Kids Are Going Back to School
So is ChatGPT
Last winter, the unveiling of OpenAI's alarmingly sophisticated chatbot sent educators into a tailspin. Generative artificial intelligence (AI), it was feared, would enable rampant cheating and plagiarism, and even make high school English obsolete. Universities debated updating plagiarism policies. Some school districts outright banned ChatGPT from their networks. Now, a new school year presents new challenges—and, for some, new opportunities.
Nearly a year into the generative AI hype, early alarm among educators has given way to pragmatism. Many students have clued into the technology’s tendency to “hallucinate," or fabricate information. David Banks, the chancellor of New York City Public Schools, wrote that the district was now “determined to embrace” generative AI—despite having banned it from school networks last year. Many teachers are now focusing on assignments that require critical thinking, using AI to spark new conversations in the classroom, and becoming wary of tools that claim to be able to catch AI cheats.
Institutions and educators now also find themselves in the uneasy position of not just grappling with a technology that they didn’t ask for, but also reckoning with something that could radically reshape their jobs and the world in which their students will grow up.
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