Monday, February 6, 2023

Stop Freaking Out Over ChatGPT #EdChat

My feed has been swamped with all of these posts proclaiming that ChatGPT is great for education and that it will bring about the demise of education. Every take in between has been given as well. I've been around long enough to have seen this reaction with multiple tools over the years. There are plenty of people out there that are going to tell you how to use ChatGPT in your classroom or how to check and see if your students are using it to complete assignments. Much like the Force, it can be used for good or for bad. It is not all one or the other. 


Rather than spend a bunch of time coming up with a variety of reasons about why teachers should not worry about ChatGPT, I just had ChatGPT come up with the reasons for me. 

  1. Lack of personalization: ChatGPT, as advanced as it is, cannot replace the personal touch that a teacher brings to the classroom. A teacher’s ability to understand individual student needs, emotions, and learning styles cannot be replicated by a machine. ChatGPT may provide a quick answer, but it cannot provide the human connection and personalized support that students need to learn and grow.

  2. Limited scope of knowledge: While ChatGPT has been trained on a massive corpus of text, it is not perfect and may not always provide accurate or up-to-date information. Teachers, on the other hand, undergo extensive training and have a deep understanding of their subject matter and the curriculum. They are able to provide students with a comprehensive and well-rounded education that goes beyond just answering questions.

  3. Importance of critical thinking and problem solving: Teachers play a crucial role in fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills in their students. They do this by encouraging students to think deeply about concepts, ask questions, and engage in discussions and projects that require creativity and innovation. ChatGPT, while it may provide answers to questions, cannot facilitate the kind of hands-on learning that helps students develop these important skills. Teachers should not worry about ChatGPT as they provide a level of education and support that a machine simply cannot match.

I will throw in another reason why people should stop freaking out about ChatGPT. 

Teachers were very concerned about essay writing with the introduction of the Internet. There was this fear that students would not create an original essay every again. I always found this funny, because any teacher worth their salt can identify a plagiarized paper from a student they have had in class for a small amount of time. It is not that hard to see that a student who has written at or slightly below grade level is writing at the college level out of nowhere. While taking credit for the student's writing advancement would be nice, teachers know it came from somewhere else. Either too much "help" from a parent or from an online source. The way this was addressed in many classrooms was more in class writing assessments. Will some students beat the system and submit work they did not do? Of course they will. Students have been beating the system as long as there has been a system. The overwhelming majority of students follow the directions, do the work, and are honest about it.

The big issue that many teachers do not want to look at is WHY students would choose to be dishonest with their work. Finding the root cause might require teachers to look inward at their curriculum and overall classroom learning environment and that can be much scarier than the thought of AI taking over the teaching profession. Food for thought. 

I used AI to create an image of what AI looks like in a dystopian world. Here it is. Kind of nuts right?

Hugs and High Fives, 


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