Climbing Up and Sliding Down the AI Slope of Enlightenment

It has been a year since OpenAI released its generative chat app, ChatGPT. As an avid education technologist, I must confess that I jumped headfirst into the ChatGPT spectacle. This enthusiasm is documented by more than twenty professional development activities that have been facilitated or written over the past months. These are listed in the Resources section below. 

Recently, I have taken a breath to reflect on ChatGPT and how it has dominated the conversation in education technology in 2023. Within this reflection I have mapped my experience against Gartner’s Hype Cycle of new technologies to document how I am faring in relation to education’s adoption of generative chat technologies. 

ChatGPT Potential 

As there are countless adaptations of OpenAI’s language model, I will focus on its most known app, ChatGPT. It offers learners and instructors ample opportunities to customize and enhance learning, add efficiencies, and more, through a series of prompts to produce a bounty of outcomes. Examples of these outcomes include: 

  • digital accessibility improvements 
  • chatbot conversational practice  
  • enhancing student and teacher creativity  
  • instant feedback and assessment efficiencies 
  • generating game-like learning experiences 
  • engaging interactive learning environments  
  • interactive storytelling opportunities 
  • personalized learning plans 
  • professional development and training for educators 
  • teacher preparation support 
  • tutoring and mentoring for learners 
  • homework assistance (not an instructor favourite)  
  • writing and research support (also, not an instructor favourite) 

Social and professional media networks are surging with exemplars of astonishing educational activities, resources and means of producing instructive learning objects and events. Educators in our sector often do not have time to explore, sample and assess the practical applications of new technologies. As ChatGPT offers so many possibilities, confidently learning which app, extension or plug in is exacerbated by ChatGPT’s vast potential.  

Gartner’s Hype Cycle & ChatGPT  

Gartner’s Hype Cycle provides the five steps of acceptance of new technologies, such as ChatGPT, in a marketplace.  In our case, the market is the Canadian LINC and ESL sector. As a practitioner in the LINC sector, I mapped my experience with ChatGPT over 2023.  All of us are experiencing this adaptation differently, and the following is my experience.   

  1. The Innovation trigger occurred on November 20, 2022. 
  1. During the Peak of Inflated Expectations, I read about, watched, explored, and experimented with ChatGPT. I also produced blog posts and facilitated workshops and webinars. I was overly optimistic about ChatGPT’s potential to revolutionise teaching and learning in our sector. 
  1. I started to slide down into the Trough of Disillusionment around June of 2023. I was using ChatGPT to actively create, innovate and boost efficiencies in my work responsibilities. My colleagues and I identified flaws and starting spending time on workarounds. External issues such as the inability to identify student from AI-generated submissions caused a stir in the teaching community. We also noticed patterns in materials that lead to less potential of creating diverse activities. Questions and language levels were difficult to manage.  
  1. After initial successes over the summer, I felt that I was climbing up the Slope of Enlightenment. However, more complex tasks revealed that concentrated review, manual revisions and discarding ChatGPT output were often necessary. Despite this, I am working diligently to generate and document useful exemplars to share with others in the sector.  
  1.  The ChatGPT Plateau of Productivity seems in the distant future as organizational and operating issues need to be refined and resolved.   


It is now December, and I am in a cycle between taking steps up the slippery slope of enlightenment and sliding down into the trough of disillusionment with materials development and lesson planning. Recent news about OpenAI’s corporate turmoil also leaves one wearier of banking on a dependency on tools based on functional and organizational unpredictability. I have decided to stay the course while keeping an eye on the wider field of generative technology to identify more opportunities.  It is still early days in the generative chat education field. Issues will be resolved, and it will be a staple in our language courses.  Being an early adopter is not always easy.  

Join us for the Tutela webinar: ChatGPT Turns One. What have we learned? 
Dec 04, 2023 07:00 PM ET 

TESL Ontario Blog Posts  


Hi—I'm John Allan. I am an educator who works in the technology enhanced language learning field. I create online learning opportunities and mentor instructors on the Avenue project. I have experience teaching ESL and EFL in Canada and the Middle East. I hold an MSC in Computer Assisted Language learning, a M.Ed. in Distance Education, TESL B. Ed., a B.Ed. (OCT), and a variety of TESL relevant certifications from TESL Canada, TESL Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Education. For more articles, learning objects, projects and blog links see


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