Using Generative AI in the Maths Classroom

Presented by: Eleanor Byrne

The main intention of this workshop is to support teachers of Mathematics to use Generative AI (Gen AI), specifically ChatGPT, to facilitate the development of lesson and resource ideas in line with the aims of the Junior Cycle specification.

In 2018, the current maths specification was introduced which requires teachers to deliver maths lessons and content in a way which promotes a holistic approach to the subject. It was envisioned that lessons would be delivered through engaging rich tasks and student-centred activities which presented the mathematical content in a connected manner, while also developing key skills. The new Junior Cycle maths exam, which was first sat in 2022, reflects the type of connections which students are expected to engage with in the classroom on a daily basis.

The focus of this new specification lay not with the specific maths content but in the way the content was delivered. The specification introduced the unifying strand, mathematical proficiencies and key skills, but many maths lessons around the country are presenting maths in the same way as before. One reason for this is that teachers have struggled to find tasks and lesson ideas which cater for this connected mathematical landscape. When ChatGPT first appeared in late 2022 its ability to produce text documents, essays etc., was immediately seen. However, Gen AI has the potential to assist teachers design lesson activities across a range of subjects – including mathematics.

This session will explore how teachers can use Gen AI to design, refine and develop their planning practices. The session will support teachers to engage in an iterative dialogue with AI which helps them to implement the key aims of the specification. Teachers will be asked to develop lesson plans, success criteria, resources, and activities which they can then use in their classrooms. They will be supported through a series of steps to do this.

The key messages are that Gen AI is easy to use, can help with the workload associated with teaching. It can help teachers to create meaningful tasks which cater for specific classes and groups of students. It can be used as a mechanism to augment a teacher’s subject knowledge. The ethical considerations of using AI will also be touched upon in the workshop.

Presenter Biography:

Eleanor Byrne has worked as a maths teacher for over 10 years in both the UK and Ireland. She was seconded to Trinity College Dublin in 2022 to coordinate the Access Maths project. Access Maths is a programme within the Trinity Access Programmes in Trinity College Dublin, it aims to demystify maths so that all students can achieve their potential in the subject.