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The impact of chatgpt on schools.

By G. Balasubramanian

During the last few interactions with school leaders and educators, fears were expressed by a few of them about the possible impact of ChatGPT on knowledge access, knowledge processing and assessment in the learning processes in schools.. While one cannot totally reject their fears as unfounded, it is equally important to consider the periphery of its operation currently iand effectively n the knowledge universe and its possible growth dynamics in the next couple of years. Native in its life, having been introduced just a few months back, it has indeed impacted many both in the field of education and in other fields of activity; it has certainly raised some eyebrows. Some say ‘wow’ and a few others “OMG”! Articulated by the Open AI, it is basically a chatbot, (Chat generated pre-trained transformer) responding meaningfully to our needs and demands on this platform by comprehensively processing and providing knowledge inputs using an unimaginable treasure house of resources it has at its disposal.

As of now, it appears as a versatile conversationalist, giving inputs of knowledge from various domains, can write programs and debug them; write an essay or a poetry; design a comic or a picture; write a fairy tale or a science thriller! And it can do much more! That raises the question whether it would replace many of the routine knowledge based activities of a classroom or a place of an extended activity. I understand from many of the views expressed by experts in this field that it would be premature to come to any such conclusion as it might take a long time (how long?) for the Chatbot to mature to be more authentic, credible and competent so that it can be trusted as a non-negotiable document.

Given the fact that day may not be too far, some inadequacies reported by users in the recent past do give us some respite. While it appears as a human replacement to process knowledge by an AI system it has not gained currency yet as a logically sound reporter. It cannot adequately compensate currently to the creative faculties of human brain including contextuality, innovation, responding to perceptions and a few more. Leaving behind logic, the powerful emotive responses of a human system need to be understood by the machine and it would take a long time. It may or may not do so; and learning is an emotional experience to some extent!

In a learning situation in the school environment, it might be a gravitation for sometime providing thrill, joy, comfort and a sense of satisfaction to both the learner and the teacher. It might be an informal support to a few linear functions carried out in classrooms making teachers think twice before they could transact in the classroom or might create some roadblocks in assessment which could be difficult to handle.

While some of its advantages for self-learning and self-directed learning cannot be set aside, any fear of it replacing the learning patterns in classrooms may not be valid right now. As of now, the course of its growth is unpredictable and hence we need to wait to make judgments.

What are the possible changes in a classroom in the emerging scenario?

1. Data/content transfer from the print or screens to the learner would no longer be relevant; teachers might have to design their pedagogies to provide higher order thinking skills, challenges to creative and innovative mindsets.

2. The learning environment in schools should move to collaborative learning, peer learning and brainstorming, thus taking the burden of learning from conditioned classrooms.

3. The design of questions/ the mode of assessments have to become innovative, broad-based, challenging using some faculties of intuition. Linear assessment patterns celebrating rote will be extinct!.

4. Problem solving, decision making, project designs and execution, conflict management, crisis management and other similar approaches would re-engineer the classroom. Teacher preparedness would need more investment of time and energy!

No one can stop technological evolution. We need to become more inclusive accommodating all types of technology supports to learning. The role of the teacher in envisioning, designing and executing these changes would be a lesson to learn. There is indeed scope for new pedagogies to evolve! Possibly, it would force all the stakeholders in education to open their third eye to the curricular architecture and delivery!