or something like that, if they have ways to block what, students have access to.

I don't even know if my school districts. Blocked it or not. Like that's gonna be my first question when we come back, like, do they have chatGPT? Can they get to Bard? Like what do they have, you know, access to? 

Becky: Oh my gosh. And that's another thing you mentioned, Bard. There's so many different, if you block one, another one coming right around the corner.

Exactly. Before we do, let's be honest. So, of course, of course. I mean, I'm thinking, oh my gosh, of course. Yes. They are always just one step ahead of us. Those little smarties but I'm thinking of like my own classrooms where I teach online, and so many of my kids are so technologically advanced right now as it is that, right?

Oh my gosh. What do I do in this situation as well? And that's initially, why I stumbled onto your blog article. So I was like, oh my gosh, what do I do with this? And the situation I was using it in. We were in an SAT vocab prep class, and part of the class is, I have them create their own example sentence using the vocab word.

Meredith: Yeah. And chatGPT's gonna do that for you? Exactly. 

Becky: Oh boy. Was it doing it for him. And then I just have to sit back and think like, okay, well our, are the demands still being met? You know, are they creating it themselves? No, no, they're not. So they're missing out on that component, but they are getting to see the word in a different use in context.

So they're still getting part of it, but it's not quite what I designed, so, right? Maybe that's what we're gonna have to look at, is trying to go into it knowing that this is gonna happen and trying to redesign our lessons to hit on more of those higher order thinking skills instead of the lower orders.

Meredith: I think you're absolutely yes, getting to the heart of this, it's going to cause us all to reassess the types of assignments we're giving and what our expectations are going to be. Because like you said, if it comes to summarizing anything or like giving an example, like you said, vocabulary word in a sentence. It can do that like those lower order thinking skills. It's got that. Yeah. But where it's going to struggle is going to be with complex analytical thinking, you know? And so I know one of the things I want to do going into this year, especially since I'm teaching a couple sections of AP Lit again, is I want to have students experiment with it if we have access to it. I don't know yet, but I'd love for them to type in, an AP lit essay prompt, put it in chatGPT, see what kind of essay comes up with for you. I've played with it enough now to know that in terms of analysis, it is very limited, right? And its usually what it does is it'll come up with maybe one sentence of commentary that's halfway decent for a quote that you ask it to put in there, right?

So but it takes, already coming to the table with certain skills to be able to look at what it produces and then evaluate that and go, you know, I don't think this is that great of an essay and here's why, you know, one, two, and three. 

Becky: Exactly. And I experimented with it a little bit. I used to teach the Great Gatsby back in the day, so I like, well, everyone knows the green light, so let's throw that in there and see what it comes up with. And it was so surface level, so I mean like, yeah, it was technically correct, but it was just so bland. It was so just, there was no depth to it, right? Whatsoever. And I even tried playing around with it, like, well, can you make this, you know, can you dive deeper into the analysis, you know, trying to adjust those prompt requests, right? And it got a little bit better, but I mean, it's not anything that I would be like, wow, look, essay, this student just turned in. I mean, it was just lacking that, right? 

Meredith: Exactly, yeah. And so I think that's, you know, where the debate is now, do we bring it into the classroom? Do we show this to students?

Do we have them go through the process? Do we show them how to ask it questions to get more depth out of it, or, you know, teach them to look at the data it gives us, and then go and evaluate that data. In a lot of ways, it's kind of like looking at Wikipedia, right? So I think in a lot of ways chatGPT is gonna be like using Wikipedia. Like it gives you a place to start. But what it gives you may not always be reliable or credible.

Certainly nothing that you should or would just copy and paste and turn in as an assignment, I would say. 

Becky: Right. I remember when I first started teaching, I was in the seventh grade class and they didn't believe me about Wikipedia. So we went in there as a class. And we edited Justin Bieber's page to say something ridiculous.

I don't even remember what it was, but the kids were all just stunned and appalled cause they were writing a research paper. This was going on, there was one student who was sick that day, just out of the blue by chance to Bieber as their top. And quoted, my goodness, our incorrect information. It was the best learning situation ever. Oh my goodness. 

Meredith: Yeah, that's incredible. Yes. So, wow. 

