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Using ChatGPT for Educational Purposes

Updated: May 3, 2023

Analyzing S.T.E.A.M Learning Examples to Explore its Opportunities and Limitations for Students





Ever since ChatGPT went viral earlier this year, it’s been the technology on everyone’s mind, particularly those in the education sector. With worries of it instigating dishonest academic activities from students, many teachers are wholly rejecting the use of ChatGPT in their classrooms. However, by overlooking the technology altogether, educators are missing critical new ways that it can help students achieve academic success. So, today, we’re going to look at using ChatGPT for educational purposes, including analyzing a few S.T.E.A.M learning examples to help us explore its opportunities and limitations for students.


S.T.E.A.M. Learning Examples with ChatGPT


At Knowledge Bump, our programming integrates elements from the S.T.E.A.M educational model when we create and execute lessons and activities for learning. So, let’s go through each S.T.E.A.M segment individually and investigate the examples to determine the opportunities and limitations that ChatGPT holds for students across Ontario.


Science


One example of using ChatGPT in a science setting could be to help a student prepare an outline for a presentation. Suppose the presentation was on the process of mitosis. In this case, you could ask ChatGPT to create a presentation outline on the topic of mitosis that correlates to your grade level, and it will give you a great starting point on where you need to take your presentation. From this, we recommend modifying the headlines to suit your needs and then writing your own content.


Technology


An AI tool such as ChatGPT also comes in handy when you need help finding resources for an essay. Let’s say you had a paper on “The History of Technology,” and you had no idea where to begin. You could ask ChatGPT to do a search regarding the timeline of technology, which you could then take and turn into a complete essay. However, one thing to be careful of is that AIs like ChatGPT can’t always determine if a source is credible or not, and they’ve been known to make up nonsensical or false information,[1] meaning the writer must exercise their due diligence if they want to use this technology in this way.


Engineering


For engineering students, ChatGPT has the potential to function as a virtual intelligence tutor to help with their homework or lessons. Particularly great for those without access to in-person or online tutoring, a student can ask ChatGPT questions about their lessons and receive personalized responses and feedback. This approach allows students to work at their own pace and establish a strong foundation of knowledge before moving on to more advanced material.[2] However, it’s important to note that while a virtual intelligent tutoring system may be able to provide some assistance, it is not a replacement for a human instructor and may not be able to provide the same level of personalized support.[3]


Art


For art classes, AI-generated art can help inspire students for their creations. So, maybe you had the assignment to create a futuristic self-portrait using paints, pens, or other mediums. Using an AI generator, you could unlock some inspiration for yourself before you get started on your own concept. The downside to this is that, beyond inspiration, there’s not much else an AI tool could help an artist with because it would begin to air on the side of plagiarism. Not to mention, AI isn’t the best at rendering things like textures, hair, or hands very well, meaning it would be obvious if you tried to pass off its work as your own.


Math


Finally, if you need help in math, ChatGPT can be a powerful tool for solving math problems. Of course, it can solve simple and complex equations, but you can also get it to explain the underlying concepts and formulas as well as provide step-by-step solutions to help you learn better.[4] So, suppose you needed help understanding how to complete a specific function properly, and you just can’t remember. In this case, you can get ChatGPT to explain it to you and help you figure out the answer to the question. However, the limitation here is that it may not always be able to solve tricky problems or provide the most efficient solution.[5]


Beyond these S.T.E.A.M learning examples, some other situations where using ChatGPT for learning purposes could be beneficial include brainstorming research questions, drafting personal statements, preparing for an interview, writing a script, or improving your language learning skills.





Opportunities


Honestly, the array of opportunities that an AI tool like ChatGPT provides students is nearly endless. It can be a great tool for brainstorming ideas, outlining content, and inspiring students, making it an excellent starting point for them to build on. It can help you solve complex problems while explaining the methodology behind the solution, and it can even act as a stand-in virtual intelligence tutor. With the ability to provide students with customized feedback in real-time, we might see it become more helpful than a platform like Google that can only provide the generalized top answers to the questions being input.


Limitations


On the other hand, there are several limitations of using ChatGPT for educational purposes. For one, although it’s an excellent tool for inspiration and brainstorming, you still need to write your own content because otherwise, it crosses into the field of academic dishonesty. Beyond this, it’s not always perfect with selecting and synthesizing information, and it often struggles to come up with novel ideas, making it apparent that the need for human intervention and thought is still critical when using these tools. And finally, even though ChatGPT can be helpful when you need additional assistance with certain topics, it’s not a replacement for a human tutor who will create a customized tutoring program suited to your needs.


Final Thoughts


Ultimately, as we said before, we believe educators would be remiss to reject the use of AI tools such as ChatGPT for learning purposes altogether. However, at the same time, you can see that there are certain drawbacks to integrating this technology into educational scenarios. So then, the question becomes: how do we balance the opportunities that ChatGPT holds with its limitations? And building off of this, what role (if any) can we expect ChatGPT to play in the future of our children’s education? That last question is yet to be determined, but if our analysis has shed light on anything, it’s that the role of technology and education are inextricably bound together, meaning it’s only a matter of time until we see ChatGPT become more widely accepted and used in classrooms for learning purposes across the province.


For more information about our methodology at Knowledge Bump or to inquire about working with us, contact our team at www.knowledgebump.ca.


References


1,2,3. Qadir, Junaid “Engineering Education in the Era of ChatGPT: Promise and Pitfalls of Generative AI for Education.” TechRxiv, 2022. https://doi.org/10.36227/techrxiv.21789434.v1.

4,5. Pocock, Kevin. “Can Chat GPT Solve Math Problems?” PC Guide, March 2023,


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