AI is a hot topic

Rebecca Stanisic

Students and educators are already having to deal with artificial intelligence (AI) and its implications on schoolwork, assignments and lessons.

When writing an essay, or when completing a school project, generative AI tools like ChatGPT can maybe speed up the results, save time and craft the correct response. Is that a good thing or are we causing more issues for our futures? (I’ll preface this by saying I have no idea what the answer is and I’m still forming a lot of opinions! I do know I have hesitations).

I’m seeing it in my job too. AI is helping people create their content, write their blog posts, draft product descriptions and more. As a writer and content creator myself, this leaves me feeling conflicted. On one hand, I love tools to help small business owners save time and reduce stress. On the other hand, will someone still hire me? And if I’m hired to write content, I want it to be my own words. Right?

Person working on a laptop

We already know AI is around us – in our Netflix algorithm to help find our next perfect binge and beyond.

I don’t want our kids to rely on AI but we can’t be fully dismissive of it either. They certainly shouldn’t be using it to complete their school essays or presentations – but is AI just the next iteration of the Coles Notes we used?

The one time in high school I used Coles Notes (yes, once) was for Heart of Darkness. I had no idea what I was reading or doing so the Coles Notes version helped me with some of the explanations. If I were reading it today, I could just research metaphors and imagery on Google before writing my essay.

The key difference though from then to now: The Coles Notes couldn’t DO the work for me. It helped answer my questions, but I still had to write out those responses.

Now, AI can do BOTH. I can see the dilemma and ethical questions (not to mention the work involved for educators to determine what’s being used to complete assignments!).

However, we all know we typically can’t push back when these technologies come forward. It’s better to not completely avoid it and instead find the best ways to learn to strategically, and ethically, use AI in the future of schoolwork. Maybe it will be used to help design an outline? A plan? Time will tell.

For fun, as a bit of an experiment, I wrote this article and THEN I asked Canva’s Magic Write AI system to give me a mini article about this very topic. I should note, I write all my own words and as I said I haven’t incorporated AI much yet, but I did want to test this out. FOR SCIENCE.

Prompt: write a 150 word blog post about parents talking to their kids about using AI at school

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to gain popularity in various industries, it is becoming increasingly common in schools as well. It is important for parents to talk to their children about AI and its role in their education.

One of the key benefits of AI in schools is its ability to personalize learning experiences for students. However, it is important to note that AI is not a replacement for human teachers. Parents should encourage their children to ask questions about how AI is being used in their classrooms and to communicate any concerns they may have.

It is also important for parents to educate themselves about AI and its potential impact on their children’s education. This includes understanding how AI works, what data is being collected, and how it is being used.

Ultimately, by having open and honest conversations with their children about AI, parents can help prepare them for a future where technology plays an increasingly important role in their lives.

Remember, I wrote my article FIRST.

Want to know what I notice the most when I read this test? It feels like I’m reading dry toast. Sure, I write in a certain way that others may find less than exciting too, but what you won’t find with AI are personal anecdotes (like my Heart of Darkness mention), or any of my personality. Yes, I could have prompted it to be a bit more ‘fun’ in the writing, but this is just an example of what I mean.

This is what I want the kids to know. Their thoughts on a subject, their interpretation, their discussion is needed and valid. They shouldn’t want that replaced by AI (even if they are sick of doing their homework). There will be a need and a way to incorporate AI into our work and educational lives I’m sure, but let’s do it with some intention. Just something to consider.

Related resources:

New AI tools like ChatGPT raise new concerns around plagiarism, but many of the approaches to dealing with plagiarism remain the same as they were when students were just copying and pasting existing material form the internet. See our article on Responding to Plagiarism for more information.