Monday, 16 January 2023

How ChatGPT can help Teachers

ChatGPT is a powerful language model that can assist teachers in a variety of ways in the classroom. One of the main benefits of using ChatGPT is its ability to generate human-like text, which can be used to create engaging lesson plans, quizzes, and other materials for students.

For example, ChatGPT can be used to create multiple-choice questions for a test or quiz, or to generate a summary of a reading passage for students who need extra help. Teachers can also use ChatGPT to generate writing prompts for students, or to provide feedback on written assignments.

Another advantage of using ChatGPT in the classroom is its ability to understand natural language input. Teachers can ask ChatGPT questions in a conversational manner, and the model will respond with relevant information. This can be particularly useful for answering students' questions during class or for providing extra resources on a specific topic.

Additionally, ChatGPT can also be used to generate interactive dialogue-based activities, games, and simulations for students, which can make learning more engaging and interactive.

In summary, ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for teachers in the classroom. Its ability to generate human-like text and understand natural language input make it an ideal tool for creating engaging lesson plans, quizzes, and other materials, as well as answering students' questions and providing extra resources. 

You can tell ChatGPT wrote this article, right?

Sunday, 15 January 2023

A Chatbot did my Homework!

A few weeks ago I did a SWOT analysis of ChatGPT and there are tremendous opportunities for teachers and students to use the tool. However the ability to receive help of an ethical or unethical kind has been democratised. No longer is it just students with overly helpful parents or those with tutors that can hand in perfect essays. 

Now everyone with Internet access might be able to get a piece of work generated quickly and efficiently with minimal effort. Let's be clear cheating is hardly new and copies of homework assignments have been around for a long time and this is just another option for students from copying friends and older siblings work to using an Essay mill company.

So what can you do to minimise the risk?

Let's start by asking ChatGPT itself! 

Q: How can I stop ChatGPT from doing my students' homework?

A: To prevent ChatGPT from doing your students' homework, you can create a specific prompt or set of guidelines for your students to follow when using the model. Additionally, you can monitor their use of the model and check their work for plagiarism. If you suspect that a student is using ChatGPT to complete their homework, you can discuss the situation with them and take appropriate action.

It has the general idea that supervision is important, but its not so helpful in this situation. So let's take a more detailed look at what can be done and how we can minimise the risk.

The first thing to do is to show that you know about ChatGPT, put the essays into ChatGPT and see what comes back. It will not be long before you are very familiar with the way it writes and although students might be able to vary the prompts by asking for different styles etc. It still comes back with its own fingerprints.  Students are less likely to try and cheat the system if they think they are likely to be caught.  Perhaps a good way to give students the hint, is to ask students what they think of an essay ChatGPT did and perhaps even mark it. Even better if its an essay it does not do so well at! 

Secondly you can lower the stakes of homework assessments, if they are seen as practices for examinations or they have enough time to do them to a high standard with multiple revisions then the use of ChatGPT could diminish.  Also consider the format of the assignment, if a student has to handwrite an assignment there is less time saved.  Videos, mind-maps and podcasts are all much less advantageous for a chatbot to do. 

Thirdly, encourage good use of sources. Yes, ChatGPT can generate sourced material, but expect students to come into class and discuss their assignment and how the sources contributed to it. If the student hasn't done the reading then it will become obvious that they don't know about what they've said. 

You could also this as an opportunity to do more flipped learning with students doing the input outside of school and the assessment inside. 

Finally, the one type of assessment that is unaffected is good-old fashioned examinations. I wish this wasn't the case, but a student writing an essay under controlled condition is the one thing that ChatGPT will NOT help them with.

Thursday, 22 December 2022

ChatGPT A quick SWOT

With every new technology comes along opportunities and threats. In this case the threats are actually not that different to what more wealthy students have always had and that is a tutor. This could be a great democratisation of helpful AI that help students to learn.  However the types of assessment that are effective going forward need to be thought about. Ironically exams are largely unaffected by this new technology. Coursework and homework need to be thought about carefully and their purpose. (See article on homework)
Perhaps in some ways this makes it a much fairer system, because now everyone has access to expertise whereas before it was only those with academic parents, access to tutors and older siblings who could 'cheat' in this manner.

I also see a great opportunity for students to see what careers are likely to be available in the future, using this to help with teacher planning to create more sample answers, to help with definitions and for a resource starved Computer Science teacher a bot to generate code seems like heaven! 

Here is a SWOT analysis based on what I've read so far!



  • Able to offer answers to questions
  • Able to offer advice at a variety of language levels
  • Can generate original answers
  • Has opinions to be discussed
  • Non-personal. Can be asked any question


  • Answers are NOT always accurate
  • Appears authoritative even when it is not
  • Do NOT know the source of information. 


