How Can AI Help Teachers With Lesson Planning?

There’s been little option but for teachers to adapt their teaching practices in the wake of technology’s ever-growing assimilation into the classroom environment — and with the emergence and rapid evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the last few years, those traditional teaching methods are likely to be the subject of yet more change.

While there might be plenty of questions to answer when it comes to students using AI platforms for help with coursework and essay writing; for teachers, there are clear benefits to adopting new technologies to help with administrative tasks and lesson planning in order to ease the burden of workload.

Sure enough, according to a recent article in the Guardian, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has already begun enrolling secondary schools into a new research project that explores the use of AI to create lesson plans, teaching resources, and exam material.  In the words of education secretary, Gillian Keegan, the aim of the project is to help shoulder some of the ‘heavy lifting’ of teacher workload outside of the classroom. 

From some corners of the education sector there will, of course, be some natural scepticism when it comes to adopting AI into traditional teaching. From the potential cyber security risk of using language learning models to the fear of this new technology replacing teachers themselves, there exist genuine concerns, and it’s certainly not something that should be integrated without establishing clear guidelines and parameters for use. But, if technology can help improve the quality of teaching, surely the primary goal of all stakeholders, by saving precious time and resources, then AI can certainly be a valuable tool.  

teacher planning a lesson

Tackling unnecessary teacher workloads

While there is already plenty of expectation surrounding AI’s ability to improve lesson planning for teachers—as yet, with the technology being so relatively new, the long-term impact isn’t easy to predict.

Nevertheless, the Department of Education has begun looking into the ways in which AI can be used to reduce teacher workload; with suggestions of virtual assistants to help draft curriculum plans, create schedules, manage attendance records, grade tests, and produce high-quality teaching resources —any field in which tasks automation might prove beneficial.  The launch of the Workload Reduction Taskforce in December 2023 outlined the government’s plans to meet the challenges faced by educators, with artificial intelligence at the heart of an initiative that looks to reduce working hours for teachers by five hours per week within three years. 

We want to make sure that teaching is an attractive career choice, which is why we’re committed to tackling unnecessary workload for teachers and leaders,” was the DoE’s opening mission statement. 

technology used to create presentations in schools

Using artificial intelligence to create lesson plans

Despite being in the early stages of artificial intelligence adoption in schools, teachers are already taking advantage of the range of software available to tackle those often time-consuming tasks that can swallow up hundreds of hours over the course of a year. 

Language learning models (LLM) such as ChatGPT and Google Gemini can create comprehensive lesson plans and course content in a matter of seconds with the right prompts, offering the user focused instruction, and even has the ability to grade students’ work. Meanwhile, applications such as SlidesAI, which can be integrated with Google Workspace, can rapidly produce engaging slides and presentation material for lessons. Using written prompts, the AI model can generate any number of visually appealing images, tables, and infographics, displaying them instantly as needed.

Accessibility and personalisation of lesson planning

With the average classroom made up of a wide variety of abilities and learning speeds, artificial intelligence has the power to meet the needs of all students, irrespective of their physical or cognitive capabilities. Through AI-driven text-to-speech software and translation tools, learning materials can be converted to assist non-native English speakers, students with disabilities, or those with speech impairments; tailoring content to suit the needs of all learners, creating a more inclusive and flexible educational experience across the classroom.

Meanwhile, bespoke lesson plans can be constructed to meet the learning styles of each individual student. Difficulty levels and pace can be set and adapted to match each child’s ability—and, through student data analysis, another AI-assisted tool, lesson plans can be adapted within minutes to meet the ever-changing needs of learners. 

Elsewhere, real-time data can provide educators with insights into student performance, helping teachers to identify where students might be falling behind and allowing them to address the challenges without disrupting the learning dynamics of the classroom. By understanding each child’s strengths and weaknesses, AI can offer practical solutions to support individual students.

students learning in a classroom using technology

How to write an effective prompt for Language Learning Models

Perhaps the biggest challenge for educators new to the world of language learning models is the ability to write effective prompts from which to create valuable and engaging education material. For LLMs such as ChatGPT, the key to a good prompt is clarity, conciseness and contextual relevance to help the language model understand exactly what is being asked. This, in turn, will lead to more accurate and germane responses. 

Using broad prompts such as ‘Create a lesson plan about the Second World War’ for example, will garner much less successful results than drilling down into the specifics of your request. ‘Create a one-hour lesson plan that focuses on the causes and effects of Germany’s invasion of Poland in the build-up to the Second World War’ will immediately direct the focus of the response. Also, look to incorporate as much detailed information about your class as possible; specifics such as the age, skill level, and interests of your students. This can enable more customised and relevant content generation.

Introducing roleplay elements into your prompts can produce dynamic learning experiences. Through character simulations, interactive storytelling, and problem-solving scenarios, lessons can become more engaging and relevant for students. To further diversify your teaching, request content in various formats to meet the varied learning styles of your students, ensuring that each child has access to material that resonates with them. It’s also important to remember that language learning models have the ability to improve through iterative prompting, so it’s always better to refine and adjust your prompts rather than start from scratch if you don’t get the desired result.

How can Computeam help?

There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence has some highly valuable uses for educators that will only improve as this new technology advances. Put simply, language learning models and AI tools can save valuable time and help educators create engaging, lesson-ready learning materials for students of all ages and abilities. With the right training and upskilling, to ensure teachers are using the tools to their full potential, the scope for AI integration is seemingly endless. If you’d like to find out more about how technology can enhance the learning experience in your school, please do get in touch.

girl using a laptop in the classroom

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Posted on February 26th 2024

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