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  • Writer's pictureJames Kieft

A comparison of Google Gemini and Microsoft Copilot

In this blog post I'm going to detail some of the different approaches I have been using with AI to assist with planning, specifically with the planning of a scheme of learning.


As I mentioned in previous blogs, AI is everywhere and absolutely has the potential to transform teacher workload and the way that teachers approach the tasks of planning and curating content and resources.


As is typical when a new piece of transformative technology comes along it is only natural that lots of third party sites appear that offer to help the user by providing scaffolding to make the task of  prompting easier for people to engage with.


However in this blog I didn't want to focus on those third-party tools which have used AI to power their tool I'm sure there's lots of great ones out there if you jump on my YouTube channel I'll put a link just below you'll find a number of different tools which can be used to scaffold and help with planning


Instead I'm going to focus on the two big players and what I have discovered so far through my experimentation using CoPilot which is obviously Microsoft's AI tool and  look at how that compares to Google's latest AI tool Gemini


For this academic year I've been teaching on our equivalent to the Award in Education and training at level three and one of the components of the course that I've designed is focused on planning for learning.  In most cases I have got colleagues who are new to teaching, usually they've come from industry and they've never had to plan structure and sequence learning.


 So what I've done with them initially is to go through the analog approaches I use when it comes to planning a new scheme or work, such as picking out the key words  and drafting an initial sequence then using a graphic organiser to widen the scope and the detail of the topic I am planning to deliver.

Having covered that and let them have to go to work in this way, I then go through and show them how I think they could use AI to assist them.

 

I've got a blog post coming out about that shortly so I'm going into more detail about how I've integrated the use of AI into initial teacher training but do watch this space, I hope it will come out shortly and I will add a link to it here.  Instead let's go back and focus on AI with planning and specifically how I've got on in using both Copilot and Google Gemini

Microsoft Copilot

So let's start with CoPilot you can use it in the browser and like all AI tools you can put in your prompt and it can provide information but where I found CoPilot to be really valuable is the sidebar feature it offers within Microsoft Edge. 

Here is my guide on using Microsoft Edge side bar




The Copilot sidebar means that once you have given permission for it to access your browser page in Edge, you can then ask Copilot to interpret or to summarise or analyse the information on that page and that's hugely beneficial.


One of the big benefits is you're not having to provide all of that information in the form of a prompt instead what you can do is open up your specification sheet as a PDF in Edge and then ask Copilot to reference that in suggesting a sequence for scheme of learning.  


And because you're referencing the specific specification you know that it's using information that is correct and appropriate and not randomly sourced from the web you can be more confident that its output is going to be relevant and useful.


Where I think this has  the potential to be really useful is if you're looking to combine units so you're looking to deliver holistically where you're bringing together  unit 1, 3 and 5 because they fit with how the students will experience this information in that particular industry.


From my experimentation with the Copilot side bar I have found it has worked really well.

I can pull the specification for each of those units  into one document and then I can ask it to help with the drafting of a combined scheme of learning.


In my initial experimentation this has worked really well. It's been able to interlink those relevant terms and see where there's a synergy between the different units and I can also include in the prompt specific terms or information that I want it to reference that help it make links to the relevant  industry.

Google Gemini

Moving onto Google Gemini which from my perspective seems better when it comes to ideas and creativity thinking which works really when developing a scheme of learning.

Here is my video guide on using Google Gemini




The process of getting the best result is different. You have to prompt differently because you aren't able to reference a document directly. They don’t offer the sidebar feature like there is in CoPilot so you need to draft your prompt providing very specific information about the specification the unit number and making sure that they've got the right qualification but once you've done that and you've told it the number of weeks the number of guided learning hours and reference any dropped any specific information you feel is relevant I found it generates a really good starting point a draft that need further refinement.


What I found from my experimentation is that you if you use Copilot sidebar that I mentioned earlier to and reference a specific specification and then if you then ask Gemini to do a specific scheme of learning referencing the same course spec and unit and then you combine the two documents or referencing both documents you end up with an even better result.


 In conclusion I think that those basic long language model tools such as CoPilot and Gemini can make a really effective contribution in supporting your  planning and actually using them in combination with each other can result in a really effective draft scheme that you can then edit and evolve further.


 If you enjoyed reading this post  please remember to check out some of my blog posts and if you want a video guide on a range of AI powered edtech tools click here to view the playlist on YouTube channel.


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