Becky: Yeah, so we always talked with Wikipedia, how you scroll to the bottom and you look at the sources, where did it get it's information from? Go to those types of places. But you know, if we do that with chatGPT, there's been some situations where it is making up sources.

Don't exist, so we can't even use it in that respect. 

Meredith: I agree with you. And that's, what I'm reading and hearing and seeing is that, and I think that that maybe is something we should talk to our students about, that if you are going to use this technology, which, you know, they are, at least at home, I guarantee it. So they need to be taught that and told that, that it does create. Information, it does create sources that don't exist. It is not going to be something that is accurate. And so you do have to double check that so you don't run that risk. I know when I've asked it, when I've been maybe put together a quick quiz or something and I'll ask Bard, okay, I need a quote from this act and this scene from Romeo Juliet.

Let's just say for example, it'll gimme a quote, but it's not from act two, you know, it'll say it is, but I'm like, no, that's from act four. That one I know for sure is not Act two. So it, it does get it wrong. Like it gets it wrong, and students need to know that. 

Becky: Yeah. And maybe that will improve a bit as we go through these new iterations of it. Cause we're in four now, you know, what's 5, 6, 7, 8 gonna look like, but I mean, we just can't trust that trained eye to look at him. 

Meredith: Yeah, we do. And kind of figure out how we're going to address it in terms of plagiarism, like, are we going to counter this plagiarism? Yes. As the student uses it.

I mean, it is, they claim that when it creates a piece of writing, it's, you know, it's de novo. Like it's brand new. It's not another, you know, preexisting text, right? So, it is original, basically is what I'm saying. It's original, it's an original text. And so is that technically, is that.

Is that plagiarism? Is it not plagiarism? You know, how How do we side it? How do we deal with that? There's a lot. It's like I have a lot of questions. Maybe not all the. 

Becky: I know I've been thinking about this plagiarism question so much as well, because I mean, the student is the one in inputting, the prompt.

And have you ever seen those artists where they have like, there is a paintbrush or something that's hung on a string above a piece of paper and the artist pulls it back and lets it go and it just kind of lets whatever it set in motion go and then that's that artist's artwork. Is that a parallel for what the students are doing with chatGPT?

They're inputting the prompt and then that is theirs, but it's not, you know, like right, right, struggle with that. 

Meredith: Yeah. I struggle with it too. I absolutely struggle with it too. And I think, you know, I definitely gonna be, you know, seeking out how our school district and how our school's gonna handle that in terms of policy.

I would like to roll it into my plagiarism policy as well. It's just that, you know, If you're going to use it, you can't just copy and paste all of it and you will need to sign it just like you are signing any other source. But that being said, it may not be accurate and credible. So yes. So it's like even if you do, we outlaw it just like we do Wikipedia.

Yeah. Okay, now going in a circle.

Becky: Yeah, I know. Circle. And then if we keep going down and down and down, then it brings up a whole other side of the discussion where And if we don't train our students how to use it, are we putting them at a disadvantage for when they go into the workforce or college? And this is being actively used in professions now. 

Meredith: It is. It is. 

Becky: Exactly. Yeah, it's the equivalent of like, not training them how to use a computer in today's day and age almost or, you know, back in the day not showing them how to use a calculator. I mean, it's gonna be a tool they will need to know how to use correctly, 

Meredith: Yeah, I agree, and I think just, bare basics of just checking in with students often, whatever they're working on, whatever they're going through, the writing process, you know, we have a lot of writing workshop days in my classroom. And I have always a desk pulled up next to mine, and if the seat's open, it's open.

You're allowed to sit there and you know, we'll have a conversation and we can ask questions about whatever you're working on or writing or whatever. And when I meet with students so frequently, I know what they're working on and I know kind of what it's looking like and what it's sounding like, and I feel like just staying in touch and in contact with them through process of work, working on whatever assignments they're working on is going to help me combat that, I think much easier, right? You're like, that's interesting. Did you get that from chatGPT? Where'd that come from? Yeah, yeah. Where'd that sentence come from? Was that your bar? 

Becky: Well, I just kinda building that relationship with the student makes it to where they don't necessarily want to teach as much, but then also, yeah. Also going into that. I mean, if, oh no, I just lost my, happens all the time these days. 

