AI In Education: How Generative AI Can Transform Your Teaching
The AI revolution is upon us, and everyone’s buzzing about these hot new tools. The application for writers, designers, and coders is obvious. But teaching might seem like one arena that needs to be human-led. And rightly so! However, that doesn’t mean you can’t utilise artificial intelligence tools to make some powerful additions to your teaching practices.
I’m an experienced former teacher, tutor, and education charity leader with an M.A. in Education. I know how time-poor most teachers are. AI could drastically cut your working time, make your teaching more effective, and motivate your students to achieve! What’s not to love?
In this article, I’ll walk you through some of the top ways that AI tools can transform your teaching.
How AI can help teachers
A study by McKinsey & Company shows that teachers (across the USA, UK, Canada, and Singapore) work an average of 50 hours a week. Less than half of that is in direct contact with learners. With teachers at risk of stress and burnout from long hours, the need to make the job more manageable is pressing. At the same time, it’s important to maximise the amount of attention for individual students.
AI-powered tech could be part of the solution. This can include chat-based tools like ChatGPT, search tools like Microsoft’s updated, AI-driven Bing, writing tools like Wordtune, and even classroom observation hardware like Sens. Almost every technology company out there is currently investing in AI solutions, so we are bound to see more soon.
Such tools can drastically cut the burden of common teacher tasks like administration, creating teaching resources, and providing feedback to students.
Let’s break down some of the major benefits.
Automated administrative tasks
Every teacher knows the pain of those time-consuming tasks that can take hours to complete — using up precious time that you could spend on more impactful work. By automating some of these tasks, AI can give you back some of your time to focus on relationships with students. For example:
- Producing communications templates: Are you always sending emails to parents or colleagues? AI can quickly create a template you can reuse and populate each time you need to.
- Reporting: Writing report comments for hundreds of students can be incredibly long-winded. AI can turn a few bullet points into clear sentences that parents will understand and appreciate.
- Generating learning outcomes: If your educational institution requires every lesson to have a specific learning outcome, use AI. You can generate a framework for your semester’s topic and identify a specific learning outcome for each lesson.
- Suggesting starter and plenary activities: Many teachers like to use short starter activities to ease students into learning at the start of a class. These are usually a quick “hook” like an engaging question or challenge. A plenary activity comes at the end of a lesson. It asks students to either summarise or reflect on their learning. AI can create these for you based on your lesson content.
- Creating examples: If you are trying to demonstrate a particular spelling, grammatical technique, or mathematical solution (among many examples), use AI to generate a list of examples. This saves you having to think up tons of different sentences or equations. You could even ask the AI to make them progressively more complex.
- Coming up with homework tasks: You can generate homework tasks for the entire semester in just a couple of minutes. Being able to create a set of homework tasks very quickly means you can get ahead of the semester without needing to spend hours on creating homework resources.The advantage of doing this is you can give students the whole list in advance, giving them more chance of organizing their time effectively. You can also share this with parents so they know what should be happening at home.
- Setting and marking simple quizzes and tests: Want to quickly judge where your students are with a topic? Quick quizzes can give you a snapshot of progress. AI can whip up quiz questions in moments, give you and your students the results, and also correct the answers for you.
Personalized learning experiences
Human teachers will always be incredibly valuable for their understanding of students’ personalities and needs. But technology can make it much easier to deliver personalized learning to a classroom full of learners with very different requirements.
In this way, we are likely to see education become much more tailored, with personalized learning experiences the new norm. Personalization can take a number of forms, from varying learning styles to differentiating tasks.
The theory that everyone “learns in a different way” has fallen out of favour in pedagogical circles. Certainly, few teachers now think that any one student can only learn visually or kinesthetically, for example. But, catering for a variety of learning styles can still make learning more exciting, effective, and accessible.
AI can help you create tasks that appeal to all senses. For example, text to speech tools can generate audio files. AI can create custom images based on any prompt. Or, you can use AI to craft step-by-step instructions for games or experiments that get students out of their seats. Student learning can become more diverse, creative, and appealing.
Additionally, some students come to our classrooms with a range of prior experiences and needs. These can range from gaps in previous learning, to diagnosed conditions like dyslexia or ADHD. Some students will also come with differing levels of English.
