The AI Dilemma: Helping Students Embrace the Future


Many teachers I speak with express concern regarding students’ use of AI to cheat. They have countless stories of catching kids submitting copy and pasting ChatGPT outputs. The types of assignments range from simple reflections to summative essays. Unfortunately, this is a new reality we teachers have to deal with now.

So, I found myself shocked by the fact my students are suspicious of AI when I allow or suggest they use it. For example, I asked my students to use AI to come up with a fictional short story that related to a topic we were learning about in Environmental Science. I wanted them to analyze the science the AI included and write a reflection about it and how good of a job they did. However, so many balked at the suggestion and begged to write the short story themselves.

Another example occurred when I was speaking to students who were concerned about upcoming AP tests. I suggested they use ChatGPT to help them study and told them I could help them with the prompt. They, too, looked shocked at the suggestion and declined the offer, saying they didn’t trust it. What I tried to explain, and they didn’t seem to understand, is how important Prompt Engineering is. I would have suggested they use one of the prompts from AI for Education that you can find here. I have tested out the Study Help prompt and it really works!


At first this all confused me, but I now think I have a theory. If a student doesn’t see the value in an assignment, they are more prone to turn to ChatGPT to complete the assignment for them. But, if they are interested and engaged, they do not trust the AI output. While I find it very interesting, it is also problematic. Today’s students will live in a world with AI that we can’t even imagine. If they aren’t learning how to use the power of AI for good, they will be behind in the world. This is yet one more thing that falls on the shoulders of educators. 

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