As Philadelphia high schools usher in a new year, educators find themselves in a tug of war between opportunity and caution with the current revolution of artificial intelligence technology and the introduction of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The AI model is loaded with an extensive knowledge base, which presents both a promising teaching aid and a potential incentive for academic dishonesty.
The AI tool was first released in November of 2022. The app opens up a chatbox in which you can ask it anything you’d like. Ask the tool to write a paper on WWI, solve a calculus problem, summarize class notes, or even generate ideas for the next homework assignment, and it can do so in a matter of seconds.
Many states have already banned the software from their schools, while others are still trying to better understand it. The Philadelphia School District is currently limiting the use of the AI software for students until they learn more about it.
“At this time, we have no knowledge of students using ChatGPT, nor have we received any complaints from principals or teachers. The District utilizes District wide filtering solutions. ChatGPT is not currently blocked by our filtering solutions. Until the District understands more about ChatGPT, we will block this site for use in our schools or at home on our student Chromebooks,” said Monique Braxton, deputy chief of communications for the Philadelphia School District, in an email.
The use of ChatGPT in post-secondary institutions seems to be more accepted. Some college professors have even used it to their advantage, requiring it in their syllabus and pushing students to learn with it. But in a place where students are still developing fundamental critical thinking and problem-solving skills, how can this tool be utilized in a way that still promotes independent thinking?