ChatGPT Teacher Tips Part 9 – Summarizing

Post by Tom Daccord

A recent national report by the Watson Foundation found that teachers are using ChatGPT more than students and are using it to create new lesson ideas. To help out all of our teacher friends, we are offering a series of posts focused on practical ways that you can use ChatGPT to assist with your own lesson design! Each post will focus on a practical  strategy for using ChatGPT and will include ideas for both elementary and secondary school teachers. Here is the ninth part of our series:

#9 Summarizing 

Why ChatGPT for Summarizing?

ChatGPT can summarize thousands of words in seconds and can be used to summarize long texts such as news articles, academic papers, and even short books. ChatGPT can also be leveraged to translate and summarize articles in select other languages into English. 

Furthermore, ChatGPT can even summarize a YouTube video! 

How to use ChatGPT for Summarizing

With ChatGPT 3.5 you can summarize up to roughly 25,000 words at a time. If you’re using ChatGPT to summarize an article, short book, or academic paper, keep in mind that ChatGPT doesn’t include events occurring after September 2021. 

One way to summarize a long text is to first locate it online and copy its URL (online address). Then, type “TLDR” in the ChatGPT text box and paste the URL to the text you want summarized. (The acronym TLDR is short for “too long, didn’t read.”) Another option is to copy and paste the text you wish to summarize into ChatGPT. But this might be complicated if the web page you wish to copy contains peripheral text (like ads). 

In all, the surest way to summarize text is to copy and paste the text into ChatGPT. That’s so because ChatGPT might hallucinate when fed an URL. In any case, make sure to tell Chat GPT any summary guidelines you want it to follow, such as the length and format of the summary.

If you want to summarize text for a specific school grade, course, or lexile reading level, tell ChatGPT to do so. For example, “Summarize this paper for a student who is studying Biology I in 9th grade: [PASTE TEXT].” 

As mentioned, ChatGPT can summarize YoutTube videos. To do so, download the “YouTube & Article Summary powered by ChatGPT” Chrome extension available at: Once downloaded, you can access the summary of the video by clicking the summary buttons on the video thumbnail while browsing videos on YouTube.

ChatGPT Summarizing Strategies

  1. Text Summarization

Text Summarization: ChatGPT can be used to summarize lengthy articles, textbooks, or research papers into concise summaries. Students can input the text they want to summarize, and ChatGPT can generate a condensed version that captures the main points and key details. This helps students grasp the main ideas without getting overwhelmed by excessive information.

It’s not recommended to use ChatGPT to summarize a book you haven’t read to make sure you’re not regurgitating false information into a book report or to a person wanting to know about the book. 

  1. Essay and Report Summaries

Essay and Report Summaries: When working on essays or reports, students can use ChatGPT to summarize their own writing. This can help identify areas of improvement, ensure coherence and clarity, and condense lengthy sections. It also aids in identifying whether the key points have been adequately addressed.

  1. Note Taking Assistance

ChatGPT can assist students in taking effective notes during lectures or while reading. Students can provide the model with a passage or lecture transcript, and ChatGPT can generate concise bullet points or summaries that highlight the essential information. These notes can serve as valuable study aids.

  1. Language Comprehension

ChatGPT can help students enhance their language comprehension skills by summarizing complex texts into simpler language. This can be particularly beneficial for English language learners or students who struggle with reading comprehension. ChatGPT can break down difficult passages into more accessible summaries, aiding students’ understanding.

Please note that these summaries are generated by ChatGPT and may not capture all the nuances or details of the original texts. They should be used as starting points for understanding the main ideas and can be further refined or expanded upon as needed.

  1. Outlining

ChatGPT can assist students in organizing their ideas and creating structured outlines before writing essays, reports, or presentations. By providing the model with a list of key points or concepts, ChatGPT can generate a logical outline that arranges the information in a coherent manner. This helps students maintain a clear and organized structure for their assignments.

  1. Reviewing and Quizzing

Students can use ChatGPT to create quick summaries or flashcards for reviewing important concepts or preparing for exams. By inputting specific questions or topics, the model can generate condensed responses that serve as study materials. Teachers can also use ChatGPT to generate quiz questions based on the content being studied.

Those are 6 strategies to get you started. Just keep in mind that ChatGPT may not always respond exactly as you expect. However, with a bit of creativity and guidance, ChatGPT can be a useful and engaging tool for summarizing long texts with your students!

–by Tom Daccord, with help from ChatGPT 

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