As powerful artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT become more widely used, including by students, education leaders face challenging questions. How should school districts respond to this technology? And what steps are needed to protect learning integrity?
A recent survey of educators could offer new insight, which shows that classic, and sometimes computerless, instruction methods are making a comeback. One such example? Handwritten assignments.
The survey, conducted by website Intelligent in September, polled 228 current high school teachers and college professors. It asked how they are dealing with ChatGPT – a powerful website and software that can write essays, term papers, and basically anything you tell it in a matter of seconds. Its work can appear eerily similar to that of a human.
ACCORDING TO THE SURVEY
Two-thirds of educators said they have made or are planning changes when it comes to written work. The changes include requiring students to handwrite assignments (54% require; 24% have plans to), typing assignments in class on computers not connected to the internet (29% require; 36% have plans to), and giving presentations along with written work (60% require; 32% have plans to).
AI restrictions at the school level are also becoming more common. Two-thirds of educators said their school has a policy in place for student use of ChatGPT. Furthermore, 63% said they have used AI detection tools to determine whether students are using the software for assignments.
Interestingly, many see the technology as a “mixed blessing,” and 63% of respondents said they believe ChatGPT either greatly (27%) or somewhat (36%) helps students’ ability to learn. How might this be? The site can not only generate written work, but it can problem-solve, explain and summarize complex topics (in nearly 100 languages), and quickly track down valuable information. New learning opportunities for math, science, language arts and history may be worthy of consideration.
In places like South Carolina, discussions over AI are reaching the state capital.
S.C. House Speaker Murrell Smith recently announced the formation of a new legislative committee focused on AI technology. Reportedly the first “standing” AI committee in the nation, it will be authorized to review and propose legislation, which could include bills looking to regulate the use of ChatGPT in schools. The committee is set to begin work in the 2025 legislative session.
For more about how AI might impact education, check out Education Week’s technology section.