Title: Embracing AI in the Classroom: Nurturing Creativity and Student Ideas
In a world where technology is advancing rapidly, the fear of skills becoming obsolete is a common concern. This sentiment was not unfamiliar to the author’s father, an art teacher, who initially resisted the adoption of digital photography. Drawing parallels to the Luddites, who protested against textile machinery, it is important to explore how teachers today are embracing the arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the classroom and the impact it has on teaching and learning.
The Arrival of AI in the Classroom:
The author’s Denver classroom welcomed the introduction of Chat GPT, an AI chat tool that transformed their approach to writing education. The author tested its capabilities in various areas such as writing, plagiarism detection, student accountability, and grading. Mistakes were made, but what emerged was a pressing need to question traditional teaching methods and adapt to the changing landscape.
Changes in Writing and Grading:
An enlightening discussion with a tech-worker friend shed light on the role of AI in writing. It became apparent that AI depends on the human element of creativity to improve. This realization left the author pondering the impact of AI on writing and the need to reevaluate the grading process to ensure fairness and accuracy.
Challenges of Grading with AI:
The author’s personal experience with Chat GPT as a plagiarism detection tool presented unexpected challenges. False positives and uncomfortable conversations with students became a noticeable issue. To address this, a browser extension was introduced to confirm patterns in AI-generated writing, ensuring fair evaluations.
Shift in Focus and Emphasizing Student Ideas:
A significant consequence of AI in education was the neglect of students’ unique ideas due to the excessive focus on cheating prevention. Realizing this, the author recognized that centering on student ideas and promoting independent thinking is, in fact, an effective AI detector. Therefore, a plan was set in motion to alter projects and encourage creativity to foster innovative thinking.
Teaching Creativity and AI as a Tool:
Emphasizing the importance of fostering creativity in research and writing, the author acknowledged that AI makes the regurgitation of ideas obsolete. To tap into students’ curiosity and creativity, alternative assignments were proposed that challenged students to think critically and engage with their subjects on a deeper level.
Establishing Boundaries with AI:
As the use of AI in writing is still a relatively new phenomenon, it is crucial to establish clear boundaries between utilizing AI as a research and writing aid versus using it to cheat. The author remains optimistic about teaching students to leverage AI as a tool while encouraging their own creative thinking and originality.
Reflecting on the journey, the author draws a parallel to their father’s initial resistance to digital photography. They firmly believe that creativity is the essence that sets humans apart from machines. As a high school history teacher and the recipient of the 2023 Colorado History Teacher of the Year award, the author aims to nurture creativity in their students while leveraging the benefits of AI to augment the learning experience.