Should Students Be Using chatGPT?

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Artificial intelligence has been making headlines for years, but with the rise in popularity of language-processing chatbots like ChatGPT, parents and educators are raising concerns about what this means for the education sector. 

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ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that was launched at the end of 2022. The chatbot can produce human-like responses to questions, write essays and poems, compose emails and even create code.

Parents and teachers are worried about learners using this tool to cheat and complete their schoolwork for them. However, experts argue that it can rather be used as a valuable learning tool.

Crimson Education Country manager, Rebecca Pretorius, spoke to eNCA to discuss how teachers and scholars alike can use the tool to aid learning and teaching. Teachers can use ChatGPT to help them set test papers and memos, write-up class worksheets and even mark exams.

It can be a helpful timesaving tool as it churns out responses almost instantaneously. Additionally, teachers can integrate it into their teaching methods and educate their students on the risks.  

ChatGPT can also be used as a useful study tool where students are able to ask the chatbot to quiz them on their study material and they will then be provided with helpful feedback, guidance and identify the areas that they can improve on and even guide them towards resources that can help them.

Another element of the AI tool that has parents concerned is the possible privacy and safety issues. Pretorius warns that children should be vigilant when entering information, particularly personal information, that can be used by hackers.

However, the issue of safety and privacy is not unique to ChatGPT and internet users should always be cautious when entering personal information into any website or digital tool. 

Students should also be aware that ChatGPT is still in its early days of development, and while it is fairly accurate at providing information, it is not always able to identify whether the sources it is getting its information from are factually correct. Therefore, there is a risk of learners being provided with misinformation. 

Pretorius also adds that it is not all that different from Grammarly, another tool that students commonly use to check their grammar and spelling before submitting their assignments. It is also similar to Google, which learners also make use of to ask questions and gather information. 

Sometimes we're fearful of it because it's new, because it's very hyped up and we don't necessarily understand it.

While the AI tool continues to be developed and updated regularly, and users enter more data into the system, these initial problems can be dealt with and improvements can be made.

Rather than fearing this emerging technology, perhaps it is beneficial to identify how it can be used to our advantage. While it is very likely that learners will begin using ChatGPT or similar AI tools to do their assignments for them, educators can also use this as an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the platform and learn how to identify when a student has cheated using the tool. 

Developers of ChatGPT are improving the technology continuously, and experts believe that it has the potential to be transformative in both education and the business world as it continues to grow in popularity. 

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