One of the hottest topics in technology currently is artificial intelligence (AI), which is seemingly poised to affect many aspects of our lives. One of these areas is education, as schools, teachers, parents and students grapple with how to best deploy and manage AI tools in the classroom. At Web Professional Global we have many secondary and post-secondary students in our ranks, so we keep a close eye on developments that affect our members. In this article we will take a look at some of the challenges associated with education and AI and solutions for moving forward.
The rise of tools like ChatGPT has far-reaching implications, and in many cases it provides students with a quick and convenient way to complete classwork. These AI tools can write and edit essays, summarize articles, and complete other homework assignments. This allows students to “pass” subjects without actually understanding the underlying materials. This leads to students feeling like they can go through life without actually putting in hard work and learning valuable skills.
However, teachers can also use AI tools to their advantage. AI can help provide answers to students who have questions about material and provide feedback on assignments. Schools that have leveraged AI have also found that students are often more inquisitive when it comes to asking AI questions as it eliminates the fear of “asking a dumb question” in front of peers. As we move forward, it will be important to utilize AI so that it helps teachers in the classroom. AI will never replace teachers, nor should it. Students will always need a caring adult to lead in the classroom. We never want to place an AI system between the student and teacher, as we have already seen how generations have been affected by technology.
Keep in mind that many AI application programming interfaces (APIs) take a fair amount of creative license when answering questions. While it may seem like an AI tool is speaking factually and with authority, it might be spinning the answer a bit to reflect, for example, the beliefs of the person who programmed it. Also, remember that many AI tools are limited in what information base they are working from. For example, at the time this article was written the ChatGPT’s data set covers only information prior to September 2021. This means if you asked it to tell you the features of the iPhone 14 it would tell you that it doesn’t exist:
We need to recognize AI as a tool first and make it a tool. AI should be a help and not a replacement. As humans, we are purpose driven. We are happiest when we have a purpose and are striving toward a goal. Some may fall into the trap of just letting AI do everything for them, and in doing so they will be relinquishing their own humanity. The rest of us will see AI as a tool, like the smartphone. You can use it to help you navigate your busy life, or, as many do, you can become overly dependent on it. Our fervent hope is that once again humankind rises above AI technology, recognizes it for what it is and does not allow it to seduce us to become its subject.
We believe these challenges provide an opportunity for those in the education space, especially students, to commit (or re-commit) to ethical behavior in the classroom and when working on academic projects. Web Professionals Global is part of the content authenticity initiative with Adobe and we also have a Code of Ethics that non-members can sign. Secondary and post-secondary students who complete coursework and receive our certifications all must adhere to the Code of Ethics, which includes the following:
Being open and truthful: Although we cannot guarantee that all of the members of the Web Professionals Global community subscribe to this code of ethics, as a professional association we aspire to instill in our members and non-members alike the highest ethical standards.
Respecting and protecting intellectual property: As web professionals, it’s our responsibility to protect the intellectual property rights of others including personal data and all electronic media and files. As web professionals, we have a duty and a fiduciary responsibility to protect this integrity by adopting and implementing best practices of our customer’s data and to keep it secure.
Being responsive: As web professionals we owe it to our clients and stakeholders to respond to inquiries in a timely manner. Web Professionals Global members should be candid about their available response time and communicate that to customers in advance.
Utilizing written communications: As web professionals it is our responsibility to effectively communicate with our clients and stakeholders. When making a request of the customer, or when making promises, put them in writing. Despite our best efforts, disputes sometimes happen. Having a well-documented and agreed-upon relationship will serve both parties. This should include all conversations about who does what and when, work to be performed, timelines, cost and change orders.
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Interested in hearing more about the ethics of AI and our work at Web Professionals Global? Contact us today.