The Impact of Chat GPT on Education: The Good and the Bad
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When someone mentions Chat GPT, what is the first thing that comes to mind you as an educator?
Is it something that you would love to explore?
Have you purposefully been avoiding this platform as an education tool?
Or are you already actively working in the benefits of this AI tool in your class presentations and work materials on a weekly basis?
It is almost unimaginable to think that Chat GPT-3 was launched only on 30 November 2022 by OpenAI, but in less than a year, it has shaken up the world as we know it. Now, anyone can access this platform, enter their desired prompts, and instantly get answers generated based on their queries. With just a couple of words, you can get answers and references in seconds, generated on your screen to view, and explore further as needed.
There is no denying that this program with its robust language model has fast become a business tool that can be used in several industries, from sales and marketing to media, entertainment and more. Business proposals and even handbooks can be easily generated that with some editing can be put together in less time than it would normally take just to do the research. Even copywriters can now use ChatGPT for anything from generating blog ideas, to getting hashtags for social media captions or even basic outlines for long-form copy.
However, there is also rising concern about what the impact of ChatGPT could be on education. In a recent article on Fox Business, it was noted that some of the primary concerns were that students would put less effort or even use this platform as a shortcut.
Some parallels have been drawn with Wikipedia, and how it was also met with the same guarded attitude when it was first used as a reference source.
Educators have also become increasingly concerned that students use ChatGPT as a tool to ‘cheat’ on homework assignments, and simply present what they have generated as their final assignment without any input or critical thinking of their own as part of the process.
Does this mean that ChatGPT should be completely left out of the education realm completely?
It doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. If this tool is used with good intent and the necessary precautions are taken to ensure it remains an assistant rather than a crutch for when writer’s block hits, then both educators and students can reap benefits in education from ChatGPT.
An article from The New York Times gave a good example of an application of ChatGPT. Rather than use it to produce the finished product, it can become a tool for teachers and students, to generate outlines for work to guide their content creation.
The important thing to remember is that AI in our world is alive and well, and that in the digital world, completely avoiding these models might not always be possible when they are so easily available, and many offer free access.
Harnessing the value that they can provide as tools is where the difference comes in. In this article, we take a look at why ChatGPT is relevant to education and how it can revolutionise the learning process as part of digital learning tools in the classroom.
Let’s review some of the key benefits in the following sections. Be sure to read until the end too, as we will summarise some of the shortcomings of ChatGPT, and what to look out for when generating your content.
The Benefits of ChatGPT in Educational Settings
Dr Steve Watson from the Faculty of Education at Cambridge University noted in a recent post on Cambridge University’s website that “ChatGPT brings both new opportunities and new complexity”.
What does this comment mean for using this AI tool in education?
Simply put, educators need to have an open mind as to what they can do with this tool, and how it can assist both teachers and students to reduce their workloads. Seeing it as an opportunity can open several doors for learning opportunities – and more.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the key areas where ChatGPT can play an important role in education.
1. Personalised learning
As much as ChatGPT is a digital online language tool, it provides a level of personalised learning that students can easily tap into. One way that the platform can adapt to their unique learning styles and abilities is through the personalised recommendations that they receive which are based on their learning histories. This means that students can get targeted personal learning and quick answers to questions that they might be having on any subject areas that they need assistance with.
ChatGPT can help students build on different topics that they are investigating and help them create frameworks that make sense for the results that they are seeking.
Equally, educators can follow the same modus operandi as they can craft content according to their classroom specifications and generate information for specific topics that are to be discussed or further expanded on.
2. Virtual tutoring
As a virtual tutoring tool, ChatGPT goes beyond a one-size-fits-all: it can be adapted to suit current and immediate needs and provide instant gratification for students who might be struggling with getting the relevant information that they need.
This platform can also be seen as a 24/7 virtual tutor, where students can get instant feedback and support. Eliminating the need to wait to get certain answers provides a level of instant gratification, which, in turn, can instil confidence in students during their learning processes.
Also, thanks to ChatGPT being adept in identifying areas where students may be struggling with content, it can provide targeted assistance, taking the frustration out of finding solutions for problems or other subjects that need to be solved.
Students who are working on tight deadlines can especially benefit here as they can get online help where it counts – and ensure that they do not miss important due dates for projects or submissions in this way ChatGPT can be used as a study aid.
3. Language learning
Just as a copywriter would use Grammarly for language edits and correcting typos, ChatGPT can be used to support language learning by providing real-time translations, grammar correction, and pronunciation feedback.
