Recently, a fifth-grade teacher in Lexington, Kentucky, named Donnie Piercey introduced ChatGPT, an AI-powered writing tool, to his classroom.
ChatGPT has the ability to produce a variety of written materials, including essays, haikus, and term papers, in seconds, which has caused concerns among some educators about the potential for cheating.
However, Piercey sees the AI technology as a tool that can prepare his students for the future, as knowledge of AI will be a requirement. Piercey has been using ChatGPT as a teaching tool, with a writing game where students tried to outwit the machine.
Piercey sees ChatGPT as the latest in a line of technologies, including calculators, spell-check, Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube, that have impacted teaching methods. Piercey’s district has blocked student access to ChatGPT but allowed teachers to use it as a tool. Other educators agree that while there are pros and cons to using AI-powered chatbots in classrooms, blocking access is not the answer.
At the Future of Education Technology Conference in New Orleans, many educators gathered to discuss the topic of AI platforms in education.
Texas math teacher Heather Brantley stated that she uses ChatGPT to enhance her lessons. Brantley sees ChatGPT as a tool that stimulates student creativity and problem-solving skills, which is why she is urging districts to train staff to use the AI platform.
Students in Piercey’s class agreed that working with ChatGPT made learning fun. Piercey used ChatGPT to generate scripts for playwriting, and the students found the tool helpful in terms of generating new ideas.
Students still prefer writing on their own, as they believe they can produce work that has “more feeling, backbone, and flavor” than the machine.