Chat GPT - Friend or Foe of Education?
By Dr P Lanigan, Assistant Headteacher and Deputy Head of SJSERA
As you may be aware, there has been much discussion recently about the role of artificial intelligence (AI) language models like Chat GPT in education. Some have hailed these technologies as the future of learning, while others have raised concerns about their impact on the traditional teaching profession.
So, is Chat GPT a good thing or a bad thing for teachers? The answer, as with many things in education, is not straightforward.
On the one hand, AI language models like Chat GPT can provide a wealth of information and resources to teachers and students. With access to vast amounts of data and knowledge, these technologies can help educators to develop more personalized lesson plans, answer student questions more quickly and easily, and even provide feedback and grading assistance. Moreover, Chat GPT can serve as a useful tool for differentiation in the classroom. It can generate differentiated questions, provide alternative explanations, and even adjust the difficulty level of assignments based on individual student needs.
However, some have expressed concern that the use of AI language models in education could lead to a depersonalization of the learning experience. There is a risk that students could become overly reliant on these technologies, and miss out on the valuable human interaction and guidance that comes with a traditional classroom setting. Moreover, there is a concern that Chat GPT, as a machine learning tool, may be prone to biases and inaccuracies, which could have serious implications for learning outcomes.
So, what is the bottom line for teachers? While AI language models like Chat GPT can be a valuable tool in education, they should not be seen as a replacement for traditional teaching methods. Rather, they should be used in conjunction with human interaction and guidance to ensure a well-rounded and effective learning experience for students. As educators, we have a responsibility to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends in education. By embracing AI language models like Chat GPT as a valuable tool, we can help to create a more personalized and effective learning experience for our students.
Time it took to reach 1 million users:
Netflix 3.5 years
Airbnb 2.5 years
Facebook 10 months
Instagram 2.5 months
Chat GPT 5 days
Chat GPT is designed to converse with users in natural language and provide helpful responses to a wide range of queries and topics. Since its launch on 30 November 2022, millions of people have interacted with the software helping it to learn and develop. It represents a significant leap in human language interfaces, the artificiality of its responses are almost non-existent. In fact, the text above in bold was actually written by Chat GPT, based on the command ‘Write a newsletter article to teachers explaining whether Chat GPT is a good thing or a bad thing for them’.
For educators there are some significant benefits to the software. For example, the ability to write letters, create a resource, prepare a speech, help with a risk assessment, make an assembly and even mark work. However, there are significant drawbacks. Whilst pupils could use it to conduct research, there are limited methods to validate the sources used. Furthermore, pupils could provide personal information that could then be used as part of Chat GPT’s algorithm and returned as a result to a question for another user. The biggest issue is plagiarism, with pupils submitting returned answers as their own homework or even coursework. Companies specialising in anti-plagiarism software such as TurnItIn are in the process of developing algorithms to detect Chat GPT but most are still in development and may not be 100% successful.
Friend or foe, the technology is here to stay; natural language interfaces are becoming ubiquitous with modern living. We must educate pupils on the merits of the software as a supplement to their learning but not as substitute to their own amazing ingenuity, creativity and originality
Chat GPT, 2023. Introducing ChatGPT (openai.com)
Mr Jones_EDU. Twitter. https://twitter.com/mrjones_EDU
TurnItIn, 2023. Sneak preview of TurntItIn’s AI writing and CHATGPT detection capability. Sneak preview of Turnitin’s AI writing and ChatGPT detection capability | Turnitin.