ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool driven by artificial intelligence (AI) technology that allows you to have human-like conversations and much more with a chatbot. The language model can answer questions, and help you with tasks such as composing emails, essays, and code.

ChatGPT takes online writing tools such as QuillBot to the next level—or the next few levels—by leveraging the knowledge stored on the internet to respond to queries and requests.

ChatGPT is designed to simulate human-like responses to text-based communication.

It is built on an architecture that mimics the human brain called the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) model. The GPT architecture allows ChatGPT to generate natural language text that is highly coherent and contextually appropriate.

ChatGPT uses a large database of written text, such as books, articles, and websites, that it has been pre-trained on. When a user inputs a message or question, ChatGPT uses this pre-trained knowledge to generate a response that it believes best answers the question or provides a relevant response to the message.

See some additional resources below and in the ChatGPT Gabfest summary.

Other Generative AI tools you might be using

Eduaide.AI – specifically for teachers
Perplexity – ChatBot and search engine
Anthropic Claude – an AI workplace assistant
Bing Chat (Microsoft chat bot and search)
ChatPDF
Google AutoDraw
Google Duet AI – for people with access to a Google Workspace account
GrammarlyGO
Microsoft Designer
Microsoft Copilot
Quizlet Q-Chat
Google Gemini

And the controversial AI image generators:

DALL-E 2
Midjourney
Canva: Text to Image or Magic Edit
Padlet: I Can’t Draw
Adobe Firefly

Resources for learning about teaching and learning with ChatBots and Generative AI

from the Ed Tech Centre @ World Education

Open Prompt Book from CampGPT at the Ed Tech Centre @ World Education: a resource for and by adult educators about how they use AI mostly as a brainstorming tool. As they report, “Over and over again in CampGPT, educators describe the use of chatbots as a great “starting point.” In fact, some find that using these tools is most effective for generating ideas rather than ready-to-use materials.” Here is a description of the Open Prompt Book: “In CampGPT, educators experimented with generative AI-enabled tools like chatbots and image generators to learn and explore together. Their work and insights have been compiled in the Open Prompt Book from CampGPT. Throughout this prompt book, you’ll learn more about generative AI, what educators use it for, and key tips and tricks.”

AI for Learning and Work from the Ed Tech Centre @ World Education: You can find the recordings of the four Generative AI EdTech Bytes that cover the applications and implications of generative AI for education (YouTube Playlist) plus a series of blog posts about the use of ChatGPT and AI in education.

ChatGPT: Leveraging AI to Support Personalized Teaching and Learning in the June 2023 Adult Literacy Education Journal by Sarah Cacicio and Rachel Riggs: a a resource for teachers/instructors with ideas for how to use ChatGPT for learning in an adult literacy setting.

from Contact North

My Digital Companion: Making Sense of ChatGPT from Contact North: a resource for students/learners to help them use ChatGPT safely, ethically and creatively for learning.

Leveraging ChatGPT Instead of Banning from Contact North: a resource for teachers/instructors with ideas for how to use ChatGPT for learning in a college setting.

10 Practical Ways Faculty and Instructors Can Use AI from Contact North

Contact North has a series of recorded webinars on the use of AI in education.

from Control Alt Achieve

Super Tutor: AI to Support all Learners from Control Alt Achieve: a 1-hour training video that explores both AI tools (ChatGPT, Google Bard – not currently available in Canada, Diffit, Eduaide, MagicSchoolAI, Brisk, Goblin Tools…) and practical uses (reading, writing, tutoring…) to help support learners. All the resources used in the video are included in a list on the page.

from EdTech Teacher

EdTech Teacher Chat GPT Tips by Tom Daccord: a resource for teachers/instructors with ideas for how to use ChatGPT for learning in a K-12 setting.

from Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence (CATE) at the University of Illinois

AI Writing Tools by Erin Stapleton-Corcoran, CATE Instructional Designer and Patrick Horton, CATE Instructional Designer (2023)

from Open AI

Teaching with AI: Stories of how educators are using ChatGPT and some prompts to help educators get started with the tool.

As this is an evolving technology, we’ve been updating this page with resources and things we have been learning about ChatGPT and other generative AI tools.

A note on terminology

  • Generative AI is artificial intelligence capable of generating text, images, or other media – like ChatGPT and the tools listed below. Generative AI grew out of a field of AI study and practice called machine learning.
  • Machine learning is a type of AI that uses algorithms trained on data sets to create models that enable machines to perform tasks that would otherwise only be possible for humans. When we put a bunch of these algorithms together in a way that allows them to generate new data based on what they’ve learned, we get a model or an engine tuned to generate a particular type of data. The engine that powers Chat GPT is a large language model.
  • Large language models are a type of AI algorithm that use deep learning techniques and large data sets to understand, summarize, generate and predict new content.

