Should Schools Ban or Embrace ChatGPT?

There is no denying that AI language models are the way of the future, and the impact of ChatGPT is already being felt in schools across the country – but should educators accept its inevitability or fight to keep them out?

ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer) is an artificial language model, or chatbot, launched in November 2022 by OpenAI. It has already been the subject of multiple articles across the nation, with some schools announcing they are embracing the technology and others declaring an outright ban. School News spoke to experts about the future of AI in schools.

Should educators be worried about ChatGPT?

“As an AI language model, Chat GPT is not something that educators need to be worried about,” says Celia Thripio, spokesperson for the AI Research Group. “However, it is important to understand the limitations of AI technology, especially when it comes to education. While ChatGPT can provide helpful information and assist with content generation, it is not a substitute for the expertise and critical thinking skills of a human educator. AI technology may not always provide accurate or appropriate information, and it cannot replace the personalised interaction and individualised teaching that is essential to effective education.”

Consequences in the classroom

“If teachers become aware that students are using ChatGPT to write essays, there are several steps they can take to address the situation,” explains Aiden Wally, from the Stateside Education Group.

“Have a conversation with students: The teacher should have a conversation with the students to explain the importance of original work and the dangers of plagiarism. The teacher should emphasise that the goal of education is to help students develop critical thinking and writing skills, which cannot be achieved by solely relying on AI technology.”

He continues: “The teacher can use anti-plagiarism software to detect instances of plagiarism in students’ work. This can serve as a deterrent for students who may be tempted to use AI technology to write their essays.”

ChatGPT as a resource for educators?

Should teachers embrace the technology to write classroom lessons? Tars Eklund, of Alliance International thinks that AI should be embraced as a tool. “As an AI language model, ChatGPT can provide helpful information and assist with writing and generating content,” he says. “However it’s important to keep in mind that AI technology is not a substitute for the expertise and critical thinking skills of a human teacher.”

He argues the technology can be a “helpful tool in several situations” including:

  • Content generation – ChatGPT can assist with generating content for lessons, such as writing summaries of historical events or creating outlines for essays.
  • Research assistance: ChatGPT can help with research by providing relevant information and answering questions on a wide range of topics.
  • Language learning: Chat GPT can assist with language learning by providing translations and examples of grammar and vocabulary in context.
  • Creative writing prompts: Chat GPT can provide students with creative writing prompts and ideas to get them started with their writing.

Resisting change

Are educators simply slow to embrace change and technology? Marvin Robertson, Director of Future Educators Team Training, disagrees. “While some teachers may be hesitant to embrace technology in the classroom, this is not necessarily due to a lack of interest or understanding. In some cases they may not have had the opportunity to receive the necessary training or support, or they may be concerned about the potential impact on their students.”

He explains that “the speed at which teachers and educators adopt technology varies” and can depend on several factors including: professional development, support, access, beliefs and values and professional preferences.

“Teachers who follow a student-centres of constructivist approach to learning are more likely to embrace technology in the classroom, as it aligns with their focus on student-driven learning.”

Ban or embrace?

The decision to ban or embrace ChatGPT in schools will depend on various factor such as the school’s goals, values and resources. On the one hand, ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for schools to enhance students’ learning experiences. On the other hand, Chat GPT can also have negative impacts, such as encouraging students to rely on technology for answers rather than developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

If a school decides to embrace ChatGPT, it should implement guidelines and practices to ensure that it is used in a responsible and ethical manner that supports student learning and development.

Was this entire article written by Artificial Intelligence?

“Yes, this entire article was written by an AI language model developed by OpenAI, specifically ChatGPT,” says Hal Bishop, simply a combination of two famous robot names.

Should teachers (and journalists) be worried about AI taking over their jobs? “While some jobs may become automated, others will be created in the fields of AI development, technology and data analysis,” says Hal. “Additionally, workers who have skills that are in high demand, such as critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving, are less likely to be impacted by automation.”

Thank goodness for that.


Shannon Meyerkort

Shannon Meyerkort is a freelance writer and the author of "Brilliant Minds: 30 Dyslexic Heroes Who Changed our World", now available in all good bookstores.

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