Artificial Intelligence (AI) has long been the subject of discussions across many sectors, debating the benefits versus the negative repercussions.
AI is currently in the news due to the launch of apps like Lensa, which transform photos using AI into digital artwork, causing controversy over copyright and the impact on digital artists.
But what about AI in the classroom?
Replacing teachers with AI may still feel like a dystopian nightmare, but there are some platforms available right now that use AI in a way that can enhance or disrupt learning, depending on your point of view.
Using AI in the Classroom
Tools that generate content in text form using AI have grown in popularity as the software has improved.
One example of a text generator is CHATGPT. It works by the user posing a question or making a statement that will create an AI response.
The platform allows the user to develop a conversation that builds content that could be used for writing any kind of document, including assignments and essays. The AI is capable of processing natural language to produce content that is engaging and meaningful.
What are the concerns about using AI in Education?
Alex Hern at The Guardian exposed the concerns about artificial intelligence held by the academic community over plagiarism leading to a new term of “AIgiarism” – or AI-assisted plagiarism.
You could argue that to benefit from AI, you would need to have a good enough understanding of the subject to be able to ask the right questions. However, do we really want our students to bypass the ability to research, retain and understand the information they are given?
If using AI is a shortcut to producing written work, it surely reduces a student’s opportunity to develop their personal writing skills. It certainly removes the requirement to improve their memory or use their individual creativity.
Is there a place for AI in the classroom?
The primary purpose of AI is to reduce workload. With that in mind, it could be that teachers may benefit from using a platform like CHATGPT.
So much of a teacher’s time is spent writing emails, policies and plans that help with these time-consuming tasks could free up time for more beneficial aspects of teaching.
Another AI program called Dragon Dictate uses voice commands to write. It doesn’t do the writing for you, but it does make producing content more efficient.
Could AI be used to enhance learning?
Without a doubt, ethical questions need to be addressed about AI being used by students.
No teacher wants students to skip learning by using AI as a shortcut, but could AI be used to enhance learning?
Mollick and Mollick wrote a paper on using AI to overcome barriers to learning. They explored the benefits of improving knowledge transfer, unpicking explanatory depth and critical evaluation.
Indeed, producing AI answers to questions would be an excellent way for students to practise their critical thinking by evaluating these responses.
The biggest challenge remains how we deal with the new accessibility of AI becoming a barrier to developing concrete understanding and knowledge. Whether we like it or not, AI is here to stay.