8 important generative ai use cases in the classroom

8 Important Generative AI Use Cases in the Classroom

Part 2 of “Why Every School Needs an AI Policy Right Now” sharing eight important AI examples in the classroom and schools now.

In Part 1 of “Why Every School Needs and AI Policy Right Now,” I shared the empirical evidence about Artificial Intelligence and how it is impacting our world and schools.

As I said in the first article, with so many things grabbing the attention of administrators, AI seems to be taking a back seat in the minds of many. But why? Is this a problem we need to care about or talk about? The US Office of Educational Technology says,

"Everyone in education has a responsibility to harness the good to serve educational priorities while also protecting against the dangers that may arise as a result of AI being integrated in educational technology."

What happens if we wait a month?

Well, in addition to the statistics that say we can't, AI is being built into all of the tools around us. Let's look at what is happening and a classroom application where there is one. I'll also share stories from my classroom and how we're using AI if it applies.

This blog post includes eight use cases of Generative AI impacting classrooms and schools now. After explaining the case, I share the classroom and school impact and some personal classroom examples from my classroom. Let me hear from you on social media or in the comments if you have some awesome examples to share!

Part 2: AI in Everyday Educational Tools: Real-World Examples

We must first acknowledge that spell check and autocorrect are forms of AI, although not like the large language models (LLM's) we are seeing now. While ChatGPT is the most talked-about tool, and rightly so, generative features are being built into every tool we use. 

Generative AI Use Case #1: AI is built into social media.

First, if you think that the age limit means kids won't get on ChatGPT, you're wrong. As I blogged before, the SnapAI feature has ChatGPT built right into Snapchat, a tool used by over half of middle schoolers in the US. 

Therefore, ChatGPT is directly available and also available through Snapchat. 

Classroom Examples

How SnapAI (and ChatGPT) Are Impacting YourClassroom

Homework. A student last spring told me that he complained about homework and SnapAI offered to do his homework for him and began by typing something for him.

Psychological Wellness. Another student told me that she was grappling with some significant emotional issues over losing a loved one and would talk to her "AI Friend" about coping with the loss.

Perspectives as a classroom teacher. The productive struggle of learning is real and part of learning. We do not need AI tools to step in and interrupt the learning process. Secondly, the way LLMs like ChatGPT work (that underlies Snap AI) -- they are not equipped with wisdom, only what humans say or might say in a situation. If more people knew how to cope with depression properly, we wouldn't have so many people who are depressed, so the training data for these tools cannot be counted on. Additionally, ChatGPT and other tools are not "mandatory reporters." As a teacher, I must inform parents about their children's emotional distress. If someone is talking to a child, parents should be able to supervise that relationship.

Generative AI Use Case #2: AI in Office Suites: Microsoft and Google's New Features

With what looks to be, arguably, the best generative AI tool on the market, Microsoft 365 Copilot is rolling out this year to businesses ($30/ month per user) and consumer editions of Office 365. 

Many similar features are also built into the Generative AI cloud features that can be accessed by application from Google.

Google offers to help you when you sign up for their generative version in labs on your personal account.
When you have a Google personal account, you can sign up for the labs version of generative tools and Google Docs will offer to write for you.
Classroom Examples

How Generative AI in Office Suites Are Impacting Your Classroom

Generative AI is at most student's fingertips. Just to demonstrate, I went into my personal Google account and asked it to write a paragraph on Abraham Lincoln like a fifth grader.

I asked Google Docs consumer version after my acceptance to their labs program, to generate for me with typos.

Then, it generated a short essay for me with three errors. (I would argue that it was way above a fifth-grade level and at least one issue, it wasn't a typo but a factual error.)

The text I generated from the Google consumer version with their generative text features.

This again demonstrates that to attempt to block AI is pretty much impossible. Most students I know have personal office or gmail accounts, or their parents do. So, we must continue to make the presumption that all students have access to generative AI. Therefore, it comes down to the integrity of the student and if you do not discuss generative AI as being an integrity issue, how will they know? 

Additionally, when these features move out of labs, everyone will have it with a "help me write" in their document when they start.  That said, you could see a large chunk of data pasted into a Google doc unless the students retyped it themselves.

Once I insert the generative text into the document, I have it ready to go. I just need to decide if I want to keep the typos.  Again, this looks higher than a fifth grade level to me, but the point is the generative text is being built into the consumer versions of all Office suites and many students have access to those consumer versions.

Generative AI Use Case #4: AI in Creative and Visual Tools: From Google Slides to Canva

Google Slides now has generative art built-in with the “help me visualize” feature. Canva has it, too, with its text-to-image tool. (Available for those in the workspace labs program.)

Additionally, as I stated in the post in the first part of this series, my students used Adobe Firefly in my classroom's generative AI art competition. Adobe Firefly can generate deep fakes in seconds which used to take my students weeks to do in Photoshop. A student took a photo of him in the hall and turned it to him in a boxing ring. Another student sat in her chair with her head down and put herself at a bus stop in New York City. The photos are so realistic that their own families can't tell they are fake.

Google AI Labs
Google AI Labs includes generative art as does Canva.
Classroom Examples

How Generative Art Is Impacting Your Classroom.

