Technology is Always EvolvingWe had a conversation in our doctoral class a couple of weeks ago about ChatGPT, and it got me to thinking about ways to use ChatGPT as a school leader.
Technology is always evolving, and as I think back to when we started our one-to-one initiative at Hoover High School, we first made a turning point when our principal, Don Hulin, allowed our students to use their cell phones between classes, at lunch, and at other non-instructional times. This was at a time when most high schools were not allowing cell phones to be used at all during the school day.
Teachers were encouraged to allow students to use their cell phones in creative ways - from recording a teacher's review session to watching rewindable, teacher-created lessons to fact-checking. We believed in and cultivated a culture of risk-taking and growth mindset.
As the years passed and new technology was introduced, our teachers were open to trying new things that either 1) made their job easier (who doesn't want that!) or 2) created opportunities for deeper learning for our students.
While I'm not typically first in line to try something new, I am genuinely curious about new technologies and try to find ways to implement them. However, I understand the mixed emotions and hesitancy of introducing a new technology school- or district-wide without thinking through scenarios and "what if" situations.
As I think about ChatGPT, I also think about the time when calculators were introduced, and there was a debate about whether or not they should be allowed in classrooms. I think there are some similarities in the arguments against ChatGPT, and I will continue to research both sides as we all learn more about this new technology.
Chatbots and AI are not new; in fact, many of us have used interacted with them on help websites for some credit unions, streaming services, and other businesses. However, they are new in the field of education as we currently know it.
"Since ChatGPT debuted in November, the nation's largest school districts have banned the artificial intelligence chatbot, concerned students will use the speedy text generator to cheat or plagiarize."
Even if schools ban ChatGPT, I do believe that school leaders can use it to improve workflow, and I want to share a few ideas here in this blog post.
*Want to try ChatGPT? Use this link to go to the website, and click on Try ChatGPT. You can create an account, ask the chatbot a question, and it will give you a detailed answer in complete sentences.
Ideas for Using ChatGPT as a School Leader
Below are a few ideas for busy school leaders on how to use ChatGPT to help lighten your load. When considering the suggestions below, it is important to remember that all communications should be in your voice. These ideas can help provide some shortcuts and "jumping off points" for busy school leaders. I DO NOT advocate using the Chatbot's answers as-is, but I do advocate for 1) not having to reinvent the wheel and 2) using the chatbot's outputs as a framework and as support for our own words. Think of ChatGPT as a virtual assistant who's writing your first draft!
1. Ask ChatGPT for help with written communication to parents
For example, I asked ChatGPT:
"Write an email to parents letting them know about the school open house event"
Here's what ChatGPT produced:
Subject: Invitation to the School Open House Event
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to formally invite you to our upcoming School Open House event. This is a great opportunity for you to visit our school, meet the teachers, and get to know more about our programs and facilities.
The Open House event will take place on [date and time]. During this time, you will have the chance to tour the school, speak with our teachers and staff, and learn about our curriculum and extra-curricular activities. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions and get to know our school community better.
We believe that a strong partnership between home and school is essential for student success, and we believe that this event will be a great opportunity for you to get involved and learn more about our school.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We look forward to seeing you on the day of the event!
2. Ask ChatGPT for help with written communication to community partners
This is what I asked ChatGPT:
"Write a thank you note from a principal to a community partner"
This is what ChatGPT produced:
Dear [Community Partner],
I am writing to express my deepest gratitude for your support and partnership with our school. Your contributions have made a tremendous impact on the lives of our students and have helped to strengthen our community as a whole.
The generosity and dedication you have shown towards our school and its programs are truly inspiring. Your efforts have provided our students with opportunities and experiences that they will never forget, and have helped to create a brighter future for all of us.
Please accept my heartfelt thanks for all that you have done. Your kindness and support mean the world to us, and we are so grateful to have you as a partner.
With warm regards,
3. Ask ChatGPT to help with speech writing
This is what I asked ChatGPT:
"Write a welcome speech by a principal to honor society induction"
This is what ChatGPT produced:
Good evening everyone, and welcome to the induction ceremony of our school's Honor Society. It is my pleasure to stand before you today and celebrate the achievements of our students.
I would like to start by congratulating all of the new inductees for their hard work and dedication. Your commitment to academics, leadership, and service has earned you a place among the best and brightest students in our school. You should be proud of your accomplishments and the example you set for others.
I would also like to extend a special thank you to the teachers, staff, and families who have supported and encouraged these students along the way. Your dedication and support have been instrumental in their success.
As members of the Honor Society, our new inductees have joined a long and distinguished tradition of excellence. They will have opportunities to participate in service projects, leadership initiatives, and academic events that will further their growth and development. I encourage each of them to take advantage of these opportunities and to use their talents and abilities to make a positive impact in our school and beyond.
So once again, congratulations to our new inductees, and thank you all for joining us tonight. I am confident that each of you will continue to make us proud and continue the legacy of excellence that is the Honor Society.
With that, I would like to officially welcome you to the Honor Society and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
Here are some words that will help with your chat prompts/requests, and as a reminder, the better questions we ask of it, the better our results will be. Test and iterate!
“Create a bullet list of”
“Write XX words”
“Make a table of”
add “explain like I’m 5” for complex answers
Want to learn more about ChatGPT?
Articles about the use of ChatGPT in HigherEd by Breana Bayraktar
Four Questions to Consider on using ChatGPT in Education by George Couros
ChatGPT in the Classroom: 10 Timesaving Tips for Elementary Teachers by Erin Flanagan
What is your reaction to using ChatGPT with students?
How else can ChatGPT be used by school leaders?
I would love to hear your thoughts about using ChatGPT in your personal life or in your professional role! Please reach out to me on twitter or leave a comment below!
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