  • Excellent example of AI & the future of work and careers
  • Very good at coming up with example essays, code etc
  • Can generate code in many languages including Swift & Python
  • Can be used for debates when asked for opinions
  • Can ask students to mark the bot's answers
  • Can be used as a start point for teacher generated answers
    • Can be used to summarize text
    • Good at defining many topics and level of English can be adjusted.
    • Can generate prompts


  • Makes setting essay-based homework more difficult, if the bot can do it (Perhaps it must be handwritten to discourage such strategies)
  • Can solve Maths & Coding problems almost instantly even when provided in a context
  • Currently systems such as Turnitin can't detect bot generated work 

Levels of English

It can be encouraged to use simple English by asking for simple English, but it works best with the either elementary school or primary school: "Can you explain a car to me as if I am in elementary school" worked well. It is not perfect and doesn't always limit its vocabulary, but it is definitely using different sources when encouraged to do so. 

Sources of information

When asked "Please can you generate an essay on the benefits of IP version 6 with AP style referencing" it could do it and included in-line referencing too, but if you ask a question and doubt its answer it could not pinpoint the source of its information.

Q: What are your sources for this information?
A: As an artificial intelligence, I don't have personal experiences or access to external sources. The information I provided is based on my training data, which includes a wide range of general knowledge sources such as textbooks, encyclopedias, and articles from reputable sources such as academic journals and mainstream media outlets. All of the information I provide is intended to be accurate and reliable, but it is always a good idea to verify information from multiple sources before making any decisions or taking any actions based on it.

Generating Questions

It appears to understand a number of different qualifications include iGCSE, A-level, undergraduate and IB Diploma. You can ask it to make multiple choice, short answer or complete essays (Within its word limit). So you can ask:
  • Can you generate iGCSE questions on AI with answers
  • Can you generate iGSCE multiple choice questions on uses of AI in industry?

You can even follow up with: Please could I have some more questions?

Detecting Plagiarism

Ironically AI itself might be able to work out if a piece of work is generated by an AI. There is a tool that is in development and looks promising.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Robotics for primary

Robots for schools

Once upon a time I taught primary and so I wanted to do a quick write up of the robotics systems that I've used and any resources that I know about. These are in no particular order and any of which could be suitable for your needs. I know that supplies can be challenging, depending where you come from so bear that in mind.  Don't forget to mix and match lesson plans, most lesson ideas will work with all these robots.

Beebots - simple & effective younger years

On the floor with the Beebots

The original beebots is great for younger years, because the controls are on the top of the robot and are great for paired programming. They can be used to teach directions, solve mazes and draw simple patterns (Attach an actual pen or pencil.)  There's many lesson resources for these robots and its well worth looking through the lesson packs even if you select a different robot.

Lesson ideas:


They're quite robust, but not indestructible.


This is a much newer robot and has lots of potential, so worth keeping an eye on. Supplies have been tricky to get recently, but hearing rave reviews. You can buy a lesson guide with the robot too. 

Direct link:

Dash & Cue

These have been designed from the ground up to teach robotics and have been used very successfully at our sister school in Malaysia.

Lesson Plan archive:


A lot of the fun is actually building this robot, so its great for an after schools club and completely reusable. However it takes a while to get to the programming and computational thinking, so that can be a limitation if used in class.

Lego now have a full education system with STEAM and bricks with sensors, so that is well worth looking into. The quality is as you'd expect from Lego with prices to match. (Much cheaper in the UK rather than in South East Asia)

Raspberry Pis can make all sorts of robots

These are great, but be warned there are smaller parts and some robots will need a little bit of soldering. However if you are running a workshop and the students get to take away their project. These are fantastic. This is just a small selection of what's available:

Robotic ideas:

Lesson ideas:

Gopigo Robot:


These have come a long way since the days, when the original Sphero was just so much fun to play as a remote control toy, but boring to program. They've extended their range included a lot of great lesson and plans and worked hard to make real programming interactions. I find these to be genuinely hard-wearing and have done well in all the classrooms I have used them.

There's now a great range of lesson plans:

Lesson activities:


This one is great fun, because it is board based. 

Thanks to Sethi De Clercq for the recommendation.


Another board based robot that also looks very useful for teaching.

Thanks to Sethi De Clercq for the recommendation.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Digital Storytelling

I very much enjoyed presenting "Visually teaching vocab to younger students (KS1 aged 5-8)". It's been a while since I did anything for younger years and I was very pleased by the reaction of everyone. We now have such powerful tools in our hands compared to what I had when I was teaching EAL students! I remember all that paper cutting & whiteboard writing! Nathan also does two excellent sessions to help you make stories, so well worth a watch!