Citations. While the art world rages about the data sets used to train generative artwork, our students can generate artwork in most creative tools they use. While we can claim fair use in many cases, we must require citations of artwork if we allow their use. 

Art Classes Beware. Meanwhile, art classes must have specific AI artwork generation policies related to their coursework. 

Understanding the names, periods, and artists is more important than ever. Meanwhile, I'm rapidly adding art literacy to my computer classes so that students have the language to make effective AI artwork generation accessible. To know the words is to be able to create the art. One could argue that art classes can and should use this knowledge to generate AI artwork in appropriate cases and for assignments.

Generative AI Use Case #5: AI in Curriculum Alignment and Document Accessbility: A Personal Case Study

Bing Chat Enterprise is a game changer for schools. Accessible right now to the faculty in schools that have A3 and A5 licenses, it is a powerful tool that many teachers and administrators may not know is there.

For example, I've loaded my AP Computer Science Principles textbook into Bing Chat Enterprise. I can chat with Bing as it extracts information from my private PDF (without sending it to Microsoft and keeping it within my organization.) I use this for:

  • Refining essential questions
  • Lesson planning
  • Generating practice quiz questions

To use this tool, just download Edge, sign into your organization, and open PDF's into it using the sidebar. (Note: Microsoft is sponsoring some work I do in this area, but not this blog post.)

Additionally, if you use Bing Chat from the Edge sidebar, anyone can use this feature. (The difference being that data can be sent to Microsoft in this second scenario, so you wouldn't use private or internal PDF's in this case.)

I've loaded my massive PDF guide from AP Computer Science Princniples, and I can "chat" with this document in Bing Chat Enterprise (or actually the consumer version of Bing Chat as well). Bing Chat enterprise keeps the data nd chats private so it is not shared with Microsoft or used to train their data. This tool is why I suggest loading Bing on every device at your school now (especially for administrators) as it is a useful feature.
Classroom Examples

How Generative AI "Chat" with PDF Documents Impacts Your Classroom and School

Curriculum Alignment. Every teacher who has a PDF that they use for curriculum alignment (like all of us teaching AP Classes, for sure), should make a folder for their PDF's and then learn to load them in Bing Chat sidebar for quick conversations with documents.

Summarization of Reading. This is also a useful tool for administrators or anyone required to adhere to policies when those policies are in documents that are publicly available. Remember that to keep your data private and to analyze internal documents, you should enable and use Bing chat enterprise, immediately. I believe this is a massive game-changer for administrators who can ask Bing Chat to help them summarize policies or draft letters relating to PDF policy documents that come from their superintendent's office, saving so much time.

Student Reading Assignments. College professors and those who assign PDF's for reading need to understand and be aware of the generative features of Bing Chat which can access those documents in powerful ways. Now, I urge all of us not to be too hasty in dismissing this as a vital skill to be nurtured and taught. I am going to be giving assignments to my students and have Bing loaded on all of my Mac devices so they can learn to access large PDF's and summarize and use the data inside the large PDF. This is an assignment I will give my classes ninth grade and up as I believe generative accessibility to large documents is a skill they will need. (More on this in a future post.) 

Generative AI use Case #6: AI in Research: A Personal Research Assistant for My Students

Perplexity.ai is a super cool AI search assistant that might change research forever as it seems to get right what many search tools haven't entirely perfected yet. When you search, it finds the sources, summarizes them, cites them with footnotes, and gives you the sources.

If AI is used for research, I require two things: 1. students must hyperlink to the chat, and 2. Students must review the original source of data that the chat took them to and link to the original source of data. This is part of my AI classroom rules, shown below.
If AI is used for research, I require two things: 1. students must hyperlink to the chat, and 2. Students must review the original source of data that the chat took them to and link to the original source of data. This is part of my AI classroom rules, shown below.
Classroom Examples

How Generative Search Impacts Your Classroom

Requirements for a generative search tool in my classroom. Generative search is built into Google and Bing now (those boxes at the top of the search.) However, not all search includes hyperlinks to original sources. So, to select a tool for generative search, I require two things:

  1. The tool must cite original sources in its generative summary. If it does not, students are not allowed to use it in any way.
  2. The generative chat must be linkable so students can cite the chat.
  3. Students are required to read original source documents (like they would with Wikipedia or any other tool like Wikipedia) and they must cite the original source document with a hyperlink.

You can see these rules reflected in my AI Classroom rules below. It may seem like more work, however, we've been doing this for years with Wikipedia with the exception that we never let them even link to Wikipedia (a mistake in my opinion as this made an extra step for teachers to ensure no plagiarism from Wikipedia.) 

In this case, citing the generative chat gives the teachers the summary document that students accessed. Citing generative chats is important because of the generative and transformative nature of LLM's (See my explanation on the What is ChatGPT? blog post to understand this.) Every generative chat is unique and therefore, in my opinion, must be cited (as I did on a recent article I wrote for Edutopia about Generative AI in math.)