People often use the term AI to mean all of these things, one of these things, or something altogether different.

Some guides:

Games and tutorials that demonstrate how generative AI models are built from data

  • Akinator is a game that shows the questions machines ask to narrow down choices to pinpoint what a searcher is looking for. Think of a character (real or fictional), an animal or an object and answer the questions Akinator asks until it discovers what you are thinking of or gives up. The program sifts through all the data it contains after each response creating narrower and narrower categories until it can come up with a single guess. These are called decision trees.
  • To learn more about how data is used to train models, check out Slice of Machine Learning — an interactive tutorial that teaches you how to build a machine learning classification model using a decision tree where you can try to train a computer to identify pizza.
  • Quick Draw is a game that shows how AI learns to identify objects. Click Let’s play and try to draw the picture you are asked to draw. The program will try to guess what you are drawing as you go. Once you are finished playing, you are invited to see the ways other creators drew the items and how the program figured out – or didn’t – what you were drawing. You can see the complete data set it is using to make the guesses here: The world’s largest doodling data set. This is how we all contribute to to the AI datasets. We create things, put them on the internet, and programs are sent out to scrape our creations for the data they will use to create the next thing.

How to write prompts for ChatBots and Generative AI

Open Prompt Book from CampGPT at the Ed Tech Centre @ World Education: a resource for and by adult educators about how they use AI mostly as a brainstorming tool. As they report, “Over and over again in CampGPT, educators describe the use of chatbots as a great “starting point.” In fact, some find that using these tools is most effective for generating ideas rather than ready-to-use materials.” Here is a description of the Open Prompt Book: “In CampGPT, educators experimented with generative AI-enabled tools like chatbots and image generators to learn and explore together. Their work and insights have been compiled in the Open Prompt Book from CampGPT. Throughout this prompt book, you’ll learn more about generative AI, what educators use it for, and key tips and tricks.”

AI 101 for Teachers – Large Language Model Prompting Guide (slide deck)

ChatGPT Prompts for Teachers: Unlocking the Potential of AI in Education from LearnPrompt.org

GenAI Chatbot Prompt Library for Educators from AI for Education

The Ultimate Prompt Engineering Guide for Text Generation – This site offers a spreadsheet of several hundred prompt examples.

The Prompt Index – a community of prompt engineers is developing an AI prompt database full of prompts for ChatGPT, Bard, Claude 2, Llama, Midjourney, Dalle and Stable Diffusion!

Updates on Generative AI and the use of copyrighted content

Artists are asking for an ethical AI that respects the three Cs: consent, control and compensation. We are all content creators in the age of AI.

Art and AI Regulation : Implications for arts and culture by Valentine Godard (September 2023)

Recommendations that have been submitted to the Quebec Innovation Council, and to the AI Advisory Council of Canada’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

‘Impossible’ to create AI tools like ChatGPT without copyrighted material, OpenAI says by Dan Milmo at The Guardian (January 2024)

AI companies’ defence of using copyrighted material tends to lean on the legal doctrine of ‘fair use’, which allows use of content in certain circumstances without seeking the owner’s permission. In its submission, OpenAI said it believed that ‘legally, copyright law does not forbid training’.

‘New York Times’ sues ChatGPT creator OpenAI, Microsoft, for copyright infringement by Bobby Allyn at National Public Radio (December 2023)

The ‘Times’ is the first major media organization to drag OpenAI to court over the thorny and still-unresolved question of whether artificial intelligence companies broke intellectual property law by training AI models with copyrighted material.

Courts have said fair use of a copyrighted work must generate something new that is “transformative,” or comments on or refers back to an original work — something the Times argues does not apply to how OpenAI reproduces the paper’s original reporting.

‘There is nothing ‘transformative’ about using The Times’s content without payment to create products that substitute for The Times and steal audiences away from it,’ Times lawyers wrote in the suit on Wednesday.

OpenAI offers to pay for ChatGPT customers’ copyright lawsuits by Blake Montgomery at The Guardian (November 2023)

The compensation offer, which OpenAI is calling Copyright Shield, applies to users of the business tier, ChatGPT Enterprise, and to developers using ChatGPT’s application programming interface. Users of the free version of ChatGPT or ChatGPT+ were not included.

Updates on AI bias and ethics

Updates on the bias risks of AI

Some people say that using an LLM – large language model – like ChatGPT is like using a calculator but calculators do not show us content that is racist, sexist or homophobic. We can work on our critical thinking skills to adapt to a AI world but what is the benefit of being exposed to this type of content?

