New York City’s public school system is shifting its stance on the utilization of ChatGPT, an advanced chatbot created by artificial intelligence pioneer OpenAI. Previously deeming the technology as potentially detrimental to the educational process, the system now seems poised to welcome its application, as reported by Gizmodo.
“In the early days, there was a reflexive fear and apprehension that downplayed the beneficial implications of generative AI for students and teachers,” stated David Banks, the superintendent of New York City’s public schools. He also highlighted the necessity of familiarizing students with generative AI given its ubiquitous role in modern society. Banks’ comments were revealed in an op-ed published by Chalkbeat.
Banks clarified that the original ban on ChatGPT within school networks and on electronic devices was mainly driven by concerns over potential misuse, specifically cheating. He made this revelation during an interview with NBC News. However, after consulting with technology experts and conducting extensive discussions with experienced educators across the city, many of whom have already incorporated AI ethics into their curriculum, Banks decided to revise his initial stance.
In highlighting the constructive role of ChatGPT in the classroom, Banks mentioned several instances where the AI tool was used effectively. For instance, a middle school in Queens utilized ChatGPT to spur debates on ethical issues pertaining to AI bias. Students engaged with the chatbot, scrutinizing its responses for accuracy and bias.
The superintendent also noted that educators were using ChatGPT to create lesson plans and even evaluate student assignments. Applauding this policy shift, Manhattan Borough President Mark D. Levine expressed his approval in a tweet, describing it as an “absolutely right move.” He emphasized the necessity to equip the youth for a future increasingly dominated by technology.
In a significant step toward embracing AI, Banks expressed that the NYC public schools will encourage and assist both educators and students to delve into this transformative technology. A platform will be established for the sharing of discoveries and findings across the school system. Banks also indicated that teachers will receive a comprehensive AI toolkit, along with relevant information and practical examples of successful AI implementation in an educational setting.