Recently, an AI Bot called ChatGPT, launched by the Silicon Valley startup OpenAI, has sparked debates on whether it should be permitted in schools and educational institutions. ChatGPT is an intelligent chatbot that engages in conversation using advanced language models.1Christianna Silva, “What Is ChatGPT? Everything You Need to Know about the AI Chatbot,” Mashable (Mashable, February 2023), https://mashable.com/article/what-is-chatgpt. Furthermore, it uses data feedback from the users on the platform to determine the responses that it generates. It is capable of answering questions and aiding in various tasks such as composing emails, essays, and code.2Stephen Shankland, “Why We’re Obsessed with the Mind-Blowing ChatGPT AI Chatbot,” CNET (CNET, February 19, 2023), https://www.cnet.com/tech/computing/why-were-all-obsessed-with-the-mind-blowing-chatgpt-ai-chatbot/. ChatGPT’s easy accessibility raises concerns about students copying essays from the platform or relying too heavily on the bot to complete their homework. However, completely banning the tool may not be the optimal solution for guiding students toward a successful future.
One of the most significant impacts of ChatGPT on future students is its ability to provide instant assistance with homework, assignments, and research. Contrary to some opinions, this is not necessarily a negative thing. Students can ask the chatbot specific questions and receive immediate responses, eliminating the need for them to wait for their teachers to respond. This accessibility can save students time and enable them to complete tasks more efficiently, freeing up time for other essential aspects of their lives.
Furthermore, current unrestricted access to various tools such as grammar checkers, spell checkers, and online writing guides have been available for students to use for many years. These tools aim to assist students in writing more effectively, and ChatGPT is just another addition to this list of tools. These resources have always been widely available, so why should ChatGPT be singled out? ChatGPT is only condensing information that is already found on the web into a brief paragraph in which students can have a better grasp on the content as opposed to scrolling through webpages and documents that may not be reliable.3“Where Does ChatGPT Get Its Information From?,” Scribbr, 2023, https://www.scribbr.com/frequently-asked-questions/chatgpt-information/#:~:text=ChatGPT%20is%20an%20AI%20language,news%20articles%2C%20scientific%20journals)..
A reason why ChatGPT might be seen as different from other writing aids is because it uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which can seem intimidating or even threatening to some people. Many people might view this as technology “gone too far” and that it takes away from the learning experience. However, it is important to recognize that AI is already a part of many aspects of our lives, including social media algorithms, personal assistants like Siri or Alexa, and even search engines like Google. As such, ChatGPT is simply another example of how technology is evolving and becoming more integrated into our daily lives.
Undoubtedly, one of the most significant concerns surrounding ChatGPT is the potential for students to misuse the technology. Thus, monitoring the use of this bot is essential and more efficient than an outright ban. There is a risk that students may copy and paste answers from the chatbot, leading to a lack of understanding and potentially poor grades. A study on the use of Chatbots amongst college students revealed that “over 50 percent used ChatGPT to write an essay, while 22 percent admitted to having asked ChatGPT for a paper outline.”4Victor Tangermann, “89 Percent of College Students Admit to Using ChatGPT for Homework, Study Claims,” Futurism (Futurism, January 27, 2023), https://futurism.com/the-byte/students-admit-chatgpt-homework. This clearly highlights the issue of academic integrity, but an outright ban on ChatGPT for students is not the best solution. Instead, teachers should monitor and guide students’ use of the chatbot to prevent cheating. They can provide clear guidelines and expectations for the use of ChatGPT and other technological tools. For instance, teachers can mark which assignments they allow for the use of the bot and which assignments they prohibit. Furthermore, teachers can utilize AI checkers to ensure the integrity of submitted work.
While the potential for misuse of ChatGPT undoubtedly exists, it is essential to recognize that the technology can also provide a valuable resource for students. It can assist in generating ideas and helping with writer’s block, ultimately leading to better writing and critical thinking skills. The common concern for ChatGPT is its versatility to answer a spectrum of questions, meaning students can find a way to cheat on assignments easily through online access. However, as discussed earlier, ChatGPT can save time completing assignments while also benefiting the students’ learning, therefore, it is important to approach the use of ChatGPT with balance and caution, encouraging responsible use while also acknowledging its potential benefits.