ChatGPT — A Teacher’s Worst Nightmare or the Future of Education?
By: Su Min Park, Medha Iyer
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot created by OpenAI capable of performing various tasks within the academic field, such as writing essays and solving math and science problem sets. The recent ‘viralization’ of the tool as a homework helper has sent many educators and institutions into panic mode for several reasons. ChatGPT struck fear among instructors as it created a new avenue for students to cheat and could mislead students’ understanding of the subject. They also feared the AI as it could provide more constructive and detailed feedback for the students’ writings in a shorter time than them as teachers.
In response to the rampant ethics and safety concerns regarding AI-generated content in student learning, schools have already taken counteractive measures such as blocking access to ChatGPT on school computers and networks. However, blocking ChatGPT may be the wrong decision. Instead of writing off ChatGPT as a threat, educational institutions may benefit from embracing the tool for the following 3 reasons.
1. We cannot prevent students from not using A.I. chatbots.
While educational institutions can ban the use of ChatGPT by controlling their tech systems in class, students can still access the chatbot outside class using their personal devices, VPN, and various other methods. GPTZero, a program built by a student at Princeton, aims to detect AI-generated essays, but like ChatGPT, the program cannot always be accurate, and students can find a way to modify their writing with different tools to avoid detection.
Moreover, like the OpenAI chatbot, there are many companies developing chatbots that will be readily available as alternatives for students to choose from. In essence, students will always find a way around preventive measures. Instead of making rules that cannot be relatively fully controlled, the school can focus on transparency and treat ChatGPT like a calculator and allow students to use them in some assignments but not in other assignments.
2. ChatGPT can be a teaching aid.
Rather than stifling ChatGPT in classrooms, teachers should harness the tool in conjunction with traditional teaching methods. ChatGPT can deepen students’ comprehension of a subject, whether it is an old Shakespeare poem or a physics law of motion. For instance, the chatbot can provide students with personalized lesson plans based on their learning style and weaknesses, a private after-school tutor, or even a debate partner. For teachers, ChatGPT can assist them in creating in-class exercises and quizzes and prepping their lesson plans more effectively.
In addition, the students teach themselves how to interact with A.I. models. The extent of inaccuracy in chatbots can also be utilized for students to critically thinking about their answers and check the flaws in the chatbot’s reasoning. Students who have used ChatGPT to make lesson plans have contended that the chatbot ultimately aids them in refining their logic and practicing their ideas — as long as the teachers keep a substantial in-class discussion and check for students’ understanding.
3. ChatGPT can help students prepare for the real AI-filled world
The world is evolving, and people are adopting AI in their daily lives. Educational institutions hold the responsibility to prepare students for the real world, and therefore must adapt to the new AI landscape by integrating AI into curriculum. By doing so, future generations will gain a better understanding of AI technology and work to combat and eliminate inherent biases and ethical shortcomings. Learn more about ChatGPT’s ethical concerns in the articles below!
- Banning ChatGPT in schools will not fix the problem; the students will always find a way to convenience their work.
- Instead of competing or fearing the use of ChatGPT, the OpenAI chatbot can enhance the quality of an educator’s lesson plans.
- It is crucial that the school provide students with the experience with A.I. to prepare them for the real world that is evolving to use A.I. in everyday life.
Further Questions to Consider:
- What are the ethical implications of incorporating ChatGPT into curriculum and normalizing its usage, and how can educators prevent students from exploiting the tool?
- What other ways can students harness ChatGPT as a constructive tool, and to what extent will artificial intelligence enhance or disrupt studying habits?
- How will ChatGPT redefine learning and restructure educational institutions, and what implications does this have for fields such as Data Science?
Further Resources to Look Into:
- For further details about this topic, read “Don’t Ban ChatGPT in Schools. Teach With It” by Kevin Roose, a technology columnist in New York Times.
- ChatGPT in the Classroom: Here’s What Teachers and Students Are Saying
- Generative AI ChatGPT As Masterful Manipulator of Humans, Worrying AI Ethics and AI Law
- Why is Microsoft’s new Bing ChatBot Raising Ethical Eyebrows?
What can you do?
- Read or use the chatbot yourself to find out what the chatbot can do/ or can’t do firsthand. Share your thoughts on how the future will look like with more A.I. incorporated into our daily lives!
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