AI’s Teachable Moment: How ChatGPT Is Transforming the Classroom

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From CNet:

My 12-year-old nephew’s bedroom is a shrine to monsters. Intricate Lego dragons loom ominously atop bookshelves jam-packed with reference works for the handmade creatures he painstakingly crafts out of clay. Then there are the paintings. Dozens of them. Plastered over the walls. Giant squid, kaiju, dinosaurs, hulking tentacled beasts of his own invention.

His parents have gone to great lengths to nurture this burgeoning creative spirit. They make stop-motion movies as a family. His dad is teaching him 3D art on the computer. Together they’re learning to use Unity, the design tool behind video games like Hollow Knight, Cuphead and Pokemon Go.

But lately his dad’s been second-guessing those decisions. The reason? AI.

Thanks to the rapid development of artificial intelligence tools like Dall-E and ChatGPT, my brother-in-law has been wrestling with low-level anxiety: Is it a good idea to steer his son down this path when AI threatens to devalue the work of creatives? Will there be a job for someone with that skill set in 10 years? He’s unsure. But instead of burying his head in the sand, he’s doing what any tech-savvy parent would do: He’s teaching his son how to use AI.

In recent months the family has picked up subscriptions to AI services. Now, in addition to drawing and sculpting and making movies and video games, my nephew is creating the monsters of his dreams with Midjourney, a generative AI tool that uses language prompts to produce images.

The whole family is wrestling with the impacts of AI. His mother, my sister-in-law, is a high school science teacher. She’s tackling even bigger issues. She’s in the process of teaching an entire generation of children to interact with technology that could transform the workplace over the coming years.

The questions are many. How do we deal with the immediate issues of cheating and plagiarism? How do educators prepare children for a future working alongside AI?

And how do teachers, institutions and governments find room to plan for the future?

Reading, writing and AI
ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI, has been immediately transformative. And terrifying. Trained on almost incalculable swaths of existing text, ChatGPT takes prompts from users and generates surprisingly sophisticated answers. If, for instance, you ask for a chocolate cake recipe, it provides all the steps. Using ChatGPT can feel like conversing online with a human being who has access to endless repositories of knowledge.

Link to the rest at CNet and thanks to F. for the tip.

4 thoughts on “AI’s Teachable Moment: How ChatGPT Is Transforming the Classroom”

  1. Harvard is jumping in with both feet:

    “According to the school’s newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, Professor Malan said the introductory-level coding course that will employ the bot has historically aimed to unveil new software in its syllabus and the “CS50 [Computer Science 50] bot” is another way of doing just that.
    Our own hope is that, through AI, we can eventually approximate a 1:1 teacher:student ratio for every student in CS50, as by providing them with software-based tools that, 24/7, can support their learning at a pace and in a style that works best for them individually,” he told The Crimson.

    “Per the paper, the A.I. bot will help students find errors in their coding, answer questions, offer feedback and help students learn more about the coding process in other ways.

    Malan further explained that, though the bot will have question-answering capabilities, its answers can be reviewed by human staff members. He also explained that the bot’s purpose is to help guide students through the learning process instead of outright answering questions for them.

    “Advancements in artificial intelligence, particularly in education, have raised concerns that the bots could lead students to become lazy and increasingly dependent on technology for answers. Students have already begun using ChatGPT to complete school assignments in recent months.”

    I’m getting flashbacks to when graphing calculators were encouraged in math classes. TI has been making hay ever since. Not sure about the students.

  2. And how do teachers, institutions and governments find room to plan for the future?

    Maybe forget about the plan, and teach kids to read? Write a simple declarative sentence? Add? Subtract? That’s a really good foundation for any future. All this can be done with a stack of books, pencils, and pads of paper. I can even remember doing it without air-conditioned classrooms.

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