AI education may be ChatGPT’s biggest lesson for schools


The teachers Will spoke with were already taking a critical approach to technologies like ChatGPT. Emily Donahoe, a writing mentor and instructional developer at the University of Mississippi, believes that ChatGPT can help teachers avoid focusing too much on the bottom line. Teaching the class to engage with AI and think critically about what it creates can humanize teaching, he says, “rather than asking students to write and play like robots.”

And because the AI ​​model is built with North American data and reflects a North American perspective, teachers find it a great way to start a conversation about bias.

David Smith, a professor of bioscience education at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, allows his undergraduates to use ChatGPT in written assignments, but he values ​​inquiry as much as, if not more than, the test itself. “It’s important to know the words used in the task and then understand the output that comes back,” he says. “We have to learn to do that.”

One of the biggest drawbacks of AI language models is that they make up material and reliably present lies as fact. This makes them unsuitable for precision-critical tasks such as scientific research and healthcare. But Helen Crompton, an associate professor of instructional technology at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, also found the AI ​​model’s “hallucinations” to be a useful teaching tool.

“It’s great that it’s not perfect,” says Crompton. This is an opportunity to have a productive discussion about misinformation and bias.

Examples like these will hopefully make education systems and policymakers realize how important it is to teach the next generation critical thinking skills around AI.

A promising AI literacy initiative for adults is a free online course called Elements of AI being developed by startup MinnaLearn and the University of Helsinki. It was launched in 2018 and is now available in 28 languages. Elements of AI teaches people what AI is and, more importantly, what it can and cannot do. I’ve tried it myself and it’s a great resource.

My biggest concern is whether we can get adults up to speed faster. Lack of awareness of AI among the internet-surfing adult population could lead to more people falling prey to unrealistic expectations and scams. Additionally, AI chatbots can be weaponized as powerful tools for phishing, fraud, and disinformation.


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