AI Chatbots: Free for the Foreseeable Future
Since December 2022, we’ve seen a big shift in how we can teach, thanks to AI chatbots, also known as Large Language Models (LLMs). These are free tools that can transform teaching and learning so we’re all paying attention, right? You’re probably familiar with how these sophisticated systems, trained on huge datasets, can understand and generate text just like we do. ChatGPT started the trend, and now there are several others, each with their unique strengths. Since it’s likely you’re not as familiar with them, let’s take a quick dive into the LLMs that are currently available and what their advantages are.
ChatGPT: A Game Changer in Education
ChatGPT, from OpenAI, was THE pioneering AI chatbot, opening the doors to AI-assisted education… think “Khanmigo” and how amazing it was when you first saw the Khanmigo TED talk. It’s a star at creating relevant content and offers personalized help in language learning. The Chat-GPT 3.5 version is still available for free, although gaining access can be tricky as there are millions and millions of users around the world. And because its training set is currently cut off at January of 2022, according to ZDNet, it’s not great for current events.
Google’s Bard AI: Your Go-To for Up-to-Date Information
Google’s AI chatbot is Bard AI, although they may may call their rose by other names. Also free, it has the coolest trick up its sleeve – it integrates with Google Search, Workspace apps, and maybe even Classroom (if your admin allows it). Because its results can include contemporaneous information, Bard AI can supplement classroom instruction with accurate, up-to-date information, making it a potent tool for enhancing student research projects and broadening their understanding of complex topics. If you’re a Google user like I am, the infiltration and proliferation of Bard across the Googleverse is much anticipated, albeit somewhat slow…
>>Check out Richard Byrne’s video on using Bard for Quizzes:<<
Claude 2: Elevating Language Skills and More
Claude 2, Anthropic’s Ai Chatbot, is amazing for language arts and communication classes. It understands context and nuance, making it great for advanced language lessons and critical thinking. Founded by former Open AI developers, it may have a lower hallucination rate than other chatbots, possibly making it a little more reliable. Plus, it’s GDPR-compliant, which is a big win for privacy in the EU. Amazon is its biggest backer so developers can expect integrations across the AWS universe.
These AI chatbots/LLMs are giving rise to a whole class of products, often referred to as wrappers, that are rapidly offering targeted AI tools for many academic subjects and grade levels. Though wrapper tools may be free at this time, the companies behind these tools will have to make money at some point. Why? Because they have to pay to use Chat-GPT or Bard or Claude. >>Here’s one we wrote about<<
There are a couple of tools that are built on Chat-GPT that have strategic value to Open AI because they make its LLM smarter. There’s only one that is likely to remain free for the long haul, and that’s Bing Chat.
Bing Chat: Making Research Skills Fun
Bing Chat combines search engine smarts with AI conversation. This tool is perfect for teaching students how to research online, effectively and critically. Plus, it’s free and user-friendly. Microsoft is the largest backer of Open AI. That relationship paved the way for Bing Chat and continues to aid Open AI’s development.
AI Chatbots Are the Ultimate Free Toolbox for Educators
All these chatbots share some cool features that make our jobs as teachers exciting and efficient. They’re fantastic for creating content like lesson plans and quizzes and even tailoring materials for individual student needs. Plus, they’re great for suggesting resources, translating languages, and keeping us up-to-date with educational trends. And best of all, students are mesmerized by them.
Did you try an AI chatbot and think “meh”? It’s time to try them again. Learning to prompt these chatbots is the key to success. It is a skill that you have to develop, but you do so by spending time chatting with one and seeing how it responds. It really is mostly about time in the game, so start playing because… it’s really cool!
While wrapper tools are proliferating like bunnies, knowing how to work with the LLMs directly will enable you to incorporate AI into your teaching practice at no cost.