10 powerful ways to use custom chatbots in the classroom

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence | Tuesday, April 16, 2024

10 powerful ways to use custom chatbots in the classroom

This post is sponsored by SchoolAI

As teachers, we’re outnumbered.

In a traditional classroom, there’s only one of us. But there are dozens of them. 

It can make you wonder: “How can I really, truly interact personally when I have all of these students? I wish there was a way to scale myself.”

Artificial intelligence is making it more and more of a reality every day.

The most recent iteration: student-facing chatbots.

They don’t replace teachers. Instead, teachers prompt them by inputting a task and details (much like you would with an AI assistant like ChatGPT) … and they interact with students in a way that supports what you’re trying to do in the classroom. In that way, they’re custom student-facing chatbots.

It's pretty easy.

In this post, we’ll share several ways you can get started with custom student-facing chatbots – including pre-written plug-and-play chatbots you can use right away.

What is a student facing custom chatbot?

Definition: A custom student-facing chatbot is a specialized software application designed to interact with users through natural language. Unlike generic chatbots, which follow predefined scripts, custom chatbots are tailored to specific purposes or contexts. 

What can a custom chatbot do?

  • Personalization: Custom chatbots can be fine-tuned to address unique student needs. Teachers can add in even more details about their students including preferences, learning styles, grade or skill level and the chatbot will adapt the responses based on individual interactions.
  • Context-Awareness: They adapt to previous replies and specific details within the conversation, allowing for more meaningful interactions. Teachers can add in specific details about their content to make them even more personalized.
  • Domain-Specific Knowledge: Custom chatbots can be set up so that students interact with the topic you choose or grade level appropriate content they are studying like math, science, or literature.

Where can I find custom student-facing chatbots?

Several companies are developing custom student-facing chatbots. Others have already launched them. I’ve tried several, and there’s only one that I’ve actually used in my own classroom with my students.

SchoolAI.


SchoolAI offers custom chatbots that you can use in class through its Spaces tool. These chatbots can be tailored to specific classroom needs and serve many purposes for students. Spaces allow you to launch safe GPT-powered experiences tailored to each student’s needs. 

School AI puts the teacher in the driver's seat to create and customize a learning experience for their students. They set the parameters to make it FERPA and COPPA-compliant, and then the teacher sets the goals, learning experience, and outcomes within the prompt.

And the best part? There are many customized chatbots ready for you to use with your students right away! This makes them a powerful asset in the classroom. 

10 ways to get started with custom student-facing chatbots

The possibilities for using custom chatbots in the classroom are endless. We have collected 10 of our favorite ways to get started using chatbots in the classroom.

We’ve organized them into three levels – beginner, intermediate, and advanced. (And the good news: the advanced isn’t very advanced.)

BEGINNER: These are pre-made chatbots you can share immediately with students without any customization.

1. Chat with famous figures

The History Comes To Life spaces allow students to engage with historic figures, explore topics like the American Revolution, Ancient Egypt, and Ancient Greece, and delve into the lives and achievements of influential individuals such as Abraham Lincoln, Alexander Graham Bell, Amelia Earhart, and more.

Link: History Comes to Life

2. Discuss a book with the author

The Meet the Author collection includes spaces that allow students to engage with authors like Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, and William Shakespeare. They can explore literary works and gain insights into the creative process behind writing.

Link: Meet The Author Collection

3. Take a trip through time

The World History collection is like a magical time machine for students. It takes them on an exciting journey through notable times in history such as World War I, the American Revolution, Ancient Rome or Medieval Times.

Link: World History Collection

INTERMEDIATE: These chatbots are pre-made but can be customized to what you want to teach.

4. Standards-based personalized learning

Custom chatbots can provide individualized support to students. They can answer questions, offer explanations, and guide students through learning materials based on their unique needs.

Link: Find a space for any standard

5. Take the class pulse with AI

Welcome students to class by inviting them to share how they are feeling. You can instruct the AI to ask a specific question if desired. Student sentiment will be captured and displayed to you so you can check in with students afterwards.

