ChatGPT in Education
The New York Department of Education recently banned the use of ChatGPT in their schools. ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence tool that can provide quick answers to questions and write high-school level, high-quality essays for students on almost any topic. The Department’s main argument is that the tool does not build critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
While the Department’s argument seems well-founded, my guess is that they are spitting in the wind. ChatGPT and future versions of the AI tool will find its way into schools and the workplace. Maybe there should be some guardrails or parameters for its use, but at some point, we will have to help students and adults figure out how to work with this and other AI tools to create, problem-solve, make us more productive, or learn.
Maybe there should be some guardrails or parameters for its use, but at some point, we will have to help students and adults figure out how to work with this and other AI tools to create, problem-solve, make us more productive, or learn.
The introduction of ChatGPT also reinforces a vision of the future in which artificial intelligence eliminates lower skilled positions in the workplace, and places a premium on Year 2035 competencies such as critical thinking, information literacy, communications, problem-solving, working in teams, and learning how to learn. And those students who can read, write, and do math and science at grade level will have an advantage in learning Year 2035 competencies to the extent that content knowledge and basic skills provide a foundation on which to build critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
The current education system is broken, and we are all but too late to fix it. I have mentioned before that there is a symbiotic relationship growing between Artificial Intelligence and the gig economy. As the gig economy grows, more students and other people engage in it and self-determine that there is less need for higher skills – such as writing a 5-paragraph essay or calculating the line of best fit in a scatter plot – and AI continues to grow and eliminate other positions with low skills. And given that the current education system cannot close the achievement gap, underserved students may devalue the effort to gain skills in school, while advantaged children compete for the 30 percent of jobs that require higher skills and proficiency in Year 2035 competencies.
So, the worst of this likely future is that the higher-skilled jobs will be held predominantly by the children in the top quartile of wage-earners and currently underserved children will be relegated to the unskilled, lower-earning jobs of the gig economy.
Third Future Schools is trying to prevent this from happening, and we could use some help. We need more schools and districts to engage in wholescale, systemic reform and to change the American public education system to teach Year 2035 competencies.
My next several blogs will be devoted to the design principles of a new education system.