by Drew Perkins (and ChatGPT), Director of TeachThought PD

Inquiry-based learning (actuated by inquiry-based teaching questions) and project-based learning have long been recognized as powerful ways to engage students in meaningful, authentic learning experiences. By empowering students to ask questions, explore ideas, and create their own solutions, these approaches foster curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking skills that can benefit students long after they leave the classroom.

As a teacher, I’ve seen firsthand the transformative impact that project-based learning and inquiry teaching can have on students. But I’ve also recognized the challenges of implementing these approaches effectively. From designing engaging projects to managing student inquiry, many factors can make or break the success of these teaching strategies.

That’s why I’m excited about the potential of ChatGPT, an AI language model that can help support inquiry-based teaching and project-based learning in various ways.

First, ChatGPT can help students generate and refine questions related to their projects or investigations. By chatting with ChatGPT, students can get ideas for research topics, learn about new concepts or perspectives, and receive feedback on their own ideas. This can help them develop more nuanced and interesting research questions, as well as better understand the relevance of their inquiries to real-world issues.

Second, ChatGPT can serve as a resource for students as they work on their projects. Whether they need help with a specific concept, want to explore an idea further, or simply need some inspiration, ChatGPT can provide valuable insights and suggestions. This can help students stay engaged and motivated as they work on their projects, and can also help them build confidence and independence as learners.

Finally, ChatGPT can help teachers manage the complexity of project-based learning and inquiry teaching. By providing insights into student questions, interests, and struggles, ChatGPT can help teachers tailor their instruction to meet the needs of individual students or groups. This can help teachers identify areas where students need more support, as well as opportunities for extension or enrichment.

Of course, ChatGPT is not a substitute for effective teaching, and it’s important to remember that AI models are only as good as the data they’re trained on. But by leveraging the power of AI to support inquiry-based teaching and project-based learning, we can help students develop the skills and mindsets they need to succeed in the 21st century.

As educators, we have an obligation to help our students become critical thinkers, creative problem-solvers, and lifelong learners. By embracing new technologies like ChatGPT, we can enhance our teaching and create more powerful, authentic learning experiences for our students.