The Place of AI in the Classroom

Forbes has named 2023 the “Year of AI Transformation.” In this new age of AI, including the user-friendly application of ChatGPT, people have been exploring its various features including photo editing, writing and even creating recipes. But as with every innovation introduced to our world, there are questions about the now unknown implications it will have.

One of these questions is: how will AI affect our education? 

I sat down with Mrs. Bowcock, an English teacher here at Warde, and got her perspective on ChatGPT in the classroom.

Rather than adopting the common viewpoint of regarding AI as a weapon, Bowcock tends to think of it as a tool.

“AI can bring good things, instead of the same old kind of essay,” Bowcock said, noting that this positive outlook makes her hopeful for the future of education.

However, positive viewpoint or not, it still stands to reason: how will teachers adapt, and make sure alternative intelligence doesn’t take over their classroom?

Bowcock thought that navigating this new world with AI at student’s disposal, requires an active approach from teachers. 

This reality means that teachers may have to assign work that is more “collaborative or presentational.” Bowcock said.

Bowcock elaborated that along with making them less likely to be academically dishonest, these changes also enhance student’s abilities to interact with their peers without a screen in front of them.

In Bowcock’s own classroom she has students write more in class, and encourages them to jot down their ideas before submitting their final draft electronically.

“Writing is a good outlet for mental health,” Bowcock explained, “it’s important to keep it personal.”

I also spoke to a Warde student, Sabrina Cassano to get her perspective on AI in schools. Sabrina Cassano is a junior at Warde and the co-editor of the Warde Focus, and she has an interesting take on how the usage of AI can be a segue to academic dishonesty.

“AI can be a slippery slope,” Cassano said. “Some use it just for busy work at first but it can blur the lines of academic integrity.”

When asked about the use of ChatGPT to write essays, Cassano was direct in her response, “that’s cheating,” she said.

In addition to the threat of academic dishonesty, Cassano points out another reason:  “I love [reading] peoples writing voices, and it just adds a different element that computers don’t have the ability to do.” 

Alternative intelligence is a hard concept to understand, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves and changes our education.

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