Artificial Intelligence has become both a blessing and a curse for people in education system. Students can now save their time doing homework thanks to the AI-powered tools. On the other hand, they can use the same platforms not just for assistance but for straight-up cheating. And that’s where teachers voice their concerns and try to find ways to prevent this from happening.
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- The availability of AI-powered tools like ChatGPT has made students’ lives easier, but also led to concerns over cheating on written assignments.
- Many teachers and research studies assert that AI checkers designed to detect AI-generated writing are unreliable and produce many false positives.
- Solutions proposed by educators include returning to handwritten assignments, monitoring the writing process through progress submissions, using Google Docs with version history, and changing assessment and task types to ones that cannot be beat by AI.
Generative AI has truly become a cure-all pill for many students. Who in their right mind would want to write an essay from scratch for a few hours if an online platform can do it for you in 2 minutes? It’s not that writing was a fun activity for most learners to begin with. For teachers though, it’s not all butterflies and rainbows. They fear this new invention will destroy education and lead to the decrease of the students’ intellectual abilities.
One teacher decided to touch upon this topic on Reddit. He noticed his students writing essays using AI and tried to find a way for them to be more honest and use their own brain for learning. This is his story:
“I am an English teacher in my seventh year of teaching. Last year, ChatGPT became a huge problem. How should I deal with it? I used an AI checker I found online and had them write in google docs so that I could see changes but I only realized this at the end. None of my kids owned up to it but I knew that they did this, as I could tell how odd the writing was. I have thought of having them handwrite essays (I’m not thrilled with this) or am wondering if I can find some program where students cannot copy and paste into but can type.”
But as his ideas were a bit vague, he decided to opt for more fresh opinions and ask his fellow educators for advice.
AI Checkers Are a Scam
One of first things that many teachers on Reddit rushed to share was their own experience with AI checkers. OP mentioned it as a first solution that came to his mind, but it seems like many agree that there’s no use to it.
“So first of all, the checkers are inaccurate and may flag something that resembles AI but is original work. Also, it’s a black box analyzing another black box. ”
“Dirty secret of the AI checker products is that none of them work. Detecting AI writing is hard for the same reason that it’s hard to design bear-proof trash cans for national parks — there’s considerable overlap between the quality of great AI and mediocre writers. The false positive rate is through the roof.”
“AI checkers aren’t very reliable, just so you know. I also just read an article about ChatGPT getting stupider (would love to look more into that to see how true it is) so your students may just end up screwing themselves over.”
And teachers are not the only ones who say that AI checkers are no good for identifying work written with the same technology. Many researches has shown that AI detectors hardly ever do the work and can classify even a self-written text as generated by an LLM system. Aside from that, there are many workarounds like changing the words with synonyms or using paraphrasing tools.
What To Do Then?
Finding the right solution to handle the situation is not that easy. Mainly because if a student wants to cheat they will find a way to do so. Nonetheless, a few teachers found some working options which they tested on their own experience and were ready to share.
The first advice that many educators found to be a reliable option was the one voiced by the OP – make students turn to the old ways and write essays by hand on paper:
“I went old school ten years ago and never looked back. All assignments must be written on notebook paper in blue or black ink while I’m in the room. Students with keyboard accommodations are not allowed to be connected to the internet as they write. I can monitor this with software.”
“The place where I worked used to advice teachers to go back to pen and paper assignements. All finals where in class and on paper. No more online assignements, even essay had to be handled on paper. They are still trying to figure out how to control the chatgpt problem”
“Take it back to 1990 and put everything on paper. They can only write essays at school, in class, and by hand.”
Many also voiced that what’s needed is the change of grading process. Instead of assessing the end result, what really needs to graded is the work process:
“By grading process over final result. Grading the brainstorming process, grading the plan, grading the first draft, grading 2nd draft with proof of corrections and then grading the finished paper. Picking up their work at the end of class and giving it back to them when they come back in. Pairing an oral presentation with it can also be a.cherry on top.”
“We’re having this conversation at my school currently, and there are two major ways. Normal assignments with Milestones of progress, and verbal questioning of meaning of content and jargon if any question of plagiarism is noticed. The other option is to change assignment types.”
“We require progress submissions at regular intervals. So for an essay that is meant to take three periods to write, students need to submit to me their progress at the end of every period. If we don’t see logical progress between submissions we reject.”
“Can you make them turn in different stages of their writing? For example starting with a basic outline, and filling it in as they go. Though I realize that adds more grading work for you, it does help them build up the writing process. Turning in an basic outline, fuller outline, rough draft with references, and final draft, each with separate deadlines along the way could help you see progress and give you a better sense. It also helps them not procrastinate as badly.”
