When exploring technology, one key concept that jumps to the forefront is that it is ever-evolving. This holds to be true when we examine the abundant amount of educational technology we have at our fingertips and all the diversity it encompasses. There always seems to be a new program, software, or application that is being released. The technology that is available to educators and students nowadays is very different from what was available 30 years ago in the classroom. At times, it can feel a little overwhelming to try and stay current with all this new technology while figuring out ways to incorporate it into the curriculum. As more and more technology becomes available, I find myself analyzing the role that technology plays in our everyday lives and I can’t help to consider all the different advantages and disadvantages that can be linked to technology.
Following our lecture this week, we were encouraged to familiarize ourselves with one of the different AI tools presented in class. I will be honest, this was the first I was hearing of all the different AI tools we discussed in class (i.e. ChatGPT, Dall-E , or Tome). I was just blown away by the concept of ChatGPT. The idea that we can have this unlimited amount of information easily accessible to anyone and made available to us within seconds was mindboggling to me. I started exploring ChatGPT right after class to understand what this tool was all about. “ChatGPT [is a] website [where you] can ask the chatbot a question on any topic and get a speedy, detailed response in paragraph form. (GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer)” (Jimenez, 2023). One of the first things I wanted to do when I signed in to ChatGPT was to see if it would be able to retrieve information as well as produce material in other languages. As a French Immersion teacher, we have previously deterred our students from using Google Translate when completing assignments in other languages due to its lack of accuracy when translating from one language to another. Well, let me tell you that ChatGPT did not disappoint in terms of accuracy when producing material in different languages. I feel it did an excellent job of respecting grammatical rules in Spanish and in French, and the level of precision was very accurate. I got my teen to try out ChatGPT with me as well as my parents by asking them to type in random questions/prompts into the search engine to see what they could come up with. We all agreed that it was easy to sign in and get started seeing as we all had a Google account. There was no fee associated with this program and no limited number of searches from what we could tell. Furthermore, there do not seem to be any restrictions relating to accessing all the different functions within the tool. Additionally, we tried inputting specific prompts that we felt would be hard to research and were pretty impressed that this tool could produce the material we asked for within seconds. It was also convenient that if you wanted to elaborate on your initial prompt and ask for additional information, you could do that. Side note, we were curious to find out if this tool held any limitations in terms of citations and if it would be capable of researching different citations and inputting them right into the text produced accurately; that is something we could continue to explore later on.
Overall, I am impressed with ChatGPT and what it can produce in such a small amount of time; having access to unlimited information is definitely appealing. However, I can’t help but think that there are also various disadvantages we could link to this AI tool as well. As I engaged in different conversations with colleagues, we all could evidently see the commodity this type of tool could bring forth; nevertheless, when thinking critically about this AI tool, many concerns linked to teaching popped up as well. As Kayla Jimenez mentions in her article published this week “[t]eachers and professors are concerned [this] technology makes it far too easy for students to use it as a shortcut for essays or other writing assignments and exams and that it generates content in a way that can bypass software that detects when students use information that’s not their own work” (2023). This same sentiment was reiterated among my work colleagues and they voiced that there was a risk that students would be missing out on enhancing their research skills and improving their writing/grammatical skills. Moreover, Jimenez’s article also explains that “the chatbot occasionally generates incorrect information and produces harmful instructions or biased content [and it has] limited knowledge of world and events after 2021” (2023). Lastly, I feel that there will be students who choose to use tools such as ChatGPT while others will choose to complete their work independently relying on their abilities. This may pose a problem if students who use the iBot start to academically surpass the students completing the work independently.
Whatever your stance may be on AI tools, it is pretty clear that this type of technology is here to stay. “[Given that] AI technology will be a part of our youth’s future, it should be part of their [education]” (Jimenez, 2023). As educators, we may have to rethink our previous methods of evaluations and see how we could incorporate this type of tool in the classroom to enhance our students’ learning.