Using AI to generate graphics for the world language class

using AI image makers in the world language class

While ChatGPT has been all the rage, using AI to generate graphics is a new tool that every teacher should consider for their language class. But what exactly is generative AI? And how can using AI make your class more fun and exciting, with very little extra time or work for you?

What is generative AI?

Generative AI image makers are a powerful tool for creating unique and innovative artwork. They use algorithms to generate images based on user-defined descriptions, such as color, shape, size and texture. This allows creators to rapidly produce high-quality visuals with minimal effort. Generative AI image makers can be used to create all sorts of art, from photorealistic portraits to stylized fantastic images. Just like a text generator, you can give the AI input and it will give you a finished product – the only difference is that it’s an image rather than text.

One of the first AI image generators was DALL-E 2. It created a grid of 4 square images, but they weren’t always realistic. You might have seen them on your social network feeds for a while. Midjourney came along and the improvement in quality was amazing. Now, Adobe has released a beta of their AI generator (called Firefly) and this is the one I’ve used the most.

Using AI image makers

Whichever generator you use, using AI to create an image is pretty simple. Just tell the AI what you want to see and it will produce an image. There are some things that AI doesn’t do well – specifically hands. But you will be blown away with some of the results you get! Here’s an example: If I tell firefly to make a “whimsical unicorn sitting in an armchair reading a book” here is one image that I get:

If I change the settings slightly, using photo instead of art, this is the result:

Changing again to graphic and changing the prompt slightly (“a steampunk unicorn sitting in a train reading a book and smoking a pipe”) gave me this:

All of this is nearly immediately created once I input the prompt. So, now for the big question:

Using AI to generate graphics for my world language class

AI images can be excellent for writing and speaking prompts! If you’ve been studying vocabulary and want to find the perfect image for an assessment or practice activity, your prayers have been answered! With just a few taps of the keyboard, by using AI you can have an image that includes exactly the terms and structures you are hoping to assess!

If you write stories with your class, or if your students write stories, using AI can illustrate these with no trouble at all. Just think of the student publishing projects you could do with these images! No matter how crazy the story, it can be brought to life easily. And students will like using AI because it allows them to be creative, even if they aren’t artistic.

For listening practice, you can generate a group of images to meet whatever you’re trying to practice or assess. You can make a variety of images for lower-level courses to get “the big picture” – but for more advanced classes, you might want to add more detail to the images so that you can assess students’ ability to pick out fine detail in audio passages.

Write a short script describing the scene, but regenerate the images with small details being changed – the time of day, the color of a clothing item, the physical description details, the names of locations in the background, etc. Now either read the passages aloud and have students select the correct image, or have them read the written descriptions.

If you are introducing vocabulary and structures, having an image can lead to great repetition and circling opportunities. Come up with an idea for the image and then consider the different questions you might ask. For example, in the images of the unicorn riding a train, you could talk about the color of the unicorn, what he/she is wearing, what he/she is doing, what he/she is drinking, where he/she is going, how he/she is going there and why.

Just one image could take up an entire class period! You can then give students the chance to come up with a prompt for the next day’s image. Students can submit their ideas and you can select the most interesting ones that will give you the most opportunity to describe it in detail.

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