Skip to main content

AI Prompts: Unveiling Human Solutions

Ever thought about how we chat with AI, like asking ChatGPT for help? It's kind of like tossing a ball over a fence and waiting to see what gets thrown back. But here's a twist: many times, the magic isn't in what comes back over the fence. It's in the way we throw the ball in the first place. And sometimes, every once in a while, the solutions are discovered before the ball even gets returned.

Talking to AI: Like Solving a Puzzle Without the Picture

Chatting with AI, such as asking ChatGPT for assistance, is like tackling a puzzle without knowing exactly what the final image should look like. You have to make your point clear, provide enough detail, and create a coherent picture from scattered pieces. Let’s explore some everyday scenarios:

Writing an Email: Imagine you need help drafting an email. It's not enough to just say, "Write me an email." You need to provide the AI with the puzzle pieces – the email's length, recipient, and key bullet points if you really want a usable response. It’s like piecing together a puzzle where you know you need to convey professionalism and cover specific topics, such as a project delay, while ensuring the tone is just right.

Debugging Code: Tackling code issues is another kind of puzzle. You can't just throw a general plea for help into the void -- "I'm stuck. There's an error!". You need to specify the programming language, describe the intended function of the code, and possibly share a snippet of what you’ve already written. It's like assembling a puzzle where each line of code is a piece, and you're trying to figure out why they're not fitting together as expected.

Cooking Dinner: Deciding on dinner is a more relatable puzzle. Instead of asking the AI vaguely for a dinner suggestion, you provide specific pieces – you're in the mood for Italian, and you have chicken, tomatoes, and pasta available. It’s like putting together a culinary puzzle where the ingredients are your pieces, and you’re looking to create a delicious meal.

In each of these examples, the key lies in how you organize and present your thoughts to the AI. You're essentially laying out the puzzle pieces, trying to form a picture that you can't fully see yet. Crafting an effective prompt involves turning a jumble of thoughts into a structured, clear request, no matter the subject matter.

The great thing is, if done properly, instead of getting one completed puzzle, you are presented with a variety of puzzles that all meet your requests, and you get to choose the one you like best.

A Fresh Take on Asking AI

When we reach out to AI for help, it's a bit like a brainstorming session where we're hoping for some solid feedback. Sure, the AI might come up with a solution, but sometimes the process of asking the question can spark our own solution. It's all about how we frame our thoughts and challenges.

However, this isn't always intuitive, especially for those new to AI or just giving it a casual try. Many people toss over a vague request like "write me an email" and end up disappointed when the AI returns a lackluster result. This is a common misstep. It's not just about throwing a problem over the fence and expecting a polished solution to come back. It’s about learning the art of dissecting your need into clear, actionable bits.

Take the examples we talked about – writing an email, debugging code, or deciding on dinner. In each case, you're not just tossing a vague idea over to AI and waiting for a miracle. You're thinking about the tone, the audience, and the main points for the email. For the code, you're diving into the specifics of what it should do and where it's faltering. And for dinner, it's about aligning your cravings with the ingredients at hand.

This isn't just about giving AI the information it needs to assist you. It's about organizing your own thoughts, and in that process of organization, you often find the solution yourself. You're halfway through formulating your request to the AI and suddenly, the lightbulb goes off.

This underscores the vital importance of teaching both students and adults how to craft effective AI prompts. Mastering this skill does more than just enhance our ability to interact with AI; it engages and develops core competencies in critical thinking and problem-solving that are essential in today's world. 

When we break down a problem into smaller, organized, and prioritized pieces to create an AI prompt, we're not just learning how to communicate with technology. We're practicing how to dissect and understand complex issues, a skill that is crucial across all areas of education and life.

These are not just tech skills; they are fundamental life skills. The process of formulating questions for AI teaches students to approach problems methodically, encouraging them to analyze, evaluate, and create solutions in a structured way. This is an invaluable skill set for our future workforce and citizenry, as it prepares them to tackle the challenges of tomorrow with a clear, logical, and innovative mindset. By integrating AI prompt crafting into our educational practices, we're not just preparing students to interact with future technology; we're equipping them with the tools to think critically and solve problems in any context, AI-related or not.

From My Own Playbook

Before I became a teacher, I spent quite a few years in tech-heavy industries like interactive design, web design, and game design. While I spent most of my time on the art and audio side of things, working with developers who were much more skilled at programming than I, there were many times that I was able to assist them, indirectly, with their coding issues, even if the answer was beyond my skill level. Devs would come to me with their code issue, and as they talked it through, step-by-step, piece-by-piece, to explain it to me, they'd often hit their own "eureka" moments. It wasn't my genius (sorry to disappoint) – they just really needed to pause and think each piece through out loud.

Before You Even Hit Send

And you know what's wild? Sometimes, just by getting our thoughts in order for AI, we stumble upon the answers ourselves. It's like halfway through explaining your problem, you go, "Wait, I think I just figured it out!"

Wrapping It Up

Every time we interact with AI, there's a chance for a little bit of self-discovery. It's not just about the AI solving our problems. It's about how the act of asking helps us think more clearly and maybe, just maybe, solve our own problems before the AI even gets a chance to chime in.


Popular posts from this blog

FUNctionality! - See Things DIfferently

Educators, if you're looking for a quick, fun game for your class that also serves to help everyone see things differently, more creatively , then try this "FUNctionality" activity. This is a game I developed with the help of my students the latter part of the year. It's been through a few iterations already and I present it in its most recent, and balanced, version. Before we begin, let me ask you this, how could you use the object in the image shown below? For most people, a single purpose comes to mind and I'll go out on a limb and assume that I don't have to describe it. However, for students playing our game, this object spawned a wide range of uses that included, cleaning up spills, writing messages, drawing circles, dressing up as a mummy, measuring the length of something and stuffing a pillow or stuffed animal. The Setup This little game doesn't take much, just literally the things you have around your classroom, and a stopwatch (you can

Genius Hour: Week 8 - "The Final Stretch"

The weeks are counting down and we're nearly at the end of our first Genius Hour period. Students are putting last minute touches on songs and poems. They're polishing book layouts in Adobe inDesign, furnishing virtual houses in SketchUp, and they're practicing their dance moves. As we wrap up week 8 of Genius Hour there a few special things to note. Juniors are BACK! First, is that our juniors have just returned from their nearly 2 week long professional internships with companies and organizations around the area. I was dying to circle up and hear about those experiences, but they already lost time last week and I wanted to give them as much time as they had available. I was also aware they spent a couple of hours debriefing earlier that morning. Spring Is Here Next week is Spring Break! Most students will use that time to take trips, visit theme parks, and relax, but I have heard mention from several students or groups that they still have a little work and practic

Kicking Off Genius Hour

Learning to speak Korean, illustrating how car engines work, learning desktop publishing software, and demonstrating how to pilot a plane; these are just a few examples of what students will be learning in my first period class for the next nine Friday's. And that's just the first of seven classes that are exploding with dozens of wildly different projects and ideas. Friday's Are About to Get Brilliant Today we kicked off "Genius Hour" in each of my classes, which includes Graphic Design and Advanced Graphic Design for grades 9-11. Genius Hour is based off Google's 20% time. Google had the theory that if they granted their employees 20% of their time to work on projects they were passionate about that productivity would go up, stress would go down, and Google might just get some cool products out of the deal. Apparently, Google was right. As a result of Google-time, products like Gmail, Google News, Google AdSense, and Google Translate were all brough