Link: Bell ringer


6. Get a quick formative assessment with an AI powered exit ticket

 Invite students to show what they learned today and how they’re feeling about it. You can instruct the AI to review specific learning outcomes. Student sentiment and confidence will be displayed to you.

Link: Exit Tickets


7. Create a choose your own adventure activity

An exciting topic-based adventure for your students. Provide a topic, setting, and objective to generate a fun and informative chat experience for your students. They’ll be presented with fun ways to show their knowledge of the chosen topic. You have access to all chat sessions, allowing you to monitor student activity.

Link: Choose your own adventure story


8. Video Explorer

In this interactive activity, students will dive into a video of your choosing. The chat will pause the video periodically to review key information presented in the video. To get started, paste a link to any video you want students to explore.

Link: Video Explorer 


9. Provide primary language support

One of the most valuable features of SchoolAI spaces is that it seamlessly translates feedback into a student’s native language. This ensures that language barriers do not impede understanding or participation, and students can interact with the content at their own pace and in their own language. See the screencast below to see how it works.

ADVANCED: These chatbots are created by you. You customize them completely to fit your needs start to finish.

10. Create your own custom chatbot 

Create a custom chatbot to meet your specific classroom needs

If you can’t find a pre-made Space that’s just right – and don’t want to edit a pre-made Space – you can always just write one of your own. It’s pretty easy to do. If you’ve ever used an AI assistant like ChatGPT, it’s a lot like that. Just describe how you want your chatbot to interact with students. Then preview it to make sure it’s doing what you want it to do. Then launch it and share it with your students. 

If you want to get the best results, use some of these tips from SchoolAI:

Infographic  based on the tips shared in Creating Spaces: An Intro To Prompting Written by Joe Wilson

Tutorial video: How to create a custom chatbot with SchoolAI

Unlock the power of AI in your classroom with Space Creator! This quick tutorial guides you through the basics of Space prompting, enabling you to craft dynamic, engaging lessons tailored to your student's needs. Dive in and discover how easy it is to bring creativity and innovation into your teaching with SchoolAI.


Still not quite sure what you want your first chatbot to do?

Here are some ideas for getting started creating your own Space (from the School AI website):

  • Emotion Recognition- Help students recognize and understand various emotions in themselves and others.
    • Prompt example: "Describe a short story where a character experiences a range of emotions. After the story, ask students to identify and discuss the emotions demonstrated."
  • Creative Writing Assistant- Spark creativity and provide starting points for a student's writing assignment.
    • Prompt example: "Provide a story starter for a creative writing assignment involving a mystery in a historical setting."
  • Science Experiment Ideas- Offer practical and educational experiment ideas that align with the curriculum.
    • Prompt Example: "Suggest three science experiments related to renewable energy sources suitable for a 7th-grade science class, including a list of needed materials."
  • Language Learning- Aid in language learning through a practical conversation example.
    • Prompt example: "Generate a conversation in Spanish between two characters at a restaurant, suitable for beginner-level students, including translations and basic vocabulary explanations."
  • Art History Discussion- Provide an informative yet engaging overview of different art movements for an art history class.
    • Prompt example: "Describe the characteristics of Renaissance art and compare it to Baroque art, in a way that is engaging for high school students."
  • Environmental Issues Discussion- Educate about environmental issues while promoting student involvement in solutions.
    • Prompt example: "Discuss the impact of plastic pollution on ocean life, suitable for a 6th-grade environmental science class, and suggest ways students can help reduce plastic waste."
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  • Reigan Blair says:

    Using AI does not make me comfortable. Not sure why, except I know nothing about computers, let alone AI. I’d like to do a class starter (bell ringer) where they tell me how they are feeling, and then answer a different question every day (not sure what that would be yet). Is this something AI could do?

    • Teodora Nikolova says:

      Yes, this is one of the easiest things for AI to do–it can generate prompts for you based on numerous topics. I don’t understand how teachers, individuals who are supposed to promote learning and growth, can be so averse to the use and existence of AI, which is clearly something we need to be preparing our students for. How are you relevantly teaching students born in the new millennium?

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