EC&I 830

Bot to the Future

Tonight’s debate was another great battle. Both groups did a great job defending their side of the argument. Considering the information they presented, as well as my own research, my belief is that AI technologies like ChatGPT have the opportunity to enhance learning but I do not think the technology alone will revolutionize education for the better. For this blog, I have decided to focus on ChatGPT in particular and its potential impact on education

What do the profs say?

The explosion of ChatGPT into the mainstream has happened quickly. In January, CBC’s Jessica Wong wrote an article titled, “Curveball or game changer? ChatGPT, AI tools under watch on Canadian campuses.” According to Western University assistant professor of information and media studies Luke Stark, “ChatGPT is just one of many technological curveballs that higher education has had to deal with over the last few years.” Stark said teachers should not shy away from this new technology. He encourages teachers to “do a little research yourself and then bring it up in class.” Furthermore, he believes “the key thing is to be engaged [and] honest with your students, to remind them that they want to be here. They want to be learning.” UBC Okanagan psychology professor Liane Gabora agrees that teachers should embrace the new technology. She said she is encouraging her students to test its limits while reminding them that the school can detect AI-generated essays. According to Gabora, “we can’t go backward, right? It’s here with us and it’s going to stay.” However, associate professor of education at the University of Calgary Sarah Elaine Eaton also reminds us that “the human imagination isn’t going anywhere. Creativity isn’t going anywhere.” 

In another January article, Jon Parsons from the University of Waterloo wrote about ChatGPT and its potential impact on education. Marcel O’Gorman, a professor in the Department of English at the university said “the first thing you have to say is it’s super disruptive.” O’Gorman said the technology offers positives and negatives “because if people suddenly don’t know if something is generated by a bot, that might further exacerbate the erosion of trust we’re experiencing.” O’Gorman said there are also ways to prevent students from being tempted to use ChatGPT to cheat by adapting the types of assessment that teachers use, which seems to be a common thread in recent articles written on the subject of this type of AI in the classroom.

Considering the points brought up in both of these articles, I tend to agree with what the professors are saying. We should learn about emerging AI, and incorporate it where we can but not expect it to replace what we do as teachers.

Artificial Intelligence. man using technology smart robot AI, Chatbot Chat with AI, enter command prompt for generates something, Futuristic technology transformation

What does ChatGPT think?

If we want to find out if AI will change education for the better, we should probably go to the source. I asked Chat GPT, “Will ChatGPT and AI technologies revolutionize education for the better?”

Before I finished my sip of coffee it spit out the following:

AI technologies, including natural language processing and machine learning, have already begun to revolutionize education in many ways. Here are some potential benefits that could be brought about by ChatGPT and other AI technologies in education:

    • Personalized learning: AI can help personalize the learning experience for individual students by analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. This can enable educators to tailor their approach and provide more effective instruction.
    • Greater access: AI technologies can help provide greater access to education for people in remote or underserved areas by providing online courses and other educational resources.
    • Improved assessment: AI can provide more accurate and efficient assessments of student progress, allowing educators to identify areas where students need additional support and provide targeted interventions.
    • Enhanced collaboration: AI can facilitate collaboration between students and teachers, enabling more effective communication and feedback.
    • More efficient administrative processes: AI can automate administrative processes such as grading, scheduling, and record-keeping, freeing up educators to focus on teaching.

While there are certainly challenges and risks associated with the use of AI in education, there is also significant potential for positive impact. As AI technologies continue to advance and become more sophisticated, it is likely that they will play an increasingly important role in shaping the future of education.

Chatbot ChatGPT - Aartificial Iintelligence theme with person using a laptopWhat do I think?

There you have it. Right from the artificial horse’s mouth. While I think the AI-generated answer holds some merit, I don’t think each point is as simple as the answer suggests. AI can certainly play a role in allowing greater access to education. It may also be able to personalize learning and help teachers grade and give feedback more easily. But many of the argued improvements or enhancements need to start with an educator and their connection with students.

We are still discovering how AI technologies will impact our everyday lives. Developments seem to be moving faster than ChatGPT can fire off an answer to any question we might have. How can educators expect to keep up with this stunning technology? Well, maybe we can’t. But what we can do is educate ourselves about how to use the technology and how it can help our students learn. We must do this without forgetting we are human and not computers. Students need interpersonal relationships with their teachers and their peers to help them learn at their best. AI can be one of the many tools to help them understand the world and enrich their learning. But it will not replace the teacher-student learning environment that has lasted for centuries. 

My name is Catrina Hunter. I am an Arts Educator at Balfour Collegiate on Treaty 4 Territory. I work as part of Balfour Arts Collective, a high school program for students who are passionate about the arts. I am currently working on my Master's in Education Curriculum and Instruction.


  • Bart Mihalicz

    I was too scared to have ChatGPT come up with a response for my post on this topic. Don’t tick off the robots! Your final thought on interpersonal relationships is something that I thought of as well. While it is not the same as AI, over the course of 8 online classes, I have definitely missed the personal connection with classmates. Tone, body language, and context are all such a valuable part in the learning process and AI just cannot deliver on these fronts. Cheers Catrina!

  • Rokhsareh Kakvand

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the potential impact of AI technologies like ChatGPT on education. It’s great to see that educators are starting to embrace these new technologies and finding ways to use them to enhance the learning experience for students. While AI can bring many benefits to education, it’s important to remember that it’s not a substitute for the human connection between teachers and students. I agree that educators need to continue learning about AI and finding ways to incorporate it into their teaching practices while also prioritizing the importance of interpersonal relationships in the classroom.

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