School founder sings praises of ChatGPT as a teaching tool

FILE PHOTO: ChatGPT logo is seen in this illustration taken, February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: ChatGPT logo is seen in this illustration taken, February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Published Apr 19, 2023


Johannesburg - With technology enhancing teaching techniques, ChatGPT has become the latest tool to help learners improve their education with real-world skills.

According to Shaun Fuchs, founder and CEO of Centennial Schools, when the first calculator made its appearance, shock and horror greeted its use.

He noted that there were fears that pupils would not be able to complete a maths exam without it, and the same held true for every new technological innovation including ChatGPT.

Fuchs said the fears were unfounded: "Researchers noted in a 2021 Unesco report on education and AI that AI technology is expanding the range of high-skill jobs that require unique creative and analytical abilities, and human interactions."

"While it is true that AI applications may make certain industries obsolete, the technology also presents the door to better-paying, higher-skilled positions; however, we must ensure that our students are prepared for the new frontiers of employment options.

"Much has already been written and discussed about ChatGPT, considering both its advantages and disadvantages."

He said ChatGPT was a natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that allows you to have human-like conversations and much more with a chatbot.

"The language model can answer questions and help you with tasks like writing emails, essays, and coding."

"ChatGPT differs from prior chatbots in that it was trained via reinforcement learning from human feedback, and this is where its power rests." It's also why we've decided to use it in our school.

"At Centennial Schools, we have already incorporated technology into our teaching principles, such as blockchain, gaming, content creation, coding, and design, so it makes sense to embrace this new tool."

He added that if educators were to fully appreciate and use AI in the education space to benefit pupils, they needed to rethink the way they teach.

"We teach with testing in mind all over the world, which means that teaching is done primarily to improve a student's performance on an examination rather than to improve his or her understanding of a subject."

"Assessments (exams) should, in my opinion, emphasise real-world applications of knowledge and skills. This means that rather than simply regurgitating facts, students should be examined on their ability to apply what they have learned in a real-world setting.

"Assessments should assess a variety of skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and creativity, to help prepare students for future success."

"Creating these settings with simulations or virtual reality makes learning considerably more dynamic."

"Students should be encouraged to engage in self-evaluation, in which they reflect on their own learning and progress."

"This can help them develop metacognitive skills like self-regulation and goal-setting," Fuchs added.

The Star

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