Unleashing the Power of Chat GPT: 5 Ways it has Elevated My Skills as a Writer, Researcher, and Principal

Disclosure – This post was written with the help of Chat GPT 

In this digital age, advancements in artificial intelligence have opened up new avenues for personal and professional growth. One such tool that has significantly impacted my journey as a writer, researcher, and principal is Chat GPT. This cutting-edge language model has been a game-changer, empowering me to hone my skills, delve into extensive research, and enhance my effectiveness in educational leadership. In this blog post, I will share how Chat GPT has transformed my professional journey, amplifying my capabilities and enriching my role as a well-rounded educator.

  1. Enhancing Writing Proficiency: As a writer, the precision and versatility of Chat GPT have been instrumental in refining my writing skills. By engaging in conversations and seeking guidance from this powerful AI tool, I have received valuable insights, suggestions, and corrections that have significantly improved my grammar, sentence structure, and overall coherence. The ability to interact with Chat GPT has helped me develop presentations, memos, letters to parents and even my weekly email. 
  2. Facilitating Extensive Research: Conducting thorough research is an essential aspect of educational leadership. Chat GPT has emerged as an indispensable resource, enabling me to access a vast repository of knowledge at my fingertips. I am finding myself visiting Chat GPT prior to “Googling”. By leveraging the model’s capabilities, I can explore diverse topics, gather information, and delve into the latest educational research and best practices. The speed and efficiency with which Chat GPT can provide relevant information have significantly expedited my research process, enabling me to make informed decisions and stay abreast of the ever-evolving educational landscape.
  3. Enriching Professional Development: As a principal, continuous professional development is crucial for staying at the forefront of educational innovation. Chat GPT has become my virtual companion, offering personalized insights and guidance tailored to my specific needs. By engaging in conversations with the model, I can seek advice on instructional strategies, leadership techniques, and current educational trends. This interactive learning experience has broadened my perspectives and even in a pinch, I was able to develop interview questions, refine the RTI process and I’ve used it to develop preliminary schedules. 
  4. Strengthening Decision-Making: Educational leadership often requires making informed and data-driven decisions. Chat GPT has proven to be an invaluable tool for accessing relevant information and insights to support my decision-making process. By leveraging its capabilities, I can engage in thoughtful discussions, seek different viewpoints, and weigh the pros and cons of various options. This enables me to make well-informed decisions that positively impact students, teachers, and the overall school community.
  5. Fostering Collaboration and Communication: Effective communication and collaboration are essential in the realm of education. Chat GPT serves as a catalyst for meaningful exchanges, providing a platform to connect with other educators, share ideas, and seek advice. By leveraging the model’s conversational abilities, I can engage in productive discussions, connect with like-minded professionals, and foster a collaborative network that enriches my educational journey. Through Chat GPT, I can tap into a wealth of collective knowledge and collaborate on innovative projects that benefit my school community.

Chat GPT has proven to be an invaluable asset, transforming my role as a writer, researcher, and principal. Its capacity to enhance writing proficiency, facilitate extensive research, enrich professional development, strengthen decision-making, and foster collaboration has been instrumental in my growth as an educator. As I continue to leverage the power of Chat GPT, I am confident that it will continue to propel my journey as a well-rounded and effective educational leader, allowing me to navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities that lie ahead.

About the Author

Spike Cook, Ed.D., Principal, RM Bacon Elementary, Millville, NJ. In addition to being a Principal, Dr. Cook published two books through Corwin Press (Connected Leadership: It’s Just a Click Away; Breaking Out of Isolation: Becoming a Connected School Leader). He is the co-host of the popular PrincipaPLN podcast and a regular on the Unlock the Middle Videocast. His blog, Insights Into Learning, was recognized as a finalist for Best Administrator Blog by the EduBlog Awards. Spike earned his Doctorate from Rowan University and is an Adjunct Faculty member in the Masters of School Administration Program He is featured in Twinkl’s 30 Education Influencers You Need to Follow and Klear’s Top Ten Middle School Influencers. Dr. Cook is also on the Education Advisory Board for Whole Health Ed. Connect with @drspikecook via Twitter, YouTubeLinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.


