11 ways educators can welcome AI into their classrooms

Instead of banning ChatGPT, consider how it can aid students during the creative process of their assignments without letting it write their essays.

Technology waits for no one. In recent months, we’ve discovered this to be especially true in the case of generative AI, which gives students the ability to whip up entire essays and other assignments in literally seconds. But that doesn’t mean it should be exiled.

ChatGPT, the artificially intelligent chatbot that has turned the education world upside down, set a record for becoming the fastest-growing consumer application in history with an estimated 100 million active users in January. For perspective, it took TikTok nearly nine months after its global launch to reach 100 million active users, and Instagram 2.5 years, Reuters reports.

While the chatbot has gained criticism surrounding its ability to inspire cheating among students, not every educator believes it should be banned from schools. So for those wishing to embrace the tool, how should you go about addressing it with students?

Turnitin, a well-known plagiarism catcher, recently announced a “state-of-the-art” generative AI detector to help curb cheating. In addition to this, they’ve published several papers to serve as a resource for educators to equip them with the knowledge to combat malicious use of userbases like ChatGPT. One of the papers titled, “Guide for approaching AI-generated text in your classroom,” informs educators that AI technology is no longer a thing of the future. It’s in our midst. To support educators moving forward, they’ve compiled a list of 11 considerations for school teachers surrounding generative AI.

How to approach tools like ChatGPT

  1. Consider reevaluating your academic integrity policy: With this new territory comes new expectations and restrictions, the paper suggests. Schools should look at redefining what integrity looks like surrounding AI-generated writing.
  2. Define the do’s and don’ts for assignments: Do your research. Set clear expectations for students as you learn more about AI and its capabilities, and communicate them with your staff.
  3. Focus on relationship building: This is quite possibly the number one priority for educators at this time, according to the paper. While we can’t control the rapid evolution of technology, it will never replace our connection with real people. Focusing on interpersonal skills with students will help to give you an advantage amidst the changing landscape.
  4. Set expectations: Don’t leave your students in the dark about generative AI! If they haven’t come across them by now, it’s only a matter of time. Encourage open discussion and communicate with them your personal position and expectations for them surrounding their assignments.
  5. Give students assignments worth doing: Part of the issue with generative AI is that students tend to use it for assignments they simply can’t be bothered to do themselves. Respond to this issue by providing them with tasks that promote critical thinking and giving students a voice, because it will compel them to put more thought and intent into their work.
  6. Evaluate your prompts: Run your writing prompts through writing assistants like ChatGPT. Doing so will reveal whether the content it produces is acceptable or not. If it is, simply tweak them to “sidestep the technology.”
  7. Rewrite prompts to promote attribution: While generative AI has proven to be very fascinating, its capabilities are limited. Try developing prompts that require students to incorporate personal experiences, authentic situations and sources. Authenticity is one of the best combative measures against chatbots like ChatGPT.
  8. Shift your focus to critical thinking: Writing is thinking, according to the paper. It’s a way for students to process information and explore new ideas. AI can’t measure up in this regard. Design assignments that truly capture the thoughts of students.
  9. Trust the process, not just the product: By simply focusing on the final essay, students are left with a sub-par opportunity to learn. Educators should frequently assign outlines and drafts before reaching the final essay stage to help reduce the risk of students relying on AI-written text.
  10. Set up peer review opportunities: Give students the opportunity to discuss their writing with others. Consider having students share their work orally, or ask them to write a personal reflection sharing their writing process. Students are aware they have to know the ins and outs of their essays in order to present their material to the class. When they rely on their own writing skills, they’ll gain the confidence to do so.
  11. Promote AI literacy: Reflect on how you might want to incorporate AI assistants into the classroom. With clear restrictions in place, consider using tools like ChatGPT as a brainstorming or research tool. Not for writing. Help them to understand the ways AI can be valuable to the creative process.

More from DA: Plagiarism catcher Turnitin announces ‘state-of-the-art’ AI writing detector

Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttps://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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