Learning in the Modern Age: Is ChatGPT Beneficial to Our Learning?

Lauren Chung, Noe Lee, and Xinyi Xie

OpenAI launched their prototype AI language model, ChatGPT, on Nov. 30. It quickly became a global sensation—just two months after its release, ChatGPT reached over 100 million users, making it the fastest-growing consumer application ever to date. The public is stunned by its ability to access vast arrays of information and provide answers to questions across a wide breadth of different disciplines, and fascinated by the extent to which modern AI technology has evolved.

ChatGPT’s booming popularity has also led to controversy, especially in the academic world. One simply has to spend a few seconds typing in a prompt or some keywords into the chatbot for it to solve math problems, code computer programs, write English essays and even produce “creative” work such as poetry and music. The convenience and speed of the AI tool has allowed students across the globe to abuse the chatbot in several ways. While some use ChatGPT’s generated responses to guide their thought process or outline writing, others take advantage of the tool’s ability to copy and paste text directly into their assignments and substitute it for original work.

Besides concerns of plagiarism, ChatGPT can also mislead students by generating incorrect answers. If the user asks the chatbot a question it does not know the answer to, it will sometimes return a random, plausible-sounding but factually untrue response, and upon regeneration it will maintain that its response was correct. This process is known as “hallucination” and is a major problem in all AI language models. Because of this issue, students’ heavy reliance on ChatGPT can often lead to a misunderstanding of concepts previously learned in the classroom. 

In January, The New York City Department of Education issued a ban on the use of ChatGPT in schools. This issue has sparked nationwide debates both against and for the use of AI in modern-day learning environments. The issue of ChatGPT has not gone unnoticed by the Sage Hill administration and faculty.

As of right now, the consequences of utilizing ChatGPT are not detailed in the Sage Hill Student Handbook. Recent cases of suspected chatbot use have gone before the Honor Council. However, Sage Hill administrators say they will add a policy specific to using programs like ChatGPT in the next version of the School Handbook.

Most teachers do not discourage the use of ChatGPT. While it is generally agreed that the outright copying of ChatGPT-generated text into students’ assignments and assessments is classified as academic dishonesty, the use of ChatGPT as a study tool or a reference for further learning lies in somewhat of a gray area.

Modern day learning has evolved with the continuous development of technology. Although the growth of ChatGPT has raised concern in the academic community, this groundbreaking tool has also paved the way for a completely new era of learning and creating.

When used without the intent to plagiarize and slack off on school work, ChatGPT offers students the opportunity to learn in a brand new way. The U.S. government is setting new regulations for the usage of AI in student learning and many other fields.

Although the future remains uncertain, ChatGPT’s impact on schools like Sage Hill has proved that times are changing both academically and technologically.