Technology

Top 5 Questions Schools Need to Ask about ChatGPT

Large language models like ChatGPT are causing a stir in academic circles. But is the concern warranted?

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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  • The surge of opinions and discussions around artificial intelligence has been hard to miss. Every corner of the media landscape seems saturated with analyses -- from hopeful visions of how it'll revolutionize our daily tasks to stark warnings of its potential to redefine our humanity.
  • The buzz isn't unfounded. In academia, we're not just witnessing another tech trend; it's a seismic shift. The gadgets students tuck into their backpacks now include A.I.-powered tools, assisting in everything from rudimentary queries to college-level dissertations. Yet, as large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT make their rounds in every academic discussion, it's met with both awe and apprehension.

1. How Will LLMs Reshape the Learning Process for the Next Decade?

The dawn of A.I. in education initially stirred a storm of regulatory responses. When ChatGPT 3.5 was unveiled, institutions like the New York school system and Italy quickly moved to ban its use, echoing the fear and skepticism that once surrounded tools like Google and smartphones.

However, this regulatory impulse, while rooted in genuine concern, is just the first step. Instead of merely policing A.I., there's a pressing need to establish baseline expectations. Just as we'd instruct students to cite sources like Google Translate, they should similarly credit A.I.-generated text. But a purely regulatory stance is myopic. While it's essential to safeguard academic integrity, a blanket prohibition fails to recognize the transformative potential of A.I. in redefining learning and teaching.

2. How Can ChatGPT Ensure Equal Learning Opportunities?

LLMs like ChatGPT democratize education by providing all learners equal access to high-quality insights, transcending economic and geographical barriers. Its vast knowledge empowers students from diverse backgrounds to delve into complex subjects, receive detailed clarifications, and participate in customized academic discussions to bridge knowledge gaps.

I was recently at the University of Denver, speaking about LLMs and their impact on education. Forward-looking schools are embracing A.I. technology and integrating it into their curriculum, emphasizing experiential learning. At my company, Aigo, we've been developing specific personalized assistant models for students who may have simple questions on course selection, complex tasks, and everything in between, for which the answers must be deterministic. We saw a strong correlation between this kind of hyper-personalized support and a boost in engagement.

Supporting this perspective, in a recent interview, Enkelejda Kasneci, a notable education coordinator, shed light on the transformative power of this technology. She explains, "This is a tool that makes it possible for everyone in the world with internet access to learn -- regardless of the quality of the education system in their own country." She adds that ChatGPT has the potential to assist those who face challenges in expressing themselves in writing, perhaps due to disabilities, thus presenting them with new avenues of societal participation.

3. Does ChatGPT Foster Better Argumentation and Independent Thought?

The vast information base and adeptness in producing clear prose across topics may mislead some to think ChatGPT reasons like a human. But understanding its mechanics reveals its limitations: It doesn't think, reason, or possess genuine ideas. It thrives on patterns, churning through immense amounts of text to predict the next sequence of words. 

For instance, while ChatGPT recognizes the factuality that a tomato is a fruit, it doesn't innately grasp the wisdom that you wouldn't typically put it in a fruit salad. This distinction raises an imperative educational query: If ChatGPT can craft an essay, does it genuinely capture the depths of human argumentation or independent thought?

Rather than seeing ChatGPT as a replacement, educators should leverage it as a challenge. It provides the baseline and the raw data. It's up to students to move beyond mere facts, drawing out unique insights, arguments, and the deep 'humanness' that A.I. can't replicate. 

4. Can LLMs like ChatGPT Serve Individual Learning Styles?

With its ability to understand and produce various forms of text, students receive feedback tailored to their unique learning styles and challenges. Think back to the advent of Khan Academy. Its emergence sparked concerns that it might replace teachers. However, education transcends mere content delivery. While Khan Academy became a supplemental resource, it never overshadowed the irreplaceable value of human educators. 

A.I. can analyze essays and deliver personalized feedback adjusted to a student's age and skill. For students, it's akin to having a personalized study partner, pinpointing areas needing attention. This offers a depth of individualized learning that's challenging to replicate in conventional classroom settings. 

5. How Do You Ensure Authenticity in LLM-Generated Content?

Ensuring the authenticity and accuracy of LLM-generated content draws parallels to early concerns with Wikipedia. Just as educators then emphasized verifying information across multiple sources, today's students must learn the importance of not solely relying on one A.I. tool. The focus here can be teaching critical thinking and problem-solving skills rather than rote memorization. 

Educators might guide students to draft essays with ChatGPT, emphasizing the iterative process of writing and refining. Students could be encouraged to critically analyze ChatGPT's responses, discerning its accuracy, oversimplifications, or any unique insights it offers.

The Next Generation for a Future Intertwined With A.I.

Some educators dismiss or even block these new tools in their haste or uncertainty. Yet, doing so disregards the undeniable: This technology is here, evolving and redefining learning. The crux now is to decide: Will we let A.I. merely aid traditional education, or will we let it reshape what it means to truly learn in the modern era?

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