Artificial intelligence in the classroom

BUFALO, NY (WKBW) — As part of National News Literacy Week, it’s our chance to help you find false information and stop it from spreading. But it’s getting harder with the use of artificial intelligence software.

An Alden High School teacher explains the pros and cons of using it in the classroom.

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A student’s laptop.

“We have to be ready for this new challenge because it will be a fact of life now,” commented Colin Dabkowski, teacher, Alden High School.

Dabkowski teaches English and Multi-Media Production at Alden High School in the Alden Central School District and tells me she’s already using a new artificial intelligence software, known as ChatGPT, in her classroom. It produces writing as a human voice.

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Colin Dabkowski, teacher, Alden High School.

“We actually used it and tested it in my English class. It is very interesting that my readers have many opinions about it. “We had a good discussion about whether we should test it in English class,” explained Dabkowski.

The latest artificial intelligence software is free and students can use it to write an essay or paper by asking them questions. But that causes some concern among teachers.

“I think there’s a lot of potential to expand and deepen our thinking, but there’s also a lot that could be wrong,” Dabkowski noted.

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ChatGPT web page.

I tested the software by asking it to write an essay ‘about media literacy’ and within two seconds of hitting the return key, my essay was being written.

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Asking ChatGPT to write a story.

Dabkowski describes the downfall of this software.

“Untraceable cheating — like shortcuts that don’t help students develop their critical thinking skills,” Dakbowski replied.

But at the same time, the school teacher says he sees benefits that may outweigh the negatives.

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A student working on a computer in the classroom.

“One of my assignments—I asked them to use it and I explained how they used it so we could freely test it,” Dakowski recalled.

The New York School District has prohibited the use of the software. The New York State Department of Education (NYSED) tells me that it will be up to each school district to decide whether to allow the software in classrooms.

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Buffalo School students on computers.

“Like counting was life in the early 20th century, and people stuck their heads in the sand for that and look at it now – we shouldn’t be afraid. We have to understand how to use these things as tools,” Dabkowski replied.

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Outside Alden High School, Alden, NY.

Alden Center School Superintendent Adam Stoltman tells me that he is not placing any restrictions on the use of the software, in fact, the superintendent noted one thing that cannot be discussed is the value it can have in helping students in special education.



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