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Much of the education narrative around ChatGPT has focused on the potential downsides of the AI tool (think Skynet from “The Terminator”). But as a high school teacher who has experimented with the sophisticated word predictor app in my economics, U.S. History, and speech and debate classes, I’ve found that ChatGPT provides opportunities to engage the students in class activities. Here’s how I’ve harnessed a tool that is here to stay (no matter how many school districts try to block it). 

I welcomed our first “speaker,” ChatGPT.

Our student learning is anchored around Harkness discussions, an educational approach in which students discuss class readings, course material, and other texts. Students learn how to prepare for a discussion, have difficult conversations, understand different perspectives, and meaningfully participate. While many students grasp the notion of voicing their ideas, teaching them to build upon another student’s point is more difficult.

In Economics, we spent one class analyzing the dot-com bubble at the turn of the millennium. To prepare, I asked ChatGPT what caused the bubble, and here was the response:

“The dot-com bubble was caused by a combination of factors, including:

  1. Irrational exuberance: Investors were overly optimistic about the potential of internet-based companies, leading to a huge influx of investment capital.
  2. Overvaluation of tech startups: Startups with no revenue or profits were valued at extremely high prices, leading to a bubble.
  3. Lack of regulation: The SEC failed to adjust its regulations to the new realities of the internet and the stock market.
  4. Hype around internet technology: There was a lot of hype around the potential of the internet, which fueled the bubble.
  5. These factors combined to create the Dot-com Bubble, which burst in 2000-2001 causing many internet-based companies to fail, leading to a significant loss of investment capital.”
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