Dr. Alexis McGloin, Assistant Superintendent, shared the message below with secondary school families regarding the District's approach to ChatGPT and other new Artificial Intelligence technology:
You may be aware of a burgeoning Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, ChatGPT, which was released in late November. ChatGPT is a bot that can engage in conversational dialogue and generate sophisticated text in response to a prompt. This new technology has spurred a flurry of articles, alternatively grieving the end of high school English and endorsing the use of the program as an instructional tool. Districts across the country have begun to ban its use on their networks, and educators are working tirelessly to find ways to prevent cheating using this technology.
At Lower Merion School District, we believe in preparing students for the future. Our students will most certainly be engaging with artificial intelligence in years to come. As such, we view it as partly our responsibility to teach them how to use new technology and tools in ways that are appropriate, responsible and efficient. While ChatGPT has the ability to turn out some sophisticated writing, the content of that writing is not always accurate or correct. Rather than ban this technology, which students would still be able to access off campus or on their personal networks and devices, we are choosing to view this as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Approached appropriately, ChatGPT can become an effective teaching tool. Not only could students learn how to interact with AI tools, but they might also be able to use this as a tool to sharpen their own critical thinking skills. ChatGPT can produce essays that students can then analyze and augment. It can help students create outlines to support their own writing. It can also become a useful tool in teaching students to be discerning consumers of information who do not take everything they read on the internet at face value.
Although making shifts in instruction and pedagogy will not be easy, nor will they occur overnight, our teachers are committed to supporting students through this new learning process. Today’s students will enter a world that uses AI and we want them to be prepared to navigate this technology, understanding how to leverage its strengths and navigate its weaknesses. ChatGPT may be the first, but it won’t be the last technology of its kind. We believe we must embrace each of these new technological challenges in the classroom and support our students in their choices of if, how, and when to use them.
If you have any questions about this, feel free to reach out to the office of the assistant superintendent.