The most common example of AI technology these days is ChatGPT. Conversational Hyper Automated Teaching Global Platform Technology better known as ChatGPT is an Artificial Intelligence application that has revolutionized the world of education. In essence, ChatGPT is a computer programme that simulates human speech and can converse with people using Natural Language processing (NLP). For educators, this technology offers both benefits and drawbacks, which we will explore in this article. This AI technique can provide personalized interactive, and engaging learning material to students, thus improving their learning experience. But on the other hand, educators believe that this technology will lead to dehumanization of the teaching profession. This article aims to present a fair and thoughtful analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of ChatGPT for educators.
Let’s explore the positive side of this coin first:
- Improved teaching methods and personalized learning: AI technology enables teachers to analyze behavioural and academic tendencies of students. This helps the teacher to have valuable insights into their thought process and customize their learning materials, leading to improved student academic performance.
- Global collaboration: The ability of AI to comprehend multiple languages increases the opportunity for global collaboration. Using the capabilities of AI, teachers in different parts of the world can communicate and collaborate on teaching strategies, lesson plans, course materials, and other educational materials. The fundamental obstacle in this global cooperation is eliminated by the translation capacity of this technology. Educators can exchange their best practices and raise the standards of education globally.
- Developing High Order Thinking: Through AI, students can engage in higher level thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making processes. This motivates students to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information from multiple sources to make informed decisions. AI can help teachers design more challenging and dynamic activities that require students to think creatively, to utilize their imagination and come up with solutions to complex problems.
- Making assessment easy for teachers: Traditionally, teachers used to invest a significant amount of time and effort in grading exams, tests, essays, and assignments. With the introduction of AI, this can now be done automatically, freeing up valuable time for teachers to concentrate on other areas of work. AI technology can also provide instantaneous feedback to students, allowing them to identify areas of improvement and correct their mistakes rapidly.
- Support to special need students: AI driven assistive technologies such as text to speech, speech to text, and various visual aids can help students with disabilities learn and access information. These AI-driven learning platforms have the capacity to markedly improve student accomplishment levels.
- Achieving equity in the achievement: From a long time, achievement gaps have persisted in our schools and classrooms. Using AI, the teacher can identify struggling students and provide individual guidance; she can help students who may have fallen through the cracks. AI can also assist, discover, and eliminate biases in assessment and teaching practices, ensuring an equal opportunity for all. It enables to create a more equitable and inclusive classroom environment by setting a path towards success for students of all categories.
- Future-ready students: As industries continue to embrace automation and lean towards a tech-savvy workforce, it becomes inevitable for our students to have a solid understanding of AI and its application. Not only will this knowledge give them an edge, but it will also enable them to survive and thrive in an increasingly digitized world. To create a wider pool of suitable candidates for high skill AI related jobs, it is pique to spark their interest in pursuing STEM fields. Usage of AI in the classroom will prepare students for the future with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in a rapidly evolving job market.
- AI as a tool for simulations and experiments: Simulations have been in the field of science, engineering, and aviation from a long time to provide controlled environment for learners to simulate real-life scenarios. With the advent of AI, students can alter the variables, test different scenarios, and test the outcomes without any risk, wherein using real-life experiment might be hazardous, expensive or impracticable. It allows students to have a deeper understanding of the implications of their theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios. Students can enrich their learning by accessing versatile, flexible, and reliable platforms.
- Making learning fun: AI has made it possible to incorporate gamified elements in the classroom. By leveraging AI in gamification, educators can create engaging and challenging learning experiences for their students. AI algorithms can analyze data to offer student specific recommendations, suggestions, and feedback. Virtual incentives like badges and reward points boost student engagement resulting in enhanced learning outcome.
Technology can have negative effects too. Let’s examine some of the possible drawbacks of integrating AI into our established teaching methods.
- Dependence on AI: With the introduction of AI, the most significant aspect is excessive reliance on technology. Both students and teachers may start relying only on technology for all their tasks, even the ones that call for critical thinking and problem-solving. Teachers may be at risk of losing their jobs with excessive use of technology.
- Misinterpretations: In order to create any predictions about the students, AI systems rely on algorithms and data, which may lead to misinterpretations and incorrect forecasts. AI may prioritize learning outcomes over student experience and capabilities, leading to a diminished classroom experience. Every student is unique in a classroom and has different manners of understanding instructions, which may not be obvious to the AI machine assessing the student.
- Missing creativity and originality: ChatGPT and similar tools may be effective in delivering standardized content, but they are less adept at encouraging students to ask unique questions, explore innovative solutions, or think out-of-the-box. Students may feel constrained in their learning experience and might lose their creative instincts. AI algorithms sometimes lack the capacity to recognize unorthodox and unconventional approaches adapted by the students. Students with divergent viewpoints feel side-lined and frustrated leading to lack of engagement.
- Ethical concerns: We should remember that AI is programmed by humans only and may carry pre-existing biases and prejudices. While dealing with student data, the concern of data privacy and security will always be there. AI also has the potential to eradicate teachers from the classroom which will lead to limited human interaction and impede social and emotional development of students.
- Inequalities: AI technology may require a certain category of devices to be used to fully utilize the potential of the tools. Students from affluent backgrounds will have easy access to such devices, whereas students from low-income families may not have the same opportunities. AI has exposed significant educational gaps and inequalities that exist in our educational system. This will widen the socio-economic gaps between the students.
- Negative impact on health: Widespread usage of AI technologies among students may be harmful to their physical and mental health. According to research, relying too much on such sophisticated technology strains students out and causes them to question their own abilities. As a result, this fosters feelings of tension while inciting feelings of worry or loneliness that are frequently linked to depressive symptoms. In addition to preventing social contacts and restricting physical activity, excessive usage of these cutting-edge tools may have long-term detrimental effects, including eye tiredness from prolonged screen exposure.
