Reddit Post Reveals High School Professor’s Experience with ChatGPT in Computer Science Classes

A high school computer science professor recently shared his experience using ChatGPT as a tool for their students on Reddit. While it proved to be helpful for experienced coders by enhancing productivity and reinforcing learning, new students faced challenges in using the AI-powered tool effectively.

High School Professor's Experience with ChatGPT in Computer Science Classes

As a seasoned programmer who understands code structure, the professor found that ChatGPT greatly boosted his productivity and either taught him something new or reinforced his current knowledge. However, when novice students were given a moderate task (like creating a Wordle-style game), they tended to fall into a few distinct groups:

  1. Those who didn’t know what they were doing or what questions to ask.
  2. Those who could request big things like “create a Wordle clone,” but had no clue how to use the provided code.
  3. Those who could input their existing code into ChatGPT and let it fix things.
  4. Those who could start with a boilerplate containing several modules and then use ChatGPT to generate code snippets that pushed them closer to their objectives.

Only around 20% of the students fell into groups 3 and 4. While seasoned programmers could easily appreciate ChatGPT’s potential, the professor noted that it was difficult for those who lacked experience to produce anything significant, especially considering the current token limitations and the need to continuously prompt for longer code snippets.

However, for that 20% who could effectively utilize it, ChatGPT was truly impressive. It even aided the professor by allowing students to consult the AI tool for examples, samples, and snippets, sparing him the effort.

Many users chimed in with their thoughts on using AI text generators and AI essay writers. One user compared the tool to calculators, emphasizing the importance of understanding how to use these tools effectively to enhance productivity. They also pointed out that AI bot is great at providing scaffolding for larger, more complex applications.

“You’re doing exactly what I have suggested. This is like calculators used to be treated. They need to understand how to use these tools because they are part of how you code now. I wouldn’t hire an engineer that wasn’t onboard with using Co-Pilot X and similar. It’s part of our workflow. I equally want them to understand the Engineering so they don’t blow all the productivity gains with drawn out debugging sessions.

Another user drew parallels between the impact of ChatGPT on programming and how tools like Dreamweaver and WordPress changed HTML for the masses. A writer shared their experience using GPT-4 to summarize long academic articles and was impressed with the results.

Great example w calculators, I have been using the example of this is going to change programming like dreamweaver or a CMS like WordPress changed HTML for the masses.

Some users had a different experience: one individual with limited coding knowledge found the tool extremely helpful, as it provided step-by-step instructions on implementing code.

My experience has been entirely different. Whenever I needed help with coding, I turned to ChatGPT and it was incredibly helpful. Even though I had little to no knowledge of coding, ChatGPT patiently guided me through the process. For instance, I would ask it to provide me with step-by-step instructions on where to paste the code, and how to make it work. The bot would then provide me with detailed instructions on which applications to use, where to click, and so on.

Several users suggested that learning to break down problems like a software architect could significantly improve students’ experiences with ChatGPT. Others shared tips on using the tool effectively, such as providing precise descriptions and dealing with shorter code snippets.

Commenters were excited to see educators utilizing tools for AI code assistance and highlighted the importance of embracing technology rather than resisting it, as was the case with calculators in the past. Users agreed that asking precise and concise questions yielded better results and emphasized the tool’s role in simplifying processes.

In summary, the high school professor’s post and the subsequent discussion highlight the potential of ChatGPT as a valuable tool in computer science education. However, its effectiveness depends on students’ ability to understand and use the tool optimally. As technology continues to evolve, it becomes increasingly important for educators to adapt and help students harness the power of these tools for better learning outcomes.

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