Let’s Talk! An Exploration on ChatGPT and Its Implications on Education

Question:

Greetings! I am interested in starting a conversation around a fairly big buzzword at least in our world: chatGPT. For those not familiar, it is an artificial intelligence tool, specifically a large language model, that can process and respond with natural language text. I feel it is quite remarkable in its abilities and believe it will have an impact on education moving forward. Perhaps this will become a blip on the radar of life and our profession, but I don’t think so.

I plan to post some follow ups in this thread containing additional examples so as not to create a book on my very first post!

So, let’s get started and explore this tool a bit! To begin, you’ll need an account, which can be created at https://chat.openai.com. The tool is free, for now, but rumor has it we should anticipate it becoming subscription-based in the future. Once you’re signed up, ask it anything… and don’t be afraid to push back on its responses. The pushback is where it can narrow down its responses and really dial in exactly what you’re looking for. Interact with the answers… I think that’s where it becomes very interesting.

Warning: It’s not right 100% of the time. Perhaps we can use that to our advantage!

Example time!

I’ll start with a basic (non-educational) question that can easily be Googled: Can you give me a recipe for a basic loaf of white bread? It will gladly help in mere seconds - screenshot below:

 

Recipe from chatGPT containing ingredients and instructions.
Recipe from chatGPT containing ingredients and instructions.

Let’s interact with this response. I am going to ask it about using bread flour instead of AP flour. Notice I’m asking about AP flour. In its original answer, it referred to all-purpose flour. Its response:

 

Response on using bread flour instead of AP flour
Response on using bread flour instead of AP flour

Interesting! Sure, I can find this via Google, but this result comes back much more quickly. Let’s ask another question. Can I reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe?

 

Response on whether I can reduce the sugar in this recipe
Response on whether I can reduce the sugar in this recipe

I like it!  I can interact with the original response efficiently.

So how is this better than Google? I won’t argue that it is or isn’t. I just think this interaction is compelling and worth further investigation. More posts and examples to come! I promise we’ll dial this into education soon.

Tagged in: Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning (AI/ML)

Posted on December 16, 2022 in response to millerbp

So we can ask chatGPT for something simple like a recipe… but can it be creative, or at least fake creativity? How about if we ask it to write a poem? I asked it the following question:

 

Can you write a poem that uses the word plethora and discusses ways to use artificial intelligence in the classroom?
Let’s have it write a poem!


Once again, in mere seconds, it produced a very usable poem:

 

A poem written by artificial intelligence discussing the ways it could be used in the classroom.
I would call this poem a success!

The interesting thing about this is that any number of us sitting around a table could ask the same question and would receive a different variation of this poem. ChatGPT is not finding content on the Internet and simply returning the result. It’s not returning someone else’s work. This is actually a unique poem created on the spot. That starts to move the needle when thinking about the implications on our classrooms.

More examples to come later!

Posted on December 16, 2022 in response to millerbp

Let’s quickly review our progress: ChatGPT has demonstrated it can find basic information and that we can interact with said information. We can have a “back and forth”… dare I say a conversation… with the responses. We’ve also seen its ability to be fairly creative. Let’s keep going and see what it can do next.

What if we offer it an essay question? I approached when one of district’s history teachers and asked for her latest essay assignment for her students. She wanted her students to write about the Boston Massacre. Specifically:

 

Please write an argumentative essay on the Boston Massacre from the British perspective.
Write an argumentative essay on the Boston Massacre from the British perspective.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it was able to generate a response. In fact, the teacher found the response to be on par with what she expected from her students:

 

ChatGPT’s original essay on the Boston Massacre from the British perspective.
ChatGPT’s original essay on the Boston Massacre from the British perspective.

But what if we wanted this at a higher reading level… or with more detail? Let’s push it by interacting and asking specifically for that and see what it can do:

 

Can you rewrite this essay at a higher reading level and with greater detail?

 

ChatGPT’s updated essay at a higher reading level and additional details.

While this may not be perfect, I would argue it is impressive and provides enough of a start that students would not have to take it much further… of course depending on any other requirements set forth by the teacher.

Keep in mind, this is original work. ChatGPT did not go out to the Internet and find an essay and return it as a search result. ChatGPT literally wrote this on the spot. If you were to ask it the same prompt, there’s a very good chance you would get slightly different language on the same topic. I personally have not submitted this to a plagiarism checker, but I have seen other reports that suggest pieces generated by chatGPT pass the test.

So this now definitely moves the needs on implications for education.

More examples later!

Posted on December 20, 2022 in response to millerbp

We’ve looked at AI’s ability to assist with recipes. We learned it can write poetry. It can even write essays. We can interact with the results and get human-like responses. How about programming? To what degree can it do that?

Below is a very basic request from the tool. I asked it to assist with writing an app in SwiftUI that allowed me to snap a photo and immediately share it via AirDrop. It offered up the code then explained how some of the functions worked. I copied the code into Swift Playgrounds on my iPad, and sure enough, the app worked. I want to reiterate, however, that this was a very basic ask and it is also important to note I am not a programmer… so I can’t vouch for the efficiency of the code. All I know is it worked.

 

I asked chatGPT to write code for a basic camera app… and it worked!