Educators: Do you know about VUCA? Here is why you need to ASAP!

How many times during the COVID 19 Pandemic have you heard this phrase, “We are living in unprecedented times.” No truer words have been spoken. Our entire world has been impacted and we are going to need our educational institutions to be prepared with a different way of doing things.

We were warned about this by thought leaders and future thinking writers. In fact, over the past few decades, as we finally started transitioning into the 21st Century, schools began integrating higher order thinking, problem solving, technology and cooperative learning. We shifted our mindset about education.  Without knowing it, we were experiencing VUCA.

According to Mindtools, “VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. It describes the situation of constant, unpredictable change that is now the norm in certain industries and areas of the business world. VUCA demands that you avoid traditional, outdated approaches to management and leadership, and day-to-day working.

The term VUCA goes back to 1987 and was developed on the leadership theories of Warren Bennis and Burt Nannis. The characteristics of a VUCA world is an environment that requires you to react quickly, take action in uncertainty, is a dynamic experience and is unfamiliar. Doesn’t this sound like the past year?

source: microtool.de

So how does this impact schools? 

I know what some of you might be thinking…. Not another acronym. We are filled with ACRONYMS in education. Yes we are but VUCA may just be the acronym we need to become fully ensconced in the 21st century. Kids have been telling us for years… they are bored in school and take too many tests and there is little real world connections to their learning.

Our education organizations need to be poised with the ability to do the following:

  • Volatility – Respond quickly and efficiently to an event or series of events that can impact our schedule. For instance, everyone is on their device and the internet goes down. What do we do? The best solution is to be transparent and upfront about the situation and how it was handled. We also need to have a plan B, C, D.
  • Uncertainty – We have been living in uncertain times for sure. How long will this pandemic go on? Social unrest? Stock markets? etc. etc and the list goes on. How do we prepare? One suggestion is to assemble a leadership team with members who operate with a growth mindset and are problem solvers.  The days of the “boss” and “manager” are over. We need to have equal voices to solve some of these issues that we didn’t even knew existed!
  • Complexity – We make decisions all the time. There are days when we make 100 decisions before noon. This can be challenging. How do we revisit “tried and true” or “we have always done it this way” thinking? For instance, we have learned that “school” and “learning” can take place anytime or anywhere, so does it make sense to have 180 days of school each year? What are the implications of revisiting of these complex decisions? According to the experts, we do not need people to make complex decisions more complex due to their fixed mindset thinking.
  • Ambiguity – We have developed a schooling process that is sequential and precise. We value organization of learning, increments of time, and building blocks of knowledge. We know that is not necessarily how the world works but it is easier (or so we thought). Rigid structures in an ambiguous world will not stand. Again, look at the schedule of learning over the year. Districts have used hybrid, online, remote, and in-person interchangeability based on the situations. Some people have really struggled with this because they think that school should be ________ (fill in the blank).

As schools learn more about VUCA, there will significant gains in our effectiveness to provide a relevant, flexible educational experience for our communities. There will be messy times filled with challenges where we will make a lot of mistakes along the way, but isn’t that one of things that characterizes learning?

What do you think? Be sure to leave a comment.

Want to learn more? 

About the Author

Spike Cook, Ed.D., Principal, Lakeside Middle School, Millville, NJ. In addition to being a Principal, Dr. Cook published two books through Corwin Press (Connected Leadership: It’s Just a Click Away; Breaking Out of Isolation: Becoming a Connected School Leader). He is the co-host of the popular PrincipaPLN podcast and his blog, Insights Into Learning, was recognized as a finalist for Best Administrator Blog by the EduBlog Awards. Spike earned his Doctorate from Rowan University and is an Adjunct Faculty member in the Masters of School Administration Program He is featured in Twinkl’s 30 Education Influencers You Need to Follow and Klear’s Top Ten Middle School Influencers. Dr. Cook is also on the Education Advisory Board for Whole Health Ed. Connect with @drspikecook via Twitter, YouTubeLinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.

