Technology has evolved education in so many ways over the years. It has given greater access to resources for students and teachers, but it has also created more significant inequities and distractions in the classroom. For better or worse, technology in the classroom is here to stay, and more tech is being introduced all the time.
OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research and development company, introduced ChatGPT to the public in 2022. ChatGPT is a free tool that anyone with a device and internet can use — making it widely accessible, especially for students who, at this point, are all digital natives.
So how will ChatGPT change education, teaching and the future of schools? Keep reading for everything you need to know.
Related: How Conversational AI Is Shaping the Future of the Education Sector
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an AI computer program that uses its intelligence to receive, analyze and produce a response that mimics natural human language.
The program uses a transformer-based neural network with a massive database that the AI uses to analyze the input information and create a response. When a human user inputs questions or commands into ChatGPT, the AI processes the text and generates the answer based on the neural network data.
Related: What Is ChatGPT? Google, Siri and Even ChatGPT Are Confused About Its Existence
ChatGPT can have thorough conversations, admit errors and even write essays. While it might be a valuable tool because of its depth of knowledge, many in education wonder how ChatGPT will affect the ethics, effort, credibility and overall future of learning and teaching.
Related: What Is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Here Are Its Benefits, Uses and More
How can teachers use ChatGPT?
1. Extra resource
Think of ChatGPT like Google without having to sift through answers. For example, if a teacher is giving a lesson on the Revolutionary War and there is a class discussion about why the war was started, Google would provide thousands of results for students to sift through.
However, ChatGPT would provide a fast, concise, straightforward answer that students could read in real-time. ChatGPT can supplement discussions and give the teachers real-time answers in this way.
ChatGPT can create assessments. Teachers can input information into the AI program and provide context, and ChatGPT will output a result. While it might take some tweaking, it can be a great starting point for teachers to use when creating assessments from scratch.
3. Grammar and writing
In the age of social media and text language, grammar and writing can be difficult for teachers to get across to students. ChatGPT provides instant feedback for students, which can help them improve their writing skills.
While AI should not replace a teacher’s lessons, it can serve as a practice tool for teachers to use in the classroom and a way to switch it up and provide something new for students.
Automation is everywhere and can help teachers streamline one of their most time-consuming tasks: grading. ChatGPT can grade and provide feedback on assignments, giving teachers more time to create engaging lesson plans and focus more attention on students.
Related: Artificial Intelligence Can be a Game-Changer for Education, Here are 5 Reasons Why
How can students use ChatGPT?
1. Help with homework
ChatGPT is another resource students can use to get quick answers. You’ve probably seen students press the iPhone button and say, “Hey Siri….” Siri answers right away. ChatGPT is the same concept. For quick answers that they won’t have to sift through, ChatGPT can be great for homework.
2. Writing skills
There are several writing help tools out there, like NoRedInk and Grammarly. ChatGPT functions in a similar way. A student can type in a sentence and ask ChatGPT to correct it for them to see how it can be improved.
Because ChatGPT is equipped with data analysis, a student could entire an essay into the text box and ask ChatGPT to provide feedback.
This gives the student time to make their own improvements before submitting the assignment. Also, a student can input a test into ChatGPT, and the AI can identify what areas the student needs to work on.
ChatGPT is highly intelligent and is equipped with vast resources. That said, its database consists of internet sources, some of which are inevitably inaccurate.
This means students should use ChatGPT as a Wikipedia-type source. It can be a great way to build general knowledge and serve as a jumping-off point, but it cannot actually be used as a citable source.
What are the pros and cons of ChatGPT in the classroom?
Some teachers believe this artificial intelligence is gunning for their jobs. Still, others are embracing it as a tool for grading and another way to teach children how to interact with technology. Take a look at the pros and cons of ChatGPT in education.
The pros of using ChatGPT in education include the following:
- Fast access to information: ChatGPT provides a wide range of topics in real time.
- Personalized learning: Students can tailor questions to their interests and even ask follow-up questions so ChatGPT will delve deeper into that interest.
- Supplemental resource: With a quick search through its database, ChatGPT allows teachers to have a well of information at their fingertips.
- Language practice: Students can practice, receive feedback and ask for help with the AI program.
- Accessibility: Teachers have to maintain a work-life balance, which means they cannot answer emails at all-night hours. Students can turn to ChatGPT for information 24/7, especially when their teacher is unavailable.
Related: The New World Of AI-Based Adaptive Education
The cons of using ChatGPT in education include the following:
- Accuracy limitations: ChatGPT is not 100% accurate because its data is pulled from the internet.
- Lack of context: ChatGPT is intelligent but can misunderstand context, leading to incorrect output.
- Lack of critical thinking: One of the most valuable things students can develop is critical thinking. If the answers are always at their fingertips, they will not have to think for themselves.
- Lack of original thought: ChatGPT can produce whole essays. If a student has ChatGPT write their essay for them, it is not only a lack of original thought; it is plagiarism. This is one of the most significant concerns surrounding ChatGPT, and plagiarism checkers are scrambling to catch up.
- Possible bias: ChatGPT is trained in data, and if that data is biased, so is the machine.
- Technology dependence: We’ve already seen it happen — students (and some teachers) can’t be away from their phones. The more technology that’s introduced, the more reliant humans become. With such an easy search tool, it can become a habit to use ChatCPT as a crutch instead of a tool.
Related: Princeton Student Builds ChatGPT Detection App to Fight AI Plagiarism
The future of ChatGPT in education
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence that does have the power to change education. The industry has yet to find out whether it’s for better or worse.
While it can be a valuable tool for teachers and students, it can also be an easy way to plagiarize and cause an over-reliance on technology.
As teachers and students learn more about ChatGPT, hopefully, the good outweighs the bad, and AI will help improve education day by day.
Are you interested in finding out more? Head to Entrepreneur.com for all things artificial intelligence, education and more.