Meredith: Of course it does. Yes. Yes. We're teachers.

Becky: It does. It does. We have a million thoughts. 

Meredith: Second that.

Becky: Yes. Oh my goodness. Oh, here's where I was going with that. Do you use chatGPT in your classroom currently? 

Meredith: I did not use it at all in my classroom. It came in so it's not even a year old, right? Like we just got this,. When, in like, November, December, I think January, by the time I was really kind of like, what is this thing, you know, hearing more about it. So no, I didn't have my students use it at all. I think I was still just in this sort of discovery land of like trying to figure out what exactly this is and how exactly.

I can use it, you know, myself. Yeah,certainly there's lots of benefits to us as teachers to have this technology. 

Becky: But then now I do wanna talk about that in a second too. 

Meredith: Yeah, like, it really is, there really are some things that can do for us, but I think now I'm in the place where, yes, going into this new school year is really where I'm gonna have to address that.

But what I really wanna show students this year is I wanna put juxtapose side by side, a human written essay and the AI essay. And I want them to look at comparing and contrasting, even maybe guessing, like which one of the two was human? Which one of the two was the AI. And come up with a reasoning and a rationale.

Absolutely. Cause I think they're gonna find 10 out of 10 times. The human wrote the better essay than the AI did. I think. I know they're gonna see that, so, right? I want that to be part of their discovery process. And then I want them to come up with maybe some ways, like, how can this help you knowing that it can't produce, you know, an essay that's gonna meet my expectations in our course. How can you use it? They let them come up with the ways and that can start the conversation. 

Becky: Yeah, just springboard it and give them some ownership in this decision too. I love that idea. Yeah, I mean, there are some ways that they can use it that I would probably allow in my class. if I have a struggling writer, especially who is really having trouble getting started, you know, they could go to chatGPT and say like, give me five ideas for a short creative story, or something like that and see if something fits. And maybe even taking it as far as, Hey, can you do a short outline for that story? That way to work within, but helping them to know, you know, where to draw the line. 

Meredith: Yeah. Yeah. I think that's the struggle. And I think part of what it's hard for us as teachers sometimes is when a kid, when a student does get away with cheating, like it can just really eat at us as teachers. Cause we're like, that's just so morally wrong, you know, a student just, they can't get away with it.

But I think, you know, it's important to maybe let go of some of that control a little bit. Yeah, you know, now I'm not saying that we don't check for cheating. I'm saying we do that but not be so paranoid about it all the time, like depend, it really comes down to the assignment. Was it like a little homework check grade or was it like a major essay that. They've been working on in class for the past month, you know, right? Those are two different situations. And 

Becky: And if it's a little assignment that you're not too worried about, if they cheat, is it really worth their time doing it and your time grading it? 

Meredith: Well, there you go. And that's another great question right there. Yeah, a nd then is, it worth their time doing it if they can't just get the answer from AI, right? If they don't have to generate the answer themselves. And so that comes back to, like you'd said at the beginning, like reevaluating our assignments and, the questions that we are gonna ask our students, how we're gonna ask those questions and, yeah, what's worth it and what's not. 

Becky: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. let's see. I would really be interested to see some example outlines. I did one for a creative short story like I just mentioned there, and I did it from the perspective of like a sixth grader or something like that. And it actually looked like a cute little story that it had, you know, set up the parameters for.

Meredith: That's awesome. Yeah, it's crazy what it can do for creative writing, like, you can tell it, write a story about an orange cat in the style of Ernest Hemingway. It's like, boom and it'll do it. And you're like, yes, I can't believe this just knows what his style is like, you know? 

Becky: Yeah. Or even like if you get stuck, you get writer's block, or I mean writers who are having to do research for their stories. They can just type it in there and get almost an immediate response of, they can say, oh, what is the actual name of a hiker's backpack? Like if they're just in total brain freeze and it comes up, oh, it could be called a rucksack, or, you know, whatever, I mean, that could be really helpful to them or they're stalling out on a name. It's like, be like this. Add in all of their characteristics. Can you suggest a good protagonist name or something like that and see what it comes up with. 

