What is ChatGPT and how is it used in education?

What is ChatGPT and how is it used in education?

During the chaotic summer of 2020 filled with pandemic panics and political protests, the emergence of a sophisticated new artificial intelligence tool that could believably tweet, type, and code on its own was elusive for most educators.

Two and a half years later, and ChatGPT, a publicly available tool that builds on the advances of this 2020 product, is fast approaching household name status. Generating a fairly convincing approximation of human-written text, the free app is making inroads into many areas of society, from legal contracting to search engine optimization to Alzheimer’s research.

It has also hit the K-12 world. The New York school system, the largest in the country, decided this week to ban students and teachers from accessing the site through school computers. Some educators are concerned about the impact the app will have on their students’ motivation to learn, while others are already considering ways to use it in the classroom.

A headline last month in The Atlantic declared that ChatGPT represents “the end of high school English”. A teacher writing for Education Week counters that ChatGPT could become as ubiquitous as Wikipedia and calculators — although the teacher who wrote it acknowledges that the tool “is threatening to send my colleagues into early retirement.” This summer, while ChatGPT was in an earlier phase, Education Week asked teachers to dig into the technology — and had the AI ​​write a brief analysis of Romeo and Juliet.

If you’re still enjoying the letter collection in ChatGPT, here’s how to educate yourself about this emerging technology and what it could mean.

What does GPT stand for in ChatGPT?

Generative Pretrained Transformer.

How does it work?

Released for free in late November 2022, the chat app is built on the underlying GPT technology that scoured the internet extensively in the summer of 2020, developing the ability to write seemingly anything – tweets, poems, essays, and even computer programs – all with a simple command prompt .

Is this thing infallible?

Hardly. It can’t generate content based on things that happened after the last scan of the web in 2021, so some of the references it generates are out of date. Sometimes he gets math problems or wrong words. And programmers have tried their best to prevent the tool from responding to “inappropriate requests”.

Who is behind this technology?

OpenAI, a San Francisco-based research lab that comprises a for-profit company and its non-profit parent company. Its founders and biggest ongoing donors include controversial figures like Twitter CEO Elon Musk and Silicon Valley mega-donor Peter Thiel, as well as tech companies like Microsoft. OpenAI’s earlier well-known products include DALL-E, which creates images from text descriptions.

Why do educators care?

Some users have already tested the app’s ability to generate convincing versions of answers to essay questions and even publishable academic papers. Others believe that students could benefit from understanding the ins and outs of how the technology works and could use it as a tool to explore the possibilities and limitations of online information sources.

Is ChatGPT development over?

Not for a long time. Version 4 of GPT is expected to be released sometime this year, although OpenAI hasn’t announced an official date yet. Some experts believe that the more advanced version, with more than five times the parameters of version 3, could be far more accurate and useful than the currently available model.

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