I hope you are ready for the future!

source: www.theguardian.com

source: www.theguardian.com

Let’s face it folks, the future is here.

There is no one out there that can predict the future, and that is why we need to be process-centered about the future of educational technology. In just a few short years, the following innovations will be knocking on your classroom door…. will you be ready?


The interesting aspect of these “future” innovations is that they are already here!

  • Seasteading – Floating cities seeking to revolutionize governments and communities
  • Downloaded consciousness – You mean in the future we won’t just be downloading the newest version of Angry Birds? According to research, scientists are working on developing an artificial brain.
  • Increased city population/living – City schools will be the norm, but will they look similar to today? Chances are they won’t.
  • Artificial hearing and seeing – The blind will be able to see and the deaf will be able to hear through Artificial Intelligence.
  • A new, better language – Researchers and scientists are currently exploring language. What is going to be the language of the future? Is there something better for computer interface and development?
  • Brainwave reading technology – Is there an algorithm that can understand, and interpret the human mind?
  • Holograms – Why not interact with something you would normally see in the computer?
  • Robotic organs – A working body with artificial parts.
  • Magic Leap – In the future, everything will be a game. This augmented reality is being funded by Google.
  • Exoskeleton suits – The ability to boost your running, jumping and medical advances can turn you into real life Iron-person.
  • Oculus Rift – A head mount display that can take you into another universe.
  • Robots – Life like robots that will be difficult to identify from humans.
source: bgr.com

source: bgr.com



Seem like science-fiction? Can these innovations really knock at your 10th grade biology or second grade Math class? Maybe not tomorrow, but for schools we need to consider how these innovations will impact us.


Consider these questions as you look around your classroom, school, or district:

  • How much longer will we have textbooks?
  • How much longer will be have laptops?
  • What will we do with Robot teachers?
  • What will we do with brick and mortar school buildings?
  • How will we teach?
  • How will we learn?

These may seem like far-out questions, but the important part of all this is our ability to be prepared to understand the impact on learning. Working collaboratively with other schools, states and countries will be the key to solving problems we didn’t know we had.

What do you think? Are you ready for the future?

A special guest on the next PrincipalCast Podcast…


Have you heard the PrincipalCast Podcast? We’ve recorded 5 episodes now on the following topics:

#1 Social Media and Facebook

#2 Social Media in the School District

#3 You know you’re a connected educator when…

#4 Observing and Evaluating Teachers in the 21st Century 

#5 Evaluations and Observations

You can find PrincipalCast on iTunes or on Stitcher/Beyond Pod for Android.  If you watch us live (Sundays at 8:30pm CST) on teachercast.tv you can also chat with us in the live chat box or using the twitter hashtag #principalcast.

This Sunday we are inviting our first guest to the show and we are going all out by having Todd Whitaker join us.  We are excited to talk to him about his newest book coming out this month, The Secret Solution. Do you have a question you want us to ask him? Share your question with us HERE.

#MPSWC Opening Day 2013-14

Every year our district hosts an Opening Day celebration for all staff members. Approximately 1300 employees from all areas descend on our Performing Arts Center to reflect on the previous year, welcome new staff members and set the agenda for the new year. Want a sneak peek at the trailer for this year? I can share it with you (but you can’t tell anybody). Enjoy!



Missed last year’s trailer? Check this out



The Power of Lurking and Learning!

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a “lurk and learner.” For those of you who do not know, a “lurker” is someone on Social Media who tends to sift through information, blogs, tweets, posts, or videos and quietly learns. They tend to follow more people then they have followers. They have become astute at checking hashtags for ideas and recommendations. But, rarely, if ever do they tweet, blog or put something out into the Social Media landscape.

