Open not Sacrificing

Submitted By:
Jonathan Gold, Moses Brown School, Providence, RI

ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it by Will Douglas Heaven
MIT Technology Review, April 6, 2023

A welcome rejoinder to some of the most alarmist coverage of generative AI tools like ChatGPT, this article explores the promise and potential of this technology. While acknowledging that the “initial panic from the education sector was understandable,” tech columnist Will Douglas Heaven is lining up with the “many teachers [who] now believe ChatGPT could actually help make education better.” As such, Heaven and others maintain that “banning [these tools] is futile, possibly even counterproductive” and instead amplifies calls from the likes of Richard Culatta, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), who argues that “we need to be asking what we need to do to prepare young people – learners – for a future world that’s not that far in the future.” Previous iterations of educational technology have offered similar potential to revolutionize education, but it does seem like generative AI’s promise is real; the key will be to be open to the ways this technology can enhance and transform teaching and learning while not sacrificing educational values. Moreover, teachers and schools that resist this technology may find themselves lagging behind. Indeed, Heaven cites a study in which “a majority of teachers and students surveyed also agreed with this statement: ‘ChatGPT is just another example of why we can’t keep doing things the old way for schools in the modern world.’” Perhaps most helpfully, Heaven then profiles several educators using generative AI tools to improve their teaching and accelerate students’ learning outcomes. Notably, these practitioners are using these tools to enhance “traditional” curriculum goals like writing, research, and critical thinking. While it’s clear that “teachers have been thrown into a radical new experiment,” this article is a helpful reflection on the fact that “this is not the end of education. It’s a new beginning.”

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