- Human interaction inability: No matter how sophisticated AI technology becomes, it can never replace human interaction, especially between teachers and students in a classroom. It may provide insightful and constructive criticism and encouragement to the students, but can never replace social and emotional skills that develop through physical interaction. Human interaction plays a vital role in building trust and rapport between the two pillars of the education system.
- Inability to assess true knowledge and learning: Creative thinking, problem solving, and critical reasoning are the most important skills of today. Standardized tests and algorithms of AI may not be able to accurately assess these skills. It could leave out crucial aspects like efforts, engagement, or interpersonal skills applied while attempting an assignment or assessment.
- Cheating: In order to save time and effort, students may seek the help of AI tools to complete their assignments or even attempt assessments. The knowledge base of these tools is restricted and may not be of any help while answering questions that require research work or high order thinking. Ultimately, the student will score less marks, which will result in incorrect interpretation and predictions based on the data.
What options are ultimately left to the educators then? Either teachers should completely ban the use of AI technology and stick to the traditional teaching methods, which would result in a workforce with no skills and no jobs in the constantly changing technological world, or they should allow this integration of technology, which would result in less creative and innovative students. It is crucial to strike a balance when using AI in the classroom and to make sure that any application meets both students’ and instructors’ demands in terms of education.
- Fostering student engagement and interaction: Encouraging classroom discussions and group activities that allow students to learn from each other will increase engagement and foster a sense of community within the classroom. Incorporating AI technology to gather data for such activities would undoubtedly enable personalized learning experiences based on their respective learning style and preferences.
- Encouraging critical thinking skills through AI assisted instructions: By presenting personalized challenges and feedback, AI technology can stimulate students to think more deeply and creatively. One must note that effectiveness of AI assisted instructions may heavily depend upon the quality of software selected and its suitability for the class. Teachers should exercise caution while selecting and utilizing AI technology to ensure that it truly enhances rather than impedes critical thinking development.
- Keeping social and emotional learning alive in the digital learning environment: As students are spending more time online, educators can use these platforms as teaching tools to promote social and emotional learning. One can make use of moderated social media groups to engage students in conversations and to promote positive interaction with their peers. Teachers can include in their lesson plans how to effectively communicate, collaborate, and display appropriate social behaviour online.
- Understanding the limits of AI and maintaining a balance of human interaction: While AI can help educators with administrative tasks and offer individualized learning experiences, it cannot replace human connection and emotional support. Students require assistance, criticism, and direction from teachers who are aware of their specific strengths and shortcomings. Additionally, relying only on AI could contribute to an environment of dependency and isolation, stalling the growth of interpersonal and emotional abilities that are crucial for success in many spheres of life. Teachers must be aware of the boundaries of AI and utilize technology to augment human contact in the classroom rather than substitute it.
- Implementing ethical guidelines to protect student privacy and rights: In order to safeguard student privacy and uphold their rights with regard to AI technology, there needs to be a clear set of ethical guidelines in place. Specifically, these guidelines should focus on addressing concerns surrounding data collection, preservation, and application by AI-powered systems for improved accountability. Alongside this initiative lies an imperative need for transparency in utilizing student data while offering students full disclosure about what information has been accessed.
- Evaluating effectiveness and performance of AI technology: It is crucial to create precise targets and goals for using such technology in order to assess its efficacy and competency in educational situations. This entails determining precisely which activities will be carried out using AI, how it will integrate with the curriculum, and how successful it will be. So gathering data and actively tracking its impact on issues like teacher workload, general classroom dynamics, and student results becomes crucial. Data can be gathered in a variety of ways, for example through surveys or questionnaires, in-class observations, or evaluations of test results. The opinions of many stakeholder groups, including educators at different levels and academic leaders should be considered in comprehensive assessment procedures for AI technology deployment in schools.
- Involving parents in AI integration: Parents and instructors may partner with AI to improve a student’s total capacity for learning. Teachers might guide parents on how to supervise their child’s utilization of AI technology at home to help their learning, while parents can offer input on how their child is adapting to the technology and its effects on his/her learning. In order to support the main objective, i.e., children’s learning outcomes, this partnership of parents, students, and educators will guarantee that technology is integrated in a positive, responsible, and relevant way.
- Professional development of teachers: Workshops, conferences, online courses, and in-service training sessions can all be used for professional development. Teachers will have the opportunity to explore best practises, get involved in peer-led discussions, and gain knowledge from experienced mentors as a result. Administrators can greatly enhance instructors’ competence to manage AI-enabled classrooms by offering such tools and support, which will result in more efficient course delivery and improved student results. When teachers are competent in AI technology, they can accurately guide students towards a better understanding of the technology, its potential applications, and its limitations.
- Use AI driven tools to evaluate submissions: Students will look for ways to complete and submit their assignments using AI driven tools like ChatGPT. Teachers should also be well equipped with AI tools to detect AI generated material in student submissions. These tools not only check AI generated text, but also check for plagiarism. Ultimately, teacher competency and training in AI technology is essential for creating a positive impact in the classroom and preparing students for the technological advancements of the future.
Teachers should remember that they are the leaders and ultimate driving force of their classrooms. Being a teacher from a technical background, I strongly believe that the key to balancing the use of AI in education is to find a harmonious relationship between AI technology and human impact, ensuring they complement one another in creating a well-rounded educational environment.
The author is IT Head at Learning Paths School, Punjab and a Google certified trainer and educator. He can be reached at email@example.com.