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  • Writer's pictureJ.D. Merrill

What does ChatGPT mean for school operations?

By J.D. Merrill and Brandon Worthington --


Technology and artificial intelligence is rapidly changing the world, but innovations in these areas are often last to take root in the public sector. Our firms, Mangrove Strategies and Infinite Treehouse, are working to close the gap.


The recent entry of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a state-of-the-art language model, has the potential to transform the way we communicate, learn, and work. Much has been written about the promise and the peril of its introduction to schools from an academic perspective. But there has been little discourse around its potential impact on school operations.


With applications spanning from text generation to data analysis, we believe that ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionize school operations.


One application that we are currently exploring is the creation of a knowledge warehouse for all school operations that could be read by ChatGPT. Imagine a Google Drive folder that houses the school’s attendance, grades, code of conduct, handbook, calendar, district reporting requirements, and facility equipment manuals and warranties that would serve as a source-of-truth to be read by ChatGPT.


Using OpenAI's text creation/completion API that can be configured to generate SQL code, we can provide information about the relevant database tables (e.g., names of tables and columns but no actual student data) and then a user could ask a question related to the data we have ("what are the names and phone numbers of the students who were absent more than twice last week?").


OpenAI would then turn that question into SQL code that would try to answer that question. The implications of this technology means that school leaders could theoretically receive answers to a range of prompts entered into ChatGPT such as: When is my budget due? When is my next board meeting? How many students earned an F last quarter? Provide the names of students who have missed 5 days or more of school this year? What is student x’s phone number? When does our HVAC unit warranty expire?


This use-case is likely just the tip of the iceberg for what is possible with ChatGPT and school operations. At Mangrove Strategies and InfiniteTreehouse we are excited to help schools leverage this technology to streamline their school operations so school leaders can spend less time looking up information, and more time on instruction and improving student outcomes.


If you have ideas for how technology can solve problems in your school, network, or district, or if you are interested in partnering with us to leverage technology to improve school operations, I hope you will reach out to us at jd@mangrove-strategies.com and bworthington@infinitetreehouse.com.


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