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9 Reasons Summer is the Best Time to Dive into AI for Educators

AI for educators has been a hot topic this school year! Whether you’re just starting your summer break or in an all-year role that feels like a natural reset, now is a great time to think more about AI. You might be well into your summer break, with school having finished a couple of weeks ago. Or perhaps you’re diving into today’s blog post as school is just wrapping up. 

Today, I thought it would be fun to discuss some reasons why you might want to take a pause and think more about AI in education during the summertime. We’ll explore why this is a great season to learn about AI. Whether you’re jumping in for the first time or delving deeper into it.

This year, I’ve spent time with educators all over the country, and I have more travel planned over the next few weeks. If you’re in Denver, you might find me at the ISTE Conference next week. I’ll also be in Washington State, Georgia, and New York in a few different locations throughout July. As I’ve moved from spring into summer, I’ve heard from many educators who are curious about artificial intelligence. However, they need some time to think about what it means for them. 

In this blog post, we’ll look at why this is a good time of year to jump into AI. And I’ll share tips on how you can approach it from both a fun and practical standpoint, holding on to both aspects this summer.

Infographic titled '9 Reasons Summer is the Best Time to Dive into AI for Educators' listing benefits of exploring AI during summer, including experimenting with personal projects, planning day trips, gathering school year ideas, making connections to summer events, learning at your own pace, thinking about best use cases, creating engaging content, collaborating with peers, and staying ahead of educational trends.

9 Reasons Summer is the Best Time to Dive into AI for Educators

Let’s dive into nine reasons why this summer is the perfect opportunity to explore AI. I have both for fun and practical uses for you!

Experiment with Fun Personal Projects

Summer is the perfect time to use AI for fun, personal projects that you might not have time for during the school year. For instance, you can use a chatbot like ChatGPT to write a silly invitation for a BBQ.

Example Prompt: Create a funny invitation to a summer BBQ with a tropical theme.

Using AI for personal projects allows you to get comfortable with the technology in a low-stakes environment. 

Check out my AI resources, including my free download with ChatGPT tips >>

Plan Local Day Trips

AI can be a fantastic assistant for planning your summer adventures. Whether it’s a day trip to the beach or a local campground, a chatbot can help you create an itinerary and packing list.

Example Prompt: Plan a day trip to a nearby beach, including a list of must-visit spots and what to pack.

I’m going on an Alaskan cruise next week and I’ve actually never been on a cruise before. Despite being in Facebook groups and asking around, I went to ChatGPT to help me with my packing list. 

Gather Ideas for the Upcoming School Year

At this point in the summer, you might have a clear idea of what you’re teaching. You might already know what your group of students might need. However, there could still be some uncertainties. You might have a few different ideas about your placement, or you could even be looking for a new position. This is a great time to gather ideas for the upcoming school year, whether you want to keep it broad or get specific. Use this period to brainstorm and prepare, setting yourself up for a successful start to the new academic year.

Example Prompt: Suggest engaging science activities for a seventh-grade classroom.

Whether you’re preparing for a new class or planning a new curriculum, AI can help spark creativity.

Make Connections with Summer Events

This summer, I don’t know about you, but I am super duper pumped for the Olympics. I love my Peacock subscription; it’s one of those underrated streaming services. If you haven’t watched The Traitors, it’s one of my favorite shows from this past year. I’m not usually a huge reality TV person, but I loved that one—it was so much fun. I’m thrilled that Peacock will give me access to the Olympics, which is one of my favorite events.

There might be other events you’re excited about this summer. You can make connections between these events and your fall teaching plans. For example, you might try a prompt like, “How can I use the Summer Olympics to teach about the rock cycle to fourth graders in a fun way?”

You can connect to any summer activity! Perhaps focusing on the sports and the energy around the Olympics or a favorite athlete. This approach can help bring current events into your classroom, making the start of the school year more engaging and dynamic.

Example Prompt: How can I use the Summer Olympics to teach about the rock cycle to fourth graders in a fun way?

