ChatGPT is a groundbreaking new language model developed by OpenAI. It specializes in conversational dialogue and has the ability to automatically generate human-like text from a user’s prompt. This can include functioning computer code, text summarizations, and essays with research about any topic. Because OpenAI has released a public research demo for free, any student can access this powerful tool with simply an internet connection and a functioning web browser.
In light of ChatGPT’s growing popularity, many teachers have been worried about the potential for students to cheat on homework and essays by automatically generating multiple-page responses to a single prompt.
While the bot is able to sound like a human and do research to make supported claims, it often fails to understand the true meaning of what the text is trying to accomplish.
In my opinion, teachers have no need to worry because the text generated by the chatbot is not quite on par with the work done by students. While the bot is able to sound like a human and do research to make supported claims, it often fails to understand the true meaning of what the text is trying to accomplish.
To test this hypothesis, I asked ChatGPT to generate an introductory paragraph to this very article. I asked it to provide a brief description of what ChatGPT is, how it functioned, and how teachers were worried about the potential of students cheating. While it did generate a paragraph that included all of those things, the paragraph failed to hook the reader’s attention or present the information in a meaningful way.
The true power of ChatGPT lies in its ability to create frameworks and provide evidence for students when they are starting a new essay. Often, the hardest part of writing for students is deciding what to write about or how to structure the paper. Once this important step is accomplished, students are usually able to easily find evidence to back up their claims and actually write the essay itself.
By entering their essay prompt, students can ask ChatGPT to generate a simple essay outline for their paper and provide some basic research/background information to get them started. Then, they can improve upon ChatGPT’s basic outline to write the full paper without the long process of deciding on what to write about.
Another helpful use of ChatGPT is its ability to evaluate and compare different pieces of writing. Using this feature, students can easily compare their essays to any examples the teacher provides or even the rubric itself. This will allow students to see where their essays may be lacking information or where they may lose points on an assignment. As long as they don’t ask the bot to actually rewrite the essay, I don’t think this is cheating because the AI is merely giving suggestions and making comparisons, which is the same process as a peer review with a real human.
Just like the invention of the calculator, this new technology will hopefully become an aid for students rather than a hindrance for educators.
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