These Women Tried to Warn Us About AI by Lorena O’Neil at Rolling Stone Magazine (August 2023)

Researchers — including many women of color — have been saying for years that these systems interact differently with people of color and that the societal effects could be disastrous: that they’re a fun-house-style distorted mirror magnifying biases and stripping out the context from which their information comes; that they’re tested on those without the choice to opt out; and will wipe out the jobs of some marginalized communities.”

What ChatGPT Tells Us about Gender: A Cautionary Tale about Performativity and Gender Biases in AI by Nicole Gross (June 2023)

This paper’s central argument is that large language models work performatively, which means that they perpetuate and perhaps even amplify old and non-inclusive understandings of gender. Examples from ChatGPT are used here to illustrate some gender biases in AI. However, this paper also puts forward that AI can work to mitigate biases and act to ‘undo gender’.”

The Pear, You & AI by Valentine Godard

The Pear, You and AI is a women-led collaborative annotation initiative, designed as part of a larger project on Algorithmic Art to Counter Gender Bias in AI. In this initial phase, we are undergoing data collection based on your words and perceptions associated with words like women, beauty, imperfection.

A People’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence by Mimi Onuoha and Diana Nucera a.k.a. Mother Cyborg via Allied Media Projects (PDF)

  1. What does fairness look like when computers shape decision-making?
  2. Who is creating the future, and how can we ensure that these creators reflect diverse communities and complex social dynamics?

This zine, published in August 2018, explores these questions through a series of explanatory text and whimsically illustrated pages that takes the reader on a journey that demystifies the often opaque world of artificial intelligence.

5 Ethical Implications of AI in Education: A Guideline for Responsible Classroom Implementation
by Luis Pardo (June 2023)

A responsible AI implementation in a school context begins with careful planning and consideration of all stakeholders’ needs. This involves ensuring that AI tools are accessible and designed to accommodate diverse learning needs, including those of students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Schools must ensure all students have access to the necessary technology to prevent the widening of the digital divide. The AI tools should be trained on diverse data sets to minimize algorithmic bias and should be designed to offer personalized learning experiences, considering each student’s unique learning pace and style.”

The Artificial Intelligence & Equality Initiative from the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

The Artificial Intelligence & Equality Initiative (AIEI) is an innovative impact-oriented community of practice seeking to understand the innumerable ways in which AI impacts equality for better or worse. We work to empower ethics in AI so that it is deployed in a just, responsible, and inclusive manner.”

AI and education: guidance for policy-makers from UNESCO (2021)

“…while AI might have the potential to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, the rapid technological developments inevitably bring multiple risks and challenges, which have so far outpaced policy debates and regulatory frameworks. And, while the main worries might involve AI overpowering human agency, more imminent concerns involve AI’s social and ethical implications – such as the misuse of personal data and the possibility that AI might actually exacerbate rather than reduce existing inequalities.”

Updates on the uptake of AI in Canada

Update on the use of AI by Canadian students and employees

One in five Canadians using generative artificial intelligence tools from KPMG (June 2023)

A survey of 5,140 Canadians found 1,052 (20 per cent) have used generative AI to help them do their jobs or schooling. The most common uses include research, generating ideas, writing essays and creating presentations. Respondents say the use of the technology has enhanced productivity and quality, created revenue and increased grades but, in the process, they are engaging in behaviour that could create risks for their employers.”

Updates on the use of AI by Canadian businesses

More than one third of Canadian businesses experimenting with ChatGPT from KPMG (April 2023)

A majority of Canadian businesses are aware of the risks of having poor quality data, with more than half (54 per cent) admitting they are very concerned their organization might be making decisions based on poorly designed AI algorithms, and yet only 44 per cent regularly retaining independent third-party experts to vet or assess their AI algorithms for errors and bias.”

Automation Nation? AI Adoption in Canadian Businesses from The Dais at the Toronto Metropolitan University (September 2023)

In all businesses with five or more employees, as of the end of 2021, only 3.7 percent of firms say they had adopted artificial intelligence in any way.”

Canada’s AI imperative – From predictions to prosperity from Deloitte (November 2018)

Press release: AI adoption among Canadian businesses stagnant: Only 16 per cent of companies use AI, which remains unchanged since 2014 – Deloitte report finds Canadian consumers and businesses don’t understand or trust AI

Truthfully, there are still many unknowns about general AI’s potential and humanity’s ability to grasp it. But regardless of whether we ever reach the point of general AI, there’s still a clear imperative for a country and its businesses to invest in AI technologies, and to shape the economic and social conditions required to foster their uptake.”