Learn at Your Own Pace

You can dedicate a few minutes each day to try a new AI prompt or a new tool. If you’re a member of my AI in Education membership, you know I share lots of updates, tools, and prompts. We have a new mini-course that went live in the middle of June, perfect for some self-paced professional development. This might be the time of year when you decide to play around a bit more with an AI tool. You can try out prompts we’ve discussed in today’s blog post, past posts, and episodes of the Easy EdTech Podcast to get a feel for what’s possible.

If you’re considering learning at your own pace or engaging in asynchronous PD, remember that not having a set schedule doesn’t mean you can’t create one for yourself. When I get an invitation to a webinar or a recording of something I missed, I make a calendar appointment for myself. This helps me dedicate time to watching without distractions. Learning at your own pace this summer? Consider setting calendar invites or appointments to carve out that dedicated time.

Think About the Best Use Cases

The next reason on the list for why summer is a great time to learn about AI is that you might have a bit more brain space to think about the best use cases. Instead of being distracted by the long list of tasks during the school year, this time allows you to reflect on how AI can enhance specific areas of your teaching practice.

You might try a prompt like, “What are the best AI tools for improving student engagement in high school math?” Using a chatbot to gather ideas can help you address issues you’ve been thinking about, such as student engagement. Now that you can take a deep breath, it’s the perfect time to explore these possibilities.

You can think about some of the best use cases for your environment. Then, use a chatbot like ChatGPT or Claude to get extra help. When you have this time to think and take a deep breath, it might be the perfect opportunity to decide on the best AI applications for your specific teaching environment.

Check out my AI resources, including my free download with ChatGPT tips >>

Create Some Engaging Content

Summer is the perfect time to get ahead and prepare for the beginning of the school year. The start of the school year often brings a whirlwind of tasks. I’ve found that the years that began most smoothly were those when I dedicated time right before school started to organize my plans. Having a clear sense of direction for September allowed me to focus on unexpected tasks that cropped up at the last minute.

You can use AI to help develop lesson ideas and create interactive content. Tools like Diffit, Brisk Teaching, or Magic School AI can assist in creating engaging, differentiated content. By getting a head start, you’ll have valuable resources ready to go. This can make the transition into the new school year much smoother.

ChatGPT eBook Cover

Collaborate with Peers

If you are in contact with your colleagues over the summertime or are part of a learning network, summer is a fantastic time to collaborate with peers. Whether you jump on Instagram, have a group chat with educators you’ve taught with in the past, or stay in touch with those you student taught with, summer provides the perfect opportunity to learn something new together.

Think of it like an AI book club—though it might not involve an actual book. It could be more of a group text where you share what you’ve learned. Since you might have more access to your phone during the day, you can easily collaborate by saying, “Hey, I tried this out. What do you think?” or “Has anyone figured out this yet?”

If you don’t already have a teacher text thread or group chat, this is a great time to start one. Maybe you’re at a conference like ISTE in Denver and meet a couple of people excited about AI. It doesn’t have to be a group text; it could be an email thread set up for collaboration. Summer is an ideal time to initiate this, and you can continue it throughout the school year, maintaining the momentum of shared learning and support.

Stay Ahead of Educational Trends

Summer is just a great time, the perfect time, to learn about AI or something new because it allows you to stay ahead of the trends and movements in EdTech or educational technology. By getting a jumpstart on the upcoming school year, you can understand what’s available and how it can be applied in your classroom, rather than feeling like you’re playing catch-up once the busy school year begins.

Use the summertime to stay updated on the latest AI trends and explore how they can be integrated into your teaching practice. Whether you’re preparing for your own classroom or supporting a group of educators, staying informed about new tools and technologies will position you for success when the new school year starts.

Summer is an ideal time for educators to explore AI, experiment with new tools, and prepare for the upcoming school year. By leveraging AI for personal projects, lesson planning, professional development, and collaboration, you can make the most of this technology in a relaxed, fun, and productive way.

Unlock the power of AI in your classroom this summer with my “Learn ChatGPT This Summer” mini-course! As a new member of my AI in Education membership, you’ll get instant access to this special bonus, featuring six impactful videos designed to take you step-by-step through using ChatGPT effectively. 

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Blog Author and EdTech Consultant Dr. Monica Burns

Monica Burns

Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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