ChatGPT is an argument for using some traditional methods


The rise of ChatGPT makes it even easier for students to plagiarize their writings. I love new technology, but one area that I am old school is with the initial rough drafting of essays. I do not mind my students turning in the final drafts of their essays typed, but I have always insisted that students write the rough drafts of their essays by hand before typing them. That has drastically reduced incidents of plagiarism from my students when it comes to essays. I have listened to too many colleagues get wrapped up in all of the newest technologies only to complain about students plagiarizing their essays. New technology is awesome, but we cannot abandon all of the old ways.

Posted on July 30, 2023 in response to Coy242


Fellow HS English teacher here. I have been working with integrating AI into the ELA classroom for the last five years and ChatGPT definitely presents a significant problem for educators at all levels. The problem is large and complex because the use of this technology has compromised and challenged the core of what needs to happen in all of our classrooms - learning transfer. When a student uses a powerful tool like ChatGPT, they miss out on the very importance of struggling through trial and error, making mistakes, failing, and the eventual joy of actually learning something themself for the first time.

If I wanted an AI to write an essay, I would ask them to turn in something that the LLM created. Many students do not understand the complex reasoning as to why teachers give writing assignments, math practice, foreign language practice or historical facts to study.

I look at it like this- learning is akin to being an athlete - you have to practice to improve and achieve.

LLM's/chatbots are an amazing technology and the disruption to education is real. I believe that academic dishonesty will be at at an all time high this fall when school returns because teachers and districts are turning a blind eye to it. Yes, students have used technology to complete assignments for decades. Whether they take a picture of a friend's completed worksheet, paid someone to do their homework, or have ChatGPT do it, unfortunately, the cheating will likely continue.

I encourage any teacher I talk to about this issue to reconsider their assessment strategy and how they validate whether or not a student learned the content.

  • Handwrite essays, short writing pieces, worksheets -in class-with no devices in hand. EVERYTHING is out of sight and put away -iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, etc.
  • Interview them with questions that relate to the assignment.
  • Basically, go old school and use traditional methods.

I can tell you, from experience, that I have spent more time looking for evidence of cheating, and never found substantial material to prove plagiarism - even with the so-called best plagiarism detector. Frustrating - yes. I'm not wasting one more moment of my precious time trying to build a case for a cheater. Academic dishonesty is on them and when it comes to knowing the material, time always tells whether or not they know the material.

In a more positive light...

It's an exciting time to be an active participant to the many changes that are happening at this moment in history. Education is in a paradigm shift and those of us caught in the mix are conflicted with how to attend to the business of teaching and learning. We are tasked with meeting the requirements of our district educational mandates and tests, but deep-down we understand what our students will really need when they leave our schools.

Teaching our students to become critical thinkers by using a variety of methods is the most important gift we can give to the future. Building a community of creative thinkers who are prepared to take on numerous challenges in their adult lives is of prime importance.

Instead of the gotcha of catching them cheating, press on to create engaging activities that stretch their thinking and formatively assess to see if the learning transfer is happening. As education continues to shift, don't abandon the old school ways. Use unplugged activities to satisfy the traditional, research-backed methods that have worked successfully for decades and together, we will be able to give our students the best of both old and new.

This is the approach I've been taking with my students and so far, I have had great engagement and some very active discussions about this ground breaking technology. I'm looking forward to the school year (it starts Aug. 4th for me) and I welcome any creative ideas on how we can all shape the future of education with AI as our co-pilot.

I'm always open to collaboration.

Let's do this!

Posted on July 30, 2023 in response to Pam7

Thank you Pam! I appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences and getting us all to think about we might shape the changing educational landscape.

As I commented on another ChatGPT post, I think using projects and frameworks like Challenge Based Learning #CBL is a way that we can keep directing independent as well as collaborative student thinking and problem solving. How might this be used in a writing class? I would love to hear how teachers have use projects or CBL to meet their required learning standards.

Question: ChatGPT is an argument for using some traditional methods

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