ChatGPT made waves, and headlines, upon its launch at the end of 2022. Previously, generative AI like this seemed like a technology reserved for the most advanced tech companies.
OpenAI brought the latest artificial intelligence tech to the masses with their web-based AI tool, ChatGPT. The bot quickly spread across social media as more and more people explored the tool to find out just what it was capable of. From generating short stories to code for computer programmes, the potential seemed limitless. For many, ChatGPT signified the beginning of an AI-age for industry or, for some, the potential end of the human workforce.
Whatever concerns you might have about AI, it’s clear that the technology is here to stay. It’s only going to develop further as more industries find new ways to work with bots like ChatGPT and provide even more data for the software to learn from. Its abilities can only increase over time.
What about the education industry? Needless to say, the open accessibility of ChatGPT meant that both students and teaching staff had access to this continually expanding technology from its launch. But where will this lead? While the future of AI in education isn’t necessarily clear just yet, it is clear that school’s need to make space for this technology in the classroom and prepare for the teaching and learning styles of the future.
- How are staff and students using ChatGPT today?
- The potential of ChatGPT in education
- Mitigating the risks of AI in the classroom
- Technology for Independent schools
How are staff and students using ChatGPT today?
As with any new technology, it takes time to realise its true potential for any purpose. Generally speaking, we are just beginning to learn what this technology could do for the classroom. However, students are already making use of OpenAI’s ChatGPT tool for a variety of purposes and it is naturally becoming increasingly difficult to monitor.
The primary concern at the forefront of many educators' minds is the use of generative AI tools when completing assignments. Students ask the AI to write essays or question answers and submit those as their own work. Due to the advanced nature of the technology, it can be difficult to identify AI-written content. Schools have even begun implementing their own AI tools made to catch AI-written content submitted by students.
Cheating like this is often the first thought that comes to mind when considering ChatGPT in the classroom. There are also considerable concerns about the potential for misinformation in AI-written answers.
This impact on critical thinking could detriment learning and hugely shift lesson plans in the future. However, it’s also unlikely that teachers can eliminate AI from the classroom altogether. The key is to harness the benefits of AI, while educating on and avoiding the potential pitfalls for students.
The potential of ChatGPT in education
Looking beyond concerns about originality, cheating and misinformation, AI has the potential to make some extremely positive changes for both teachers and students. It’s easy to get caught up in the negatives. Ultimately, dwelling on them doesn’t help students to develop for the world and workplace of the future.
The development of tools like ChatGPT have unlimited potential for the future of classrooms, and wider school operations. This includes benefits for both teaching staff and students. Below are just a few basic examples:
- Automation: Improve time management by automating repetitive tasks like generating unit outlines or lesson plans. Provide ChatGPT with the information and let the software do the legwork.
- Topic slides: Use ChatGPT to create slideshows for any topic or grade level. These can be one of the most time-consuming parts of lesson building. AI can add assessment questions and create a simple and organised structure to format your information.
- Simplification: Not sure about the best way to turn a complex concept into something palatable for your students? AI tools like ChatGPT use the hordes of accessible information on each topic to form simplified explanations according to the given education level.
- Feedback: Some teachers have trialled the effectiveness of ChatGPT for writing feedback for student submissions or reports. Writing reports and assessment feedback for each individual can be extremely time consuming, especially prior to exam season. The tool can provide more detailed and useful feedback based on specified grading, grammar, structure or their understanding of concepts within their assignments.
- Performance: Provide AI tools with the necessary data to track performance for each student. AI will analyse the data and potential for improved performance or growth.
- Information gathering: One of ChatGPT’s most enhanced features is its ability to gather information on any given topic, and really making the most out of all of the data that is available to us online today. However, for a learner, all of that information can be overwhelming. ChatGPT can help to streamline that process and allow them to find the information that they really need to learn about a topic or complete an assignment. For now, ChatGPT was trained using data up to 2021. However, new software is likely to continue to develop using current and future data.
- Simplification: ChatGPT and AI have immense potential as a tailored learning tool. Not every lesson is going to be perfect for each student. They each have different requirements and teachers cannot explain every concept 100% effectively. Much like for teachers, ChatGPT can turn complex concepts into something palatable for the student as a foundation for further learning.
- Study planning: Exam season can be extremely overwhelming and it’s not easy to know where to start the revision effort. ChatGPT’s organisational skills can come in handy in this situation. The generative AI tool can be used to help create revision or study plans according to a student's needs on any school topic.
- Practice: Depending on the student’s learning style, practice essay or exam questions can be a great way to revise before an important assessment. ChatGPT can be used to create practice questions or example essay topics in no time, without the need for teacher assignment.
- Iterate: Sometimes, students will just need an extra pair of eyes over their work before submission. ChatGPT proofreading can be a great way to find structural or grammatical issues, or ensure accurate understanding of a concept before submitting an essay or assignment, as an automated form of quality assurance.
Mitigating the risks of AI in the classroom
Just like with most things in the school environment, the key to ensuring the safe and appropriate use of AI in the classroom is education. As the technology develops, there is always going to be an element of misuse until we understand its benefits and drawbacks, but these experiences are to be learned from.
AI has a firm place in the digital world of the future. Schools have a responsibility to prepare students for that world. It would be counterproductive to act as if AI is not developing and evolving the education landscape. It is important to outline clear rules for the use of the technology, and continually evolve those guidelines according to the growth of the technology.
As we learn more about tools like ChatGPT, official guidance will become clearer. For now, it’s important to educate both staff and students on how generative AI tools can support learning, and where caution should be exercised.
Technology for Independent schools
The right EdTech has the potential to make all independent school processes much more efficient. Your MIS, school database, and additional systems are critical to the successful operation of your school.
At iSAMS, we continue to work to develop solutions that school’s need on a daily basis, with our cloud-based MIS as the centrepiece. If you’re interested in learning more about what iSAMS has to offer, you can watch our MIS demo below.
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