ChatGPT Can Improve Student Learning

Evolution of technological advancements, either coming from electronics or even the internet itself, has made life a lot easier, especially with school work. In the last six months though, there is a greater concern for AI programs such as ChatGPT,  that will make lives both exciting and unsettling, for students and administrators. 

As of November 30, 2022, OpenAI released ChatGPT. Chat GPT is an artificial intelligence tool that contains multiple uses in various subjects such as English, math, history, and art. It is capable of generating original texts – from writing essays effectively to summarizing information through questions – and carrying out conversations with people by gathering information from the internet. It can be helpful to the general public and students in particular because it can  help shorten the amount of time students spend researching for their assignments. This comes in handy when pressured to have a starting point or the conclusion of the assignment.

Considering its features, I decided to try it out and see what it was all about. When I asked it to write me an MLA Essay on Jane Eyre’s search for independence, it performed rather well. While it lacked commentary on the first attempt, I asked it  to give more elaborate words on the textbox such as write me an MLA essay on Jane Eyre’s search for independence with evidence and elaborated commentary, it provided me with the quote and an explanation of the evidence. Despite it giving me a solid foundation, it lacked a deeper analysis that most teachers look for in an essay. 

I also tried it for an economics assignment. I used my past experience to be more specific when asking it to write me a five paragraph essay with a thesis, evidence, and commentary on how the United States should reduce economic inequality. The essay provided me with valuable information that helped my position on how to boost economic growth and reduce economic inequality with statistics. This benefited me as a student when comparing the sources given to help me expand my topic and make additional research.

ChatGPT is also capable of helping with simple math problems that range from Algebra 1 to math analysis. I asked ChatGPT to solve sin 22.5 degrees using the half angle formula to find the exact value. It made it complicated to understand certain rules due to the simplicity of its explanations. When comparing it to when the teacher gives out the lesson, there is a tremendous difference when solving it on your own. In many cases teachers take their time to get the student to learn the reason and the steps to understand the rules that apply to the problem, but ChatGPT’s explanations are not as accurate. Having said that, it is a tool that can be used as a support system since the accuracy of the answer is great although it isn’t entirely perfect at explaining what specific rules were used when solving the problem.

 The main concern of people in education is students using ChatGPT to do the work, rather than doing it themselves. It can also be seen as academically threatening since the majority of the students would rely on it and diminish students’ critical thinking when receiving an answer. In “ChatGPT in Classrooms: What to Know,” Torrey Trust, associate professor of learning technology at the University of Massachusetts—Amherst said she has seen it “solve math problems incorrectly as well as completely make up citations for a research paper, though visually it looked legitimate.” ChatGPT may be an impressive tool in providing information, but it isn’t perfect, and if student’s would continue to utilize it to replace their own thinking, it can cause a lot of problems

  Now, I understand the instructor’s concern as to why they wouldn’t utilize it in class. The constant negatives of students having a higher risk of plagiarism or cheating and even making students lazier. Teachers and administrators would be better off showing students how to use it properly, as a tool to hone their thinking and writing skills. . 

Several ways it can be used in class is by handing assignments down and asking students to look for ways to improve the essay instead of leaving it as is. Students would have to make additional research to prove that the information can be true and reliable as well as improve the lack of commentary. As shown in PBS News Hour, students from 10th grade are able to see the positives and negatives of using ChatGPT and agree that it isn’t fully reliable but can help with a blocked mind. Olivia Laksi and classmate Katherine McCormick state, “They can help students navigate writer’s block and help those who have trouble articulating their thoughts on paper. And there is no limit to the creativity it can add to classwork.” 

While students have been using the internet to find answers to questions, ChatGPT is different because it generates what the user asks, so plagiarism checkers, like Turnitin, won’t catch it. However, several sites have come up with anti-ChatGPT detectors, like ZeroGPT and even Turnitin came up with their own program. These can detect what percentage of a document is human produced versus AI produced. But, much like ChatGPT, those programs aren’t flawless either, sometimes identifying writing as AI produced when it’s human produced and vice versa.  

Banning ChatGPT on school devices doesn’t mean students won’t use it. Students nowadays have additional electronics (phones, family computers, etc.) that can result in them using ChatGPT; therefore, it wouldn’t make a change. In many ways students should be taught the importance of utilizing it responsibly by using it to improve, not plagiarizing. Having to utilize it in classroom settings can increase the chances of students using the site responsibly and can reinforce the importance of asking for feedback when collaborating with the educator. By doing so, I believe students using ChatGPT can help improve their learning experience by asking for clarification on an unknown assignment or to just inspire a topic.

From my own perspective, utilizing ChatGPT can enforce students’ ability to ask for more questions or concerns one might have in doing an assignment and be able to work from it. The  overall goal is to make academic advancements for students and in this case, ChatGPT goes beyond just believing what the future looks like, it expands on the idea that other AI assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and even Google can be normalized in our lives. It is just a matter of fact that we work with it and learn something new from technology.  

Overall, ChatGPT is an excellent way of getting feedback on any type of work, be it for school or your job. It is also important to not get fully attached and blindly rely on the information. Being able to collaborate while utilizing it can be beneficial to the students and teachers. Moreover, ChatGPT should be embraced by teachers as a way to create interactive lessons that can provide insights to teachers on students’ performances and progress that can help adjust their teaching strategies and improve their learning outcomes rather than just banning ChatGPT.