How artificial intelligence can teach kids to write and not just cheat – The Hatchinger Report

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While the battle between reading and math has received much attention in education in recent years, writing instruction has not received the same focus. That is, until the release of ChatGPT last year.

According to Sarah Levine, an assistant professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, there isn’t really an agreed-upon approach to teaching writing. But now that ChatGPT is here to stay, experts like Levin are trying to figure out how to teach K-12 students to write in the age of artificial intelligence.

The question that teachers should ask themselves is, what is writing for? He said.

ChatGPT can produce a fully serviceable written product, he said. But writing, he said, is not a product in itself, but a tool for thinking, for organizing ideas.

ChatGPT and other text-based tools can’t think for us, he said. There are still things to learn about writing because writing is a form of expressing what you think.

Earlier this year, Levin and his team conducted a pilot study at a high school in San Francisco. Students in an English class accessed ChatGPT to see how they engaged with the tool.

Some were asked to make an argument based on the instructions, for example some said we should have a new mascot at our school. Some say we should keep our old mantra. what do you think? Other prompts were more creative, such as asking students to write an outline for a script about a new superhero created at their school.

Levine and her team found that students mainly came to ChatGPT for help in two categories: ideas or inspiration to get started with quick questions (e.g., What kind of mascots do other schools have?) and guidance on the writing process (How do you write a good ghost story?). .

“What kids now get from this AI is what professional writers have now: a huge bank of examples they can draw on when they’re creating,” Levine said. Using ChatGPT as a sounding board for specific questions like these can help students become stronger writers, she added.

Related: How university educators use artificial intelligence in the classroom

While the study is ongoing, the initial findings revealed something surprising: Kids weren’t excited about writing ChatGPT. They thought it was perfect. Or like a robot, Levin said. One of the writing teams said, “We asked ChatGPT to edit our work, and it removed all our jokes, so we put them back.”

Levin said that to him this was the important point of the pilot. She has heard teachers say they struggle to help students find their voice in writing. When students could compare their writing to the more public version of ChatGPT, they could understand what their own voice was and what it was doing, Levin said.

Mark Warschauer, professor of education at the University of California, Irvine, has spent years studying how technology can change the teaching of writing and the nature of writing itself. When ChatGPT was released, he decided to adjust some of his research to studying ways that generative artificial intelligence could help students and teachers, especially English language learners and bilingual learners.

Like Levin, Warschauer, director of the university’s Digital Learning Lab, said he believes ChatGPT can help students who struggle with writing organize their ideas, and edit and revise their writing. Basically, he said, it can be used as a basic feedback tool to complement the teacher’s work.

As part of a project on the effectiveness of ChatGPT as a tool for providing feedback to students on their writing, his team at the Digital Learning Lab put student essays that had already been graded by teachers into ChatGPT and asked AI to Provide your feedback. The experts then blindly evaluated the human and artificial intelligence feedback. While experts found that human feedback was slightly better overall, AI feedback was good enough to provide value in the classroom. This can help guide students as they progress through an assignment, Warshawer said, and allow teachers to spend more time with students who need extra support.

Warschauers team has also collaborated with UC Irvines School of Engineering to create an intelligent writing coach called PapyrusAI. The tool, which the teams plan to release next year, is designed to help middle and high school students improve their writing through intensive coaching, he said.

In addition, he said the tool is designed to provide a safe and secure way to use artificial intelligence to address parents’ and educators’ concerns about student data and privacy in ChatGPT, which stores student data. to fix

Stanfords Levine also sees the value of using ChatGPT to teach students how to write.

Many teachers feel intimidated when teaching writing because they don’t necessarily feel like they’re the best writers themselves, Levin said. ChatGPT can help teachers fill gaps in writing instruction by working as students’ debate partners or coaches, he said.

ChatGPT can also help teachers more quickly analyze student writing trends and identify areas of success or struggle. If students don’t know how to connect one idea to another, Chat GPT can provide that feedback instead of teachers having to write, Levin said. Teachers can then devote more time to developing lessons that focus on that skill.

Levine said that writing should and is a human experience. Teachers can maintain this experience even when using artificial intelligence. If they help students learn how to use the new tool effectively, as they now use spell check or Grammarly, students will find that ChatGPT is more or less a giant autocomplete machine, as opposed to a place with It is facts.

If we think that clarifying your thoughts is worth doing, we should teach writing, Levin said. In other words, writing is a way to learn. It’s not just a way to demonstrate your learning.

This story is about writing artificial intelligence by Hatchinger report, an independent nonprofit news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Register for Hatchinger newsletter.

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