For a few years now I have been told countless times that AI will transform education. However, despite a few interesting applications I saw little evidence of how this could be the case. This all changed suddenly with the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022 which tangibly demonstrates, in a matter of seconds, the power and potential of AI.
It is really fun demonstrating ChatGPT to people. You explain it first of course but the shock on some faces when they see it, right before their very eyes, churn out a thoughtful and well-argued response to your spontaneous prompt, is wonderful. They are genuinely stunned, you can see their brain instantly trying to process the many implications of it, but at the same time querying its limitations.
It is without doubt the most disruptive technology we have seen since Google launched its search engine in 1998. ChatGPT gained 1 million users in just 5 days. By contrast it took Facebook 10 months and Instagram 2.5 months. It has limitations, but you quickly overlook these when you see just how good it is at creating new content based on your instructions.
The following video gives you an introduction to ChatGPT looking at who developed the tool, how it could be used by you as a teacher and what might happen next as AI expands into all our lives.
As the students returned to school this term, mostly oblivious to this technical revolution that occurred over the festive period, their algorithms readjusted as one after the other started to interact with content showing ChatGPT. It is now out there! Initially this brings with it a sense of fear, ‘how can I trust any piece of work submitted by my students again?’ And yes, there is no doubt that this tool currently makes cheating easier than before. But does that mean all our students are going to suddenly turn into cheats when they weren’t before? Of course not, and we should have more faith in them then that. Ultimately they want to learn and they see the value in that. Some students who took shortcuts before, will enjoy this tool to make their shortcuts even more efficient and untraceable, but these are a minority.
So where does ChatGPT fit in? Well, we need to front up to it, perhaps even embrace it, with our learners. Look at this tool to help aid learning and not supersede it. When the calculator was invented, I’m sure teachers felt it would be the end of maths, after all an advanced graphics calculator can pretty much do it all for you, but maths has adapted over time and now teaches students how to use calculators effectively. The challenge for educators is the sheer speed with which ChatGPT is being used and developed. Awareness and engagement has never been so important in the education sector. We must all make an effort to keep up and not just carry on as we are, the world has moved on, and the way our learners learn has moved on.
So, whether you believe this new era is a nightmare or a new dawn, it is not going away. Technology will not replace teachers, but teachers who use technology will replace those that don’t.
Hi, I'm Mr Exham
This is where I'll talk about teaching and learning, practical lessons, flipped learning and the use of technology in lessons. I will also discuss current trends in EdTech.