Will the Education sector make the same mistake again?
Remember when YouTube came out? And Facebook? Do you remember the crazy way that some schools, LAs and MATs responded? They banned them in hope that they’d go away.
That didn’t really work out did it?
I hope they don’t make the same mistake with Ai writing tools.
The thing is, you can’t stop progress. YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and all of the major platforms have tremendous potential to support learning, but the problem is, the Education industry gets scared.
Elon Musk tweeted “Goodbye, homework,” as soon as ChatGPT launched. The Financial Times reported of New York public schools banning it already (https://www.ft.com/content/41243091-d8d7-4b74-9ad1-5341c16c869f?fbclid=IwAR34MbUxm2l4-LaeNW26cPaORn1X1Dh9ffVaecEmRkc6l0C10cl9hQcjF7w). But is this the correct approach?
In my view, certainly not.
Artificial intelligence at this point in time, is the worst it will ever be. It’s learning so fast that we won’t be able to keep up, so we’d better learn to work with it. If we do, there are opportunities.
As mentioned in my last blog post - https://www.thepunctuationshow.com/articles/?post=ai-how-will-it-affect-teachers-and-writing-in-schools, Ai is already here. You can’t actually do anything about it. Let’s think about how we use it: rather than trying to police pupils using it to write English essays, why not actively ask them to use it to write an English essay?
Hear me out.
They know you know that they know, so have that as your starting point? When was the last time you know that your pupils actively checked their work. Why not set that as the task?
Ai writing can still lack expression, with he sentence structure being quite basic. The English tends to be quite American in use. Pupils should be developing the skills to adapt and improve upon this starting point. Even better, come up with their own creative ways to use it.
The results rendered by Ai are also very dependent on what’s asked of it. To ask the right questions takes a degree of understanding. It’s difficult to see that changing, but we should know never to say never.
An expert view…
I have the good fortune to have an old school friend who is something of an expert in Ai and asked him for his thoughts. His name is Steve Worswick and his Linkdin profile is here.
“Whether we like it or not, AI tools such as ChatGPT will become even more prevalent and improve over the next few years. Teachers need to embrace these tools, as traditional homework essay questions will be quickly farmed out to AI to complete.
“However, in the same way that the calculator didn't destroy math lessons, there's no reason why AI should destroy other school subjects.
“Students need to be guided in the use and reliability of AI tools. Rather than simply accepting the output from these systems, a discussion can be had between student and teacher as to why the output was produced or which parts are irrelevant. Why did the AI say this? The AI is incorrect here, but what confused it and so on.
If it’s really necessary for the student to avoid using AI, then this should be done in school to avoid any possibility of cheating in a similar fashion to using a calculator in a maths exam.
One thing that will hopefully be destroyed by AI is the “we will write your essay for you” type of service, as this doesn’t benefit the student at all.”
What about in the English classroom?
From an English teacher’s perspective, you could very easily ask ChatGPT to plan lessons for you, come up with examples of whatever it is you’re teaching, write reports or do away with some of the many laborious admin tasks that we always complain about.
As with anything we need to look for the opportunities.
On the other hand, I did come across this article today https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/experts-warn-ai-could-one-29058300?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=mirror_weird&fbclid=IwAR2mkNAEo4EXB7Jv5IgPDmphH9b-VUWGT0cnmxrt-c5NnMR6108hdYr0vcQ
If you want to take an active role in the fight, you should check out Steve’s free Ai Course on Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/artificial-intelligence-markup-language/