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  • Mal McCallion

AI in the Classroom: A New Era in Education

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

Ladies and gents, we've got a new student in the classroom, and it's a bit of a whizz kid.

Meet ChatGPT, the AI tool that's shaking up the world of education.

Once upon a time, the talk of the university staff room was about how to ban these AI tools. But, hold onto your mortarboards, because the tables have turned. Universities, both in the US and internationally, are now encouraging students to embrace these tools, and even teaching them how to use them effectively.

Why the sudden change of heart? Well, as AI continues to weave its way into every industry, educators are realising that discouraging the use of AI could leave students trailing behind in the job market.

ChatGPT, for those not in the know, is a tool that can generate original essays, stories, and even song lyrics in response to user prompts. It's even been known to draft research paper abstracts that have fooled seasoned scientists.

But it's not all plain sailing. AI tools like ChatGPT have raised concerns about inaccuracies, cheating, and the potential to spread misinformation and perpetuate biases.

However, a study conducted by higher education research group found that about 30% of college students used ChatGPT for schoolwork in the past academic year. So, it seems the students are already on board with AI.

The challenge now is to ensure that students are using these tools effectively and ethically. Some universities, like Vanderbilt, are leading the way by offering university-wide training and workshops on AI.

The focus is on 'prompt engineering' - the art of framing instructions to get the best response from the AI. It's a skill that's in demand, with jobs in the field paying up to $300,000.

But it's not just about teaching students how to use AI. Educators also need to understand how these tools work, and some schools are hiring outside experts to teach them.

The bottom line is that AI is here to stay, and it's time for everyone in education - teachers, students, and administrators - to get on board. After all, as one educator put it, "You don't want to be the last person in the horse and buggy."

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