Image upload and analysis is one of the most game-changing recent additions to AI platforms. Combined with a knack for text recognition, it’s possibly one of the most revolutionary for language (and other!) learners, too.
In short, if it’s on a page, you can now get it into AI and do things with it. Because of this. image analysis has huge potential for extending, and breathing new life into printed materials, producing the very best synthesis of old and new tech.
At its very simplest, it’s a handy summary and explanation tool. Just upload your page image, and prompt:
Useful in its own right. But with some extra prompt magic, you can produce individually tailored support material on the fly – material that will help you to delve really deeply into those language learning texts, making it work for you.
Let’s see what it can do for starters!
Working with Vocab Lists
Vocab in Context
Take the most conventional form of book-based, language learning data. Most course books have vocabulary lists and glossaries of words in the current chapter top. But beyond the dialogues or passages they are attached to, there’s rarely any other in context use of them.
Personally, I find it really helpful to see individual items embedded in sentence examples as an aide memoire. I usually seek them out in mass sentence banks and other manual-search online resources.
Even easier with AI:
The trick here is the analyse the entire page instruction. LLM / AI platforms tend to take shortcuts when working with lists, sometimes skipping list items. Adding this stipulation is great at keeping it on track!
Rationalising Vocab Lists
You can also sort such material in an order that works better for you. For instance, I work best with vocab when I classify it first, be that by parts of speech, topic or otherwise. AI makes light work of it:
You can also combine this with the AI Anki decks trick to really digitise those paper lists.
AI Translation Exercises
Now, how about some methods for actively working with vocab? Personally, I’m a big fan of the translation method. Now I know this isn’t everybody’s cup of tea (it’s one thing that turns some off Duo) but if it works for you, you can produce a raft of exercises in seconds:
You can also extend course book pages with worksheet-style practice exercises. Here’s a prompt that should produce a diverse set of activities in an output perfect for copy-pasting into a note, or PDF, to pore through on the move:
You might even like to try a more dynamic approach with this paper-to-exercise technique. The following prompt should set up a turn-based game (my favourite kind!) that recycles chapter vocab in live conversation:
Admittedly, turn-based language gaming worked better in Bing before recent updates forced it to focus solely on being a fancy search engine. If it does stray, just remind it that you’re playing a vocabulary game!
Choose Your Platform!
All these prompts have one thing in common: they play to the power of AI to take information and display it in different ways. That’s gold for learners, as the human brain learns best when presented with material in multiple, not monotonous formats. For one thing, this helps beat the context trap of repetitious learning. Recycling vocab in as many ways as possible is key to remembering it in unlimited, unpredictable future situations.
Tech-wise, you’ll see that I’ve used Bing in most of these examples. It’s an excellent place to start if you’re new to AI yourself, not leave because it’s accessible, user-friendly and completely free! Additionally, the Bing app allows you to snap a book page easily with your phone camera. And Bing’s internet connectivity out-of-the-box gives it more breadth and up-to-the-minute relevance when creating your materials.
That said, you can use these prompts with any platform that allows image uploads. ChatGPT, for instance, has the added bonus of multiple uploads – ie., pages – so you can process a larger chunk of chapter in one go.
Whichever platform you choose, the most important piece of advice remains the same: don’t just stick with these potted prompts. Instead, experiment constantly to find what works for you, building up your own prompt library to copy-paste. AI can, and should, be an incredibly personalised experience. Good luck making it your own!
Have you used AI image analysis in your learning? Let us know your own tips and tricks in the comments!