ChatGPT has been making rounds on the internet for some time now. It is an AI-powered technology that can help you create conversations easily. The tool is well-equipped to answer anything with a simple prompt. Launched in November 2022, it is built on top of OpenAI’s GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3) family of autoregressive language models. It is fine-tuned with supervised and reinforcement learning techniques.
ChatGPT quickly generates engaging, creative, and personalised conversations (chat threads) for different topics. You can ask for solutions for math problems, or create a math problem around a concept, generate lesson plans for various grades and topics, create stories, find information on varied subjects and issues, get definitions, summaries, poems, and recipes, create essays and anything that you’d find on the internet!
It seems that having this one tool can replace the need for having multiple resources or can be an excellent alternative to Google or Wikipedia. The benefit of using ChatGPT is that it provides a personalised response generated in human-like conversations without needing any manual effort. It detects users’ intent, recognises emotions, and delivers personalised answers.
What is ChatGPT?
We asked the chatbot to explain itself in simple terms to understand it better. Here’s what it said:
“ChatGPT” is a version of GPT specifically designed for chatbot use. It is able to carry out conversations with humans in a way that feels natural and human-like. It does this by using its understanding of language and context to generate appropriate responses to the messages it receives.
And to understand more about its capability, we asked the tool to explain itself to kids. Here’s what it said:
If you check out the examples on their website, you’ll be AMAZED at what all this tool can do.
Who’s behind this technology?
San Francisco-based, OpenAI, a research laboratory with its non-profit parent and a for-profit company, is behind this innovation. Its founders and biggest ongoing donors include Twitter CEO Elon Musk, Silicon Valley mega donor Peter Thiel, and tech giants like Microsoft.
How does ChatGPT work?
This free chat app is based on the underlying Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) technology. It scanned the internet during the summer of 2020 and developed the ability to write anything from poems, lesson plans, tweets, and even comprehensive computer programs just with a simple prompt. The tool is in its initial stage and can answer most things you ask in a personalised conversation style.
ChatGPT In Education
There has been a significant uproar about the impact of artificial intelligence in the classroom. With the launch of ChatGPT, everyone has been talking about its place in education. There has been a mixed response to its use in education.
Many educators oppose using this new tech in classrooms, calling it the “death of the essay” and other woes in education. On the other hand, some educators are thrilled to integrate it into the classroom and make the most out of it.
The tool offers highly intuitive responses and can create essays, codes, stories and possibly everything a student needs causing arguments against its use in education, especially in the classroom. It can be a great asset for students working on research, homework help, and feedback on work and improve the knowledge quotient of students of all grades.
With every tech innovation that can be a part of education, the debate ends on the need for revised “assessment strategies”. Similarly, we need to evaluate and reconsider our student assessment strategies with AI in play. The invention of ChatGPT is another reminder of that.
To better understand its place in education, let’s look at the scope of “ChatGPT in education”:
ChatGPT at Students’ Advantage
- Google or Wikipedia Alternative: ChatGPT can help students access precise information and provide results on-point. For instance, A Google search on a particular topic gives endless results. Given the volume of Google results, students may need help to restrict the scope of the information they initially required. In the case of ChatGPT, the responses are intuitive and delivered to the point. For instance, if a student needs help with math problems, ChatGPT can help in solving the problem, explaining the concepts it is based on and generating more problems on that very concept for practising. Additionally, ChatGPT is a step ahead as the user can ask follow-up questions and clarify their understanding of the topic.
- ChatGPT as a Learning Companion: The small challenges that disrupt learning momentum for many students can be resolved with ChatGPT. The tool can help students with homework, assignments, and learning difficulties. However, there must be rules and strategies in place that can combat the issues of plagiarism and authenticity. For instance, since the tool is capable of creating essays, teachers can ask students to use the tool to produce multiple essays on one topic/subject and do a comparative analysis of the AI-generated ideas. This would help students foster essential skills like critical thinking and creative thinking as well as help them work on their comprehension, reading and writing skills.
How can Educators incorporate ChatGPT
ChatGPT can help educators amplify their teaching strategies and tap into areas that usually take a backseat amid the primary curriculum. A few ways are mentioned below:
- Build Vocabulary: ChatGPT can help students expand their vocabulary by introducing them to new words and building sentences on them. Teachers can ask the tool to create numerous sentences on a new word that students aren’t familiar with and then have students guess the meaning of the word through the context of the varied sentences. This is a fun and interactive way that can be a part of weekly classroom activities.
- ChatGPT as a Writing Prompt Generator: The tool can generate engaging writing prompts for students based on age and grade. Teachers could ask ChatGPT to create a story starter or a writing prompt that pushes students to unleash their creativity by completing the task. This can be a stepping stone to inculcating writing skills among students.
- Use in Assessments: ChatGPT can work great as a reading comprehension tool and help students improve their comprehension and reading skills. Teachers can ask the tool to generate passages on various topics and merge its input in classroom assessment, asking students questions based on it. This will help educators assess students’ understanding of the topic/subject and identify areas that need extra attention.
Here’s a practical guide on how educators can use ChatGPT by Dr Philippa Hardman you must go through.
Limitations of ChatGPT
- ChatGPT has shook educators globally for its capability. While it can do many things, the tech isn’t equipped to do everything. Most higher education level essays use specific information from the text that draws on the course/subject. As for ChatGPT, it reads the internet as a whole and isn’t course/subject specific. This raises the possibility of neglecting key concepts necessary for university-level essays. Additionally, citations play a crucial role in higher education thesis. ChatGPT can make up information to align with the structure it is trying to replicate. Perhaps, the technology isn’t capable of the high-level insights and peculiarities expected of university students.
- Another drawback of Chat GPT is the decrease in face-to-face interaction between students and teachers. With ChatGPT integration, students will not receive the same amount of teacher support and personal engagement as they’d rely on the chatbot for feedback, help and learning.
- The AI behind ChatGPT has limited knowledge of events and the world after 2021. The dataset it’s working on is restrained and doesn’t reflect current events. It cannot search the active internet or pull anything from social media. This increases the chances of generating incorrect information. The product is still in the “improvisation phase”.
Asked it the same question and it invented a new species of dolphin, the Peregrin Dolphin pic.twitter.com/Brj8eUtevL
— Tom Goodwin (@tomfgoodwin) December 6, 2022
- It may occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content. Any artificial intelligence is as good as the dataset it’s drawing from and how it uses it. It has to make judgment calls just like humans do. Bias exists in judgments. It’s still learning how to work with and eliminate its bias.
- Despite its personalised responses, ChatGPT fails to deliver to visual and auditory learners as the technology is entirely text-based.
Big picture, AI will only advance with time. Technology is a critical component in education. Any technology innovation with an educational value will make its place in education. ChatGPT is in its infancy right now, and it’s only going to get better. There isn’t one conclusion on its integration into instruction. You cannot stop students from using it, nor will it help. Besides, we will be witnessing more advanced innovations with AI.
Key things that must be a part of the education space are thorough digital literacy for students and teachers, more emphasis on teacher training and having digital pedagogy experts, continuously evolving assessment strategies and an open mind to embrace the changes and learn how to navigate life with AI.