Bletchley Park, the once top-secret home of the WW2 codebreakers in the UK, recently played host to a Global Artificial Intelligence Safety Summit. This event was attended by Rishi Sunak, Elon Musk, Kamala Harris, King Charles II, Georgia Meloni, Ursula Von De Leyen and Wu Zhaohui, the Chinese Vice-Minister of Science and Technology. It’s safe to say that the entire world is concerned about the future of AI, and the impact it might have on our lives.
In this post, we discuss the role of AI in education as it is understood by IB Principal Tassos Anastasiades.
The twenty-eight countries at the summit, including the United States, China, and the member states of the European Union, have issued an agreement known as the Bletchley Declaration, calling for international cooperation to manage the challenges and risks of artificial intelligence.
Education was a particular discussion point, and the use of AI in the classroom is something that we as educators have all been thinking about carefully over the last few months. So, how do we get the most out of this powerful tool, and avoid students using it in ways that do not support their learning?
Tassos Anastasiades, IB Principal at Genesis Global School. Noida, India, shares his thoughts about the role of Artificial Intelligence in education.
A 22-year-old student told a chatbot to put together a 2,000-word piece on social policy – and impressively the chatbot managed to complete this task within 20 minutes.
Pieter then asked a lecturer to mark it and give their assessment – and couldn’t believe it when the tutor gave the essay a score of 53 (a 2:2).
So how does artificial intelligence impact schools?
The IB have had to update their academic integrity policy and provide guidelines on the use of AI as it has taken education and classrooms by surprise.
The IB sees opportunities created in education by AI tools. However, they reinforce the fact that academic integrity is an ethical choice that students must make and not something that they can just be instructed to do.
It is a fact that the concept of academic integrity surrounds us every day in social media and real life – in business, emails, and journalism, for example.
In classrooms, AI can provide wonderful opportunities for all teachers to get to know their students personally. It can spark conversation with students, relating AI to real life, the arts, a person’s voice, the concept of scientific thought, and testing of a hypothesis with academic integrity, all with a view to furthering knowledge.
So, the use of AI has not been banned by the IBO
The IB has taken a bold step in confirming that it has no intention of banning the use of AI software – and indeed has embraced it, asking teachers to adapt how they teach students to use research which is most likely to start with an internet search – or now an AI question – by the student.
This presents a great opportunity for students to use their skills to evaluate the key messages provided by AI – and to also understand that any information taken from AI must be referenced if used to inform the student’s own work.
The IB say AI is a game-changer
As the IB quotes nicely in their policy, “in a world where everyone can use software to write newspaper articles, business reports and/or emails to friends, it is a game changer in terms of the skills students need … as instead of being able to produce complete essays, reports, and soon, students need to know how to get the best out of AI tools”.
They will need to “edit text to personalise it, and most importantly, to recognize the inherent bias in what is produced because of the bias in the programming and the material that the AI tool has been trained on from its creators”.
Educators are advised to encourage students to speak about their work with their teachers, and teachers should not accuse students of academic misconduct based on their perception of word choices. The hope is that a conversation can resolve this and lead to deeper thinking.
While the prospect of ChatGPT-based cheating has alarmed teachers and the academic profession, Matt Glanville, the IB’s head of assessment principles and practice, said the chatbot should be embraced as “an extraordinary opportunity”.
“We should not think of this extraordinary new technology as a threat. Like spellcheckers, translation software and calculators, we must accept that it is going to become part of our everyday lives.”
He said: “The clear line between using ChatGPT and providing original work is exactly the same as using ideas taken from other people or the internet. As with any quote or material adapted from another source, it must be credited in the body of the text and appropriately referenced in the bibliography.
“To submit AI-generated work as their own is an act of academic misconduct and would have consequences. But that is not the same as banning its use.”
Issues on assessment that rely upon coursework
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “ChatGPT potentially creates issues for any form of assessment that relies upon coursework where students have access to the internet. Allowing students to use this platform as a source with the correct attribution seems a sensible approach and is in line with how other sources of information are used.
ChatGPT can be a powerful tool for IB DP students and their parents when used ethically and effectively.
Students can use AI tools for education to generate ideas, conduct initial research, enhance their understanding of a topic, and even generate content for their essays and assignments.
It is important for students to be mindful of the tool’s limitations and to use it as a supplement to their own knowledge and understanding, rather than relying on it too heavily so that they can avoid the negative effects of AI in education.
Advice to schools
While education is embracing AI positively, demonstrating ethics and integrity will be pivotal with schools also considering the dangers of students using information incorrectly through ChatGPT and should be embedded within a school’s culture.
Regulation will be critical – although AI tools, at present, are manageable, I think we are potentially not that far away from them evolving to ones that are potentially much harder to manage. We must continue the conversation about the future of AI in education.
Dr. Tassos Anastasiades is IB Principal at Genesis Global School. Noida, India. Genesis Global School is one of the best Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and International Baccalaureate (IB)schools in India.