When ChatGPT launched in November, it sent shockwaves through the education space as students began to use the chatbot not only to explain and learn complex topics but also to cheat. Since then, a cottage industry of AI tools for teachers and students has arisen.
This article will look at free or low-cost AI tools available to students that may help give them an edge in the classroom. (Sorry, teachers.)
AI models like those listed in this article use generative artificial intelligence and prompts to generate text like essays, images, music, and videos. Many of them are conventional study aids that have been only recently infused with AI features.
ChatGPT has become the standard in generative AI, with many AI tools on the market today using OpenAI’s API to create their own version of the popular chatbot.
Earlier this month, OpenAI announced several new updates to ChatGPT and GPT-4. As laid out at the company’s inaugural Dev Day event, ChatGPT Plus subscribers can now access OpenAI’s AI-image generator Dall-E and internet search within the platform.
Students looking to leverage AI’s capabilities will find a lot of use in ChatGPT Plus for a relatively small monthly subscription cost of $20. GPT-4 users can now tailor their experience using the newly released GPTs that use prompts to create customizable versions of ChatGPT.
Productivity platform Notion is a great way to keep schoolwork organized. The versatile productivity and organizational tool combines note-taking, task management, databases, and collaborative functionality into a single platform. Notion comes in four tiers: Free, Plus, Business, and Enterprise. Paid subscriptions start at $8 monthly for an annual plan or $10 monthly.
In February, Notion introduced AI to its platform, allowing students to use generative AI to create pages for their project, translate words, and write and edit using prompts. All Notion versions come with access to Notion AI, but a paid subscription is necessary to have full access.
Also consider Obsidian, which takes a more privacy-centric approach.
Otter is a transcription platform that uses AI to record and digitally write out conversations on the app. Otter features both desktop and mobile versions and is free with limited use. Students may find Otter helpful for long lectures and study sessions. Otter is free to start, but a paid monthly subscription at $16.99 or $10 monthly for an annual plan is required for longer recording times. Otter’s first paid Pro tier increases the recording time to 1,200 monthly transactions or 90 minutes per conversation. Otter also lets users connect their Google calendar, Zoom account, and Dropbox folder, depending on the subscription level.
Also consider Zoom’s native service, Zoom AI Companion, which comes with a paid Zoom account.
While Grammarly’s platform has helped many writers with grammar and punctuation, students will find its suite of AI tools helpful. A subscription to Grammarly Premium starts at $30 for a monthly plan and $12 monthly for an annual subscription. Grammarly also offers a browser extension that lets students check their grammar and spelling across the internet. For students on the go, Grammarly also offers a mobile app. Grammarly claims to review submissions against billions of pages, giving the percentage of plagiarism and links to what it says is being plagiarized.
Also consider ProWritingAid, which has earned fans with its Rephrase tool.
OpenAI’s largest investor, Microsoft, has gone big into AI, adding its AI-based Copilot technology to several Office programs, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. While students may get access for free from their respective schools, Microsoft 365 comes in tiers based on need, starting at $6.99 a month or $69.99 per year for a Microsoft 365 Personal account. A subscription to Office comes with 1TB of cloud storage, access to Skype, and Microsoft’s Defender antivirus program.
Where do we go from here?
Students looking for an edge with AI should never forget that even though AI has been around for decades, generative A is still new and prone to hallucinate to make up facts. These hallucinations are a dead giveaway to teachers and administrators that AI was used to write the essay. So, while using AI as a tool and helper is a great way to use it, AI should never replace a student’s hard work and dedication.