Explainer videos from CommonCraft

The CommonCraft library of videos is designed to help us introduce and explain complex subjects in about three minutes. Most come with a transcript and lesson plan. Close captioning is available.

Find the transcript for this video here: Generative AI explained by Common Craft
Download a lesson plan

Find the transcript for this video here: Large Language Models (LLMs) AI explained by Common Craft
Download a lesson plan

The SAMR model was developed in 2010 by education researcher Ruben Puentedura and lays out four tiers of online learning, presented roughly in order of their transformative power.

SAMR is a reflection tool that can help educators think about how digital technology integration is supporting learning in specific blended learning lessons and activities.

The SAMR model gives educators a common way of communicating about technology integration. The SAMR framework can help us talk about the ways we are using technology, assess technologies to see how they will fit our context and help us plan future uses.

SAMR helps us ask and answer questions about what teachers and learners will gain from the technology before implementing it.

SAMR should not be regarded as a mountain to climb. Good technology integration isn’t about living at the top of the SAMR model; it’s about being aware of the range of options and picking the right strategy—or strategies—for each context and learning outcome.

Dr. Puentedura proposed that curriculum becomes more learner-centred and activities become more learner-driven as we move from substitution to redefinition but, teachers have to consider the capacity of the program to support inventive uses of technology and the capacity of learners to use technology in inventive ways.

When planning the integration of digital technology into activities, lessons and curriculum, teachers often start with substitution and modification. As teachers and learners become comfortable in a technologically enhanced learning environment, the last two levels of the SAMR model—modification and redefinition—can be added to the mix.

We can use digital technology to support learner agency as they make choices over how, when and where to learn. As they expand their power over their own learning, learners will enhance their ability to make choices over the what and the why. Facilitators leverage digital technology and online learning to give learners flexibility over the rate and pace at which they learn.

Digitally-enhanced and online learning spaces provide learners with opportunities to make decisions about how to learn or how to demonstrate learning. Empowering learner voice and choice over what materials they access or how they complete assessments can increase learner autonomy in a way that is manageable for learners.

Digitally enhanced and online learning means learning can happen anywhere and at any time. Facilitators and learners can be in the same bricks-and-mortar spaces or at a distance from each other. Having access to online learning materials, especially environments that provide feedback, provides learners with choice over when to learn.

We can provide choice in simple ways by allowing learners agency over the pace, time and place of learning. We can create a doc with links, a full HyperDoc or something in between—depending on the needs of the learners and our own capacity for prep time—that gives learners agency over a learning pathway.

Being creative and finding engaging options for learners to explore and develop their own “personal sense of wonder” while learning inspires teachers and learners alike.

A HyperDoc is a digital document—such as a Google Doc—where all components of a learning cycle have been pulled together into one central hub. Within a single document, students are provided with hyperlinks to all of the resources they need to complete that learning cycle.

The Basic HyperDoc Lesson Plan Template from HyperDocs Templates for Getting Started nicely illustrates how a lesson cycle can be incorporated into a hyperdoc.

To help practitioners who are exploring the use of HyperDocs to enhance learner agency, AlphaPlus has a created a website dedicated to the creation and use of HyperDocs in adult literacy where you will find tips and examples.

“We are essentially social beings. We live in societies, of course; but more fundamentally perhaps, it is our participation in social communities and cultural practices that provides the very materials out of which we construct who we are, give meaning to what we do, and understand what we know.”

— Etienne Wenger, Communities of practice: where learning happens, Benchmark Magazine, Fall Issue 1991

We created this resource with the Silver Linings Café participants in June 2020. We updated it in October 2022.

The Silver Linings Café was an Metro Toronto Movement for Literacy initiative that AlphaPlus was invited to participate in.

This resource includes ideas from the Silver Linings Café instructors for how to engage learners and build community in video conferences (Zoom) during the pivot to remote learning during the COVID-19 lock down period. We were all getting used to working in this new environment and came together to share ideas, support each other and figure out how to support learners and learning.

Building Community in Remote Learning Environmentsarrow right

Synchronous Learning

Synchronous learning is where learner(s) and facilitators(s) meet in the same place, at the same time, so learning can take place. This can happen in bricks—and-mortar classrooms or online meetings. Synchronous learning may include a whole class, smaller groups or one-to-one instruction.

In synchronous learning, learners usually go through a learning path together, accompanied by a facilitator who can provide support while learners are completing tasks and activities.

Examples of synchronous learning tools:

  • Phone, Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams…

Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning is a teaching method where learners use their agency and autonomy differently and is widely used in online learning. Its basic premise is that learning can occur in different times and spaces particular to each learner.

