James Couture, a world history teacher at West Seattle High School, noticed that some of his students who typically struggle with writing were turning in “bizarrely good” papers.
Back in January, he ran their work through software that detects plagiarism, and found no evidence of it. Couture now suspects his students were using ChatGPT. It’s an artificial intelligence tool, similar to a search engine, that uses data from the internet and complex algorithms to respond in full paragraphs.
Worried it could be used to cheat, Seattle schools blocked students from using ChatGPT in December, and districts across the state and nation have done the same. But experts say there’s no realistic way to stop the use of AI chatbots and some say the best path forward is to embrace this new technology. For better or worse, AI will transform education inside and out.
“Banning ChatGPT is like using a piece of paper to block this flood that is coming,” said Jason Yip, a professor at the University of Washington who is working on ChatGPT and misinformation curriculum for children.
Seattle schools ban students from accessing ChatGPT on district-owned devices or on district-provided internet, but kids can easily use it on their personal devices or at home and email themselves the answers.
And once platforms like Bing, Meta and Google Bard integrate ChatGPT, it might be impossible to block the tool, Yip said.