Meredith: Oh, for sure. Yeah. Those are all great ways to, to use it to just, yeah, be really fun. Come up with new ideas, I love that idea.

Becky: Yeah, so using it more as the tool instead of the, you know, the servant that just brings you project. 

Meredith: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. That's a great way to look at it. 

Becky: Yeah. Okay. So, this had me thinking about flipped classroom models. Because if we're gonna be having students doing more writing in class, using chatGPT correctly and or just eliminating it and going old school paper and pencil, you know, maybe this will bring a resurgence of the flip classroom model. I know it was really big, like back in the day and it kinda died out. It's kinda back, it goes in waves. Do you think that it'll kind come back again?

Meredith: You know, it's funny. Education, there's always some new trendy word. And it hangs around for a little while and then it's like, oh no, that's fine. That's so yesterday, now we're calling it, you know, we're calling it multiple entry points. It's longer, you know, whatever the new thing.

And you're like, really? Okay. But we're doing the same things here. Like we're, yeah, no, I think we're still gonna be, you know, giving students work time in class. I know I do. I think it's important for them to have time to work in class. I think it's important for them to be able to access each other as peers and then access us as the teacher when they're working through things.

And so I think that just education has kind of grown more towards that in a way. I guess the flipped concept, In general, although I actually teach, still teach my lessons in class and then still have work time all together, all of it in class. I guess I don't really flip it much, but, yeah, I mean, I think that, you know, I think we're gonna see us needing to be more engaged with our students' work process in order to gauge how they're gonna use this AI and hopefully dissuade them, you know, to use it for creating, like you said, the whole enchilada of the whole product, right?

But at the end, but using it as a tool and I think that's gonna take, working with us. Yeah. So I could see that kind of making a resurgence. I don't know about the word, I think the word first classroom was like the dead word, you know? But pretty much, yeah, the concept is still there, you know, like whatever you wanna call it next.

Becky: Right, right. But it's just kind of taking away from a lecturer, just a content deliverer into more of that coach role that I think is gonna be vital. 

Meredith: Agreed. Agreed. Yes, the guide on the side, right? That's the other phrase, you think guide on the side, so yeah, no, I think that's still the same.

Becky: Yeah, I'm gonna just real quick suggest we change gears cuz you mentioned earlier how teachers can use chatGPT. So what ideas and what visions do you have for that? 

Meredith: Oh my goodness. Its okay. So, know what, it's an awesome tool for coming up with answer keys sometimes. Yeah, I mean, listen, if I need some and I don't wanna sit down and take the time to, write it out myself, I can throw it in there. I mean, I'll actually, right now I'm preferring Bard over chatGPT, but I can ask that the question, it can gimme an answer. It at least gives me a baseline, you know, for a quick answer key situation. I do also like using it for writing recommendation letters. I'll say that I have used it.

 I mean, I tweak everything that it spit out, but it certainly comes up with some nice. Just sort of general statements that you can weave into a really good recommendation letter that you can further personalize. So, I think that's so many letters too. 

Becky: Like, yeah, when you say that I use it, it's like gasp, but we're not letting our students use it. But then you follow it up with, you are personalizing it. You're using it almost like a rough draft, right? So I think that's gonna be wonderful too. Cause I mean, that brings up the whole other argument of, well, why are we allowed to use it and our students aren't which, if I were a student, I would be upset with that too. So I guess mean it goes back to building off of it. 

Meredith: It does kind of go back to that question. I think that that's a fair point to make. I think the difference would be that I'm fully capable of writing that letter on my own, and I've written hundreds upon hundreds of them. So at this point, I have the skill. But it's like using the calculator, right? For in calculus class to do some quick multiplication or whatever for a problem, you know, I think you really, yes, kids can make their argument, but do they have the skillset already? I mean, that's my big question, you know, like, can you write that letter, a professional letter, make it sound like that without the technology, right? Before you're able to go use it as a tool to support . So, it's a chicken and egg situation, I guess. 

Becky: Yeah. Well it's back to walking before you run. You obviously know how to walk so you can run and then if you need to have some help, go for it. That those core skills are there. Now, here's some interesting ways that I've heard of teachers using chatGPT, or other AI systems. One of them was creative. 

