With AI tools becoming increasingly accessible and advanced, many teachers are worried about how to catch cheaters. Less attention, however, is paid to how teachers themselves can use AI tools to streamline lesson planning, generate classroom materials and personalize instruction. “With some of these tasks that we can use AI for, one would hope it would help alleviate some of the burnout teachers feel,” said Allison Bacon, the instructional technology coordinator at Ossining Union Free School District in New York. “We don’t need to be so perfect. [We can] use a tool that’ll pick up the things that we know how to do, but we don’t have the time.” She joked about how AI tools are like a personal assistant. “I’m looking at it as a tool to do my legwork,” said Bacon.
Bacon cautioned that the companies that create AI tools may not be attuned to student privacy laws like FERPA or COPPA, so teachers should reach out to decision makers in their school district to ensure they are following guidelines around third-party services and privacy. Once teachers get the green light, there’s a lot to explore. Bacon identified eight free AI-powered tools that educators can experiment with to bring innovation and efficiency to their classrooms.
Enhance assessments with Conker AI and Question Well
Conker AI is a system designed to help educators create an assessment or assignment based on an input, such as a reading or specific topic. Educators can choose what types of questions they want in the assessment, including read-and-response, multiple-choice, and drag-and-drop questions. Conker AI also provides the option to convert quizzes into Google Forms for automatic grading. “It gives you that framework that you start with. And then a teacher can go in and really make the modifications and make it specific to the students in front of them,” said Bacon.
Similarly, QuestionWell is an AI-driven platform that analyzes learning objectives and generates high-quality assessment questions in various languages. These tools could save teachers time while ensuring well-structured assessments.
Personalize learning with ChatGPT and Brisk
ChatGPT is an AI-driven language model, meaning it generates human-like writing. “I think the first thing that people are getting wrong is that it is just a tool for cheating,” said Bacon, who believes ChatGPT has more to offer. For example, teachers have prompted students to use ChatGPT to generate project ideas, build critical thinking skills and check their work.
Bacon, who previously was an English teacher, said these tools can also help teachers provide students with different examples and scaffolds. For example, if students are doing a unit on introductions, a teacher might provide examples of what a developing, grade level, and exceeding grade level introduction might look like. Instead of a teacher having to write all of the examples, the examples can be generated by ChatGPT.
Another option is Brisk, a Google Chrome extension that adapts articles and other resources for students at different proficiency levels. “You can go to a news article and it’ll tell you the reading level and then you can say, ‘Can you give it to me like an 11th grade New York Times article?’ Or ‘can you give it to me at the sixth grade level in Spanish?'” said Bacon. Brisk will also come up with questions based on the resources so it can be used to make multiple choice quizzes too.
Simplify lesson planning with Twee and Curipod
Twee is designed to help English teachers lesson plan. Educators can input a YouTube video link and Twee will provide questions about the video content to build students’ listening comprehension skills. Bacon suggested that teachers use Twee during interactive, whole-class activities with students. As an example, a teacher could present a video to the class and prompt students with the questions generated by Twee for classroom discussion. For students who struggle with listening comprehension skills, teachers can use Twee to generate transcripts for videos and work with small groups of students who need extra support.
Twee can also make writing prompts, multiple choice questions and fill-in-the blank exercises based on a specific topic for any learning level. Bacon explained that if the class is reading a book, Twee can offer recommendations for book-related activities, including vocabulary exercises, discussion prompts and supplementary readings.
Curipod uses AI to simplify administrative tasks like creating course materials, schedules and assignments. Bacon recalled how different things are from when she started teaching nearly two decades ago. “We operated on paper. We would write things on chalkboards,” said Bacon. In today’s digital age, handwritten lesson plans have become less efficient. Curipod can save time by creating slide decks that teachers can customize as needed, whether it’s at the beginning of a new school year or mid-year to cater to evolving needs in the classroom. Additionally, Curipod will prompt teachers while they are creating slides to add interactive games like the ones found on the popular quiz platform Kahoot. Similar to interactive presentation platforms like Peardeck and Nearpod, Curipod offers ways for students to interact individually with the slides their teacher makes.
Refine student writing skills with Pressto
Pressto is an AI-powered writing assistant. It’s different from language-focused AIs like ChatGPT in that it provides real-time feedback on grammar, style and clarity, helping students enhance their essays, reports and assignments. Pressto not only corrects errors but also explains the reasoning behind suggested changes. Bacon suggested that teachers project their screen while doing a writing demonstration and read the suggestions from Pressto so instruction is embedded. Bacon also noted that Pressto was willing to sign Education Law 2-D paperwork, which would make them compliant with New York’s student data privacy laws.
While all of the AI tools Bacon recommended are free, she notes that these products may start to charge for use. New AI products are always coming out, however, so it’s likely that teachers can find a few that fit their needs. Bacon frequently scans Facebook and TikTok for groups and resources about new tools. “Things are coming out so fast, it is hard to keep up,” wrote Bacon in an email. She linked to yet another tool she recently discovered called Magic School AI and described it as an exciting blend of all of the other products she recommended.