ChatGPT is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model that interacts in a conversational way. It can answer test questions, summarize texts, and write poetry and songs, among many other things. AI is here to stay, and as parents and educators, we must continually assess our stance on models like ChatGPT in order to uphold student integrity, promote cutting-edge performance, and truly value learning. So, is Chat GPT good or bad?


We’ve discussed academic honesty when using technology and general tips for tech savvy students. Let’s explore how we should approach ChatGPT:


Not education.


ChatGPT is not a teacher, it’s not an academic source, and it’s not even like Wikipedia – a one-stop shop for general information. In fact, it’s proven to have a high rate of completely incorrect answers (see this article on The Verge).


Some people might think of ChatGPT as Google on steroids, but it is not. On the contrary, ChatGPT is a language processing tool that basically takes in training data and formulates answers or responses to a user’s questions or requests. It can’t access search engines or the most current information, like Google can. If a quick Google search results in dubious links and inaccurate information – as it does – then ChatGPT is even less reliable than that.


Struggle matters.


Who hasn’t cried at the dining room table with seemingly impossible math homework in front of them? It’s not fun, and it feels pointless at the time. Not only is it a rite of passage – did you even take trigonometry if you didn’t ball your fists in frustration every once in awhile?! –it’s also part of the learning process.


We learn when we try and fail. Learning should not come easy. It can’t be handed to you. We must experience curiosity, asking questions, being confused, digging for answers, and chasing understanding.


When it comes to learning material, you can’t beat good old fashioned notetaking. This summary details how notetaking promotes cognition, has linguistic benefits, and is a cornerstone of teaching.


Of course, using ChatGPT to write a report or speech is not only cheating students out of the opportunity to learn, but it’s downright cheating.


But don’t throw it out.


With all of that in mind, don’t throw ChatGPT out. As mentioned, AI is here to stay. ChatGPT just came out in November 2022. There will be many iterations, improvements, changes, etc. to come. It’s a good idea to explore the technology – after all, it is free and available to anyone!


For entertainment, ask it to write a bit about your best friend’s favorite animal in the tone of a despised comedian. Or present a real problem you have – like getting a three-year-old to eat vegetables  – and ask it to give you a step-by-step guide to fix it. Maybe there will be some valuable ideas – to be taken with a grain of salt!


Play around with it. Ask it to summarize your favorite novel, and see how accurate it is. Test it by giving it a complex math problem to answer, and see if it’s correct. Ask it to write a ballad incorporating your favorite foods and see how cheesy it ends up being.


ChatGPT can be a fun tool, a source of entertainment, and an exciting component of AI. It is not, however, a replacement for teaching or learning.


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