Teachers, Stop Trying to Fight the Chatbot

Tech columnist Kevin Roose suggests they help students use them properly instead
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2023 12:58 PM CST
Teachers, Stop Trying to Fight the Chatbot
A ChatGPT prompt is shown on a device near a public school in Brooklyn, New York.   (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

Late last year, the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT arrived on the scene in a big way. Ever since, many US educators have been in a "panic," writes tech columnist Kevin Roose in the New York Times. The tool is so good (mostly) that it's become difficult to tell whether students are doing their homework assignments or having the chatbot handle it. Some schools are understandably trying to crack down and banish ChatGPT, notes Roose. But after talking to dozens of educators, he's in the opposite camp: Teachers should embrace the chatbot, he writes. For one thing, resistance is futile. Yes, some tools have emerged that make it easier to spot an AI essay, but the technology behind tools such as ChatGPT is only going to get better from here on out. An "endless game of whack-a-mole" awaits those trying to defeat the tech.

His suggestion: "For the rest of the academic year, schools should treat ChatGPT the way they treat calculators—allowing it for some assignments, but not others, and assuming that unless students are being supervised in person with their devices stashed away, they’re probably using one." Besides, he writes, teachers can incorporate ChatGPT into lessons in any number of smart ways—students might use the tool to create the outline of an essay, for example, but then finish the essay in longhand. As one teacher who did that found, it can deepen their understanding of the subject. Maybe the most important reason of all to embrace it: AI tools are a permanent part of the landscape now, writes Roose. And "who better to guide students into this strange new world than their teachers?" Read the full piece. (More education stories.)

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