Do you know how hard it is to get a lurk and learner to share their story?


Here are some helpful hints about Lurking and Learning:

1. Start small. Follow a few educators and read their tweets.

2. Find a hashtag (#) to follow. Jerry Blumengarten (aka Cybrary Man) has a comprehensive list

3. Follow a twitter chat. Here is the Schedule that Jerry posted 

4. As you learn, pay it forward in your organization

Know someone who is lurking and learning? Make sure to support them and encourage them to continue!






Starting at page 100: My Skype With Paula Naugle

12-12-11-The-ever-awesome-Ms.-Paula-Naugle-4th-grade-teacherWhen I was young, my mother told me it was rude to ask a woman their age. I have always remembered that and for the most part, have adhered to it. However, today, as I skyped with the infamous Paula Naugle, I couldn’t help but wonder about her age. See, age plays an important role in her story.


A few years ago, Paula was considering retiring. She had put in 30 years of teaching, and admittedly was feeling the effects of burnout. She attended the 2004 ISTE conference for 3 days and walked away from the experience realizing that as much as she knew about education, she knew nothing about 21st Century, connected education. It peeked her curiosity and left her wanting more.


Fast forward five years to 2009 and Paula continued to provide the best education to her 4th graders in Louisiana. Yet she still didn’t feel connected. She revisited the concepts from her ISTE experience and put together a grant proposal to redesign her learning environment. She ended up winning the grant which was 15,000 dollars! She used the money to purchase netbooks, interactive white board, and other goodies.


paula-brenda-at-receptionPaula then connected with Jan Wells a fourth grade teacher from Kansas. They worked together for 4 years connecting their 4th graders on various assignments, before ever meeting in person. Once they did meet in person, it was like they had been reading the same book and were able to start at page 100. Paula credits Joan Young for coining that phrase describing when connected educators meet in person. “We end up knowing so much about each other online, that when we meet, we already know so much about each other,” said Paula.


plnaugle_1372958072_81Similar to most people who become connected, Paula lurked and learned on twitter and blogs for some time. She didn’t think she had much to offer, but that all changed as she learned and connected with other educators throughout the world. As you check out her blogs, wikis and twitter, you will see that she has so much to offer!


Paula is committed to helping educators get connected. She is a tireless leader and when she goes to conferences she makes sure to spend time in the “newbie” lounge. She loves to pay it forward! When connecting educators to social media, she often shows them the graphic on Jeff Utech‘ blog (The Thinking Stick).


As for the future of education, Paula wants to see a 10-15 minute social media period added to the school day. That way, no one will have an excuse for not having the “time” to connect and learn. Since Paula came out of her comfort zone of 30 + years in education, she feels that other educators will be able to do the same and that will have lasting impact on our understanding of learning. She sees blended learning opportunities  become more prevalent. Paula also sees education becoming more individualized.


And I listened to my mom…. I never asked Paula her age because we started the conversation on page 100.


Take a few minutes to watch Paula’s story in her own words.


Connect with Paula

on twitter

on her classroom blog

on her classroom wiki 

#4thchat (every Monday at 7pm CDT)

on her professional blog (no wonder her initials are PLN)


Why Innovation Matters

Source hubraleigh.com

Source hubraleigh.com

As educators we are faced with a myriad of challenges in the near future. As compared to our predecessors, there is an increased accountability, responsibility and workload in education. Principals have increased observations, walkthroughs and monitoring of student learning objectives. Teachers must ensure that their students are progressing as outlined by their state monitoring. Yet, despite all of this we must innovate. It is not a question of how, but more so why.


If you look at these changes in education as another excuse why you will have no time to innovate, then you are falling into the trap. If you are in a position of compliance, then guess what… you are short changing your most precious resources… students!