Classroom rules for ChatGPT and AI

My Classroom Rules for Generative AI

Generative AI Use Case #7: Generative Question Creation

Kahoot has built-in generative question creation, as does Quizizz AI. Quillionz gives you 5 question sets a month, and OpExams has a free AI question generator on the app stores.

We know that quizzing yourself is a great study habit, but in the past, it was only accessible to kids who took the time to make out their test. Now, self-quizzing can be accessible with a caveat: we need Human intelligence to ensure the answers are CORRECT.

Math is notoriously awful in these generative tools called Large Language Models (LLM) unless it uses Wolfram Alpha or another tool to assist. Again see the article I wrote on Edutopia about Using AI to Encourage Productive Struggle in Math for more on how to use AI in Math effectively.

Quizlet launched Q-Chat, which they say is the “first fully-adaptive AI tutor” built on top of ChatGPT API with Quizlet's educational content library. (Available for students 18 and older in the US.) Using accurate content should improve tutoring ability; however, as we all know, Quizlet and Quizizz have wrong card decks. We still need human intelligence to double-check our content area. (I'll repeat it, effective AI needs human supervision.)

KhanMigo has, in my opinion, the best coaching program for writing a college admissions essay which is observable by teachers and has safety measures built in. It won’t write the student essay; it coaches them through the process. Every guidance counselor should be using this tool. It doesn’t write the essay; it coaches students to write it about their unique experiences. KhanMigo is also available for all classes, including my AP Computer Science Principles course. Yes, I’m trying it out, and I think every school should be looking at this tool as an assistant to helping teach classes.

One caveat about KhanMigo. If you don't have it available for your school, you may have to have parents sign up, link their child's account, and permit them to access these features. I had to do this as I used some of the features in my AP CSP course.

Classroom Examples

How Generative Question Creation Impacts Your Classroom

ChatBot Tutoring is still being tested. First, I must clearly state that this is an emerging area I'm testing with students. For an assignment this week, I've asked my AP Computer Science Principles students to use Q-Chat from Quizizz to tutor them in the AP Computer Science Principles vocabulary.  For comparison, I've also created a Gimkit from their words and given them the Google Doc with all of their vocabulary words. Additionally, they have been studying already with the words so I have asked them to note if the chatbot gives errors. Expect their experiment's results in a future blog post.

Teachers Can Save Time. As teachers, we must be concerned about the accuracy of generative question creation as I've seen some answers and questions to be wrong, for sure. However, I want to note that my textbook gave me the AP vocabulary in a very unhelpful list. I copied the vocabulary and pasted it into ChatGPT and asked it to generate a CSV file for me. Then, I was able to take that CSV file and import it into Gimkit. This would have taken me an hour or so previously. (Ready: How to Take Questions and Answers from ChatGPT to Gimkit.)

So, whether or not you like generative question creation, you can certainly use current question manipulation techniques using generative tools. Create questions using BingChat as it chats with your tests and PDf documents you create or you can convert what you already have to a format used by your favorite edtech tool.

Ai Generative Use Case #8: AI Documentation of Steps on a Computer

Scribehow with its step-following, video, and webpage creation making, is a game-changer and time-saver for those of us in IT Support and technology integration coaching.

Note: The Scribehow link above is an affiliate link above, if you use that link I get a free week of Scribehow. If you do not wish to support me in this way, you may use this link instead. 

I created a short documentation on my newsletter for someone helping me. It. has no private data, so you can see it and see how this tool followed me and made a powerful, quick instruction page that I created in 14 seconds!

Scribehow is a tool IT and computer teachers are raving about. INstead of documenting how to do anything for students, teachers can simply click on Scribehow, do the steps and a simple page is created to share with students (or other teachers.)
Scribehow is a tool IT and computer teachers are raving about. INstead of documenting how to do anything for students, teachers can simply click on Scribehow, do the steps and a simple page is created to share with students (or other teachers.)
Classroom Examples

How Generative Documentation Impacts Your Classroom (and School)

Saving time. One of the reasons many of us teachers don't use new tools is the headache of onboarding students (or colleagues) into those tools. I would challenge edtech tools to always have a "student view" available to teachers so they can quickly turn on Scribehow (or another IT documentation tool) and create a simple documentation page to share. 

New skillset for students. Here's another assignment for all of my students in eighth grade and up. I now have them create personal screencasts. Now, I'll have them create how-to's using Scribehow which gives you several free documentation instances using the web browser. This is just as valuable as screencasting (and faster.) 

The IT Coach and IT Department's Dream. A tool like Scribehow is something every IT department or IT coach needs. The Pro version lets you use any desktop tool to capture the how-to's which makes anything you load on teacher devices available. You can collaborate and edit and tweak things as you see fit and built out a simple FAQ for your school as I have done for my school.

In Summary

Now, I have shared the empirical evidence substantiating the reasons that schools need to create AI policies NOW in Part 1 of this series.

Then, in this post, I've given you eight use cases with classroom applications (with both good and bad outcomes) that I hope has demonstrated to you, the remarkable reader, how we cannot block AI, we cannot ignore AI, and it can do great good and also great harm.

In part three of this post which I will share in the next few days, my goal will be to share with you the simple steps you can do now in your school to create an AI policy that is not only effective but is adaptable.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere