There’s no denying that the Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution is here, but it looks nothing like the warped realities from The Matrix or Terminator. Rather, it provides yet another form of learning for people, especially students. Online tools like ChatGPT can help students grasp new concepts, save time, and promote equity.
Sitting at home doing homework can be stressful when students don’t understand the material, especially since teachers aren’t available to help outside of school hours. And unfortunately, a simple Google search doesn’t do the trick. No matter how hard one tries, there are always so many irrelevant websites scattered among the search results and even still it’s hard to find something that makes sense. However, with ChatGPT and similar programs, AI quickly scans its knowledge base to bring students the most relevant information. For instance, if one is looking for an idea for an essay, then ChatGPT can provide great ideas that can help get the ball rolling instead of wasting time brainstorming ideas oneself. Not only does this save students a lot of time, but the AI can word things in a way that is more accessible and easily understood by students. For instance, if a student doesn’t know how to do a math problem, they can just ask ChatGPT how to do it.
In addition to helping students grasp new concepts, ChatGPT also promotes equity. Private tutors or even classes to help support students outside of school are quite expensive. In fact, according to Indeed, the average cost of a tutor is around $25 an hour. If students need long sessions multiple times a week, things can get quite pricey. However, ChatGPT is easily accessible to all students. With a quick click of the keyboard, all students can get help on homework and other class projects with AI. Additionally, AI can give students constructive feedback regarding things like grammar and syntax.
Some argue that AI may stifle creativity, but the truth is that creativity stems from motivation. If students aren’t motivated or excited about an assignment, then regardless of whether they have access to AI or not, they will have no reason to channel their creative efforts into an assignment. In addition, some teachers believe that if students ask ChatGPT to do their work for them, then they aren’t learning anything, which isn’t quite true. At this stage, ChatGPT isn’t advanced enough to create well-structured essays that are well-written. After multiple attempts, the sentences still sound odd and the ideas are unoriginal. But, what ChatGPT can do is provide basic ideas that students can then use their critical thinking skills to further. In fact, after seeing what ChatGPT has to say, many students can use that information to learn how they need to think in order to come up with ideas on their own. Moreover, many AI companies are also creating AI checkers which teachers can use to identify whether students simply copied the AI-generated response word-for-word or made sure to add their own ideas and input.
Research and learning are some of ChatGPT’s main uses, and utilizing it can save students a lot of time and stress. Instead of having to browse the internet for hours, ChatGPT can compile a list of sources for students to use and evaluate. Many people are concerned that students may become over-reliant on programs like ChatGPT, however, there is no denying that AI software is a part of the future. According to Business Insider, many programmers can use ChatGPT to write code faster by using it to test their algorithms, troubleshoot, and provide new ideas when they are stuck.
It seems that as AI tools are refined and expanded, utilizing them is going to be a skill in itself. Letting students use AI for school is allowing them to learn this skill, which will be of excellent service to them in the future.
It’s no secret that the rise of ChatGPT has enabled easy access to Artificial Intelligence (AI) for students all around the world, including for students at Berkeley High School. Though some students may use AI in positive ways, many also use it in harmful ways. AI is a dangerous tool because while it can be harmlessly used to help explain a math problem, it can also write a 10-page essay, so that the student doesn’t have to. This is not only blatant cheating, but it will also stunt the advancement and learning of students in the future. BHS students should not be able to use artificial intelligence as a tool to learn because there is no good way to hold students accountable for their destructive use of AI.
AI stifles the creative and critical thinking skills students need to put to use. This is especially true for high school students, because it is a formative time for many impressionable teens. It allows them to use as little creativity as possible, and what’s even worse, play it off as their own ideas. Because it can do, write, and create so much, it’s taking away the responsibility that students have to learn and test their own creative thinking skills. Teenagers need to remember that in order to truly embrace learning, it isn’t okay to generate essays and assignments with AI because that is simply not learning.
Students are prone to slacking off when using AI. Because it’s so new, and was only really developed to be used in such complex ways more recently, teachers have no good way of being able to tell if a student has cheated with AI or not. In an interview with the Financial Review, Toby Walsh said, “There’s no tool that can tell you with certainty if writing is generated by AI because it’s not like plagiarism where it can point to this text on the internet and this word or words are identical.” Because of this, students can get away with using any amount of ChatGPT or other programs in their schoolwork. This enables students to overuse AI, making it impossible for them to grow into well educated individuals.
While some might argue that AI can be a helpful tool for students, this is rarely the case. It is said that AI can help students if a teacher is busy, but AI isn’t yet equipped to answer all the questions that students may have, and AI doesn’t always give students the most accurate, or even relevant information. It also takes away a very important aspect of learning, which is human interaction. AI does not have the neccessary life experience and emotional ability to help students with all of their needs. In addition, AI has also never been needed before, and schools have done a great job of teaching students without it for a long time. That does not need to change, especially when it is such an easy tool to cheat with.
Though there are some cases where AI can be helpful to students who need a little bit of extra support, that is largely overshadowed by the ability of negative use that comes with it. When encouraged to use software such as ChatGPT, students are allowed to perform worse in school. Not only does it allow them to slack off, but it also stunts their creative capacity, critical thinking, and general knowledge in the long run. BHS has an obligation to stop this from becoming the norm among students, who are susceptible to the overuse of AI, which quickly turns to blatant cheating. To foster a positive learning environment, BHS staff cannot allow students to use AI as a learning tool. It’s not just a tool, it’s a weapon.