Is ChatGPT a threat to education? For banking model of education, yes.

Artificial Intelligence: Is ChatGPT a threat?

OpenAI’s ChatGPT is a newly developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) agent designed to perform high-level cognitive tasks and produce original text that is indistinguishable from the human-generated text. https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt.

It is essential to highlight that AI only reproduces the processes of our society, in activities for which it was trained, performing them with greater speed and, many times, greater accuracy than a human being. And this would not be different in the school context, revealing how outdated our educational system is.

For example, if a teacher proposes an activity in the classroom with the command “Make a dissertation about elections” the students will search for the theme on the internet and, rewriting the texts found and trying to connect them in a consistent way, they will present an original essay. ChatGPT performs the exact same process.

However, it is important to emphasize that writing a text does not mean learning and internalizing issues related to the topic, but only demonstrates the ability to carry out searches on Google and write respecting syntax and semantic rules. That’s what OpenAI’s application does… only faster.

Thus, when asking ChatGPT to talk about elections on two consecutive occasions, the platform presented two distinct and unpublished texts (which were classified as originals on platforms that identify plagiarism).

ChatGPT – Make a dissertation about elections – Text 1 (first paragraph only)

Elections are a fundamental aspect of democratic societies, as they allow citizens to participate in the selection of their leaders and the direction of their government. The process of holding an election is both complex and vital, as it must be fair, transparent, and representative of the will of the electorate.

ChatGPT – Make a dissertation about elections – Text 2 (first paragraph only)

Elections are a process by which citizens of a country or members of a organization choose their leaders or representatives. This is typically done through a vote, in which eligible individuals cast their ballots for their preferred candidates or party. Elections can be held at different levels, such as national, state or local level, and are used to select leaders for government, political parties, and other organizations.

Schools that value banking model education (a model based on the “deposit” of ideas and content in students) would give good grades to students who write texts like these, considering them prepared for society’s demands, as they “write well”. But education for the 21st century, which needs critical thinking, creativity and real problem solving, seeks to develop student skills and competencies that go beyond formal writing.

There are amazing, creative, critical, innovative and sensitive students who might not write as well as ChatGPT. In fact, writing skills and performing good searches in search engines are extremely important, but they are not the only resources that should be used to assess the student’s academic development.

AI and its applications need to be seen as allies for a constructionist education based on the ideas of Seymour Papert and also for a transformative education based on the critical and reflective pedagogical practice of Paulo Freire.

Mathematics, Languages ​​and Humanities dialogue with each other when the school understands that the advancement of new technologies expands the opportunities for student-centered learning, promoting a multidisciplinary educational process, while seeking solutions for the real world.

Emerging technologies provide opportunities in the school context for an active and meaningful learning environment, provoking important reflections on what is expected from the 21st century school.

ChatGPT has other functions, in addition to creating unpublished texts, which can be checked at the aforementioned web address. However, this application of AI is fomenting an important discussion: Where should Education for the New Millennium go?

2 Comments

Ed Bringas

Thanks, Charles, for sharing your thoughts about Chat GPT. While I do agree that education will need to adapt to this new technology as it has many times over. One can rethink the notion of oral examinations or project-based work in the classroom. I do disagree with your assertion that writing papers are a simple transaction. Writing a persuasive paper requires critical thinking, creativity, and real problem-solving skills when done earnestly. Communication is a cornerstone of all learning; while this can assist students with expressive written language difficulties, I believe that it can take the burden off of thinking critically in given instances. We will see I guess.

Mathias Wunderlich

Thank you for your post, Charles! The hype around Chat GPT remembers me to Fablearn Conference 2019 at Columbia University where Nancy Otero introduced the Unicorn Example and Cognimates to us. Some people seem to be excited these days. If I was a history teacher and had to judge students for their text output, maybe I would become nervous, too. But, good luck, I’m a maker educator and don’t have to judge so much. As far as I know Chat GPT isn’t able to create and build a cool device which helps people in their daily life, so my job is safe some weeks more.

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