Recently, I decided to experiment with an AI lesson plan builder, and I must say, the experience left much to be desired. The result? A bland, uninspiring math lesson was definitely not worth they hype of what I’ve seen on social media. It was a stark reminder that while AI has its place in education, it’s not a magic bullet. As a passionate advocate for meaningful and engaging lesson planning, this experience reinforced my belief that technology should augment, not replace, our skills and insights as educators. Let’s talk about how we should approach AI in lesson planning.
A Poorly Done AI Lesson Plan
I would expect that a website that touts itself specifically as an AI tool for teachers would have pre-trained the AI model to know what makes an engaging lesson plan. Shouldn’t it have a built in teacher prep program that it is trained on?
This lesson is boring and not student centered.
I continued to argue with the lesson plan generator only to be further disappointed. View the Google Doc for the response to the lesson being boring.
One of the challenges of lesson planning is there are SO MANY things to consider. It is exhausting to really think about all the different considerations when designing a high quality lesson plan. AI SHOULD be able to help us when designing lessons to get us started with these complex elements.
AI Lesson Planning Can Be Helpful
I have been having a lot of success with using ChatGPT and Google Bard to help me design creative and engaging lessons.
The trick with creating lesson plans using generative AI is to first front load the conversation with your goals and what you know from your training as a teacher.
Argue with Generative AI
Remember, generative AI is conversation. If your experience and teacher training tells you that the lesson plan is missing something, respond back and demand it is included.
I Asked ChatGPT What I would Expect in an AI Lesson Plan
Alice Keeler, known for her expertise in educational technology and innovative teaching practices, might have a nuanced view on AI-generated lesson plans. While she might appreciate the efficiency and the ability to personalize learning that AI brings, Keeler could also emphasize the importance of human insight, creativity, and the emotional connection that teachers bring to lesson planning. She might suggest that while AI can be a useful tool, it should not replace the teacher’s critical role in understanding and responding to the unique needs and interests of their students. Additionally, Keeler might advocate for a balanced approach where AI is used to enhance and support the educational experience, rather than dictate it.
AI Lesson Plan for 7th Grade
I created this lesson with the HELP of an AI lesson plan. Starting with the standard and the idea that I wanted to incorporate a baby shower game to teach the lesson. Without question this lesson was more creative and better than if I had not used AI to help me lesson plan.
This lesson was one of my most engaging lessons of all time.
AI Lesson Plans: A Tool, Not a Crutch
AI can be a fantastic tool for saving time and aiding in certain aspects of lesson planning. However, it should be just that – a tool. We cannot afford to lose the human element in education, which is vital for creating lessons that are not just informative, but also inspiring.
Beware the Trap of Convenience
The allure of convenience is strong. AI can quickly generate multiple-choice quizzes or standard-format lessons, but this is hardly what we strive for in education. Our goal is to ignite curiosity and foster critical thinking, not just to churn out rote learning materials. We must resist the temptation to substitute quality with quick fixes.
What Makes a Good Lesson?
A good lesson is one that is student-centered, engaging, and tailored to the unique needs and interests of our students.A good lesson is more than just content delivery; it’s about inspiring a love for learning. Creative Thinking, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Communicating Ideas.
If it is a math lesson, it should incorporate the 8 mathematical practices, encouraging students to think critically and creatively.
The future of education isn’t in the hands of robots or AI; it lies in humanizing our approach. We must blend our expertise, understanding of our students, and technology to create an environment where learning is a joyous, meaningful journey. A fake statistic is 90% of teaching memes are about building relationships with students. Our knowledge of our students should influence the lesson plans.
A good lesson plan incorporates student interests, current events, and realizes student engagement is hard; effort is put in to engage the students on the roster not generic “students” envisioned by AI or a textbook company.
Using AI with Caution and Creativity
AI can assist in gathering resources, providing data-driven insights, or offering templates for structuring lessons. But it’s up to us, the educators, to infuse these tools with creativity, context, and a deep understanding of our students’ needs. We should use AI to enhance our lessons, not define them.
I would expect that a service designed for teachers to make lesson plans would have BUILT INTO the prompts for engagement. That it would ask me things about my students in my profile to personalize the lessons.
Recall is For Robots
The worst use of AI technology possible is to quickly make multiple choice quizzes.
The future is not competing with robots!! What you do not use your forget. If you do not apply it regularly, you forget. What you cram to “learn” for the purpose of passing a test, you forget. In an age when information is a Google search or AI query away… the value of every student in the class recalling a fact and putting it on a line or typing it into a digital quiz is less.
Guard Your Dollars
What is easy to code and fast to crank out to capture your hard earned dollars is a multiple choice quiz. Oh and to make it extra cool… it will export to Google Forms for you. Pass.
I would not call that magic. It is just convenient.
What Is Worth Paying For
In my opinion, AI has the opportunity to transform what is possible. Doing the same old same old faster is not the best use of the technology.
Depth of Knowledge (DOK)
DOK is a scale of how much critical thinking the students are doing. DOK levels are challenging to determine because you can not, contrary to popular belief, refer to a wheel of verbs. It is about the amount of complex reasoning the student is engaged in.
AI Stinks At DOK Questions
I have found, so far, that generative AI is very good at DOK 1 questions. It is also great at creating questions where you might respond “who cares.”
The Danger of AI DOK Questions
I fear that tools that magically create DOK questions for you will be given authority. The AI is not the expert on DOK questioning.
From the example to the right, it appears some questions were created by slapping in some verbs from the verb chart rather than designing high quality critical thinking questions. How lazy to simply append “create a real world scenario” in front of whatever the students are learning.
From the AI Tool
🤖 DOK Level 1 – Recall
- What is the definition of additive inverses?
- List two situations in which opposite quantities combine to make 0.
- Identify a number and its additive inverse that have a sum of 0.
👷🏼 DOK Level 2 – Skill/Concept
- Graph the points (-5, 5) and (5, -5) on a coordinate plane. What can you conclude about their relationship?
- Compare and contrast the concepts of zero-pairs and additive inverses.
- Estimate the sum of -9 and its additive inverse.
👾 DOK Level 3 – Strategic Thinking
- Investigate various real-life situations where opposite quantities combine to make 0. Provide examples to support your findings.
- Formulate a general rule or property for the sum of a number and its additive inverse.
- Draw conclusions about the significance of additive inverses in algebraic expressions.
🌎 DOK Level 4 – Extended Thinking
- Analyze a complex mathematical problem involving additive inverses and propose a solution strategy.
- Critique the statement: “Any two numbers will always have a sum of 0 if they are additive inverses.”
- Create a real-world scenario where the concept of additive inverses is applicable and explain its significance.
In Summary: I was Grossly Disappointed
I was hoping to be able to magically create an AI lesson plan and materials. The tool I tried out fell far short of my expectations for what students deserve in a lesson plan and classroom materials. It was only one test, but it failed so badly I would confidently say that robots have not replaced great teachers, yet.