#OneWord2023 DistruptED

Can playing with AI give educators back their time?

As an educator and from working with educators, I know we are always looking for ways to improve our practice and better meet the needs of our students. The biggest challenge we face is time, or lack of. For the year ahead, my one word for 2023 is “disruptED”. I chose this word because I believe that disruption, specifically in the realm of education, the use of technology and more specifically artificial intelligence (AI), has the potential to fundamentally change the way we teach and learn. Most importantly, it has the potential to give us our most precious resource, time, back to focus on what is important, student learning.

The pandemic already demonstrated that as educators we can respond to meet students needs even when we lose control of what the traditional learning environment looks like. For the most part, I believe that our teaching during that time should never be referred to as blended or online learning (for this you plan, design and prepare); for me our response will always be emergency remote teaching (ERT). When it comes to AI, the time is NOW. If we are to be prepared, we need to begin to explore and learn about the potential, for both opportunities and challenges, and increase our awareness of one of the fastest growing technologies of our time. Free, open access AI is here and readily available to anyone with an internet connection.

Michael Hallissy explored some recent media coverage and he challenged us to play with ChatGPT in his recent blog post How might Chatbot Technology impact on Education and Training? Did you give it a go over the holidays? I did some reading and had a play. Read on to find out more or scroll down to see how I got on with the sorcery that is AI for lesson planning.

As with any major shift, there are pros and cons to the incorporation of AI in education. On the one hand, AI has the potential to revolutionise the way we approach learning both inside and outside the classroom. With AI, we can personalise instruction to meet the unique needs of each student, freeing us to work with small groups or focus on more creative and engaging projects or spend more time framing questions. AI can also help to level the playing field for disadvantaged students, who may not have the same resources or opportunities as their more privileged peers.

However, there are also valid concerns about the impact of AI on education. Some worry that AI will eventually replace teachers (BTW: I don’t foresee this), leading to job loss and a decrease in the human connection that is so vital to the learning process. Others worry about the potential for bias in AI algorithms, which could perpetuate systemic inequalities and unfairly disadvantage certain groups of students. There are also ethical considerations.

Despite these concerns, I believe that the potential benefits of AI in education far outweigh the risks. As Sir Ken Robinson so eloquently stated, “Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value. It is a process; it’s not random.” A creative process takes time. AI has the potential to free up teacher’s time to be more creative and innovative in their approach to instruction, creation of an active learning environment, allowing them to focus on the process of learning rather than disseminating information. The latter, in reality, this is already here, the internet and YouTube is quicker than us!

However, as with any shift, embracing and adapting to this change will not come without challenges. As educators, we must be willing to adapt and learn alongside our students as we navigate this rapidly changing landscape. Once again, this may require us to rethink traditional approaches to education and continue in our journey to embrace new technologies and pedagogical techniques. This is a journey educators will be on for ever more.

There are several traditional approaches to education that may need to be re-evaluated in the face of the integration of AI in the classroom. For example, the traditional ‘lecture-style’ of teaching, where an educator stands at the front of the class and delivers information to students, may become less effective as AI is able to provide personalised and adaptive instruction to each student. Instead, educators may need to adopt more collaborative and experiential learning approaches, such as project-based learning or problem-based learning, to take full advantage of the benefits of AI whilst maintaining standards.

The incorporation of AI in education will require a shift in the way we (departments, policy makers, leaders, educators and students) think about teaching and learning. As educators, we will need more support, professional learning and development opportunities and time to embrace these new technologies and pedagogical approaches. By being open to the possibility of disruption, we can create a more personalised and engaging learning experience for our students. This could include incorporating AI tools and resources into lesson planning and instruction, as well as learning how to effectively use and troubleshoot these technologies. Consideration will also need to be given to prioritise the integration of digital literacy skills into the curriculum, so that students are prepared to navigate and succeed in an increasingly digital world.

In reality, even at this point whether good or bad; I feel we are past the point of possibility and looking at when rather than if. There are several reasons why it is important to begin to shift the way we think about teaching and learning in the face of the integration of AI in education. The incorporation of AI has the potential to fundamentally change the way we approach education and the learning process. The world and education as we know it has changed and it will never go back. It’s time to shift our thinking from traditional education to modern education.

In the past, education has often been centred around the transmission of information from educator to student. However, with the vast amounts of information now available at our fingertips, it is no longer necessary for educators to play the role of “sage on the stage.” Instead, educators can focus on facilitating learning and helping students to develop the skills and abilities they need to succeed in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world. It will also involve re-evaluating traditional assessment methods and embracing new approaches that better reflect the skills and abilities our students will need in the future.

As educators, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding AI and feel overwhelmed or even terrified by the potential changes it may bring to our role and to the classroom. As a leader of learning in your classroom, it is ok to feel fear, it is ok not to be the expert when it comes to AI and it is ok to feel uncomfortable. Remember, when you feel discomfort, you are learning. In this new world of technology we will always be learning alongside and with our students, this is our new ‘norm’.

