Is ChatGPT

the end of homework?

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When was the last time you were able to recall a friend’s number? Remember when using a calculator in the classroom was forbidden? Do you use autocorrect as you type?

These and many more are things that we take for granted now. AI is just one more change like this. Technology has become part of our daily life. And all this is just a long way to say “this too shall pass.”

As a recap, and while fearing becoming too redundant, ChatGPT is a chatbot launched by a company called OpenAI in November 2022. It is built on top of a series of large language models and is fine-tuned with both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques.

Note. OpenAi, 2022

Students have been quick to adopt this innovative technology to “help” with their homework. And teachers are starting to take notice and worry about it.

So, we kept wondering… are there ways to incorporate the Technology in ways that help students and teachers? Just like we have refocused some Math problems and assume that students will be using calculators, we should be able to do the same with this technology.

Could we ask the students to generate some text related to the topic at hand and then edit the text themselves, find any errors, correct inexactitudes, and improve the writing style?

Could it become a “calculator for writing”? And if we do not teach that to our students, would we be putting them at a disadvantage with those who are willing to use it and are taught how to?

The truth is that Artificial Intelligence is anything but intelligent. It is based on statistics and tricks us into believing it is intelligent. We need to teach our students how to identify their mistakes, or even outright falsehoods. Like it or not, we are living in the future already.

It is also a terrific opportunity to review what we are asking our students to do. If what we need them to do is so easily done by a machine, we need to reevaluate. Are there other things we can ask them to do that require unique human talents? New ways of assessment, analysis, etc.

If a test is just factual questions that can be answered by an AI, was it worth it? We are uniquely prepared to analyze, criticize, and have original ideas. Can we mix creative assignments and leave memorizing to machines? Can we design original arguments and find relationships instead of giving back exactly what we just learned?

Don’t get me wrong. We need to learn the facts. We need to be able to understand the world that we will analyze. It is just that, as educators, we can concentrate on the reasoning, the relationships between those facts and teach how to find them.

ChatGPT, and AI in general is the proverbial ship that had sailed. The egg that you cannot put back together. But it is also a tool at our disposal. We can use it to enhance our lives and our learning. Shall we ban it from schools? Since when are bans effective? We are better off embracing it, directing its power to a place where we can reach the maximum benefit for students.

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