AI chatbots like ChatGPT have taken education by storm, raising more than a few questions about their place in the classroom.

5 things to know about ChatGPT in education


AI chatbots like ChatGPT have taken education by storm, raising more than a few questions about their place in the classroom

ChatGPT has commanded the world’s attention in recent weeks, and it has educators and policymakers discussing its implications for education, academic honesty, accessibility, and more.

OpenAI’s chatbot can compose poems, can write an essay about global warming as a Taylor Swift song, and can call up HTML code instantly–the possibilities are nearly endless.

ChatGPT is not the only AI-powered chatbot available to students and educators (0ther options include Google’s Bard and the latest version of Microsoft’s Bing), but it certainly seems to be the most discussed.

Chatbots raise specific concerns in education–will students use them to cheat? Where is the line between research and plagiarism? What role do chatbots play in creating more accessible educational tools for students with diverse needs? Here are five things to ponder as tools such as ChatGPT become more prominent in learning:

1. ChatGPT has rapidly begun to infiltrate K-12 classrooms nationwide. A recent survey by study.com found that nearly 90 percent of students admitted to using OpenAI’s chatbot in some home-related capacity, and more than 25 percent of teachers have already caught a student cheating using the chatbot. The propensity for students to use ChatGPT to cheat has raised concern amongst educators and even prompted several school districts, ranging from New York City Public Schools to the Los Angeles Unified School District, to issue a ban of the chatbot. However, cheating with ChatGPT is just a symptom of a larger problem in education: a focus on rote memorization and regurgitation of information.

2. While artificial intelligence has been a relatively silent partner in higher education’s early warning systems, personalized learning platforms, and more for some time now, we might fairly say that ChatGPT is the big boom heard ‘round the university. The AI chatbot is taking many of us by surprise and startling more of us to attention, not in small measure by its charming, eager extroversion: it “talks” to us. What’s happening here? Is ChatGPT a threat? What happens next?

3. Artificial intelligence is currently walking itself through the hallways of our schools and some teachers may not be leveraging this tool to enhance their teaching methods. Instead, many educators and learning institutions are nervous about the student use of artificial intelligence to pass assignments and assessments. Here are tips for educators to enhance their learning methods and help students grow

4. Turnitin is hoping to help with concerns about AI-based cheating with a new feature the company has added to its existing writing tools. Beginning April 4, all Turnitin products—including Turnitin Feedback Studio (TFS), TFS with Originality, Turnitin Originality, Turnitin Similarity, SimCheck, Originality Check, and Originality Check+—will include AI detection capabilities for existing users. Turnitin began working on detection capabilities for GPT3, the underlying technology upon which many AI writing applications are based, nearly two years before the release of ChatGPT.

5. In an op-ed for the New York Times, technology podcaster Kevin Roose wrote that banning ChatGPT isn’t a practical solution, as students have their own phones, laptops, and other ways of accessing it outside of class. “Tools like ChatGPT aren’t going anywhere; they’re only going to improve,” Roose wrote. “Today’s students will graduate into a world full of generative AI programs. They’ll need to know their way around these tools … in order to work alongside them. To be good citizens, they’ll need hands-on experience to understand how this type of AI works, what types of bias it contains, and how it can be misused and weaponized. … Who better to guide students into this strange new world than their teachers?”

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Laura Ascione
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