How teachers can use ChatGPT in Australian classrooms

Jarrod Brown
Jarrod Brown

After less than seven months in cyberspace, ChatGPT now sees 25 million daily visitors, with more than 1.6 billion visitors in May alone. Today, ChatGPT is a mainstay of modern technology — and Australia’s education system has to adapt to the rapidly evolving technology or fear being left behind. 

OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research and development company, sparked the AI boom with the release of ChatGPT in 2022. A free intuitive tool that anyone with an internet connection can access, ChaptGPT gave their first glimpse of the power of AI. 

Using ChatGPT

Instead of resisting the unstoppable wave of AI programs, teachers should adapt their lesson plans and teaching style to incorporate the technology. Students and teachers can look forward to measurable increases in their classroom productivity by automating tasks, efficiently generating content, and answering complex questions.

A superior search engine 

While Google has remained the king of search engines for more than two decades, ChatGPT’s ability to process complex queries might make it a superior search engine in the classroom. 

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The AI’s ability to translate complex ideas into concise, easily digestible answers allows teachers to simplify complicated education material for students.

Saving teachers’ time

From class quizzes to unique writing samples, ChatGPT helps time-poor teachers curate original content for lesson plans without wasting time or resources. 

With practice tests proven to lower anxiety, increase knowledge retention and improve final exam results with students, ChatGPT can create both short answer and multiple choice questions uniquely curated to your classroom. 

ChatGPT can also enhance teaching lesson plans. With the ability to conjure original discussion starters around any classroom topic, teachers can also use the power of AI to lead class conversations towards reflecting on the curriculum content. 

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By leveraging AI’s ability to analyse data, teachers can use the program to lighten their endless assessment load. Using ChatGPT to streamline assessment grading and creation means teachers can focus on creating engaging lesson content. 

Helping students learn 

 A convincing ChatGPT forgery essay is yet to be written. With that in mind, teachers should focus less on warning their students away from AI and, instead, invest time in teaching students how they can use the program to enhance their productivity and writing talent.  

Because the reality is, with a bottomless well of fresh content ideas and original headlines at their fingertips, students can use ChatGPT positively to combat writer’s block. By asking for specific essay structures and content ideas, students have access to a limitless supply of information curated for their tasks.

ChatGPT can also critique writing samples and deliver immediate feedback based on specific criteria presented within the query. While imperfect, this gives students an indicator of their progress and acts as a personalised tutor.

Because of the AI’s ability to provide suggestions and offer in-depth explanations, ChatGPT has the potential to help students learning a second language or living with disabilities tailor and improve their education. 

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Assessment Vs ChatGPT

As students can now produce simple essays and reports in mere minutes, teachers have to evolve their criteria beyond the scope of AI. 

Instead of attempting to ban the programs altogether, educators should be grading for higher-level critical thinking skills. By asking students to include contemporary references or offer a unique perspective on the task, greater engagement with the content enables students to showcase their own knowledge.

For a more secure assessment approach, oral and in-class examinations allow students to showcase their understanding of curriculum content. 

The downside of ChatGPT

While undeniably useful, ChatGPT suffers from several fatal drawbacks that teachers and students should remain wary of.

The current ChatGPT version 4.0 doesn’t have access to information beyond 2021, meaning the AI program may provide outdated or inaccurate information. 

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When questioned about the limitation of ChatGPT, CEO of OpenAI Sam Altman said,  “ChatGPT is incredibly limited but good enough at some things to create a misleading impression of greatness. It’s a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now.” 

ChatGPT also struggles to create long-form content, regularly offering technically correct content that may not match the context of your current query. Educators should avoid longer, narrative-led writing examples and instead produce shorter content like bullet points and summaries. 

Susceptibility to a lack of common sense, means educators and students should fact-check all content created by ChatGPT before being used within the classroom. 

A useful learning tool 

Instead of being fearful of the emerging AI technology, it’s up to educators to have open conversations with their students about its use in the classroom. By changing the narrative of ChatGPT from a “learning shortcut” to a “learning tool”, teachers and students can continue to evolve the education industry. 

 

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. Jarrod established his journalism career working on the education news and information site The Bursar. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.