Meredith: Send her the text video. 

Becky: I did it with this a little bit myself to create the choice board based on the multiple intelligences and Wow. It did. Wow. Amazing. 

Meredith: And that was fantastic. 

Becky: They were grouped by category. Like honestly, if I was like using that for a classroom, I don't know that I'd have to make that many adjustments to run with it, and the kids would just have a blast with it. So that's cool. Yeah, that could be really cool. Another way I saw was just creating rubrics, like, hey, I'm giving my students this prompt and just copy and paste it in. I'm wanting to focus on these skills. Can you create a, you know, 2050 point rubric or whatever, and it will create all of that leveled material for you. 

Meredith: That's incredible. And these are things I hadn't even thought of, but I didn't even know it could do that. I mean, listen, it's gonna change up everything that we do. I think, you know, and a good way for us as teachers for, I think the good side of this is what we're talking about. What you're saying is all the ways we can use it to save time. Yes. You know, like, yes, can we make a choice for it on our own?

Of course we can, but you know, I got five minutes to put this together and I gotta do something else, right? So that's where it can step up and kind of be an aid for us. So that's. 

Becky: Yes. And buying back some of that teacher time, that 

Meredith: Is so valuable and so hard to come with. 

Becky: Sure. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. That leads into another question that I started thinking about. I heard about some teachers who were having students run their own essay through chatGPT, and asking for revision notes, almost like a peer editor. Good idea but then I started thinking, I wonder if teachers are going to start using this to provide feedback to their students instead of reading and grading the essays themselves. I could see where that would be a huge time saver, but you're missing out on so much and it could be AI grading AI at that point for all, you know. 

Meredith: It definitely could be, you know, I think, oh goodness, you know, yes. I think it can probably give really good feedback on grammar editing. Maybe telling you a sentence is too lengthy or something like that, but I think when it comes down, just based on what it can actually produce, which is not any kind of complex analysis, in an essay draft. I don't know that I can see it's not there to the point just yet that it can remove the human factor and provide the same feedback on the analysis that I can as the human. It can't quite do that just yet. But I mean, it definitely makes me nervous to hear teachers would just rely on it, but I get it. I get it, kind of wanna push them beyond the basics that it comes up with though, you know. 

Becky: Right. And I think in this situation, all it would probably catch is like spelling and grammar, those type of more surface level things, not the depth and the breadth that we're looking for. Agreed. And I've been trolling some Facebook groups lately just looking for different options, but I did see one teacher, And they were obviously all up in arms about things, but they were convinced that due to AI like chatGPT and Bard and things like that, eventually writing teachers were going to be out of a job because it would not be a required skill. Just like none of us really know how to make butter these days.

So I don't think it'll ever stop that. But I mean, do you wanna speak towards that a little bit? 

Meredith: Oh gosh. Well, listen, I can say that I get it. I get it. And I have seen in some chat groups and, even in the high school, English teacher, Facebook group that I run, if people are really worried about it. and I wanna acknowledge that kind of fear and that kind of worry. I don't think that, Technology can fully replace the human when it comes to writing just yet. 

Becky: So we'll see what next month brings, but we'll see what next month brings. 

Meredith: I guess, as this machine gets smarter and smarter and smarter. But, I don't think so. I don't see it doing, being able to bring the complexity that a human brings to it. So, I don't know. I mean, just when I played with it. The things that are so surface level in terms of even the feedback it gives and just really, oh yeah. I can edit for you.

I think that's great. Let it, you know, if you're really struggling with editing, maybe that can be a tool to use for that. I would still pick Grammarly, so over, yeah, chatGPT or Bard for editing. Cuz I think, you know, chatGPT and Bard were not meant to be editors, right? But Grammarly is. So I would definitely head towards that. But the ideas are where I think it looks gonna really struggle, you know? So I acknowledge the fear and anxiety around that. I just don't see that happening. Yes, in recent times. Yeah. 

Becky: Yeah. Well, I have another thing I wanna talk about too, but before we get off of this topic, I had a few other ideas that I had come up with how teachers might be able to utilize AI to make their, yeah.

Meredith: What are those? 