In order to innovate you have to look beyond the present. As an elementary school principal, I try to remind myself of the year the students will graduate high school. For instance, the little kindergartners that will be entering my building in September will part of the class of 2026. Wow, 2026. What will the world be like? That’s why we have to innovate!

source http://blog.lifespantechnology.com/

source http://blog.lifespantechnology.com/

As you plan for the upcoming school year make sure to remind yourself why innovation matters. You have kids, not widgets, that you have to educate. Don’t make excuses for everything you can’t do because of increased accountability, but rather innovate in spite of these changes. Your kids need you and we need you!



The Paradigm Shift: The Principal’s Evolving Role as Instructional Leader

Here is my PowerPoint for the presentation The Paradigm Shift: The Principal’s Evolving Role as Instructional Leader through the EIRC on July 17, 2013.


This workshop is designed to help school leaders find out how to…

  • Model 21st Century Leadership
  • Encourage staff to use tools to connect with parents and teachers
  • Redesign staff meetings to meet the needs of the common core
  • Make sense of digital curricula and how it impacts teaching and learning
  • Use data to drive school culture and climate
  • Use “Process-Centered” decision making

Blending the future of learning with Rich Kiker

This is the first edition of my summer 2013 Learning Project.

kikerTalking with Rich Kiker was like talking to one of my high school buddies…. He is energetic, focused, futuristic, passionate, funny and loves to push the envelope.  In fact, when I asked him what type of student he was in school, he laughed and said, “Terrible! I was more concerned with selling sneakers, fooling around, then I was in school. For me, school was boring!” Yes, Rich and I would have definitely hung out in high school (and college for that matter).


I actually first met Rich at Educon in January. He came into the session I was facilitating (with Dana Sirotiak and Danielle Hartman ). He immediately breathed light into the discussion and made this remark that stuck a chord with me… “We need to invest in bandwidth.” Simply stated. Passionately delivered. Yet, I understood exactly what he was referring to…. No matter the device, app or online tool, if your bandwidth is not large enough to support it, your 21st century learning opportunities are meaningless.


Rich is a risk taker. A few years ago he gave up the comfort of tenure and a full time teaching  job to start his own company, Kiker Learning. At Kiker Learning he built one of the most successful consulting businesses in education. He blends learning through face to face, online and hybrid. In addition to building Kiker Learning, he came back to the public education realm as the Director of Online Learning for the Palisades School District. Rich blends learning with the best of them!


kiker trainerAt Palisades, he works with the district to provide online learning opportunities for teachers, students and administrators. His vision is to meet the needs of the various stakeholders in a blended learning atmosphere. So whether kids want to take an elective, are Gifted and Talented, need remediation, or get assigned to a course, Rich ensures that their needs are met. Rich uses resources for the program such as K-12, Blackboard, edmodo and the Blended Schools Network. He believes that the online curriculum should complement the mission/vision of the public schools and address the common core as well as the local curriculum requirements. To me, Rich is creating a paradigm shift within the system by blending the learning.


kiker w peopleWhen I asked Rich to talk about the future of education, he wasted no time in telling me that it is in bandwidth! He used the example of how the global learner can learn from a kid in Singapore through YouTube, but if the bandwidth isn’t there, then how can they access it? Rich believes that the investment also needs to be in the Human Resources of a company. He thinks its time to “stop buying stuff” and move to a digital space. He sees MOOC’s as the opportunity to let students and teachers build the process of their learning. He sees great value in continuing the social aspect of schooling. Rich values the art of teaching and the important place a teacher and student have in the learning continuum.


The future of  learning is Blended through bricks and clicks.

Suggestions by Rich

  • Project Loon – Balloon powered internet for everyone
  • The Element – by Ken Robinson – A great read for finding your passion
  • Be Our Guest – Great read for understanding the importance of customer service
  • Google in Education – Check this out for learning opportunities beginning in August
  • MentorMob – An ambitious project to re-imagine how learning works
  • Seth Godin –  Linch Pin – Want to make yourself indispensable? Read this book!
  • Kiker Learning  – Rich’s online company that provides state of the art consultation