AI is here to stay. As a teacher, will artificial intelligence be your Star Trek computer, able to conjure up your every request,or Hal 9000, causing havoc at every turn?

A circuit board. One large computer chip is labelled

There are numerous benefits as well as drawbacks to using AI in the classroom. Once informed, you need to decide best how to use this new AI tool for teachers.

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence, as we call it today, isn't what we've seen represented in science fiction. Modern AI is a program that looks for patterns across huge sets of data that allow it to solve complex problems without being programmed with the exact answers.

A series of cables plugged into a computer server. Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

Though AI has been around in different forms for decades, recently it has become widely available through applications like ChatGPT, Midjourney, Google's Gemini, Microsoft's Copilot, and many other programs.

Pros of Using AI in Prep

Writing Emails

A teacher's primary aim is to teach students, but many things can take time away from teaching and preparing lessons. One of those things is writing emails: parents, principals, and other people all love to be informed about what's going on in your classroom.

AI can draft emails for you with whatever tone or level of formality you are looking for.

Prompt example: "Write an email to a student's parent, from their teacher, with a formal and respectful tone regarding their child missing 10 of the last 12 classes"

A person falling out of their chair when an email icon pops up on their computer.

Differentiating Instruction

AI for teachers can also simplify differentiation for diversified classes. It is able to rewrite text at approximately any grade level.

Prompt example: "Rewrite the paragraph pasted below for a 3rd-grade reading level"

Pros of Using AI During Class

Rapidly Generating Activities

AI offers a quick way to make custom activities in class. It can generate discussion questions about a topic, provide feedback on written work, and encourage vocab retention.

See the video below for a prompt example:

Video created by author using Google's Gemini & Loom recording software. To hear an audio description of the video, click the play button on the audio player below.

Creating Task Lists

AI tools can also support learner's executive functioning skills. Projects can be broken into manageable steps, timelines can be customized, and preparation lists can be outputted in seconds.

Prompt example:"Take the instructions for this project and create a timeline for completing it in 2 weeks. Factor in that the student can't work on weekends or Tuesdays."


Why should you use AI in your classroom?

Cons of Using AI in Prep

Unreliable Source

The biggest danger in using AI for teaching is relying on it for factual information.AI provides you with what a correct answer would look like but has no concern for truth or fiction. That makes it an unreliable research tool for students and teachers.

Prompt example: Don't ask AI for "the best recipes with tide pods as the main ingredient."

An AI bot on a giant screen. The text reads,


AIs are also trained to find patterns based on data given to them. This leads to AI's having biases against marginalized groups.

This can be intentionally combated though!

Prompt example:Instead of having an AI "create an image of a CEO", ask it to "create an image of a CEO who is a person of color."

Cons of Using AI During Class

Generalization of Use

One danger of modeling the use of AI in class is that students can assume they then have permission to use AI on any assignment. Work where students demonstrate or practice skills is a poor use of AI for classrooms.

Say to the class: "Here we are using AI to accomplish this specific task. Do not use it on your homework tonight."

A robotic head ssaying, Cognitive Skills

An overreliance on AI for students leads to declines in some important mental skills such as:

  • intuitive analysis

  • critical thinking

  • creative problem-solving

When using AI in the classroom, these other skills still need to be practiced.

Say to the class: "We used AI to generate some interesting images, now you need to write your own original story that matches an image."


Why should you NOT use AI in your classroom?

Take Action

AI for teachers is a tool. It can be used in some incredible ways! But, AI can also cause some problems in your classroom. It's entirely up to you as a teacher to decide when, where, and how you want to use it to accomplish your goals.

Photo by Igor Omilaev on Unsplash of a robotic hand reaching out to a human hand over the the word AI Photo by Igor Omilaev on Unsplash


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