May 2, 2023 (3:14 PM)

3 min read


Graphic by Mariz Cenojas

Contributed by: Ace Canacan – BS Information Systems 2

Calculators are essential tools for students to solve complex math problems, but they haven’t always been welcome in classrooms. In the early 70s, calculators became cheaper and easier to get, yet many schools banned them. They feared students would rely on them too much and lose their math skills.

This is a very similar situation to what is happening today with the rise of AI technology. AI chatbots are artificial intelligence programs that are capable of talking to humans. ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, was released to the world for free on November 30, 2022 and stirred headlines when it aced exams like the bar, the Wharton MBA and the US Medical Licensing Exam. Soon after, there were students who started using it to cheat on their school work. Schools banned ChatGPT to stop the incidents of cheating.

Does this mean we need to restrict the use of AI chatbots, or rethink the educational system altogether?

Looking back at the calculator, it was once resisted but later embraced by the education sector when it proved to enhance learning. For instance, a physics student can focus more on understanding concepts than on tedious calculations with a calculator. Similarly, the education sector should recognize the value of AI chatbots and find ways to incorporate them into the classroom.

First, chatbots can transform the curriculum into a more engaging and meaningful learning experience. By enabling students to access relevant information for their research and project based tasks, chatbots can foster their creativity and critical thinking skills. Chatbots can also help students to develop their own questions and hypotheses, and guide them to find the best sources and evidence for their arguments. They can empower students to become independent and confident learners who can explore their own interests and passions.

Second, chatbots can enhance the role of teachers by taking care of some mundane tasks such as grading student work, generating personalized lesson plans, and resolving student queries. The chatbot can save time and energy for teachers to focus on more impactful tasks such as small group or individual sessions with students. The chatbot can also support teachers to monitor student progress, provide feedback, and adjust their teaching strategies accordingly.

Lastly, chatbots can be a powerful force for democratizing education. They can provide access to quality education for students who face barriers such as poverty, distance, disability or discrimination. Chatbots can also act as mentors and coaches for students who need guidance and support. They can communicate with students in a natural and empathetic way, and tailor their responses to their needs and goals. Chatbots can inspire students to pursue their dreams and achieve their potential. 

Technology can change so fast that society struggles to keep up and embrace it. But overcoming this challenge can bring rewards for everyone. AI chatbots have the potential to transform education, but we need to recognize and harness it. The fate of AI in society depends on our choices: will it harm us, help us, or be irrelevant?

This article was published in the April 2023 Issue of Atenews. Read it here:

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