Becky: Well, one of them was writing lesson plans based on certain standards. So if you see that there is a standard hole that you've got to fill, you can go to chatGPT type in the standards you want. You don't even have to type the whole thing in. You just type in like the little like common core shorthand of it and say kind of what do you wanna do with it?

And it'll create something. Is it rough? Yes. But is it a place to start? Yes. So I found that to be interesting and some of the ideas that it came up with, I actually really enjoyed those. So it was kind of a little fresh point of view almost. 

Meredith: Nice, and I can see that again as a time saver like let's say you're a teacher at a school where you have to turn in lesson plans, like those places still exist.

Yep, been there, okay. Yeah. I've never actually had to do that, which is great years, my gosh. In all places I've lived and taught. But I know teachers have to do that. So yeah, a time saving thing too, where you're like, okay, you know, I need this in this template and this laid out this way so I can turn it in for that, you know, it's another time saving tool for sure, I think. But I. 

Becky: Yeah. And then going the other way too, I've had, some teachers who came from teaching online and then like more towards homeschool groups where they didn't necessarily worry too much about standards in particular to where they had to go in to be worrying about which standards they were able to take their preexisting lessons, copy and paste them into chatGPT, and ask it which of the standards were being met.

Again, I would caution that with, you know, looking at. With a trained eye, but still it's a nice little time saver. It picks up on some of the key words and things and is able to at least get you somewhere to start. 

Meredith: I agree. Yes. 

Becky: Yeah, for sure. Let's see, I know some teachers that create their multiple choice tests based off of this. I tried it out with going back to the Great Gatsby. I said create a 10, 10 question, multiple choice quiz over chapter five of the Great Gatsby. That's literally what I put in there, and it gave me some questions and some answers and the answer keys, so that was pretty cool. Were they really in depth questions?

No, but it was No. Yeah, somewhere to start from or if you're like, really in a pinch and you need something right now, that could help. 

Meredith: Yeah. Yeah. I've done a little bit. It's interesting you said that. I did a little bit of this year with a couple of quick reading checks where I had to generate some questions for me too. it definitely helped me, you know, and I use reading checks just as literally to check for reading, that's literally all it is. It's zero analysis, it's just all plot driven, yeah, to hold them all little bit accountable for actually doing the reading. So yeah, no, it can rock out anything that has to do with summarizing or plot points or anything like that. So I'm a big fan of using it for those reasons. 

Becky: Yeah, absolutely. That seems like a great use for me for those reading checks. Yeah, another one that I thought of, and I haven't tested this, but I've heard some teachers are using it this way. They will take an article or even a whole chapter of a book and copy and paste it in there and ask it to rewrite it at certain lexile ranges for particular differentiation. What a brilliant use. I mean, that is just, That's fantastic. I'm gonna try it. 

Meredith: That is really cool. Yes, that's really, really cool. Wow. I mean, being able to just, 

Becky: Snap your fingers and boom, here it is at a lower Lexile. Here it is at a higher Lexile. Go for it. I'm just very excited by that one.

Meredith: That's amazing. Actually, I'm just blown away. Like, I never thought of that. What a, yeah, just all the differentiation you can do with it, period, right? Just how you can ask it to Oh yeah, generate question, question stems, or generate sentence stems or, you know, anything like that, you know, we would take our time to do on the side to help a student that it can just do on its own. So that's all really great. 

Becky: Exactly. And I think almost like with the students, you know, taking away those lower level questions for the students to make it to where they're focusing on the higher order thinking. And kinda be doing the same thing for the teacher. It's taking away some of that grunt work so we can focus on what we're truly skill in, which is helping them learn.

Meredith: Yeah, that's right, that's right. That's exactly right, that's our job. 

Becky: Yeah, I did wanna hit one last topic here with you. Okay, AI checkers. And how effective are they? I know you had mentioned this in your blog post, but do you wanna speak towards your experiences with that so far? 

Meredith: Well, so I think there's a lot of different information out there in terms of how accurate. The AI checking tools are, I know that, let's see, the big one is chatGPT zero, I guess is what it is GPT zero. So they claim that they have a 98% accuracy rate in terms of determining whether or not something was created with AI? Yeah, I'm calling Bull on that one, right? I'm like, that's their claim. And then you look at other claims that say, no, actually, it's more like, you know, maybe it's 80% accurate or it's 50% accurate. So I'm seeing like different numbers on that. And I've heard horror stories of people accidentally, teachers accidentally accusing students abusing it because it, popped up on GPT zero as plagiarism or from AI, and it actually wasn't, oh my goodness.

