Key points:

  • Many educators are unsure of the role generative AI will play in their classrooms
  • Despite this hesitation, there are some compelling reasons to use AI to augment teaching and learning
  • See related article: How ChatGPT made my lessons more engaging

Artificial intelligence is not a completely new concept in education; it has been used for years. Consider spelling and grammar checks that are built into word processors and autofill suggestions in search engines. What has become new to us this year is easy access to generative AI models, which can generate text and images with simple prompts.

In response to these new tools becoming available to the public, many teachers found themselves resisting AI, considering the ways in which it could complicate verifying academic honesty in student writing and artwork, acknowledging the inaccuracies that AI can generate, the human biases that impact the dataset AI uses, and more.

These are legitimate concerns, and educators must embrace a new wave of change with these new AI tools available.

Argument #1: Students will lose their writing skills if they lean on AI to do it for them. 

When students began using Microsoft Word and Google Docs to draft their essays years ago, the spelling and grammar checking software automatically pointed out or corrected common mistakes. Autocorrect and spell check tools didn’t replace our students’ needs to have a base understanding of the conventions of writing; they simply offered assistance with proofreading. Similarly, widespread use of the calculator didn’t erase the need for mental math; instead, knowledge of how to use the calculator to one’s advantage became just as important as the math itself (Ditch That Textbook, 2023).

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