ChatGPT and Education: A New Era of Learning

BOOKRClass | 2023.02.09

ChatGPT made the online sphere rethink everything they knew about digital tools. The copywriting and education industry has been especially shaken by the potential prospect of this new AI tool that, according to many, is the next big thing. Some fear it; some consider such an extravaganza to be an overreaction.
Some ban it in the workplace; some celebrate its capabilities and the possibilities it brings to their schools or businesses. What does it mean for you as a player in the education sector, and what should you know about it?
Learn everything you wanted to know about ChatGPT and education. Let’s dive in together!

chatgpt and education

What is ChatGPT?

Let’s get this one out of the way; what are we talking about exactly? 

ChatGPT is a conversational AI language model developed by OpenAI that can answer follow-up questions, admit mistakes, and engage in meaningful dialogue. ChatGPT is a powerful tool for generating human-like text and can be used in various applications such as chatbots, customer service, and content creation – any written content. In practice, it looks like this: 

  • Ask ChatGPT to write a 3-paragraph essay on British culture, which will produce a response within seconds.
  • Enter a mathematical equation, and the system will not only give you the solution and offer a step-by-step explanation of the process.
  • It rewrites texts in an instant avoiding plagiarism.
  • It’s an improved human-like Google that could be any student’s or educator’s best friend regarding homework, writing, or even studying.
  • Creating lesson plans and writing poems or songs is not a problem.

To sum it up, let’s go directly to the source. When asking about its capabilities, this is what the platform says:

The question: ‘What can ChatGPT do?

Response: ChatGPT is a language model that can:

  • Answer questions
  • Generate text
  • Summarize information
  • Translate languages
  • Chat in a conversational manner
  • And perform other language-related tasks.
chatgpt and education

Despite its promising capabilities, ChatGPT’s impact on education has sparked mixed opinions and ethical concerns. School administrators, teachers, parents, and students are divided on its use, with some questioning its place in the classroom. In addition, the potential for cheating and plagiarism has led some schools, including New York City Public Schools, to ban the app across their district devices and networks.

Other central city school districts such as Seattle, Baltimore, and Los Angeles have also blocked access to ChatGPT, and that’s only in the United States. 

On the other side, many institutions and experts are looking for new and creative ways to incorporate new technologies into their teaching curricula. They are fascinated by how the education field reacted faster than they’ve ever seen them respond to new technology. 

Content creation and grammar correction are nothing new. We’ve seen what Artificial Intelligence is capable of, so why is ChatGPT different? Why all this attention and buzz? 

Experts say that ChatGPT’s main difference is its remarkable example of advanced natural language processing. It sounds just like what a human might respond, and it’s very easy to use for anyone. 

How to use ChatGPT?

After creating a profile and logging in for free, you can use it for different projects with no limitations or complicated options. One chatbox, one bar, go! 

1. You can treat it as a human, asking a simple question. To test ChatGPT, I asked it about ESL

  • I typed in ‘What is ESL?’.
  • It responded: ESL stands for "English as a Second Language", which refers to the study and use of English by non-native speakers.
  • I asked it to “Write an essay about ESL’.
  • It responded with a detailed structure on how I should create an essay with talking points, a beginning, and an end.
  • Then I asked it to elaborate on the ‘Growth of ESL worldwide,’, and in no time, I had a 1000 characters text only about that.

I quickly realized it would take little time to hand in an assignment about teaching English as a second language. The exciting part is that once you get a response to your question, you can continue digging deeper, asking it to give you more details if anything needs to be clarified.

2. Do you need a text to be checked or rewritten? You can ask it to take a look

  • I provided instructions, I do not only want my text rephrased but I wish to change the style.
  • Then I provided the text, and voila! There it was, a polite and formal text to decline an invitation.
how chatgpt can help

3. Create lesson plans, article structures, and entire articles

Now, this is an area where ChatGPT and education go hand in hand! This tool can create lesson plans for various subjects and educational levels, from one task to an entire lesson plan specifically designed for your classroom – if given the proper instructions.

Don’t forget to provide details such as the subject, target grade level, learning objectives, and any other specific requirements you have.

It’s important to give specific instructions and rephrase your question if the system can’t understand it.

4. Translating

Yes, English is not the only language ChatGPT is trained in. As an AI language model, it has been trained to understand and generate text in many languages, including but not limited to English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, and Korean, among others. Although its proficiency in each language may vary, it tends to make errors or produce unnatural text, so be aware of that. 

what is chat gpt

In general, if we’re unhappy with the content generated or it’s not exactly what one was looking for, with a click, you can ask it to generate different answers, and the system will look for other ways to assist our needs. No need to tell it; just click on ‘Regenerate response’. 

Super fast, super easy. It is, however, important to mention that it does not understand every instruction on the first try –  but it doesn’t mean it won’t complete the task perfectly on the second or third try. Specifying or rephrasing our requests will eventually lead the system to give us the answer we’re looking for.

ChatGPT and education

How can teachers use ChatGPT?

  • Catch me if you can

Teachers are advised to adapt their practices to ChatGPT rather than merely focus on catching students cheating. For example, experts say they’ve heard of some teachers giving ChatGPT a prompt and analyzing its response with students as a practice in editing and critical thinking.

Technology surrounds us – and students – whether we like it or not, so why not guide children through the process, showing them the pros and cons of letting technology into their lives? It’s better to dictate the narrative rather than banning it and letting students use it for all the wrong reasons.

Enemy or best friend? There’s a fine line!

  • Make my job easier!

Teachers can also use ChatGPT to generate ideas for lesson plans and class activities and to get recommendations and edits for their students’ writing. This can help save time for teachers who are often “absolutely strapped for time.”

In addition, using ChatGPT for specific functions can improve your efficiency in your job, leaving them more time to focus on giving their best when in front of the class. 

  • How can students use ChatGPT?

For students, the most important aspect is learning how to use it correctly and for what reason. Logical and critical thinking are key skills that educators and institutions need to teach them: “AI tools are here to stay, so we must make the most of them, but don’t lose sight of the task and learn to work with it, not make it do your homework for you!” 

Some examples to understand how students can use ChatGPT: 

  • Homework help: it can assist students in solving homework problems, understanding difficult concepts, and providing explanations.
  • Research: ChatGPT can help students find information and resources related to their research projects, essays, and other school assignments.
  • Study aid: ChatGPT is able to provide students with summaries and explanations of key concepts and topics covered in their classes, helping them to review and prepare for exams. Yes, it even explains math problems. 
  • Language learning: it can be used as a tool for language learning by students who want to improve their writing and speaking skills, correcting grammar mistakes and giving recommendations to sound more like a native speaker. 
  • Spark new ideas: By diving deep into a topic, ChatGPT can even give students points on where to start. 

What now?

The future of education in the era of CHATGPT

Over the past decade, there’s been a significantly growing interest in using AI and machine learning techniques to enhance and augment traditional teaching methods. Personalized learning experiences, generating new educational content, and allowing for real-time feedback and assessment are all benefits these tools can provide –  find more information about how important technology is in education and how to exploit all it can offer.

And even though the use of AI and language models in education is still in its early stages, and further research and development are needed to understand their impact and potential fully, ChatGPT may very well mark the beginning of a new era in the way we think about these solutions, enhancing other players in the (educational) technology field to take it to the level.

Exciting times are ahead! 

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