Thursday, 12 August 2021

Presenting on Zoom (2021 Summer edition)

Over this past 18 months we've learnt a lot about presenting online and with teachers changing schools, going online, having to do Hyflex learning etc I thought I'd share what I've learnt about the various ways you can present and the advantages and disadvantages of each.  I've pretty much tried them all as far as I can tell and they all come with pros and cons!

Consider Recording Your Presentations

When I first started teaching online, I found it much easier to record my presentations and share them via Youtube. There are lots of screen-recording options including Loom that is incredible and free for educators and I'd use it as a free option.  I actually use Camtasia, (10% discount link thanks to FlippedClassroom)  because I have a license and am incredibly comfortable with it.  If you have budget for it and plan to make a lot of videos this is well worth the money and is what most streamers use. Don't forget Keynote and PowerPoint enable you to record videos directly in the app. PowerPoint even has a coaching function!

Once you've recorded your video, you can then upload it to youtube and it can be watched on pretty much any device.  You can also use Edpuzzle, TED Lessons or put into a Google Form. to add formative assessment.

During the lesson you can simply ask students to watch the video and they are much more likely to be able to watch it in the quality you wanted it with the animations fully in-tact.  It also means you can answer questions in the chat as students watch. 

I do not recommend screensharing videos EVER! I have NOT once experienced a video shared on-screen that matches the quality of Youtube. Much better to give them the link & let students play or if you need to check put it into Edpuzzle with some questions.  Too many teachers think what they see on their screen is what can be seen by the student.

No Animations Required

Zoom recently introduced a presentation mode. This is great, because it appears in your camera with you conveniently placed on your slides. You don't even need a green screen for you to be cut out.

If you feel this doesn't quite do what you want and you want something a bit more advanced then mmhmm gives you a lot of flexibility and Prezi video gives you a really dynamic feeling to your presentation. Both are giving free subscriptions to educators.  They also enable you to record your presentations in advance in an attractive format.

Presenting in a window (Need animations)

If you need animations then chances are you will want to use PowerPoint of Keynote.  Both now have a present in a window option. This means you will be able to see your presentation and the students in zoom.

Keynote presentation in a window

PowerPoint presentation in a window

Peardeck (Interactive Presentations)

Our school has a license to peardeck and it has been incredibly useful to help us make our presentations fully interactive. If you are inside the European Union, please check privacy policy for your country.  NearpodQuizizz both have some similar functions if you are looking for an alternative.

Peardeck will work with PowerPoint or Google Slides. However animations are tricky, but the tradeoff is that you can create really interactive slides with questions, links and videos inside the presentation. You can also choose to make it instructor or student paced. 

The real downside with Peardeck is that it really needs to be on a laptop for students to be able to comfortably access both Zoom and peardeck at the same time. We've had numerous problems with iPads and its use as part of a live lesson. Student paced is generally fine, but if you want to present then present live and give questions in a student paced Peardeck. 

Subtitles & Closed Captions

Generally I avoid using Slides directly in Zoom, because there isn't a present in tab option and it isn't well integrated on mac unless you have 2 screens. I'd rather download and present on PowerPoint or use the Peardeck plugin.  This was because on a single screen it was difficult to follow where your tab would appear.

Go to bottom left of the screen and you will see the presenter menu with captions

However PowerPoint and Slides do enable Closed captioning, which is not only great for students in noisy environments, hard of hearing but also if their internet isn't perfect they will see the subtitle for longer and not miss words. It is important to set the language to the one you are speaking down to the dialect, so English UK works very well for me.

PowerPoint even has live translation, which is really helpful for EAL students. 

Summary Table

I hope this is a helpful guide, please share your tips in the comments. 

Friday, 26 March 2021

Meditation is BORING! But a meditative video game might just do the trick.

For some adults and children, the idea of meditating is boring! And they're exactly the kind of people that would benefit from some kind of relaxation the most! Many video games are all about excitement and getting the blood pumping, but there are an increasing number of games that are about relaxing and having a wonderful time exploring.  Minecraft in creative mode is an excellent example of this and another game that people have found incredibly relaxing and intriguing at the same time is ABZÛ.  

This game is all about going underwater, but unlike the terror inducing underwater sections of Sonic this game removes the survival aspect and lets you freely explore underwater realms.  It takes you through incredible underwater seascapes and to see beautiful fish and underwater structures.

I bring this game to your attention, because right now it is completely free for Playstation with Play at Home

This game is also available to buy on Xbox, Windows and Nintendo Switch. See publisher Website.