Welcome to 2023! Perhaps the most exciting technology launch in the past six months is OpenAI’s ChatGPT language model. From the OpenAI website:
“ChatGPT: Optimizing Language Models for Dialogue
We’ve trained a model called ChatGPT which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.”
While this has been the buzz in the technology arena, education is somewhat less enthused and quite predictably very polarized.
- Read: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jan/10/universities-to-return-to-pen-and-paper-exams-after-students-caught-using-ai-to-write-essays
- Read: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/12/technology/chatgpt-schools-teachers.html
However, I think this is the standard response to any new technology in education and requires some thought and effort to most appropriately integrate into curricula.
Thinking back to my own college days, I was one of the first students in my class to reference Internet articles in homework papers. Some professors were on board, others dismissive and required I go to the library for “hard” references. Fast forward 25 years and I completed my Masters degree completely online with a lot of Internet-based references. Got a 4.0, too!
So with all this in mind, I launched a ChatGPT session and asked some pointed questions about the use of itself in education. Here’s how it went…
I found this to be a completely reasonable response with valid points. I’ve always favored a critical-thinking approach to teaching and learning, more in favor of teaching students how to find answers, seek help, become self-sufficient, etc. over rote memorization and standardized tests.
Here are some good tips from the University of Washington’s Center for Teaching and Learning:
- Set clear policies for the use of AI in specific courses;
- Communicate the importance of college learning;
- Assess a student’s process of learning as much as (or more than) the outcome;
- Acknowledge that the struggle is part of learning;
- Consider teaching through AI-based tools.
Continuing my discussion…
Again, valid points. I also like Cherie Shields’ assessment, writing in EdWeek:
“Rather than be wary of ChatGPT, we should embrace how this program can help struggling students learn how to organize their thoughts on paper. By using natural-language processing techniques, this AI tool can “understand” and analyze written or spoken language to generate responses or suggestions. I have used the program to create outlines, templates, and instructions. My experiments have shown me that ChatGPT has the potential to offer students a skeleton with which to begin any number of writing projects.”
So, I asked ChatGPT for some additional detail…
Good to see that this all aligns with the recommendations and assessments we’ve seen so far. As a tech guy, I’m more interested in something outside of language skills and researching term papers…
Very cool! Of course, I wanted some proof…
Not being a programmer myself, I had no way to validate if this was accurate, but it seems good. At the very least, a good way to get started for someone brand new to the discipline.
Others have found the same:
And there are some great pieces offering guidance around the use of ChatGPT with coding and programming:
For my final topic, I went in a different direction: foreign language studies. Here’s what ChatGPT provided…
This is in the realm of what I was expecting based on previous responses. One final question…
I did know that the phrase was wrong, but had no idea in how many ways! One of the fun things about the ChatGPT model is how conversational it is. Here’s how I closed out my session…
A nice end to my first interaction with ChatGPT and overall, I love the power and promise it holds. Of course there will be challenges going forward, but I’m excited to see how different use-cases evolve and how the depth of knowledge continues to grow around this exciting technology.
At Apporto, we’re keeping a close eye on the sentiment of ChatGPT and other AI models, and have already added ideas to our product roadmap. Some ideas are to block the use of such tools, while others will help enable or embed these technologies into the Apporto service. Regardless of your personal stance, rest assured that Apporto will continue to serve the needs of our customers and users.