For students who sometimes struggle with language and crafting copy, it can provide a learning experience and help them to become more confident in their writing.
Also, thanks to ChatGPT’s language prompts, it can be easy to create targeted content – including the cross-cultural communication required when working with foreign language classes. Educators can benefit from this language learning perk of ChatGPT, if they still tweak the results to meet their and their students’ needs.
4. Exam preparation
When it comes to exam preparation, ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for generating practice questions and providing feedback on student responses. This platform can help students to identify areas where they need to focus their studying, becoming an online language study guide of sorts that can help them to get targeted content to assist them with their studies.
Another layer of ChatGPT’s exam preparation prowess is its ability to provide targeted grammar exercises. Students can use this AI tool for vocabulary exercises and reading comprehension activities that they could need, helping them get an extra layer of preparation for their studies. These exercises can be provided instantly, which can reduce study time while adding value to each interaction, as students can prepare easier for assessments and tests.
5. Writing assistance
Writing a term paper or homework assignment can be daunting when starting from scratch; however, with the assistance of ChatGPT, students can easily generate topic ideas that they can use or flesh out.
As well as this, the platform can assist with grammar and spelling corrections once students have filled out their content. It can also assist with suggested ways to improve writing styles, helping with creating clear, concise content. Think of ChatGPT as an easy-to-access online editor – effortlessly helping to streamline content.
Another layer that comes into play under this benefit, is that ChatGPT could help students develop critical thinking and analytical skills. Although this AI tool is by no means human itself, it can mirror human thinking, working through data and delivering responses that align with the information and patterns provided.
Therefore, students can use the platform to learn how to approach data and interpret it in a logical way, creating clear conclusions presented in an easily digestible narrative.
From today’s article, it is clear that ChatGPT can revolutionise education – not only from a student perspective, but also for educators and could allow them to explore several opportunities.
Creating engaging content for students.
Being able to craft content that is aligned with your students’ level of learning and their interests in the classroom.
Putting together guides that are interesting and topical.
Eliminating repetitive learning tasks with new ideas and approaches.
Saving time, as it is so easy to generate learning tasks and materials that offer a refreshing take on older, outdated learning materials.
For students, ChatGPT can be a game-changer in terms of:
Getting virtual tutoring according to their education needs.
Language learning for both cross-cultural and mother tongue languages.
Exam preparation with the aid of tailored test questions and information pieces generated by ChatGPT.
Writing assistance to perfect grammar and eliminating typos in copy, as well as improving writing styles effortlessly.
What is important to consider here, is that this AI tool should in no way be used as a substitute for completing class work. Rather, it needs to be considered as a valuable aid that can enhance the education experience.
However, it is important that educators bear in mind that ChatGPT (and other AI tools) are not without their shortcomings, and that there still needs to be a focus on students’ own creativity to create authentic content, and develop their own critical thinking with AI acting in a supporting role.
Students and educators need to be mindful of potential limitations that they could face with ChatGPT, such as:
Giving wrong answers (which means both teachers and students need to check the content they generate to ensure they are factually correct). Always double-check content to ensure the correct data is given.
Just as with human translation, ChatGPT could sometimes provide answers that are clearly biased.
Repeats in copy often pop up when using ChatGPT: therefore, it is important to not simply take copy as is, but also review, read-through and edit as needed.
Sometimes there might be a somewhat lack of depth in some pieces, which means educators and students need to ensure they enter the correct content prompts to get the information they need – and use the expand option if they need additional copy.
Also, keep in mind that ChatGPT can sometimes provide long-winded sentences that will need to be trimmed down.
Often, content generated by ChatGPT is sparse, which means extra effort is still needed to fill in the blanks.
To ensure that these shortcomings do not become pitfalls, the onus is on educators to also give their students the freedom to explore ChatGPT, but with the understanding that this site is by no means a substitute for hard work, but rather a tool that they can use to enhance their own learning experiences.
Overall, ChatGPT offers several classroom benefits, and educators should explore its possibilities as an effective means to enhance the education experience.
For educators, it is important to instil in students that ChatGPT is first and foremost a language learning tool, and that any facts provided in copy should be checked.
That being said, ChatGPT has its place in modern classrooms, and it can add not only a level of convenience, but also a source of valuable content.
This AI platform is a key development in digital technology learning, and when used in the right way, it can enhance every aspect of digital learning.