One way to begin is to focus on the specific needs and goals of our students and classrooms, and consider how AI can be used to support these objectives. George Couros, educator and author, speaks to this in his work on innovation in education and podcasts with the idea that innovation is not about saying yes to everything, but rather it is about saying yes to the things that have value and align to our vision and values. By taking George’s thought we could start by carefully considering the ways in which AI can align with our values and vision for education, to be better positioned to effectively leverage it to support student learning.

Another way to “think inside the box” and innovatively leverage AI in education is to start small and build up gradually. This can help to mitigate any potential challenges or setbacks and allow us to learn and adapt as we go. As Michael suggested you could start by visiting ChatGPT and having a play. Or you might begin by incorporating a single AI tool or resource into your lesson planning, and then gradually expand from there as you gain more experience and comfort with the technology. Now for the magic, let’s see how I got on…

I visited ChatGPT and typed in some questions to see if it could help in planning a lesson and activities for learning. In Further Education and Training (FET), Communications is a core module on most courses, so I decided to chose the topic GDPR to see if AI could bring it to life.

  • My Prompt: Plan a lesson to introduce GDPR. The lesson should have a hook, an introductory activity, information input, a student engagement activity, a plenary and a student follow up activity.

In 14 seconds the response was typed out in front of my eyes and complete.

Response: Sure, here’s a lesson plan that introduces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):


Start the lesson by showing a short video about a company that was fined for violating GDPR. This will grab the students’ attention and get them interested in learning about the regulation.

Introductory activity:

Have the students brainstorm a list of personal information that they think companies might collect from them. This will help them understand the types of data that GDPR is concerned with protecting.

Information input:

Explain that GDPR is a regulation that was implemented in the European Union in 2018 to protect the personal data of individuals.

Outline the main principles of GDPR, such as the right to be informed, the right of access, the right to rectification, the right to erasure, the right to restrict processing, the right to data portability, the right to object, and the right not to be subject to automated decision-making.

Discuss the responsibilities of companies under GDPR, including the requirement to obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting their personal data, the need to protect data from unauthorized access or misuse, and the obligation to report data breaches to the relevant authorities.

Student engagement activity:

Divide the students into small groups and give each group a scenario involving a company collecting personal data from individuals. Have the groups discuss whether the company is complying with GDPR and what steps they could take to ensure compliance.


Bring the class back together and have each group present their findings to the rest of the class. This will give the students an opportunity to practice their presentation skills and to learn from each other’s perspectives.

Student follow-up activity:

Assign a research project to the students in which they choose a company and evaluate its compliance with GDPR. They can present their findings in a report or as a presentation to the class. This will help the students apply their knowledge of GDPR to a real-world situation and further deepen their understanding of the regulation.

  • Let’s see if we can tabulate?

  • Can we create a Glossary?

  • Can we tabulate the Glossary?

For me, when it comes to lesson planning the challenge is always getting started, getting something on the page. I’m not here to critique the quality of the lesson plan, what I did get was a skeleton or a frame which I can build on and adapt to meet student needs, the learning experience I want to create whilst meeting quality standards. I have to say, I am pretty impressed with the frame it provided me for the lesson! So I decided to take it one step further, and ask for some learning activities and yep.. you got it a draft for an assessment.

  • Prompt: Create two polls which can be used during the lesson to check for students understanding.

Response: Sure, here are two poll ideas that could be used during the lesson to check for student understanding:

Poll 1: True or False

GDPR applies only to companies based in the European Union.

Data controllers are responsible for protecting personal data from unauthorized access or misuse.

Data subjects have the right to object to the processing of their personal data.

Data processors are not required to report data breaches to the relevant authorities.

Poll 2: Multiple Choice

What is the main purpose of GDPR?

A) To protect the personal data of individuals

B) To regulate the sale of personal data

C) To increase the profitability of companies

D) To improve the efficiency of data processing

You can use these polls to gauge your students’ understanding of GDPR and to identify any areas that may need further clarification. You could also consider using other types of assessment methods, such as quizzes or written assignments, to check for student understanding. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Prompt: Nice idea! Can we create a GDPR Quiz?

