Buckle up, educators, Chat GPT is here, and you’ll want to know about it. What is Chat GPT, you ask? Well, Chat GPT is a language model that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to generate human-like text. “So what does that have to do with me?” you ask? Well, for starters, Chat GPT can be used to generate answers to writing prompts on pretty much anything. A simple analogy: Imagine a calculator, except for writing.
And here’s the kicker: you can tweak the style, formality, and writing level with a range of simple style requests, meaning that the range and variety of answers you get is fairly remarkable. Let’s take an imaginary tour.
Say, for example, you ask a student for a basic writing assignment comparing Minneapolis and St. Paul. Instead of doing it on their own, the student goes to Chat GPT, and types in the request. In a few seconds, out comes the response, which they copy and paste right into your Google Classroom assignment.
Prompt: Write a paragraph comparing Minneapolis and St. Paul
Answer: Minneapolis and St. Paul are two cities located in Minnesota. Both cities are known for their rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scenes. Minneapolis is the larger of the two cities, with a population of approximately 425,000 people, while St. Paul has a population of approximately 307,000 people. Minneapolis is known for its lakes and parks, as well as its thriving business district, while St. Paul is known for its historic architecture and its position as the capital of Minnesota. Both cities are home to a number of professional sports teams, including the Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Vikings. Despite their many similarities, Minneapolis and St. Paul each have their own unique character and charm that make them appealing to residents and visitors alike.
Assignment complete! You might be thinking, “Well, I can just check the site myself to see if they used this. Not a problem.” But that’s where you’re wrong. The AI can modify its writing style based on all sorts of variables. Want something more formal? Do this:
Prompt: Write a paragraph comparing Minneapolis and St. Paul formal
Answer: Minneapolis and St. Paul are two cities located in the state of Minnesota. Both cities are known for their vibrant arts and culture scenes, with Minneapolis being home to the iconic Walker Art Center and St. Paul being the birthplace of the famous writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. In terms of size, Minneapolis is the larger of the two cities, with a population of around 425,000 people. St. Paul, on the other hand, has a population of around 309,000 people. Despite their differences in size, both cities are known for their beautiful parks and green spaces, with Minneapolis boasting Minnehaha Park and St. Paul being home to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. Overall, both cities offer a unique blend of urban and natural beauty, making them popular destinations for visitors and residents alike.
Notice the differences between the first and the second answers. Want a funny paper? Do this:
Prompt: Write a paragraph comparing Minneapolis and St. Paul humorous
Answer: Minneapolis and St. Paul are like two peas in a pod – except one is the cool, artsy pea and the other is the stuffy, pretentious pea. Minneapolis, with its trendy coffee shops and hipster breweries, is the kind of city where you’ll find more beards than a bear convention. St. Paul, on the other hand, is like that one relative who is always talking about their collection of rare books and antique thimbles. In terms of size, Minneapolis is the bigger of the two cities, but St. Paul makes up for it by being super annoying. Overall, if you’re looking for a fun time, head to Minneapolis. If you want to be bored to tears, St. Paul is the place for you.
Worried that the answer will be too far above your writing level and your teacher will know you didn’t write it? Do this:
Prompt: Write a paragraph comparing Minneapolis and St. Paul simple
Answer: Minneapolis and St. Paul are two cities in Minnesota. Minneapolis is bigger, with a population of about 425,000 people. St. Paul has about 309,000 people. Both cities have a lot of parks and green spaces, and are known for their arts and culture. Minneapolis has the Walker Art Center, and St. Paul is where F. Scott Fitzgerald was born. These cities are popular for visitors and residents.
Notice how each answer varies in tone, vocabulary and structure, making it highly unlikely that a teacher will be able to identify the answer as plagiarized. And this just scratches the surface of the potential variations in writing. You can combine styles, ask for specific grade levels, add other stylistic or content elements. The sky’s the limit, and the AI reacts to your requests with unique text for most prompts.
My first reaction is that the answers generated by the model are good enough to get respectable to solid grades on 90% or more of the simpler writing tasks that a student might be asked in most high school classes. And that’s a scary thought, because I can certainly imagine how many students will opt into spending a minute logging into Chat GPT to create a writing assignment rather than spend a half hour to an hour writing their own.
Having said all this, I can see incredibly helpful uses to the tool. So much of the writing we do as adults is merely informational. Having a tool that can generate structurally sound writing in 2-3 seconds can be incredibly helpful in completing those tedious and soul-sucking writing tasks that eat up valuable time.
So, what do you think? Has the world of education just changed overnight?
Want to try Chat GPT for yourself? Just go to the link and sign up. Anyone can use the tool during the preview period, but you do need to provide a real phone number. It’s also interesting to note that their website has been crushed by requests in the most recent week. The world is catching on quickly.