3-12, Computer Science, Teaching Tools

Leveraging AI for Learning with ChatGPT or Canva

One of the top 4 most visited posts on my blog this year has been, “AI Generated Poetry.” To say that artificial intelligence attracts interest, no matter the motivation behind that curiosity, would not be an understatement. And, if you’ve been active on social media lately — especially Twitter and TikTok — you will see that there is a new tool out there that will definitely be a major game changer in education. It’s called, “ChatGPT,” and it is for us to decide if it will be our doom or salvation.

ChatGPT is currently free, but you need to sign up to use it. For that reason, I haven’t tried it yet. I like to sit back a little bit and observe the braver pioneers when I hear about something this powerful. Is it too good to be true? How much data will it collect from me? In addition, it turns out I already subscribe to something that includes a tool quite similar to ChatGPT — Canva. (Unfortunately, Canva for Education users do not have this access at the moment, but Twitter conversations seem to reflect that it may be an option in the near future.)

Let’s talk first about what these specific AI tools do (ChatGPT and Canva’s Magic Write option in Canva Docs). They can basically write anything you ask them to, in very coherent but generic language. I’ve seen people demonstrate lesson plans, recipes, and social media content. And when I say, “coherent,” I mean eerily human-like. Here are examples of some of the responses I received from Canva’s Magic Write (my prompts are in bold font):

Example of AI Responses from Canva’s Magic Write Tool in Canva Docs

If you have any Canva Plan other than Canva for Education, you should be able to create a new Canva doc, click on the “+” sign, and choose “Magic Write” to test this out for yourself. You can see a quick demonstration below:

From what I’ve seen demonstrated, ChatGPT has similar abilities. If you go to this page, you can see some of the limitations of ChatGPT, and this one will give you the lowdown on using Canva’s Magic Write.

It’s no wonder that some educators who have seen these tools in action are concerned. ELA teachers are worried their students will utilize the service to respond to essay prompts and even computer science teachers wonder how their students will ever learn to code correctly because — guess what — ChatGPT can find errors in your programming, too.

Like any technology these AI tools can be used for nefarious purposes — or for good. That’s why it’s even more important than ever to teach students the value of ethics and how to evaluate information. Forbidding students to use AI is just going to result in a game of Whack-A-Mole as they keep attempting to outwit us and we keep trying to eradicate the use of AI for “cheating.”

Matt Miller (@JMattMiller) recently published a thread on Twitter that describes 20 ways that you can use ChatGPT to help you “teach/learn”:

For a more in-depth look at ChatGPT, I also recommend Matt’s blog post.

As you can see from Matt’s suggestions, there are ways that AI can make educator’s lives easier, and make learning more interesting. I think that we need to be aware of the limitations and potential abuses, while also taking advantage of the benefits such tools can bring.