Use ChatGPT to teach, not cheat
In a future with AI, we need to harness ChatGPT’s potential as a tool for teaching and learning
Change is inevitable in our constantly shifting and unpredictable world. Whether that change is for better or for worse, we adapt. And we can expect to see the same with the increasing use of powerful AI tools like ChatGPT.
ChatGPT is a conversational chatbot available to users for free. It can perform a range of different functions with varying complexity based on simple prompts. The AI can answer thoughtful questions, prepare essays, write code and do so much more.
With the rise of AI in the realm of education, many academics are marking ChatGPT as a threat to teaching – but it doesn’t have to be. This premature fear is preventing us from appreciating the benefits of ChatGPT for education.
When the calculator was invented, it too, wreaked havoc among educators. The calculator brought fear that students would no longer be able to practice computational skills and would render themselves dependent on the device.
However, we adapted. Schools didn’t give up on teaching math. Instead, they began challenging students with more complex mathematical concepts. Working around the cheating-related concerns posed by calculators paved way for smarter methods of teaching and learning. In the same way, ChatGPT holds incredible applications for both students and educators.
Industries and professionals are already using ChatGPT to perform and collaborate on a range of projects and tasks. For instance, many companies have begun implementing ChatGPT as a personal assistant to help with managing meetings and schedule, writing emails, generating code, and completing a variety of other functions that save time.
With the growing use of AI in industries, some educators are realizing the need to prepare graduates who are ready to navigate a world where AI is ubiquitous. Students need to be encouraged to develop their knowledge and skills surrounding AI tools like ChatGPT so that they are aware of the limitations and ramifications of their use and misuse.
In fact, the MacPherson Institute at McMaster University has already begun to address the potential benefits of ChatGPT in classrooms as a tool to enrich teaching and learning. One McMaster professor from the School of Interdisciplinary Science, Dr. Katie Moisse, plans to ask students to use ChatGPT to prepare scientific content and then edit and annotate the content to follow principles of inclusive science communication. Redesigning assignments in this way creates opportunities for students to use AI and demonstrate their critical thinking and course-related skills.
For students and educators, the applications of ChatGPT are truly limitless. Educators can use ChatGPT to enhance lesson plans, develop study resources and test students for critical concepts in innovative ways. Similarly, students can explore the AI as a personalized tool for creating study schedules, understanding challenging concepts and preparing their own study materials like flashcards, summaries of content and practice questions.
While we explore the benefits of ChatGPT and integrate it into education, we must be mindful of its limitations too. As a chatbot trained on heaps of text, the AI does not necessarily know what it’s talking about. It can generate inaccurate or biased information at times and remaining weary of these imperfections is necessary.
With ChatGPT in the arena, it’s time to rethink education.
We need to embrace AI technologies and thoughtfully apply them to create opportunities for teaching and learning in ways that are engaging, equitable and ethical.
This article is the second article in a 2-part series. Be sure to check out Part 1: ChatGPT is not your friend.