What is ChatGPT?
It is a creation of OpenAI, and as of this podcast, is currently free to explore. In fancy terms, it is a chatbot that uses a language model called GPT-3 which means Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 to simulate conversations with users. It was released in November 2022.
In plain English, it’s a very, very cool tool to have in your pocket.
When I found it, it was full on panic mode, I mean, this was going to change writing education forever! But, after I got over my panic and fear, I started settling into reality, meaning ChatGPT and tools similar to it will be filling our future. What feels unreal now will be an everyday experience in the “then.”
The scary part is that it does a really good job of composing what you ask of it, and because it uses AI, it’s technically not plagiarism, and therefore is not traceable by the standard plagiarism checkers. This brings up the ethical question of cheating… since it’s technically not copying… and is creating original work… does this mean students would have to disclose that they used ChatGPT?
Once I switched into problem solving mode and went looking for ways this tool can be useful to educators, I found some really phenomenal uses for the bot. Even further, speaking with colleagues and perusing social media brought about a plethora of positive uses, which made me feel so much better about this crazy tool.
A colleague said that while she wouldn’t want her son using ChatGPT, she herself could use it to learn about what her son was studying, and therefore be better equipped to help him with his homework.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve asked the bot to do countless things for us at school - write essays, yes, but we’ve also used it as an Alexa, just asking it questions. A really neat try was when we asked it to write a decodable short story using a specific vowel pattern to use with 2nd grade and it did it!
ChatGPT has taken the educational world by storm. If we focus on the fear it’s raised, we’ll be in trouble. As long as we keep looking for productive, positive uses, it could really have a positive impact on education.