Wake me when you need me (It’s a Halo 3 reference)

In my current working context (Grade 9-10 teacher) I’d say I rarely use any kind of generative AI. I teach Phys Ed 9, Math 9, Wellness 10, and Social 10. I could definitely use it in Wellness and in Social 10 for a variety of different things, but so far, I just haven’t. I have taught students how to utilize some of the different AI system’s though. Mainly just in the sense that I’ve given them an article or reading and then showed them how they can use AI to make a synopsis or gather key points that they can utilize. Of course I have taught them (in conjunction with their ELA teachers) how if you’re going to use this type of info, you still have to cite the original piece. We’ve mainly just used it to either tone down something that sounded to complicated or used it to explain something in a different way.

For my own personal use I have used it just a few times for a quick lesson plan when something hasn’t gone to plan and I need something quick and I’ve also used it a couple times to help generate a general rubric for assignments. I’ve tried to use Chatgpt to make some more in-depth lesson plans, but I find it only works well for a generalized plan. It gives great outlines, but I’m either to lazy to write in more info to get what I want or I’m just not using it correctly. With the general nature of it I’ve used it once or twice to create a general unit plan, and it does a decent job of making a timeline for different topics to cover, without going into too much depth. For long term planning, again, its solid. For something extremely detailed, to me, it’s not the best option.

From what I can tell, I’ve only ever had one student blatantly use it. I taught Social 30 last year and over the course of about a month to a month and a half we did a dialectic essay. Students need to pick a controversial topic in Canadian society, argue for both sides, give their opinion, and then a possible solution (Silvius if you’re reading this you probably know the exact one as I’ve stolen.. erm was gifted it by Tammy). We went over the writing process multiple times, had an outline that they had to fill out, and then they had to create a draft, edit it, and then hand in a good copy. It was a whole process that we took a bunch of time on. The average one was about 7 pages long and had 7-8 sources. One student handed in a single paragraph, zero sources, zero grammatical errors, and to boot, it was about how AI will be making teachers useless in the near future.

So obviously it didn’t pass because it was missing so many components (which were in the rubric) and just for fun I ran it through a couple different AI checkers like gptzero and Winston AI. I was able to utilize the free versions because of how short the writing piece actually was. I ran it through and sure enough it said that it was most likely almost 100% AI generated. These systems are not full proof or standard in our division. I had to take the evidence to our VP. He agreed with me that it was just a fail to begin with based on the criteria, but the tricky thing was if he failed this, he failed the whole class. It took about 30 seconds of grilling from the VP to get the answer out of him as to whether he cheated or not. He said he didn’t do any of the “extra” stuff (the research portion, outline, draft, etc.) because he thought this would be good enough. Every time I checked on him in class he said he was working on it and even had stuff in the proper format. That went out the window quick. Spoilers: he did cheat. He was like, “how did you know?” and then we showed him what one is supposed to look like. It’s pretty obvious in comparison. Super long story short, because we’ve talked about how we need to consider our assignments so that kids can’t just cheat, this is one of those examples. He ended up doing credit completion.

The benefits of AI are that it can help you in a bind, but the drawbacks are certainly when factually, peer-reviewed proof is needed, or when assignments are designed to a level where students can simply just input the info into a generative AI program and get a base level answer that might not need checking.

As things develop I do have a feeling that things are going to get extremely intricate. As a fan of the video game series Halo I cannot wait to see Cortana (an AI) become real, but it also scares the absolute crap out of me. I think for the most part AI will eventually evolve to take care of “quality of life tasks” by automating tasks that are usually a nuisance for humans so we can focus on other things, but what that could lead to is just some space-age, Sci-Fi stuff that could potentially be terrifying (insert Terminator scenes). How great would it be though if I just had AI that could do my attendance for me and keep updating it so that I don’t have to take time at the beginning of class or remember to fix it if someone walks in late. Or if it could just pull up what I want on the screen instead of having to fight with our projectors that all operate differently at our school. Sounds like a dream. If me still doing my attendance manually keeps us from a robot apocalypse, then so be it.

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