Redditors also agreed with the OP’s solution of implementing Google Docs writing and just reviewing the version history of these documents. One teacher also advised that its better to created these docs for students to keep track of their writing as they go.
Some fellow teachers also advised switching to other types of works that can’t be fully completed using AI:
“Change the assessment instead of writing essays have them do something that cant be completed by AI, I like presentations very quick to identify students who have learnt the content and who haven’t.”
“To properly teach in an AI world, we will need to re-examine some fundamental ideas of lesson, unit, and assessment structure. For example, this is one way that project-based learning is more effective. If students are working on larger-scale projects that show learning in multiple ways, it’s much easier to assess authentically if they learned about the subject”
Teaching to Use AI Properly – Is it Possible?
Even though many educators want to get rid of AI writings in their classrooms, there are still some less radical approaches. It seems that nowadays teachers become more awara that technological advancement is not going anywhere. So instead of trying to preserve the world “as is” in a bubble, they start talking on how AI can be used to actually teach students something:
“The way I see it is if they use ai to help them throughout the writing process I don’t really care. They’re still going to produce better quality work this way and learn the process of writing an essay – or at least need.to.learn to craft good prompts and actually read what gpt produces”
“The real challenge here is figuring out where to integrate it as a tool and teaching them to take advantage of this resource. I am a scientist with a PhD and chat gpt has made a lot of work easier and faster. Maybe include assignments where they outline by hand then make an essay through chat gpt and show revisions. It’s a game changer and educators must figure out way to include it rather than simply get around it”
“What if we learned from how we’ve handled new technology in the past and looked at working with students on how using AI is good and may get great? What do you want them to know? How to write if all the modern tools aren’t available? OK. Do you want them to write because it will be required? Nope, those jobs will go to AI. But will they be able to critique the AI response? Can they take several AI queues and assemble them? I would say to them, “If you use AI reference it, and add further comments on what you think about AI’s work.”Teens are the immediate future and AI, thousands of times more advanced than us, is not waiting for them but will need to be fully understood by at least a few. There’s no going back without total power failure.”
“Ask your students. What do they need to know about Engish or writing? Some critical thinking, some hidden clues? Ask them to critique AI’s work, to understand the references, and tell me why this is good, and what doesn’t AI do well.”
The Main Point
Generally, as we read through the thread, it was obvious that AI technology and its use in the classroom doesn’t yet sit right with many teachers. There was one comment however, that may give some hope to both teachers and students and maybe even change their view on this problem:
“At this point, it (AI) is here to stay and not going anywhere. What about supporting your students’ interest in it and teaching them how to use it as a tool and not as a solution. It is very useful in the sense that it can help them reword stuff, check grammar, be more concise, etc. I know it is super important that students learn how to write, use logical thinking, follow academic/professional formats and so much more. I think those things can still be taught even if students are using chatgpt. It’s also very important in life to know how to use resources available to you which is why I suggest supporting their use of it as a tool. Honestly though, cheating and short cuts have been around forever and will always change with new technology and trends. There’s not much that can be done about that.”
Introducing AI in Your Classroom: How to Do It Gently & With Success
If you want to keep up with the world, sooner or later you will need to give students an opportunity to learn more about AI and to learn from it as well.
It may not be that easy at first. We done our research and collected the next few pieces of advice that might be helpful to organize the integration process:
- Experiment with AI Tools: Encourage students and educators alike to experiment with new AI tools, whether in content creation or in replicating and enhancing existing work.
- Make AI a Supplemen: Educate students and faculty about how AI can be a valuable tool to simplify some tasks but doesn’t replace the need for skilled coding or human understanding.
- Involve Students in AI Research: Engage students in research using AI tools and encourage them to evaluate the AI-produced explanations, enhancing their critical thinking skills.
- Promote AI Literacy: Recognize that AI literacy is becoming a vital skill. Students will need to know how to interact with AI, command it, and set ethical boundaries for its use.
- Support Skeptical Educators: Offer support and resources for educators who may be skeptical or fearful of AI, helping them understand how they can use these tools effectively.
- Assure Human Interaction: Reassure both students and faculty that AI is a tool, not a replacement for the nuanced and dynamic interaction that human instructors provide.
- Integrate AI into Curriculum: Consider creating curriculum components that specifically utilize AI to foster understanding and skill development related to this technology.
- Balance Ethics and Innovation: Be aware of ethical concerns and establish clear guidelines and policies for responsible AI use in education.
- Foster Collaboration among Students: Encourage students to work together using AI, to create applications or research, thereby fostering a sense of teamwork and shared learning.
- Monitor and Adapt to Technological Advancements: Stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in AI technology to ensure that educational practices align with current capabilities and trends.
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