Say No to ChatGPT in Schools!

You may have heard or read the recent news about ChatGPT, the latest artificial intelligence advancement that has school districts and educators in contention.

Why? Because it can make it easier for students, if they are so inclined, to cheat.

ChatGPT, a new AI tool developed by San Francisco-based research firm OpenAI, can apparently generate surprisingly authentic text, so complex and human-sounding as to fool even some scientists. So there’s no need for a student to burn the midnight oil to finish a late report that was due three weeks ago.

No critical thinking skills are needed either, or at least not much beyond getting the question right and checking the answer. (ChatGPT is not buggy, even its developers admit).

Since ChatGPT went live on November 30, it has generated a lot of interest. Its servers have reached capacity. we tried to test it ourselves and ended up on the waiting list. In high interest, even some college professors are revising their teaching to prevent students from trying to pass off ChatGPT work as their own.

K-12 educators are taking note, too, including here in the Chicago area, as WBEZ’s Char Duston recently reported. Chicago Public Schools, among other area districts, is considering banning ChatGPT, as have public schools in New York, Los Angeles and Baltimore.

CPS should follow suit, at least for now, we think. Relying on AI for essay writing is cheating, plain and simple. Students will not develop critical thinking and writing skills until they write an essay using their own brain power, not AI. In addition, even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence relies on human training. to train it.

We are not Luddites. As some educators argue, using ChatGPT in well-designed lesson plans can be. AI tools like ChatGPT may one day play the same role as a math calculator, allowed in some classrooms or test situations but banned in others.

But leave it up to individual teachers to evolve as they become more familiar with AI technology and how it can be used to improve instruction.

Will some students still try to pass off AI-generated essays as their own, or use them to answer homework questions? Of course. Expecting teenagers not to try to take shortcuts is unrealistic. Teachers will have to adapt.

CPS said it is still evaluating how to handle ChatGPT, recognizing the educational value of AI in general.

OK. But until the guidelines are in place, make it clear to students. Do your work.

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