AI and ChatGPT: the Future of Education?

I was initially introduced to Chat GPT by my brother Dr. Matthew Barrett in early December. He sent me an email with screenshots of his prompts and the corresponding responses. He provided a cursory explanation of how it worked, but I was most intrigued by the speed and general accuracy of results. Naturally, with my curiosity peeked, I gave it a whirl. I married my love of Seinfeld and Shakespeare and asked the generator to produce, “an episode of Seinfeld but Shakespearean”. While a fairly rudimentary prompt, the result yielded an episode entitled “The Taming of the Shrewd” in which the characters speak Early Modern English and Kramer declares his new found hobby of Shakespearean acting, but the premise follows the story arc of Taming of the Shrew (not perfectly, but pretty well). I was impressed with the quick response and the layers of meta humour that were embedded.

In the weeks since my exploration, news outlets and education forums have been abuzz with talk of the benefits and the drawbacks of AI in educational spheres. Interestingly, as I write this post, my phone notified me of a Globe and Mail op-ed discussing ChatGPT’s capabilities while evaluating its limitations. Regardless of where people stand on the debate, there is little evidence suggesting AI driven technology will go away. In fact, societally, we have to find ways to embrace it for good.

For as much as educators want to believe they are forward-thinking classroom leaders, it is very easy to fall back on tried and true pedagogical practices. While we have every intention of producing engaging lessons that embed technology, the reality is, many find it daunting or are skeptical of its benefit. In recent weeks, the paradigm shifting effect of ChatGPT has left many educators feeling even more wary of technology with many suggesting that the comprehensive AI platform will completely undermine the authenticity of student work. A recent CNN article explained how ChatGPT managed to pass law and business school exams. The initial response, rightfully so, is condemnation. However, upon further consideration, is it as problematic as appears?

I believe that the AI technology driving ChatGPT will only strengthen and will become more intuitive as it becomes more widely adopted. It is understandable that teachers will raise an eyebrow when students can seemingly produce unauthentic work so quickly and easily. However, as discussed in class this week, early adopters are incorporating AI technology into the classroom and are using it to reverse engineer argumentative essays. AI is a powerful tool, akin to a calculator or a translator. Teachers must not resist AI because students have an opportunity to explore in an ethical and honest way. The results yielded from ChatGPT are only as good as the prompts and questions offered by the user. The ensuing results are not flawless and do not replace the insight of human intuition and emotion. However, the results are a starting point for discussion and debate, and provide students a stronger depth of knowledge in subject areas and argumentative competencies.



3 thoughts on “AI and ChatGPT: the Future of Education?

  1. Jeff,

    I really enjoyed reading your take on AI and ChatGPT. Before last class I had no idea what this was and was definitely left speechless by the end. I already was pretty skeptical of technology and AI is quite advanced. However, I do agree with you. I don’t think it is going anywhere and I do think there can be many ways we embrace and use it as a positive addition to our classroom.

    I think the initial understanding of what it actually is capable of is a bit frightening, but once Alec started playing around and showing us the other sites and tools, I became more comfortable. I think that is a big part of teacher’s fear of incorporating too much technology, maybe they just don’t know enough. At least I think that’s what it might be for me!

    I enjoyed your take on this!


  2. Thank you for sharing your insights about the future of AI in Education. I like what you posted as a question on the last part of your mid pharagraph, “is a AI problematic”. When my engineer friend introduced AI to me a few days ago, I was very amazed and my eyes widely opened of amuzement when he showed me the wealthy of information the AI was responding for my questions. I said, great!, I can give it a try to use for constructing my homework about my Experience of Technology in the Classroom. Few days later, I saw a blog of other graduate student about Technology in Classroom in other class, I was shocked, the manner of writing is very similar to what I have done. I am not happy of the CHATGPT writing, I said to myself, if I continuosly using AI, others may have similar write ups with mine. So, i went over my first blog and I edited it according to my intuition and style. I want my writing to be as original as I can write, based on my abilty, my true reflection, and my real experiences.

    On the other hand, I am having a few questions if AI is rightfully be used by learners at young age. I am afraid if two students type exactly the same question asked by the teacher, then AI may give them very similar answers, then they submit their work: How their writing output be graded? Use of technology = 100%?, writing and composition = 100?. I don’t think this is a very good future of Education we can use for our students especially at young ages. For me, I want to see my young students the “human process” of creating an informal and formal writing. The AI is not the “real process” for these group of young children who supposed to write their own creative ideas, their actual writing for reflection and great experiences.

  3. As a Seinfeld fan myself, you hooked me in the first paragraph of your post this week!

    You raise some valid points regarding the apprehension educators may have with this form of technology as a tool at school, especially in a situation where they may be trying to detect it rather than teaching students how to use it. For myself, and maybe I am alone in this, the learning curve may flatten out a bit once I get a grasp on the prompt writing, which you so accurately pointed out as a skill needed to get the most out of the tool.

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