We educators constantly seek new ways to engage our students and enhance their learning experiences. Recently, I introduced voice interactions with ChatGPT in my classroom using a Custom GPT that I made.
(Note: If you’re new to ChatGPT, start with my blog post on What is ChatGPT? This post assumes you know a little about what ChatGPT is. Also, if you don’t know about ChatGPT Voice and how I set this up, please see Voice ChatGPT: A new Dimension in the Educators’ Toolkit)
It wasn’t intentional. This project I designed for students to show their mastery of spreadsheets. They are planning a seven-day trip with an imaginary $10,000 gift given to them upon graduation. While I’ve traveled, there are many places I have not gone to. I wanted resources I could trust with an age-appropriate suggestion of what to do in those cities (no bars or other inappropriate entertainment suggestions for eighth graders.)
I’ve also required the use of AI in this project in addition to searches, and students must link to their conversations with AI. Yet, I still felt like something was missing. So, I guess you could say I created a new resource for my students by creating a GPT. (See my blog post about how to create your own GPT.)
This tool, tailored for educational purposes, has opened up new avenues for learning and interaction in my classroom.
The Genesis of an Idea
So, to aid this process, I created a unique GPT setup, ensuring it suggested only age-appropriate activities, and made TRAVEL Assistant, which stands for:
This setup allowed my students to interact with ChatGPT by typing or speaking into my phone. The transparency of this system ensured I could monitor all interactions, aligning with classroom safety standards.
I generated a sample conversation with the TRAVEL Assistant that you can view that I shared with my students as a demo.
Overcoming the Noise Barrier
One of the initial challenges we faced was the interference of background conversations. In a bustling classroom, this can lead to confusion in voice recognition.
To address this, I demonstrated the impact of background noise by conversing with TRAVEL Assistant as one student intentionally made noise. This demo helped students understand the importance of speaking closely to the device or finding quieter spots for better communication.
Integrating ChatGPT into Learning
Incorporating Voice ChatGPT into our classroom has been more than just a technological experiment; it has been a pedagogical revelation for me.
Travel Information. For instance, in our travel project, ChatGPT's resources on global travel information greatly surpassed my knowledge, adding substantial value to the student’s research and planning.
Time Zone CalculationsThis tool excelled in assisting with complex calculations like time zone differences, offloading a significant amount of work from what I was doing as I moved around the classroom and discussed time zone differences. I intentionally programmed TRAVEL to include time zone conversations with students.
Random Questions. Sometimes, random questions are asked, and it captures those.
Accountability. Everything was captured in the chat, and I could look back over my students’ conversations with TRAVEL.
Accuracy. After students had ideas, they had to search the web for specific places and include those links in their final spreadsheets. This controlled for error. Additionally, with the transparent view into the conversation with AI and their hyperlinks, I had everything I needed to supervise student interactions and ensure accuracy from my perspective.
Student Reactions and Future Directions
Initially, students (like me) were unfamiliar with communicating in this way. It was also a tad disconcerting that the voice sounded so realistic. But we got better at it as we went along.
As we progress, I envision a future where each student might have an individual GPT under my supervision to personalize further and secure their learning experiences.
The Learning Curve
Teaching students to communicate effectively with AI has been an ongoing process. We have a long way to go. Right now, I just don’t have enough access, but look forward to the day when I will.
The journey of integrating voice interactions with ChatGPT into my classroom is still in its early stages.
I’ve used it in my AP Computer Science Principles Course, which is currently evaluating the efficacy of AI-based tutoring. (Just because it says it is an AI tutor, it isn’t. Most of them start teaching you and then ask you to get out your credit card. I hope to have that post ready soon.)
I also had one group of students in my ninth-grade class take a photo of the logo they designed for their app and ask for feedback. I got a very solid answer echoing much of what I had just told students.
As we experiment, student feedback will be instrumental in shaping how I will use this technology in future projects.
As educators, we are responsible for keeping pace with technological advancements and finding innovative ways to incorporate them into our teaching methodologies. This journey with Voice-enabled ChatGPT is just one step in that direction.
I want them to be on the leading edge and to learn so much more. This tool, particularly with voice chat, is another feedback mechanism for me. I supervise it closely, as all tools and interactions should be, but this setup helps me provide a specifically created age-appropriate resource that I can monitor.
I expect that soon there will be many tools like this for us teachers to use that will be built into the lessons we assign — perhaps even as soon as next year, but if not then soon. We will tell it what kind of feedback we want it to give and program in our rubrics and set parameters, and we will fully monitor and supervise it.
How I Composed This Post
This blog post is a transparent account of my experiences and insights. For a more detailed understanding of this journey, I invite you to view the full conversation here(link to the chat).
As I shared in my blog post earlier today, I trained ChatGPT to let me converse with my voice about what was happening in my classroom. As it “interviewed” me, I had it asking me questions relating to research-based best practices (something I had programmed into my custom instructions in ChatGPT already.)
Then, I had it help me draft a blog post, which I have since tweaked and improved with my personal thoughts, additions, and word preferences.
Furthermore, those who want to dive deeper can look at the conversation and get in my own words what I said and what went into the post. This adds a fascinating aspect to providing background information on our creations. Sometimes the process of creation has some fascinating aspects, as well, and I plan to save this chat into Evernote for a resource for future writing, according to Tiago Forte's Building a Second Brain principles.
For example, imagine a child conversing with a tool like this about their classroom experience. Then, imagine a researcher taking over and having it summarize the conversations with the ability to dig deeper into what the child said. There are so many aspects that will change how we work with data, how we think, and how we create.
The simple fact that I’ve generated two blog posts so quickly is further proof that, at least for me, this tool is helping me take best practices out of my classroom and out into the world much faster.
OK, I’ve got to go to school now and have another conversation with ChatGPT about what I’ll share next with you! I’m so intrigued!
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