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Thursday, March 02, 2023

Using ChatGPT for school - What parents should know

There is a lot of hype about ChatGPT right now. As parents, we should be in the know too because our kids will surely know about the hype and be using it. ChatGPT was launched on 30 November 2022 and it has already taken the world by storm. What does this mean for students and parents who are quietly guiding them?

With AI Chat bots coming into the scene more prominently now, parents have an added responsibility to educate our kids on how to use them wisely, smartly and not abuse them by using copy and paste material for school work.

ChatGPT can help you to write essays, poems, songs complete with music notes, write code, solve math problems, compose fairytales and more. With such a powerful tool, there is always the good and the bad and it is up to us to make use of the good and educate our kids to use it with integrity, discretion and positively.

We got it to write us a letter to the school informing the school about the child being absent from school in English, Malay and Chinese and got it in less than a minute. Now, that is a great help to parents. However, note that this ability to generate letters, essays and answers to questions on demand within minutes can also be prone to abuse.

Below is an essay on global warming written by ChatGPT

Below is an essay in Malay on the subject "I am a computer" by ChatGPT. 

So what are the possible abuses by a student?
  • chatting with the bot when lonely instead of attempting to make friends in the real world
  • getting the chat bot to write their essay for their homework or assignment and copy and paste the entire essay instead of writing their own. Not only is this plagiarising, the student could even end up learning the wrong words (for example the Malay essay generated above is written in Bahasa Indonesia, not Bahasa Malaysia so if you had  wanted an essay in BM, you would have inadvertently learned the wrong language)
  • getting the chat bot to write pieces of code for them for students studying coding
Can you think of any other abuses?

Benefit of ChatGPT to students

On the other hand, if properly used in a more positive way, a student could benefit in the following ways
  • research 
  • brain storming for ideas
  • easy 24 hours access to information

Let's see what ChatGPT has to say about it's benefit to students

What parents can do

Parents should know about ChatGPT, understand what it can do and talk to their children about it as well as educate them about how to use it positively and effectively. It is recommended to read all of the links provided in this blog post to have a thorough understanding in order for parents to guide their children. As with any other technology, as parents we should not let our children educate us. Instead, we should keep abreast with the latest developments so that we can communicate with and guide our children.
Read: ChatGPT on Wikipedia
Read: Everything you need to know about ChatGPT
Read: Things you can do with ChatGPT

Students should be taught that it is okay to ask the chatbot questions or generate essays for brainstorming of ideas. However, it is not okay to copy the generated answers or  essays word for word and pass it off as their own when handing in assignments. 
Read: How a top UK school is changing its approach to homework amid the rise of ChatGPT, as educators around the world adapt to AI

Not only students, more and more authors are turning to ChatGPT to write and publish books!
Read: Everyone is writing a novel, even ChatGPT What do you think of this development?

When something is booming, there may also be scammers looming. 
Read: ChatGPT malware continues with fake subscription based apps

So is ChatGPT just a fad or is it here to stay? Judging by the way other competitors are quickly joining in the chase to develop their own chat bots, we think it is a turning point to a new way of searching. What do you think? 
Read: Tech Rivals Chase ChatGPT as AI Race Ramps Up 

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