The Effects of ChatGPT in Schools and Why It’s Getting Banned
Many schools are banning ChatGPT for plagiarism, accuracy and privacy concerns. However, the chatbot could help students and teachers with the right application.
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ChatGPT has generated excitement and concern in equal measure across many use cases. One of its most prominent — and controversial — is its use in schools. As ChatGPT’s popularity continues to skyrocket, many school districts are banning it, but its potential positives for education are growing, too.
Why Schools Are Banning ChatGPT
It’s important to understand both sides of this issue. To start, here are some of the most significant reasons behind school bans on ChatGPT.
The most prevalent concern over ChatGPT in schools is its tendency towards plagiarism. Like all AI models, ChatGPT doesn’t necessarily create new content but rather compiles, summarizes and rephrases existing work. Students can easily use it to finish their work for them, to the same effect as stealing someone else’s paper and turning it in.
Many tools can detect ChatGPT-generated content, so catching students trying to cheat is relatively easy. However, even if students only use it as a research tool, they may be unable to find the original sources for the information they get from ChatGPT, leading to accidental plagiarism. The lack of consent from the people behind the model’s training data introduces further plagiarism concerns.
Using ChatGPT in schools may also hinder the quality of students’ education. The answers ChatGPT provides are not always accurate, even if they’re convincing, which could lead students to believe misleading or outright false information.
These factual inaccuracies may be harder to detect than plagiarism, especially if they’re about topics teachers are less familiar with. As a result, using it in research or as a teaching tool could spread misinformation.
ChatGPT also carries some privacy concerns. The platform collects a considerable amount of user data, and its privacy controls are minimal and not immediately evident. Considering the education sector was the most likely to suffer ransomware attacks last year, that’s a significant issue.
Students may not know how much personal information they’re giving away or how the site uses it when using ChatGPT. That puts a lot of highly sensitive data at risk.
Uses for ChatGPT Outside of Cheating
Despite these concerns, there are several positives to ChatGPT in schools. Here’s how the education system can use the chatbot to benefit students and teachers alike.
Teachers and other staff members can use ChatGPT to automate some administrative tasks like scheduling and data entry. This automation would give them more time to spend with students, improving educational outcomes.
Nearly 50% of independent schools use five or more online solutions to manage administrative duties. That creates a lot of disconnect, inefficiency and unnecessary costs. Streamlining these behind-the-scenes workflows with tools like ChatGPT would help minimize that time and expense.
Educators could also use ChatGPT to make lessons more engaging for students. Studies have found that students are more engaged and comfortable when technology plays a role in their learning, and tech as new and exciting as ChatGPT could be particularly useful.
Students could use ChatGPT to form the outlines for research papers they flesh out themselves, helping them learn what makes a quality essay. Alternatively, teachers could use ChatGPT as a way to show how AI works or to highlight the importance of watching for bias and misinformation in online resources.
Preparing Students for an AI Future
Schools may also consider teaching students how to use ChatGPT and similar tools. Generative AI will doubtlessly play a role in many future businesses, so learning how to use AI responsibly is an essential skill for the upcoming generation.
Some experts predict 58% of the current workforce will need upskilling to work effectively as new technologies change their roles and responsibilities. Education systems can get ahead of that trend by equipping students with AI literacy before they enter the workforce. ChatGPT’s ease of use makes it an ideal tool to that end.
Generative AI Could Forever Change Education
Generative AI platforms like ChatGPT will change how many industries operate. The same is likely true for education, whether that means adopting new policies to restrict the technology or embracing it.
Using ChatGPT in schools has many advantages, but significant obstacles remain. If school systems can approach it with care and consider these downsides, they can capitalize on the positives to improve future education.
April Miller is managing editor of consumer technology at ReHack Magazine. She have a track record of creating quality content that drives traffic to the publications I work with.