Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

8 Tips for Getting Started to Use Google Bard as an Educator

Generative AI has the potential to change how we teach and do our jobs. The place to start is to familiarize yourself with Google's AI tool: Google Bard. 8 Tips for Getting Started to Use Google Bard as an Educator
8 Tips for Getting Started to Use Google Bard as an Educator

Google Bard is the ChatGPT competitor. What is particularly significant about Bard is that Google is embedding this technology across it’s products. I have the Google Workspace Labs beta, which means you probably do not yet have these features embedded in your Google Docs, but the integration into Google Docs will change how we approach work and how students complete their work.

Google Bard is generative AI, meaning you can ask Bard questions in “natural language.” This is different from a Google search which was matching your keywords to hits on a webpage. Generative AI is actually answering your question. Although, possibly falsely.

Here are 10 tips for getting started to use Google Bard as an educator:

1. Ask Bard

This may seem obvious, but have bard.google.com open in another tab all the time. What are you about to do, stop! Ask Bard. Even if you know the answer and what you want to do. Try to get into the habit of asking Bard what it would do.

In Bard question box: How will students who struggle with their math facts be able to be successful finding common denominators?
  • What would engage students when I teach my lesson on fractions?
  • Explain why students struggle with fractions?
  • What vocabulary do students need to know in order to be successful in this lesson?
  • What are some class rules for working in groups that I should give the students?
  • What is an efficient way to take attendance at the start of class?

2. Argue with Bard

This is very important. Bard is not smarter than you. Bard does not have more authority than you. YOU are the expert of your classroom. Bard is your assistant. After reading the response Bard provides tell Bard, in the same conversation, what you did not like about it.

The best part is that Bard is a robot, it does not have feelings. I do not have to ask nicely. I also do not need to restate what Bard and I are talking about. It is within the same conversation. Bard remembers what we are talking about.

It is not uncommon for me to argue a lot with Bard. “This is too short, try again.” “This will be boring for my students, include something about Roblox.”

3. Load Bard with Your Knowledge

Before I ask Bard to make me a lesson plan on common denominators I will first chat with Bard about how I teach, what my students like, and anything else I would want Bard to know before it provides me with recommendations.

I will wait to ask my actual question for Bard until after I have had several back and forths with Bard about other ideas that I want to influence the answer.

My students love to play games with math. They use Minecraft and Roblox but I do not have access to these tools in my classroom. They struggle with knowing the factors of a number in order to find the common denominator. How can I help my students to understand the lesson

There are a number of games and activities that you can use to help your students learn about common denominators without using Minecraft or Roblox. Here are a few ideas:

Factor Bingo. Create bingo cards with different numbers on them. Students will need to find the factors of each number and mark them off on their bingo cards. The first student to get five in a row wins.
Factor Race. Divide the class into two teams. Write a number on the board and have students race to find the factors of the number. The first team to write down all of the factors correctly wins the round.
Factor Memory. Create pairs of memory cards with numbers and their factors on them. Students will need to match the pairs of cards together.
Factor Hunt. Hide factor cards around the classroom. Students will need to find the cards and match them together.
Factor Charades. Write different numbers on slips of paper and put them in a hat. Students will need to act out the factors of the number for the class to guess.
You can also use real-world examples to help students understand the concept of common denominators. For example, you could ask students to imagine that they are making a pizza for their friends. Each friend wants a different fraction of the pizza. To make sure that everyone gets the same amount of pizza, the student would need to find a common denominator for all of the fractions.

Another way to help students understand common denominators is to use visual aids. For example, you could draw a fraction diagram on the board or use a projector to show students a fraction model. You could also use fraction circles or other manipulatives to help students visualize the concept.

It is also important to be patient and supportive with students who are struggling with common denominators. It may take them some time to master the concept. However, with practice and support, all students can learn to find common denominators and succeed in math.

Here are some additional tips for helping students to understand the lesson:

Break down the lesson into smaller chunks. If the lesson is complex, break it down into smaller chunks that are easier for students to manage. For example, you could teach one part of the lesson in the morning and the other part of the lesson in the afternoon.
Provide frequent breaks. It is important to give students frequent breaks, especially if they are struggling with the lesson. This will help them to stay focused and engaged.
Encourage students to ask questions. Let students know that it is okay to ask questions if they are struggling. This will help them to get the clarification they need to succeed.
Provide extra support to students who need it. If you have students who are struggling with the lesson, provide them with extra support. This could involve working with them one-on-one, providing them with additional resources, or giving them more time to complete assignments.
Remember, it is important to be flexible and adaptable. If you see that students are struggling, adjust your lesson plan as needed. The most important thing is to help students learn and succeed.

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None of these examples include what my students are interested in.

4. Start a New Conversation

Since Bard remembers the context of the conversation you are having and this influences new questions it is important to start a new chat for a new topic.

5. Use the Old Chat

As previously mentioned, I invest in teaching Bard about my style of teaching and my pedagogy knowledge in a conversation. It makes sense that I would want to have a chat just for lesson planning so that new lesson plan suggestions are influenced by past lessons and styles.

In the same conversation on Bard "I am now teaching students about mixed fractions. Create a lesson they would like. "

Bard saves the chat list on the left hand side. Go back to the list to continue the conversation even weeks later.

6. Take it to Google Docs

Google Bard works with Google Docs and Sheets. Use the share icon to “Export to Docs.” If Bard provided a table, you will have the option within the response to export to Google Sheets.

Screenshot of share icon indicating to export to Docs.

Google Duet AI in Google Workspace

Here is “Yet.” You may not have this yet but soon this is how we will get work done. When I start a new Google Doc there is an icon to “Help me write.” This allows me to quickly create classroom resources.

Modify the Google Bard Export

Within the Google Doc export Workspace Labs allows you to modify the content more specifically.

Insert paragraphs of additional content or highlight current content to modify.

Screenshot of Google Workspace labs to help me write with Tone, summarize, Bulletize, Elaborate, Shorten, or Rephrase.

7. Add a Rubric or Assessment

Within the Google Doc use “Help me write” to add an assessment or rubric to the bottom of the document. If you don’t have Workspace Labs this can also be accomplished in Google Bard and copied and pasted.

Create a rubric for assessing student work on Mixed Fractions

8. Give Students Specific Feedback

Highlighting student responses in a Google Doc and using “Help me Write” ask to provide the student with specific supports on their misconceptions.

Provide feedback on why this is not a mixed fraction. Help the student to better understand the concept.

Google Bard for Educators

Taking the time to become familiar with the capabilities of Google Bard will help educators to save time, create differentiated lessons, incorporate student interests, write assessments, and provide feedback.

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