Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

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A New AI Tool for Students and Teachers


If you haven't yet heard, there's a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot from a company, OpenAI, that has taken the world, both the education and the real world, by absolute storm. Its name is ChatGPT. If you're unfamiliar with what it does, it is a chatbot that will do anything you ask it to do. Want it to write your lesson plan? Sure thing! Want it to compose an original story with a crazy ending? Not a problem. Want it to write you a song about the elements of the periodic table? Easy peasy. But, what's most important to think about is that this might be the first of these programs, but it certainly won't be the last. Below is an overview of this new tech tool, what it does, and how it can be a benefit and a detriment to students and teachers alike in the education realm.

How Does it Work?

ChatGPT was launched in late November 2022 and has already been widely used by a variety of people. Once you're on the site or app, you ask it just about anything. As mentioned above, it can write anything you want it to. It can solve math equations, which is said to be not entirely accurate most of the time. Anything you want it to do in writing, ask ChatGPT! However, since this is a computer-generated response based on the prompt you provide. there are a few "limitations" that appear once you open ChatGPT. First of all, it "May occasionally generate incorrect information." Also, it "May occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content." It also has "Limited knowledge of the world and events after 2021." So, take those for what they're worth, but overall, it's amazing what this AI program is able to do.

What are Student Implications?

In a lengthy, yet compact, blog post, Matt Miller at Ditch That Textbook outlined all aspects of this quite nicely. Once this becomes a part of general knowledge for students, they are more than likely going to use it and use it frequently. Is it going to completely change the way we access information? More than likely. But, it also has the potential to be a really efficient way of assisting students in their learning. When used appropriately and once students have the opportunity to become comfortable with it, they can put it to good use.

Should Districts Block it?

Since this has the capability of overtaking Google as a ginormous search engine that delivers specific results, there will be questions surrounding whether or not to block it on the network. As Matt states in the blog post, blocking it doesn't do much of anything since there are so many workarounds that students can utilize. Most importantly, a cell phone off of the district's WiFi would be able to allow a student to utilize ChatGPT. Additionally, when Google and Wikipedia were first released, was there the same thought with these tech tools? Maybe this will be able to become as useful as a simple Google search. While I don't think this program is trustworthy enough to do that now, it is definitely in the works as it gets used more.

Is it a Fad or Here to Stay?

Overall, AI programming has been around for some time. But, OpenAI building a program like ChatGPT takes this to an entirely new level. After using ChatGPT a handful of times, it's clear that it only improves as it is used more since it's drawing on previous conversations. But, as expected, this isn't going anywhere. It's up to us to embrace the new world of AI because there will only be more AI programs released, and, probably even before 2023 is out. Since Amazon allows you to see products "in your space" using AI, this is a further indication that this is here to stay.

Ideas for Classroom Implications

Even though this hasn't been as widely implemented as other tools, it's still helpful to consider how this can be implemented in our classrooms when the time comes for it to be used widespread. Below are a few links to resources that illustrate this use very well.

Matt Miller's Article on AI

Eric Curts writes about ChatGPT

100 Innovative Use Cases to Try with ChatGPT

Google Aha! Tip of the Week

Each new year, Google releases a video of the top web searches from the previous year and points out common themes that may have occurred with them. Each time, these are so interesting to watch. Here's the 2022 version. However, the coolest Year in review is the Local version. Simply visit the Local Year in Search 2022 and type in a city and state and it will provide results from the top 10 web searches in that area for the previous year. It is quite interesting to see that people in and around Davenport, IA really wanted to see which apple orchards were near them and even how to make Irish soda bread. Check it out!

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