PerplexityAI as an Inquiry Engine

For teachers looking to leverage AI in their units of inquiry, PerplexityAI is simple, focused and useful. This post is to share a resource I put together to support teachers who are getting started in adapting to AI in their classrooms.

Why Perplexity?

  • Free, with no accounts, logins or personal data needed.
  • No ads, images or distracting features.
  • Accessible and simple to use.
  • It pairs GPT with search, giving a clean interface of results with links to sources that work.
  • Concise and detailed responses, but not so long that it will write a student’s assignment for them.
  • Copy search links to share, so could be used as a form of research journal.

Perplexity as an Inquiry Engine

Forming good questions can yield great results. With follow-on questions and suggestions, you can see how lines of inquiry could develop.

Perplexity as an ATL Machine

These features mean there is potential to use Perplexity to develop approaches to learning (ATL) skills in Research, Information Literacy, Media Literacy & Thinking. See some examples in the slides.

Research Methods and Recognising Sources

Building on an idea I posted in here, and from some examples from universities, a suggested way to recognise the use of AI is to include a simple ‘Research Methods’ table before a student’s Works Cited. Example in the slides, where a student would link to their Perplexity thread.

EDIT: Since creating this post, the IB released guidance on how to cite AI sources. See their post on LinkedIN for details.

Slides and examples. This will update if I make edits. Go fullscreen here.

What Else Can Perplexity Do?

  • Use the new CoPilot feature (GPT-4), to help work through a problem or research.
  • Use YouTube setting to search for educational videos related to your topic.
  • Use Academic setting to search for and summarise academic papers.
  • Use Wolfram|Alpha setting to give tables and mathematical notation, with worked examples.

Connected resources:

Check out this useful graphic from Amelia King on some other ways to use Perplexity:

Background image generated in MidJourney. Prompt: a group of children and a teacher smiling and working around a table with a laptop, notepaper and a map, futuristic cartoon style, pastel colours, natural lighting, plants in the classroom –aspect 2:1 –v 5




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