NYC Dept of Education Bans ChapGPT Over Concern it Will Hamper Learning

NYC Dept of Education Bans ChapGPT Over Concern it Will Hamper Learning

The NYC Department of Education has banned the use of ChatGPT by students and teachers in New York City schools due to concerns that the AI tool can hamper learning and lead to misinformation.

Students in New York are no longer allowed to access the ChatGPT following the ban, according to Chalkbeat.

A spokesperson for the education department said the decision was made due to the possibility that the tool could have “negative impacts on student learning,” and also “concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content.”

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The decision of the New York City Department of Education, the US’ largest school system, could inspire other districts to adopt similar rules.

The arrival of ChatPGT, which has the dynamic ability to add context to queries, is causing a stir across the internet and fields. It uses GPT-3.5, a large language model released last year, to generate answers and authentic-looking responses to queries about all topics. ChatGPT helps users to accomplish tasks such as creating poems, composing college essays and writing code.

Amid concern that the program could encourage cheating and plagiarism, schools around the world are yet to find the perfect response to the AI-powered chatbot.

“Due to concerns about negative impacts on student learning, and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content, access to ChatGPT is restricted on New York City Public Schools’ networks and devices,” said education department spokesperson Jenna Lyle. “While the tool may be able to provide quick and easy answers to questions, it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success.”

The education department’s ban does not entirely cut off access to the chatbot. Both teachers and students can still get on the site on non-education department devices or internet networks, per the report.

Individual schools can still request access to the site if they’re planning to study the technology behind the chatbot, a department spokesperson said.

Educators are concerned that ChatGPT will hinder critical thinking skills in students, curtailing their ability to handle assignments independently.

The tool is spreading like wildfire, with major players in the web search business already working to accommodate it. Microsoft is reportedly planning to integrate ChatGPT into Bing to give its search engine an edge over competitors like Google Search.

It is not clear if other schools will follow the steps of the NYC Department of Education. The body’s decision has been met with criticism.

Chalkbeat quoted Adam Stevens, a longtime New York City history teacher who started his career at Paul Robeson High School in Brooklyn and now teaches at Brooklyn Tech, criticizing the decision as counterproductive. Stevens compares the current reaction to those meted to Google in its early days.

“People said the same thing about Google 15 or 20 years ago when students could ‘find answers online,’” he said.

In his argument, Stevens said the best way to discourage students from using ChatGPT and building up their critical writing skills is by “assigning them work that is inviting them to explore things worth knowing,” and moving away from teaching formulaic writing based on strict rubrics.

“We’ve trained a whole generation of kids to pursue rubric points and not knowledge,” he added, “and of course, if what matters is the point at the end of the semester, then ChatGPT is a threat.”

However, while there’s been more people supporting the NYC Department of Education’s decision than those criticizing it, there is a growing call for students to be allowed to explore and see how ChatGPT can benefit them.

Bleepingcomputer reported on a recent experiment conducted by Professor Scott Graham at the University of Texas, which proves that AI writing can play a beneficial pedagogical role, helping students craft their genre awareness, content revision, and writing style skills.

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