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19 September 2023

CAS and AI – new guide offers classroom help

How will you approach AI in your classroom in the new academic year?

The impact of tools like ChatGPT and AI in education continue to be key topics of debate, discussion and research for CAS members.

CAS research carried out earlier this year found that many CAS members reported their schools were unprepared for the rise of ChatGPT. But members also see its potential for educational benefit.

The survey of CAS members found that 45% are confident that tools like ChatGPT can improve teaching long-term, for example helping to plan assignments and support students with research. However, there are major concerns; 62% said chatbots like ChatGPT will make it harder to assess students’ work and 56% said their school lacked a plan to manage pupils’ use of ChatGPT.

If you’re looking for advice about ChatGPT in the classroom, or want to be able to support colleagues, in the new term, CAS has published a free guide on how to use ChatGPT.

Computing teacher Evan Dunne has written ‘ChatGPT for Teachers’ and the guide is part of our free library of resource materials and is available to download here

The guide explores how to use ChatGPT to improve and develop teaching and covers topics such as;

  • identifying AI-generated work,
  • setting clear guidelines and expectations,
  • educating students on the risks and ethics of using AI-generated work,
  • the use of AI-generated work for educational purposes.

“The capabilities of AI chatbots in transforming education and assessment are only beginning to be recognised by schools and teachers,” said Evan.
“Beyond the ability to generate an adequate essay, ChatGPT also has immense potential for revolutionising learning. But a significant knowledge gap exists among the teaching community regarding how to use ChatGPT and its competitors,” said Evan. “Teachers are navigating the uncharted waters of these powerful technologies.”

Evan’s ChatGPT for Teachers guide aims to equip teachers with strategies to tackle the rise of AI in education.

“As a tool, ChatGPT is incredibly versatile. However, teachers are of course concerned about the possibility of students using AI to generate work that appears to be original,” said Evan.

He explained that signs of AI-generated work may include a lack of coherence or complete understanding of a topic, as well as odd phrasing resulting in unnatural sentence structures. And training and teacher skill is also likely to improve and develop.
“Although AI detection software is still in its early stages and not always effective at detecting plagiarism or AI-generated content, teacher training courses in this area are likely to become more prevalent as educators seek to better identify and prevent plagiarism,” he said.

CAS and AI

Using AI to teach coding and develop creativity

AI also featured as a key topic in our CAS Future of Tech event in London this summer, with Professor Miles Berry, from University of Roehampton, looking at AI in Computing Education. He looked at the transformative potential of AI in developing children’s problem-solving and creativity and how it can be used to teach coding and used within established teaching resources such as Scratch. Read more here

The Big AI debate

What do young people think about AI? CAS’ first student debate on AI aimed to find out and it provided a fascinating discussion.

Overall, students were positive, saying that the opportunities AI offers outweigh threats to education and seeing it as a creative tool for both the workplace and education. Incorporating AI in the classroom is vital to equipping them for the future. 

However, AI should not be promoted as a replacement for teachers or designed to replace teaching, and they were concerned that users are looking for tools to make things easier and that laziness will reduce creativity.

They also discussed the impact on creative industries and the need to protect the rights of artists, writers and others.

We’d love to know what your students think about this topic – you could show your class the recording of the debate (or some clips) and facilitate a similar discussion amongst your students.  Find out more here

Teacher Training and AI

Julia Adamson, MD for education and public benefit, at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT has called for awareness about AI to be included in teacher training.

She said: “Calculators used to be banned from exams but are now mandatory. We need to bring machine learning into mainstream teaching practice, otherwise children will be using AI for homework unsupervised without understanding what it’s telling them.”

Read more here