Will ChatGPT Affect Homeschool Education?August 31, 2023
Expert educator Kim Langen – CEO and Founder of Spirit of Math – giving her take on AI and home school student learning.
Recently I was asked to comment on the article by VENTUREBEAT: “ChatGPT takes center stage as students ditch tutors in favor of AI-powered learning” The article referred to a survey conducted by Intelligent.com which found that 85% of students who have experienced tutoring and ChatGPT ascertained that ChatGPT surpasses traditional tutoring. It also found that 96% of parents with school-age children share this viewpoint. The belief is that “ChatGPT generates superior outcomes”.
Thoughts on ChatGPT
My first thoughts took me back to being a student myself, and how would I have defined a “superior outcome”? If I was struggling with something in school, I would want AI over a human. Why would I think this? Regardless of whether I had money or not, I would consider AI, such as ChatGPT as much more convenient to access and it has a bonus: no one would know that I needed this help. I can access ChatGPT at any time of day or night without taking someone else’s time and it is probably faster at getting the answer than getting an answer from a tutor. Most students do not want to look “dumb”, and going directly to ChatGPT circumvents any judgments from others. Being smart often means that I am accepted, and acceptance is a powerful psychological force. The convenience, speed, and anonymity are extremely compelling.
Then, my next set of thoughts had me wondering what I would miss out on with a singular AI mode of tutoring. If I was brilliant and had been brought up in a culture of justifying my thinking and a culture of critiquing the thinking of others, I would want to see where the errors in my thinking were and understand what type of thinking I had that created those errors. Once I understood my poor reasoning and logic, I would have the opportunity to adjust my thinking and build my skills while using AI.
Pros and Cons of AI
But, if I wasn’t brought up in that culture and if I was taught by rote, I would only get the answer to the question I asked, and I might actually decrease my abilities because the answer is automatically given to me without having to think through it. The questions I ask are most critical, and the ability to self-reflect will help to develop my cognitive ability. Unless I have been taught to reason and am in a culture of questioning, then I would not question, and would not realize that the questions I ask are critical. I would be VERY happy to get the answers because answers (not the processes) are what give me marks. Quick answers are all that I believe I need because I get marked, not on my good thinking which leads me to the correct final answer, but just writing a correct answer. Those correct answers give me marks and marks give me a certificate. The certificate gives me entrance to nicer universities, and nicer universities give me status. Status opens more doors to me, and more doors open to me means that I can make more money. More money means greater freedom.
So,…, AI gives me answers to the questions I am given. I get the answers, I get an A+. … life is nicer.
This is a quick fix. The currency of education is certification and if ChatGPT is a way to do this, then wonderful. BUT, and this is a giant BUT, what happens to human intelligence? The computer has already re-wired our brains so that we cannot focus and go as deeply as those who were never exposed to computers. How can we use AI to magnify our intelligence, not squash it? How do you define a superior outcome? How should education embrace this as an additional tool without diminishing human intelligence? How is education to develop our future leaders so that they can lead industry and economies through to a world with little chaos and a world full of opportunities for many? What type of human intelligence is needed in industry to create new economic models for the future of our economies?
ChatGPT may replace some of our methods of educating students, but it should not stop there. Humans now have a unique opportunity to look for additional, alternative, and out-of-the-box thinking to create additional education opportunities to add to human intelligence in ways that have not been dreamed about in the past. The opportunity to think of other ways to develop human intelligence, a strong workforce, and our future leaders has never been as great as it is now. We are on the bleeding edge of an exciting shift.
Spirit of Math is Canada’s premier after-school math program for high-performing students and a global leader in math enrichment, producing students who both love and understand the essence – or spirit – of math.
For more than 30 years, Spirit of Math has produced many of the top math students in the nation. With over 11,000 students enrolled in over 30 campuses in Canada, the USA, and Pakistan, Spirit of Math is changing the equation by creating problem solvers of today who will go on to become leaders of tomorrow.
The Spirit of Math –Fibonacci Virtual Online Campus offers the Spirit of Math and Spirit of English programs to students globally. The virtual online classes are available in Eastern Time, Mountain Time, and Pacific Time. Registration for the 2023-24 school year is now open. Availability is limited, visit the link to register here.
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