However, with the rise of artificial intelligence technology, or AI, in our day-to-day lives, it is important for schools to realize that even though cheating is a concern, AI can be used in ways to aid the education of a new generation.
ChatGPT and Bard are examples of generative AI, meaning that the user can supply an input or a prompt, and the AI responds with text or media content based on this prompt. Even though AI today can generate large bodies of text, and provide information on all of the topics studied in high school, it can only do so with a person, such as a student, telling it what to create.
Chat-based AI tools can still be prone to dispensing misinformation. The latest version of ChatGPT software–GPT-4–is still not updated on most events past 2021, and when asked about these events, it often responds with false information. If students ask Chat-GPT about certain topics studied in class, and ChatGPT responds with false information, students might end up committing the wrong information to memory. This may be a detriment to their education.
However, AI is not just ChatGPT, it also takes the form of simpler, helpful learning aids. Since spring, schools have taken measures to combat cheating using generative AI, and both teachers and students have been able to see how useful AI can be in the classroom.
Students are using different types of AI to better learn and understand
As an incoming high school student myself, I’ve found AI particularly helpful in my studies. AI tools such as Speechify, Quizlet AI, Grammarly, and Quino AI have expanded the ways that high schoolers can study for classes.
Speechify is a text-to-speech app that can be used online or with PDFs. It is an example of an AI tool that can help auditory learners, or people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and ADHD study more efficiently. Tools like these can help my generation be more efficient in high school, college, and the workforce. Gen Z might be better off than the previous generations of learners because we can use AI apps like these to help us get more done faster.
Another example of a helpful AI study tool is Quizlet AI. Quizlet is a study tool that lets students create online flashcard sets and quizzes students using many different methods.
Quizlet uses AI in several app features such as the Magic Notes tool, the Learn function, and Quizlet’s Q-chat — your own personal tutor. For example, the Magic Notes tool allows students to paste their notes or sections of reading assignments and then generates outlines, summaries, and even essay questions to quiz students on.
In fact, according to a Quizlet study, 67% of students like me agreed that AI helped them study more efficiently, and 73% said it helped them better understand materials assigned in their classes.
Likewise, Grammarly helps correct grammar and make writing more concise using natural language processing and deep learning. Quino AI is another tool that uses artificial intelligence to summarize and organize large bodies of information to streamline students’ reading or studying processes. All of these tools help students learn faster and more efficiently and can be huge aids to students with learning disabilities or students who learn in different ways than the traditional classroom setting.
Teachers are split on using AI in the classroom, but now is the time to embrace its benefits.
Starting high school this fall, I have noticed that different teachers and departments each have different outlooks on AI. Teacher opinions in my school vastly vary between believing AI can have positive impacts on students’ abilities to learn and completely banning its use in the classroom. However, a Quizlet Survey of 500 teachers in high schools and colleges showed that 44% of teachers use AI tools for their own research. Another 38% of the teachers polled used AI to generate lesson plans or to summarize and synthesize information.
There are a growing number of teachers implementing AI into instruction, and the U.S. Department of Education envisions AI as a tool to aid educator jobs.
In addition, the Department of Education’s report entitled “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning,” also stressed “…it is also important that students learn about AI, critically examine its presence in education and society, and determine its role and value in their own lives and careers.” For high school students, this is relevant because if schools educate students about AI, students will be able to use AI in a more ethical and informed way.
If schools do choose to educate students about Artificial Intelligence, they should speak about the positive and productive benefits of using AI. Focusing on the negatives only informs students of the unethical ways to use AI, reinforcing the behavior of using AI to cheat. In order to maintain academic integrity among students, informing them of both sides of AI is key.
With better AI education now, my generation can build a brighter future.
With every new groundbreaking technology created, people have feared the worst. With the creation of the telephone, people were terrified of what Bell’s invention would do to society. Similarly, when smartphones became household items, they were rejected by some due to the fear that they would make people lazy thinkers. Even the internet, while a tool that can be used to connect friends and family across continents, can still be used for the dark web and more, that has never been a reason to fear using it.
Educators and students alike do not have to fear AI. Instead, informing the next generation of how to safely and ethically use it is critical to making sure my generation succeeds.