October 1, 2023

Key points:

  • Students will continue to use AI–educators should encourage responsible AI use among students
  • Stopgaps to block AI will only negatively impact underserved students who don’t have ready access to the internet at home
  • See related article: Is AI the future of education?

When ChatGPT was released in November 2022, many educators saw AI as a threat, assuming students were going to use AI to cheat. And they did. But in our haste to identify the pitfalls of generative AI, we have obscured examples of how students have used it to explore new topics, help with projects, and nurture creativity and curiosity. 

With the landscape shifting so quickly, we can no longer ignore the fact that back to school is going to look very different this year. 

Headlines from the past several weeks serve as indicators of what’s to come: 

  • GPT4 passed the MIT Mathematics and EECS curriculum with 100 percent
  • Harvard has an official AI tutor for its computer science program 
  • Hong Kong is rolling out its first AI curriculum to middle and high school aged students 

It’s July. 

By September, generative AI will be ubiquitous for all people with high levels of connectivity.

Some critics argue that change isn’t inevitable, particularly given the decentralized nature of education in the US. But 90 percent of middle and high schools have put in place 1-to-1 computing programs, and 91% of students have a cell phone by age 14. The major search engines will have integrated generative AI in the next several months. Given these circumstances, the convergence of AI and the classroom is inevitable. 

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