From predictive text to editing software to image generators, artificial intelligence is becoming a part of everyday life.
This fall, its capabilities won’t be able to be ignored in the classroom.
“We’ve always had tools in education that have been deemed dangerous or risky, but we’ve always had teachers there to provide support and scaffolding,” Matt Henderson, chief superintendent and CEO of Winnipeg School Division, said.
As Winnipeg School Division finds ways to embrace the technology, Henderson says it’s mostly middle and senior years using AI.
“I’ve seen teachers really kind of jump onto it and using it as a way for students to inquire, to ask significant questions and see how AI might be a tool to allow us to think even deeper about significant issues that are facing the world,” Henderson said.
University of Manitoba nursing professor Kim Mitchell has already allowed students to use it for a writing assignment to test its capabilities and accuracy.
“I honestly think it’s better to allow them to use it under controlled circumstances than it is to say it’s banned and never know if students are using it or not anyway,” Mitchell said.
But AI can also be used for cheating. Technology like ChatGPT can write essays within seconds.
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“I believe every faculty saw some example of AI in the spring and summer session,” Curt Shoultz, director of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology at Brandon University, said.
Shoultz says BU has serious consequences for students who are caught.
“It can range from a failed grade to expulsion depending on the history of the student and their intent,” Shoultz said.
The head of computer science at the University of Manitoba says there is detection software to help catch cheaters but it’s not very good.
“It will often give a false positive,” David Gerhard said. “I might write an essay myself and the software will say that looks like it was written by AI. And then what do I do? How do I defend myself against that? At the University of Manitoba we are encouraging people to not use those detectors because we know they don’t work very well.”
Educators plan to adjust to the new technology that’s changing the world.
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