And that would be my worst nightmare right there. Yes, I never ever wanna accuse a student, a child of cheating on something if I wasn't a hundred thousand percent certain. Oh, yeah. So, you know, and had all the proof and everything and 

Becky: You just shot the relationship and everything that you have with that suit would just be out the window.

Meredith: It's gone. And mention the parents are gonna be on your case like, so, gosh, I'm nervous about using it. I think it's listen in terms of like, what do we have to use? That is what we have to use, so, I think it's another tool. I don't think that I think I will tell students in advance that, hey, I'm gonna be running your essays through this to check. So probably on an actual due date, I would probably have them run it through themselves. if we have access to it, I don't know. But at home they can and just make sure that nothing pops up on there and that's being, you know, from AI. So I'm gonna make sure they check. I think that's gonna help just the whole situation in general, right?

Because if somebody pulls up and I say, I'll tell them, I'll tell them if something comes up on there that, you know, you wrote, but it says you did not write it, bring it to me and let's look at it together. And that way I just communicate with me because if I go digging around and I find it.

It's a whole different situation at that point, you know, so let's just all stay on top of it and be, you know, in communication about it. But yeah, no, it makes me nervous cuz it's not a hundred percent. 

Becky: Well, I have to admit, I was, playing with it and running some little experiments here. I had chatGPT create, let's see, I did three different essays on three different books for three different grade levels. And for each one, I just took the first response that chatGPT gave me and I ran it through. I don't remember exactly which names they were, but there were two or three of the AI checkers that I had found, only one of them said that the first round of essays was possibly AI or probably AI. And then I went back to chatGPT on each of those essays and I said, rewrite this in the tone of a seventh grader or the style of a seventh grader or the abilities, you know, things like that or, can you add in these vocabulary words or can you make sure that you cite this? Because I've heard of some teachers that are trying to work around by saying they have to include certain vocabulary words or they have to include certain sources. It included those for me. And even just on the second round of them, none of the trackers picked up that it was AI created, which was a little scary.

Meredith: That is scary. That is very scary. Yeah. And listen, in fact, students are going to get away with cheating with this. We can't catch them all, and I think that's, like I was trying to say before was that's so hard to accept as a teacher, but we can only do what we can do, you know? And in all things as a teacher, and I think this is a part of that, yes, somebody's gonna probably get away with something that they shouldn't. But it won't happen forever and it won't happen all the time for them, you know? So, yeah, it'll catch up to them. 

Becky: And as long as we don't let the ones who are cheating get away with it while blaming the kids who actually did it, and then everything just implodes. We'll be fine.

Meredith: Exactly. Yes. Yeah. Awful. Yeah, just awful. 

Becky: But I think it all goes back to what we were talking about earlier, about bringing them in on the discussion, showing them the limitations and letting them discover the limitations within the bubble of our classroom where we can guide them and show them, you know, what it's good at and what it's not so good at how you can use it, but where not to use it. I think that's gonna be the key. 

Meredith: Yeah, I agree. I agree. and again, that's gonna come right down to a person's. District and school and their policies, cuz some places are saying absolutely not, not allowed, outlawed, blocked, all of it shut down. And then other places are like, no, we're bringing it into our curriculum, right? So we're like on both sides of the fence with this technology. So it's tough. 

Becky: Yeah. It's a crazy world we live in, but we just try to get through it one step at a time, huh? 

Meredith: We do. Mm-hmm. 

Becky: All right, well are there any other closing thoughts you have, Meredith? 

Meredith: No, not that I can think of, I left our conversation and new ideas that you shared with ways we can use it. So I think 

Becky: yeah, I'm excited and I appreciate all of your insights. That was fantastic. And let me know if you think of anything else, and I'll do the same for you. 

Meredith: All right. Thank you so much for having me. 

Becky: All right. Thank you. Bye Meredith. Bye. 

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