How AI Is Changing The Future Of Academics

How AI Is Changing The Future Of Academics

James Margeson, PaperClip Staff/Writer

Recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) have brought drastic changes in many industries, and now it’s all over the education world. AI writing tools such as Grammarly, QuillBot, and Hemingway Editor are now being widely used by teachers and students alike to improve writing skills. 

Portsmouth High School has been touched by this new technology as well. Increasing student usage in ChatGPT has been met with teacher and superintendent meetings, trying to understand and utilize this finding. These new tools have allowed writers to enhance their essays, speeches, and other writing pieces.

According to OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, “Users can put in short questions, sentences, or excerpts into ChatGPT and it will generate responses based off user input. It lets the AI formulate a response based on what the user is asking it to do. It will also be able to interpret information and learn more as it is used.”

But why is it so controversial? Students are using it to cheat on essays and projects, by putting in short prompts and allowing it to do all the work for them.

Cynthia Young, a Portsmouth High School social studies teacher and department head, recently had a meeting between the superintendent and other staff, hoping to understand ChatGPT and its positive implementations of it. 

She believes that it can be used positively, but its current position in classrooms is damaging. “I think that has yet to be determined. I’m sure there are students that can take their work and have it edited for them, but that doesn’t teach them how to edit their work.”

According to Young, an important way to implement Chat GPT is by utilizing its idea-generating capabilities. “I think that students can use it as a way to brainstorm and get more ideas for something.” 

This is coupled by the fact that ChatGPT can advance idea brainstorming, and according to Hive 23, a workforce program that uses Artificial Intelligence to streamline company organization: “ChatGPT complements human workers and allows them to focus on higher-level tasks that require human skills, such as creativity, empathy, and critical thinking.

But this comes with a very scary possibility: ChatGPT and other AI forms are taking over schools, turning short prompts into massive essays of masterful writing, undetectable from the generated text. According to The Companion, a news organization focusing on technology and its future, “Educators fear that Chat GPT will make students lazy thinkers, and students will be unable to develop life-long skills like critical thinking, researching, or writing. This lets students skip essays and other assignments, being able to copy and paste the information created without looking at the work or achieving the desired impression the essay is meant to leave.”

According to Young , “It’s plagiarism. You are using somebody else’s work as your own. With ChatGPT, I’m not going to play Whack-A-Mole. I won’t chase kids down. I will make your research a part of the grade. In some ways, it can improve my teaching.

Trevor Stacy, a senior at PHS, spoke on ChatGPT. “I don’t use it and I don’t think it should be used in the classroom because the academic integrity of the students decreases in high school. If [students] use ChatGPT, they will abuse their power and slack off. Their academic ability in the future will be tarnished. I do not use it because I know I’m going to be challenged in college at the next level and don’t want to take the easy way out and have someone write my papers.”

According to an article in BBC Science Focus, focusing on advancements in the modern world, said “AI writing tools allow students to cheat, shortcut, and easily bypass their way through school, to the disastrous effect on their careers. This means that they can use this tool their whole academic life, but once they reach the real world, their lack of skills to form ideas and writing pieces may destroy any ability to hold a job that can’t be held by Artificial Intelligence.”

One fear is that ChatGPT is capable of taking over many jobs that humans traditionally hold. It has passed The Bar Exam, SAT, GRE, Biology Olympiad Semifinal Exam, AP exams, AMC Exams, Sommelier exams, and others.

Many people are concerned that they may harm the way students learn. For instance, PHS teachers argue that students might rely too much on AI’s writing tools, which could undermine their writing and thinking skills. 

Young is creating new activities such as quote identification using ChatGPT. “I’m going to have students look for quotes based on the people that they’re studying, and assess those quotes. With this activity, they are asked what they think about this person and assess them based on their quotes.”

Young also believes that ChatGPT is very important for brainstorming, but it is important to do your work past that. “You can’t use ChatGPT as your researcher. It helps you get ideas, but students can further their research. It can also give teachers ideas for lesson plans and create quizzes, so there are ways we can use it. We are working on a new 10th-grade course, and I asked ChatGPT what type of project would be good for this unit. It gave me ideas for projects and we are going to incorporate it into the class.”

 Stacy believes that, if integrated properly, these tools can be incredibly beneficial for both students and teachers alike, stating that “It’s different in a work sense because you’re not getting graded necessarily. But I feel like in the real world if ChatGPT is used collaboratively with people combining it and that of the job, new ideas can be formed, however relying on ChatGPT is not something that I would not like to see in the future.”

Portsmouth High School faculty is working to understand Artificial Intelligence and its role in schools. The use of Al writing tools in schools is becoming more widespread and is expected to grow in popularity over time. “I would say you’re only hurting yourself for the future,” concluded Stacy.