#PandemicEdu: The Argument Against Using ChatGpt

Last month, I wrote my blog post using ChatGPT. I was amazed at the fluidity of the application and began imagining the many ways I could use it. In the meantime, I’ve read several other blog posts, articles, Twitter posts, etc. speaking for and against using this tool in the K-20 classroom and I thought I might chime in also.

A lot of people in favor of using the app think its a great tool for gathering information quickly and if used appropriately, can help students state their claims, research and provide evidence and reason through the evidence chosen. I agree. It’s a starting point for writing, the same was Wikipedia was when it first came on the scene. In fact, ChatGPT+ Wikipedia could prove to be the most powerful writing tools created.

For those who argue against using the tool, their logic is based in the assumption that students will, more than they already do, be “lazy” about writing. Just pop in a prompt and pull up and answer. No brain work done by them at all. I agree this is not a good use of the tool. But, my argument against using ChatGPT goes a bit deeper.

Let’s NOT use ChatGPT because students need to spend hours of their lives conducting research in all the wrong places to get information they probably have little understanding of to write papers that they won’t be able to explain and therefore won’t learn anything from.

Let’s NOT use ChatGPT because, just like Google search or Wikipedia, it “gives an answer” without much effort or explanation.

Let’s NOT use Chat GPT because if I had to burn up half my life doing tedious research, not being completely sure if I’m getting the information I truly need and will be graded well on, then these kids can do the same.

That last one, I think, is the root of all the TRUE complaint. Once again, 20th century mentalities about education and how one learns gets in the way of 21st century reality about how students now learn and whether or not they should be given the tools THEY can use to get the learning they need.

Of course, they will need to be given some parameters regarding how and when to use the tool. Just like with Wikipedia, don’t just cut and past the summary and call it your paper; take the parts of the summary that build your claim, click on those references and visit the primary and secondary sources to get the meat of the topic. ChatGPT is like Clift Notes (well, I just dated myself there, right?) It’s a summary, a very well written summary, like a skeleton, of the topic it is prompted to answer. How you “put meat” or add knowledge in that summary is where the brain power comes in.


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