In asynchronous learning, facilitators usually set up a learning path which students engage with at their own pace.

Examples of synchronous learning tools:

Email, What’s App, Google Drive, Google Sites, Learning Management Systems such as Canvas, BrightSpace or Moodle…

Reference: Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Learning: A Quick Overview by Maria Ocando Finol

What are some ways to empower learners with choice?

We can make sure learners have agency over the elements of learning such as

Using hyperdocs as part of a blended learning approach can enhance these opportunities.

Choice Boards are a type of hyperdoc where activities are organized in a grid, often like a tic-tac-toe board or a bingo board. Learners make choices about what activities they do and mark them on the grid as they finish.

In Educator Network (eNet) and Planning Your Digital Toolbox, participants learn about choice boards using this choice board. Join us or try it out on your own.

Some samples that eNet participants found:

And here is a collection of Choice Board templates from SlidesMania shared with us by Lindy Hockenbary from EDTech Teacher:

If you’d like to learn more about Choice Boards, contact Tracey or sign up for Educator Network (eNet) or Planning Your Digital Toolbox.

P.S. Here is an amazing collaboration non-hyperdoc choice board I saw from @modernclassproj on Twitter.

Collaboration and self-pacing? Totally possible in a Modern Classroom! Kim Myers Manning shared with our Facebook group how she sets up her whiteboard to facilitate both.

Blended learning is an approach where educators leverage technology and digital access for learners to create, communicate, collaborate and apply critical thinking skills to construct knowledge in a connected world.

Blended learning is a foundation of AlphaPlus services for instructors and program planners.

Through eNet, technology coaching, workshops and tech support services, AlphaPlus helps literacy educators employ blended learning methodologies.

What does AlphaPlus mean by blended learning?

Our position is that blended learning in adult education is not only about the use of tools and resources. Instead, it’s a way to think about program and curriculum development, including learning design and delivery.

Why do we take this position?

Using digital technology isn’t just learning how to operate digital devices and navigate the internet. These are important skills that enable participation in a digitally connected world, but a curriculum that focuses only on these operational tasks doesn’t meet learners where they’re at and doesn’t meet the changing needs of people learning, working and engaging in 21st-century life.

Join the discussion

We believe that the discussion about blended learning in adult education needs to extend to the realities of adult basic-education programs that operate in an individualized educational context as well as those that are course-based and use a fixed curriculum.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas

Read the full paper to learn more about the principles and benefits of blended learning in adult literacy programs as well as our recommendations for program development and why AlphaPlus supports people-first strategies.

Read an online version and more about AlphaPlus and blended learning here: The Blended Learning Collection.

The full paper is available in American Sign Language.

As Ontario’s only organization focused on helping adult literacy education professionals to incorporate digital technology, we recognize the need for a more comprehensive and coordinated approach—an approach that respects individual program, sector and cultural differences and also provides a system-wide foundation.

Based on extensive review, consultation and our first-hand experience working with programs, we have identified these eight strategies to build a more equitable and inclusive LBS system that can provide learners with lifelong and lifewide digital instruction opportunities. We have taken a comprehensive approach, recognizing how elements within the LBS system interact and create conditions that both suppress and support digital literacy and technology integration.

The report contains details of each strategy along with examples of possible changes. We also frame the strategies with a research informed rationale focused on broader digital inequities.

  1. Collaborating to ensure affordable data and devices for all learners.  
  2. Developing an integrated and informative learning framework.  
  3. Developing a blended learning approach and various models.     
  4. Sharing diverse knowledge and innovation.  
  5. Making sustainable investments in e-learning infrastructure.
  6. Building people’s capacity for technology integration.
  7. Designing responsive and equitable services, data collection and reporting.
  8. Choosing performance measures (success indicators) that work for everyone.  

The strategies are not definitive and are a starting point for discussions that we plan to have this year with stakeholders inside and outside the LBS system.    

AlphaPlus curated a collection of shareable, free and high-quality learning materials that adult literacy educators can use to enhance their personal and program collections. 

Learning materials

The collection is divided into five sections for learners working at Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF) Levels 1 and 2:

  1. Reading texts
  2. Practice tasks and writing
  3. Numeracy and mathematics 
  4. Professional learning and how-to guides
  5. Creating, modifying and analyzing your own materials

Shareable

We looked for materials that could be copied, printed or posted in online and offline environments. This means you can add materials to a website or learning management platform, attach them to an email or share them with learners in Google Drive. They can also be printed. In addition, some materials are templates or permit adaptations, allowing you to build and modify materials for your own use. Copyright information and Creative Commons licensing details are included for all materials.

Download a PDF version below or click here to open the collection in your Google Drive.