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On Artificial Intelligence

On Artificial Intelligence

Principal's Pen: January 2023

As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes an increasingly prevalent part of our lives, it's no surprise that it's also making its way into the classroom through platforms like ChatGPT and others. While AI has the potential to provide many benefits in education, such as personalized learning and efficient grading for teachers, there are also some serious dangers to consider. 

As for the potential negative impact on education, ChatGPT and similar technologies may be able to complete tasks previously done by humans, such as grading essays or answering simple questions. This could potentially lead to a reduction in the need for certain types of educators or a shift in the role of teachers towards more supervision and guidance of these technologies. Additionally, students may become more reliant on using these technologies, which could negatively impact their ability to think critically and independently. ChatGPT and other similar AI models may make it easier for students to find answers to homework and other assignments and reduce the need for critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Additionally, ChatGPT may make it easier for students to plagiarize written work, as the model can generate text similar to existing sources.

There are several steps teachers can take to mitigate the adverse effects of using ChatGPT in education:

  1. Use ChatGPT as a supplement to instruction rather than a replacement for it. This can help ensure that students still engage in critical thinking and problem-solving activities.
  2. Incorporate activities and assessments that require students to generate original content. This can help ensure that students are not relying too heavily on technology to produce work.
  3. Provide opportunities for personal interactions with students. This can be important for building relationships and providing individualized support.
  4. Continuously monitor and evaluate the usage of ChatGPT and its effects on students' learning. This will allow us to adapt and improve the use of the technology.
  5. Use diverse and inclusive data to train the model and be aware of the potential biases in the model's responses.
  6. Provide professional development for teachers to help them understand the technology's limitations and capabilities and how to effectively incorporate it into their instruction.
  7. Encourage teachers to use the technology in a way that aligns with their curriculum and instruction goals and aligns with the school's educational policies.

In summary, ChatGPT and other AI technologies have the potential to provide many benefits in education, such as personalized learning and efficient grading. However, there are also potential negative impacts to consider, such as the reduction of certain types of educators and the negative effects on students' ability to think critically and independently. It is important to consider both the potential benefits and drawbacks when considering how to use these technologies in education and take steps to mitigate the adverse effects. 


artificial intelligence and educationEverything you read before this sentence was written by AI on the ChatGPT platform (https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt). I simply typed the prompt, "Write an essay on the dangers of AI and ChatGPT for education and critical thinking." Thirty seconds later, the above essay emerged. All I had to do was copy and paste. To be honest, I did omit one paragraph that was a bit redundant, but for the most part, the short AI essay was propositional, informative, and well-rounded. It could have expanded more on the critical thinking problems with AI, but maybe it didn't want to argue against itself too strongly.

Artificial intelligence will undoubtedly change the landscape of education. Certainly, there are some positive applications for the technology. Still, it's up to educators not to let AI end critical thinking and the production of original ideas in the next generation. Several AI-based mitigations already stand ready to help teachers detect AI usage in the educational sphere. One comes from Turnitin.com, a plagiarism detection software that claims its product can spot AI-assisted writing, especially the kind generated by ChatGPT. Other mitigations are less complicated. At Berean, teachers already require students to compose their essays on digital platforms like Google Classroom (Docs) with the history function turned on. This function allows teachers to see a "version history," showing whether large sections of an essay were "cut and pasted" from another source. 

These and other mitigations are necessary if schools like Berean are to preserve and foster the highest forms of learning the human mind is capable of, i.e., analysis, creation, and evaluation. Students must continue to learn how to gather and judge the quality of information, arrange component ideas into original wholes, and generate and defend their own opinions. These capabilities are what make us human, i.e., "intelligent." And if not reigned in, "artificial intelligence" will continue to minimize original human thought and creativity.

Last fall, the Berean administration and board of directors added the following statement to our Schoolwide Expected Student Outcomes list: "Berean students are expected to become critical thinkers who analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information to establish its accuracy, relevancy, and significance for human flourishing in an ever-changing world." Undoubtedly this outcome will remain one of the most essential qualities a young person can possess in the 21st century. There will not be a lack of information in the future, but there may be a lack of people who can detect quality information and think for themselves.

May the Lord lead us as we teach the next generation of his people! 

 

Blessings,
Nicholas Harris


 

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Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash

Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash

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