Response: Sure, here’s a quiz on GDPR that you can use to check your students’ understanding of the regulation:

Which of the following is NOT one of the main principles of GDPR?

a. Right to be informed

b. Right of access

c. Right to erasure

d. Right to data portability

e. Right to sell data

Which of the following is NOT a responsibility of companies under GDPR?

a. Obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting their personal data

b. Protect data from unauthorized access or misuse

c. Report data breaches to the relevant authorities

d. Share data with third parties without the consent of the data subjects

e. Ignore the rights of data subjects

Which of the following is NOT a right of data subjects under GDPR?

a. Right to be informed

b. Right of access

c. Right to rectification

d. Right to data portability

e. Right to object to marketing

Which of the following is NOT a type of data that is protected under GDPR?

a. Name

b. Address

c. Email address

d. IP address

e. Social security number

Which of the following organizations is responsible for enforcing GDPR?

a. European Union

b. International Data Protection Authority

c. Data Protection Authority of each EU member state

d. Federal Trade Commission

e. World Data Protection Organization







I hope this quiz helps you assess your students’ understanding of GDPR. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Prompt: Create a brief for an assessment to assess students understanding of GDPR regulation and their ability to apply their knowledge in real world fictional scenarios. Give students a choice of how they present back their assessment to include, a report, a PowerPoint presentation or a video. The assessment should be circa 700 words or 5 mins of video.

Yep! you got it… here is the draft assessment:

Response: Sure, here’s a brief for an assessment to assess your students’ understanding of GDPR and their ability to apply their knowledge in real-world fictional scenarios:

Title: GDPR in Action

Objective: To evaluate students’ understanding of GDPR and their ability to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios.


  • Choose one of the following options for presenting your assessment:
  • A report (700 words)
  • A PowerPoint presentation
  • A video (5 minutes)
  • Choose one of the following scenarios:

Scenario 1: You are the data protection officer for a small online retailer that sells clothing and accessories. The company recently suffered a data breach in which customer credit card information was stolen.

  • Using your knowledge of GDPR, identify the steps that the company should take to address the data breach.
  • Explain how the company could prevent similar data breaches in the future.
  • Discuss the potential consequences for the company if it fails to comply with GDPR in this situation.

Scenario 2: You are the marketing manager for a large telecommunications company. The company wants to launch a new advertising campaign that uses personal data collected from its customers.

  • Using your knowledge of GDPR, explain the steps that the company should take to ensure that it is complying with the regulation.
  • Discuss the potential risks to the company if it fails to obtain explicit consent from its customers before using their personal data.
  • Suggest ways that the company could effectively communicate the terms of its data processing to its customers.

I hope this brief helps you assess your students’ understanding of GDPR and their ability to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • I thought I would chance my arm and ask for a rubric to go with the assessment!!!

CriteriaPass (50-64%)Merit (65-79%)Distinction (80-100%)
Understanding of GDPRDemonstrates basic understanding of GDPR and its main principlesDemonstrates thorough understanding of GDPR and its main principlesDemonstrates in-depth understanding of GDPR and its main principles
Analysis of scenarioIdentifies some of the key issues and potential consequences in the scenarioIdentifies all of the key issues and potential consequences in the scenarioIdentifies additional issues and potential consequences in the scenario and provides a detailed analysis of their implications
Application of GDPRApplies GDPR principles to the scenario in a limited wayApplies GDPR principles to the scenario in a thorough and accurate wayApplies GDPR principles to the scenario in a highly analytical and creative way
PresentationPresentation is organized and clear, but may lack detail or clarity in some areasPresentation is well-organized and clear, with good use of evidence and examplesPresentation is highly organized and clear, with excellent use of evidence and examples

  • Lastly, I couldn’t help myself… I asked for a choice board of learning activities!

Again, the activities and assessment need work and editing but as a tool to create a draft skeleton I am very happy with the drafts. I do believe AI has the potential to give educators time back. Go have a play and see what you think for yourself. Remember AI is still learning too, and it will get smarter over time!

Crafting and framing assessment activities is something that will need serious consideration from gatekeepers and educators but that conversation is for another post! Remember this software is now freely available online for all to use.

Overall, the key to leveraging AI to boost student learning is to approach it with an open mind, play with the tools and explore how it can add value to our practice. By staying open to new ideas and approaches and willing to learn and adapt as we go, we could effectively use AI to support and enhance student learning in the classroom.

In the end, I believe that the incorporation of AI in education will ultimately lead to a more personalised and engaging learning experience for our students. As we move forward into 2023, I’m not going to lie, AI makes me feel a little uncomfortable too but it’s potential blows my mind!! I am excited to see how AI will continue to disrupt and transform the way we teach and learn.

Disclaimer: In the interest of full disclosure and honesty…. AI drafted this blog post too! 

Have a good back to the classroom week and best wishes for the year ahead!

All the best – @AshEd_PD

1 thought on “#OneWord2023 DistruptED”

  1. Hi Ashley, that was a very nice exercise. The one thing you seem to have missed, was letting it grade student work! I’ve seen an example where it assigned a grade, and gave 150 words of feedback and it was impressive.
    I’ve two thoughts here:
    1: It highlights for me how much of our work is in a sense just putting the boilerplate in place, documenting lesson plans, and a lot of actually reading and assessing student work, to see if the provided evidence of all the things you asked them to do.
    2: chatGPT is just the latest of a series of models, and its not going to be the last. I’ve played with coding using the framework on the Open AI website, and this tool, as part of a broader educational landscape opens up a huge amount of possibilities.

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