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There’s No Time Like Summer for a Little AI



According to EdWeek, the reason most educators haven’t started using artificial intelligence (even if they know that it could be a really effective tool) is because they just don’t have time with an already full plate of responsibilities. 


While, to some of us, it may seem that AI is everywhere, Edweek estimates that two-thirds of K-12 educators have not used AI tools at all. However, on average, professionals who use AI are over 25% more efficient, with the potential to save 225 hours over the course of the school year. 


Enter summer.


As the school year comes to an end, now is a great time to be thinking about using the next couple of months to really deep your toes into AI when your plate is a little less full.


How do you do that?


Start Somewhere

I have a few tasks on my to-do list that will just never get done because they are too big and ambiguous, so every time I look at them on my list, I get overwhelmed and just move them to next week. Maybe that’s “AI” for you. So just start somewhere (anywhere). Go to ChatGPT.com and create an account/log in and ask one question. Check out a prompt library to get the juices flowing. Google something like “best uses for AI in ____” and just see what happens. Getting started is the hard part, so just pick something small and go from there. The key is to take action and so something (not just read about and make a note to do it later).


Make AI Your Partner

The summer could be a fun time to befriend AI. Ethan Mollick, in his book Co-Intelligence: Living and Working with AI, suggests that you always bring AI to the table. So write a post-it that reminds you to use AI, stick it somewhere obvious and experiment. Looking for a fun recipe to try for dinner? See what AI thinks. Have a question that you would usually Google? Try AI and see where it takes you. Really don’t want to complete specific tasks during vacation? Let AI take a stab. By getting into the habit of considering AI over the summer with less-urgent tasks, you’ll be better positioned to carry that mindset into the school year.


Get in your 10 Hours

I’ve heard “10 hours” thrown around a lot as the number of hours needed for one to experiment with AI on your own before obtaining a sense of proficiency. 10 hours is a lot to consider during the frantic days of the school year – and a much more manageable thought during the less-structured summer. So, whether you work best by breaking it down into two-hour chunks or getting into the flow and getting lost in a project all in one day, get in those 10 hours and see what happens. 


See What’s Out There

While I, personally, like to base myself in ChatGPT when learning about and working with AI, there are new tools being introduced daily, and the summer is a great time to get familiar with the landscape. You could peruse a database like Educator.Tools and get a sense of some of your options or consider some of your pain points and what you wish were just a little bit easier and Google “AI tool for _____” or use “AI to ______” and see just see where it takes you.


Create Short Project-Based Goals

Applying some of the concepts from Brian Moran’s 12 Week Year, in order to make the most of the summer and really get somewhere with your AI goals, break down the 8-12 weeks of summer (depending on your calendar) into smaller two to three week chunks, each with a specific goal. Don’t just set an intention to “get to know AI” over the summer; try something more specific with an actual finish line, something like “learn how to effectively craft a prompt for ChatGPT by June 21” or “build one new unit that integrates AI to reach my goals by July 5.” Then break down that goal into specific tasks, be clear about what “done” looks like, and schedule all of those tasks into your calendar. 


Find an AI Thought Partner/Accountability Buddy

Whether it’s someone from your school, a partner from a different school, or me (seriously, always happy to be your thought partner!) connect with someone so that you’re not alone in this journey. Share resources and tips. Share successes and challenges. Share goals and commitments. 



I always joke that the summer feels like it’s almost over once we hit Independence Day. For me, that’s the turning point – when we switch from lazy pool days and relaxation to the sense of urgency that comes with feeling like school is around the corner. And Independence Day is just around the corner. 


Now is the time to be thinking about how you could use AI to make the most of summer and to set yourself up to be the most effective and efficient come the new school year. Now is the time to best position yourself to embrace and benefit from generative AI. Now is the time to be proactive and make AI work for you.


You got this!

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