I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty amazing. I’m not quite sure what to make of this yet, but wanted to get this out there so that it can be discussed.

Posted on December 26, 2022 in response to millerbp

I'm a bit obsessed with this whole discussion at the moment! I've been particularly interested in its links to creativity and skills development.

I wrote a Twitter thread last week about it with some suggestions and things I've been playing around with - it's unrolled here: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1603404610797830144.html

I love the idea of it being a collaborator for creative writing and design projects... so I got it to brainstorm ideas for names for places or objects, create writing models for me to edit and also got Midjourney to create visuals of some story elements to help to bring it to life. I also tried to get ChatGPT to coach me on skills development, which worked quite well.

I think all school leaders need to have BIG discussions about this now and decide how they're going to approach it and embrace the opportunities it gives us. I'm worried it'll scare a lot of people off technology completely and that we'll see a big rise in paper-based, exam-only assessments.

 

Names generated by ChatGPT

 

A dating profile for Mr Twit from The Twits, written by ChatGPT
 
A character from a story, generated by Midjourney
 
ChatGPT as a skills coach helping me to improve my creativity

Posted on January 01, 2023 in response to millerbp

This is very helpful @millerbp and I appreciate you documenting a few different directions and starting this conversation. I'm fascinated with the iterative value of Machine Learning and so I took your prompt just over 2 weeks later, not only is it different, but I think it's better.

Certainly! Here is an argumentative essay on the Boston Massacre from the British perspective:
On March 5, 1770, a group of colonists in Boston, Massachusetts confronted a squad of British soldiers, leading to a confrontation that would come to be known as the Boston Massacre. The event has been portrayed by many historians as a clear-cut case of British oppression, with the soldiers being depicted as cold-blooded killers who fired upon innocent civilians without provocation. However, a closer examination of the circumstances surrounding the event reveals a more complex and nuanced picture. From the British perspective, the soldiers were acting in self-defense against a mob of angry colonists who were threatening their lives.
To begin with, it is important to recognize the context in which the Boston Massacre took place. At the time, tensions between the colonies and Great Britain were running high due to a variety of issues, including the imposition of taxes on the colonies without their representation in Parliament. In Boston, these tensions had been exacerbated by the presence of a large garrison of British troops, who were viewed by many colonists as an occupying force. This climate of animosity and mistrust made it more likely that any encounter between colonists and soldiers would turn violent.
On the night of the Boston Massacre, a group of colonists confronted a squad of British soldiers who were guarding the Customs House. According to eyewitness accounts, the colonists taunted and jeered at the soldiers, throwing snowballs and other objects at them. Some accounts even suggest that the colonists were armed with clubs and other weapons. Faced with this hostile and threatening mob, it is not surprising that the soldiers felt threatened and decided to defend themselves.
Furthermore, the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre were acting under orders from their superiors, who had instructed them to use whatever force was necessary to maintain order and protect government property. In the face of a violent and threatening mob, it is not unreasonable to assume that the soldiers would have felt justified in using their weapons to protect themselves.
In conclusion, while the Boston Massacre is often depicted as a clear-cut case of British aggression and oppression, a more nuanced and balanced view of the event reveals that the soldiers were acting in self-defense against a hostile and threatening mob. It is important to recognize the complex circumstances surrounding the event, rather than simply portraying it as a one-sided act of brutality.

I'm also interested in the creative potential this will unlock for students, but not in the traditional sense, but rather a complete rethinking of our educational system, priorities and goals. We as educators have a phenomenal opportunity to lead this conversation as we have the best insight, motivation and access to shape changes. No one has the answers but with this level of disruption, there will be plenty of people wanting to fill the vacuum with either status quo or self-serving solutions.

Please continue to add more resources to this thread and I will do the same.

Posted on January 10, 2023 in response to FEllis

Fascinating use cases and examples! Thank you for sharing!

Our discussions at the district office have been wide ranging in terms of how our students might use it and whether we should close it down. We wrestle constantly with this and have not found a clear cut direction. I’ve heard the paper-based solution be mentioned a handful of times as well. I hate to say it, but for the amount of time I’ve spent thinking about this tool, I sure haven’t made much progress!

Posted on January 10, 2023 in response to SDfromLB

Now that’s interesting! One question I have had is whether ChatGPT is “locked” in terms of its growth or if it continues to learn based off feedback. Your experience may support the latter.

Posted on January 10, 2023 in response to millerbp

Forgive my experimentation and brain wanderings, but my goal is to look at this from an educationally supportive standpoint and not as a detriment, as it’s so easy to take the pessimistic route.

This is something I have put together over the last few days. I don’t normally share my own brainstorms in a public place, but hey, what the heck. If nothing else, hopefully it will serve as a springboard into better thinking than what I have to offer!

 

Brainstorming for ways ChatGPT can be beneficial to education.

Posted on January 17, 2023 in response to millerbp

Thank you for sharing your thinking. This is a really important part of developing ideas, thought processes and conclusions about how ChatGPT might impact the classroom. I am assuming you also made one for how it might negatively impact the classroom?

Question: Let’s Talk! An Exploration on ChatGPT and Its Implications on Education

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