What is AI and how can you use it in Further Education?

In this article, Martine Ellis asks ChatGPT questions to find out how artificial intelligence (AI) can assist teachers with their work.

person using an AI programme on a laptop

It's impossible to ignore the ongoing discussion about AI in education. Teachers and trainers will benefit from a basic understanding and some practical experience with AI to leverage the opportunities it offers, and to understand some of the concerns it raises.

If you are new to AI and don’t know where to start, this article is for you.


About the article 

To showcase one of the many ways to use AI, I asked ChatGPT questions that someone working in Further Education (FE) and Skills might have if they had never used AI before. 

Before you read the article, here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Answers are AI-generated but have been lightly edited for readability and flow. 
  • I have not provided ChatGPT’s first answer to each question. Getting good-quality answers from ChatGPT usually requires many attempts. AI works best when used to create the first draft of something – it removes the blank page. 
  • As ChatGPT helpfully reminds us later in the article, AI may not always provide up-to-date or accurate information. When using AI, always think critically and use your professional judgement. 
  • This article only addresses teachers’ use of AI, although many considerations highlighted can be applied to student use. 
  • ChatGPT is not the only AI chatbot available; other options include Gemini and Claude. 
  • ChatGPT authored the remainder of this article. 

Here is the interview:


What is AI?

AI is like a computer “brain” that can do tasks that normally require human intelligence. This includes understanding language, recognising pictures, solving problems, and making decisions. 

Generative AI (GenAI), a specific type of AI, is especially interesting because it can create new things. Imagine asking a computer to write a story, compose a piece of music, or even develop a new recipe; GenAI makes this possible. It learns from many examples and then uses what it's learned to generate new content that's never been seen before. 


I have never used ChatGPT – what do I need to do?

This is how to use ChatGPT:

  1. Visit the ChatGPT website at chat.openai.com.
  2. Sign up for an account or log in if you already have one.
  3. Once logged in, you'll see a chat interface. Type your question or prompt into the chat box.
  4. Press “Enter” or click “Send” to submit your question. ChatGPT will respond with an answer or generate the content you requested.

This direct approach allows you to interact with ChatGPT easily. Other platforms might offer ChatGPT's functionality for different applications, but starting on its official site is straightforward.


What are some ways teachers can use AI?

1. Developing case studies for business studies:

How to instruct ChatGPT: Request the creation of realistic business case studies that students can analyse. Specify any particular focus, like small business management or marketing strategies. For instance, "Can you create a detailed case study on a small business overcoming a marketing challenge?"

2. Idea generation for health and social care projects:

How to instruct ChatGPT: Ask for innovative project ideas that students studying health and social care can undertake. Mention if you prefer a focus on community engagement, research, or practical skills. For example, "Can you suggest three innovative project ideas for health and social care students that involve community engagement?"

3. Creating step-by-step guides for plumbing techniques:

How to instruct ChatGPT: Ask for detailed, step-by-step instructional guides for specific plumbing techniques suitable for students. You could specify a particular task, such as installing a bathroom sink. Example instruction: "Can you provide a step-by-step guide for students on installing a bathroom sink, including the tools needed?"

Other more general ways to use ChatGPT as a teacher include session planning, generating quiz questions, crafting creative writing prompts, simplifying complex topics for easier understanding, providing language translations for multilingual classrooms, and devising interactive role-play scenarios to immerse students in practical learning experiences.


What are some of the risks teachers should be aware of when using AI for their work?

When using AI in their work, teachers and trainers should be mindful of several risks:

  • Accuracy of information: AI, like ChatGPT, may not always provide up-to-date or accurate information. It's crucial to verify facts and figures before using them in teaching materials.
  • Dependence on technology: Over-reliance on AI for creating content or answering student queries can lead to a dependency that might hinder developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This applies to teachers and trainers as much as it does to students. 
  • Data privacy and security: Using AI tools involves processing data, some of which might be sensitive. Teachers must ensure that any AI tool complies with the organisation's policies.
  • Bias and ethical considerations: AI systems can inherit biases from their training data, leading to biased or unfair outcomes. Educators should be aware of these limitations and address them when using AI in teaching.
  • Misinterpretation of AI capabilities: There might be a misconception among educators (and students) about what AI can and cannot do. It's important to understand the scope of AI's capabilities and its role as a tool rather than a replacement for human judgement.

Being aware of these risks and actively managing them is essential for integrating AI into educational practices safely and effectively.



In exploring AI's potential in FE, it's clear that tools like ChatGPT can offer significant benefits, from enhancing session content to inspiring creative student projects. However, navigating this digital landscape requires careful consideration of accuracy, privacy, and ethical use. By starting with informed, practical steps and remaining mindful of the technology's limitations, educators can harness AI's power to enrich their teaching and better prepare students for a rapidly evolving digital world. This journey into AI doesn't have to be daunting; with curiosity and cautious optimism, the possibilities for enhancing education are vast.

(OpenAI, 2024).



OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT: A large language model by OpenAI. Retrieved from [https://chat.openai.com


Martine Ellis (FSET ATS) is a writer, speaker, and trainer specialising in professional development and wellbeing-driven productivity. 

Image: Canva

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