Like all good IB students, my students are continually looking for ways to challenge the concepts presented by their teacher. Knowing my advocacy for sensible AI use in the classroom, I have quickly become an easy target.
A recent challenge led by one of my brightest Diploma Programme students was a little more strategic and had the potential to launch a full-scale anti-AI rebellion amongst not only my class but also other teachers.
Things got serious, so serious, in fact, I decided there was only one thing for it: a teacher’s most trusty weapon…
A PowerPoint with an unscientific analogy!
This analogy, though likely to cause eye-rolling among Computer Science educators and tech enthusiasts, seems to have quelled the scepticism. However, more crucially, I believe it reveals why many non-techies like myself — yet enthusiastic ‘inquirers’ and avid learners — find themselves consistently fascinated by Generative AI and its potential.
I therefore decided to share the slideshow, along with the whole story.
I encouraged my class to assess the suitability of their Extended Essay questions using ChatGPT, for which I developed specific prompts available here. However, disaster struck when one child returned and said it wasn’t worth their time as ‘ChatGPT gets everything wrong.’
Impressed by their critical thinking, I asked the students to share the ‘Theory of their Knowledge.’ Excitedly, they described how they’d tested AI. Another teacher had given them an example of a terrible IB extended essay question, and they’d cynically copied it into ChatGPT and asked, ‘Is this a good essay question?’
They triumphantly shared that ChatGPT had mistakenly praised the poor question, which led them and teachers who heard about the incident to doubt ChatGPT’s effectiveness in assisting students’ learning.
Now, I’m sure the non-teachers out there would shrug it off and accept it’s their decision whether they want to receive free, limitless help. But I, like many other teachers, I suspect, am a pernickety, stubborn character who will never miss a chance to educate…or perhaps just prove that I can never, ever be wrong.
While I loved that the student had sought to challenge AI by creating a simple test, it really highlighted how students and adults still do not quite understand how to effectively use Generative AI.
Copying an essay title and only asking, ‘Is this a good question?’ leads me to what I now think could be my number one rule for using AI.
‘Ask a silly question, get a silly answer!’
I hope you find the PowerPoint useful, and I promise to get back into my GPT library and improve my technical ignorance.