With this in mind, some students will need resources that scaffold their learning more intensively to give them the support they need. Scaffolding means providing “framing” like images for vocabulary context, vocabulary lists, example sentences, or cloze passages. As they improve, you can remove the scaffolding.
For example, as you read a main text as a class, you could provide a glossary of vocabulary or challenging terms with helpful images for any learners that need it. AI is a great way to very quickly generate scaffolding.
Of course, some students will need more challenging work, and AI can help you create extension tasks in moments. These could include evaluative questions, more difficult mathematical problems, or creative writing prompts. You could also generate extension texts with more advanced vocabulary.
You might also like to try flipped learning. The “flipped classroom” model has been around for a while. The idea is that students absorb information at home by reading texts, watching videos, or listening to audio. You can then use classroom time for synthesis and application. For example, writing an essay, working with other students to share ideas, or debating. It can create a very different classroom dynamic to simply dumping information on the students.
The downside of flipped learning is the amount of time needed to create or find high-quality learning resources students can use at home. AI can shave hours off this task and free up more time for teachers, as shown above.
And, if students have queries while learning at home, AI (e.g. a chatbot) can support them at any time, day or night. In this way, the flipped classroom becomes truly personalized. Students can take responsibility for their own learning with a helpful AI companion by their side.
Real-time feedback and analysis
Giving feedback is a very important, but also time-consuming, aspect of teaching. It can also be less effective when students get their feedback days (or even weeks) after submission. The possibility of real-time feedback using AI is therefore hugely exciting.
For summative assessment, AI programs can give students the opportunity to submit their work online and receive rapid results. For formative assessment, you could also use AI to help students reach the correct answer, if they haven’t quite made it, by generating an example of how to solve a problem. Or, they could get immediate suggestions for improving their writing (for example, ways they could expand on a point, or upgrade their vocabulary).
In this way, AI can help embed feedback and improvement into the learning process.
Improved learning outcomes for students
A number of studies suggest that AI tools can lead to tangibly improved learning outcomes for students. For example, offering personalized, self-directed learning content through AI is shown to improve test results. There are similar results for an AI-based tutoring program. As AI becomes more widely used in the classroom, it’s likely we will see even more evidence of its benefits.
How Wordtune can help teachers and educators
One AI tool you might want to check out for your classroom is Wordtune.
Wordtune is an AI writing tool with a range of potential applications for teachers in all kinds of educational settings. With features that help you write, edit, and give feedback with ease, it’s a tool that can save you a ton of time and deliver a better educational experience for your students.
For example, you might use Wordtune to:
Rewrite complex texts in simple language
Make high-level texts (like scientific papers or newspaper reports) more accessible for younger students, or those with particular learning needs. Just paste your chosen text into Wordtune and click “Rewrite.” You can then choose the version that best suits your students.
Adjust the tone of writing
Use this to demonstrate the importance of word and syntax choice when writing for an audience, for example, by switching between casual and formal tones in Wordtune with the click of a button. Create sample texts to demonstrate a range of literary devices which can be quickly inserted using Wordtune’s “Spices” tool.
Condense long articles or essays to help students learn and remember the information. With Wordtune Read, you can also summarize YouTube videos to help students recall what they’ve watched. This would work really well for a “flipped learning” model as discussed above: get the students to watch the video at home and then use the text summary in the classroom.
Speed up your research
Need to get ahead on a new topic before teaching it to your class? Condense your research using Wordtune Read. Summarize texts in moments to make them easy to digest.
Quickly add examples and explanations to your writing
Why not display Wordtune on the board while you model how to write an essay, adding in explanations where they’re needed? Wordtune’s “Spices” feature can also automatically generate counter-arguments, analogies, or even jokes that can be included in your text. Show students how to write in real time!
Help students build their vocabulary by using Wordtune to improve their writing, either on their own or with your support.
Show students how to reword quotes and ideas using the “Rewrite” function, and help them check their own work for plagiarism before turning it in.
There’s no doubt that universal access to AI tools will transform the education industry. Whether your education setting is a pre-school or college, AI can save you a lot of time in completing all those annoying admin tasks, generating lesson plans and resources, and giving feedback to your students. Students can even interact with AI tools themselves to get the support they need outside school. The good news is that many of these tools are easy to learn, and the small time investment is well worth the time you’ll get back from working more efficiently.
What will you do with all your extra time?
This article was co-written with Wordtune. Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.