With these images in hand, students fed the same prompts into ChatGPT, a text based AI resource. Kennedy Reynolds, Class of 2025, shared the approach she took, “We asked ChatGPT different questions to piece together what impact the Roman Empire would have had if it never fell. One question I asked was ‘What social structure did the empire have?’ so I could compare what I saw in the pictures to the answer I got from ChatGPT.” After comparing different questions and answers, they speculated that the largest losses stemming from Rome’s collapse in 476 AD was the knowledge of architecture and technology.
Using AI in the classroom can be a valuable tool when used correctly. Creating opportunities to encourage student inquiry so they might explore content more deeply is one of the benefits of these AI tools as Ms. Mueller has found. Alex Greco, Class of 2025 compared AI to a search engine, “A lot of people think of AI as a way to cheat. But I think using AI in the classroom is absolutely beneficial. Just like Google, I ask it a question and it gives me answers. It’s a way to create a baseline to write something off of. If it’s a tool that’s out there and will be for the rest of our lives, we should learn how to master it and use it responsibly in school.”
Just like Alex, Ms. Mueller believes this technology belongs in the classroom, “This is just the beginning of the possibilities AI offers us in the classroom. I think the impact of this technology will be as significant as the internet. That’s something we have to prepare our students for. Right now it’s in the infantile stages, but it’s a great way to get students familiar with an important emerging technology. This activity gave them the opportunity to critically think about what these AI-generated historical scenarios tell us about continuities in the decline of empires. In many ways I think the AI-generated art actually sparks their imagination when prompted to think deeply about a topic. I’m excited to try more AI-based learning activities with our students!”