How Chat AI will end homework and make classroom instruction more important
Let’s begin with the purpose of homework; Educators assign homework for different reasons and purposes. Homework is assigned either as practice, preparation, extension, or integration of grade-level skills and concepts.
Practice Homework reinforces learning from the skills and concepts already taught in the classroom. Practice homework promotes retention and automaticity of the concept, skill, and content taught. Examples include practicing multiplication facts, writing compound sentences, or learning parts of the Periodic Table of Elements to commit these skills and concepts to long-term memory.
Preparation Homework is assigned to introduce content that will be addressed in future lessons. However, research suggests that homework is less effective if it is used to teach new or complex skills. For these types of assignments, students typically become stressed which can create a negative perspective towards learning and school.
Extension Homework requires students to use previously taught skills and concepts and apply them to new situations or projects. For instance, students may use the concept of area and perimeter to build a flowerbed.
Integration Homework requires the student to apply learned skills and concepts to produce a culminating project like a performance task using multiple math skills or language skills.
Homework also serves other purposes not directly related to instruction. Homework can help establish communication between parents and children, and it can inform parents about school topics and activities. It allows parents to view the Curriculum that is being taught. Homework provides structure, and it helps create a more purposeful learner.
Here comes Chat AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology is becoming easily accessible to everyone on every device. This new technology allows for generating answers to prompts of any kind, in almost any form, without a student putting in any work.
With the initial rollout in early 2023, it was very easy to spot fraudulent essays. However, as we enter the new year, the level of sophistication, or should we say simplicity has increased. AI platforms such as ChatGPT have been able to mimic the language levels (colloquialisms) that students are using. This makes it virtually impossible for teachers to tell the difference between Chat AI writing and student writing.
Possible Adaptations to the AI Invasion
- Honor and Contracts
Some schools of higher learning have asked students to sign an honor contract that forbids the use of such applications in their homework. These types of agreements and oaths have been a staple of education for centuries. However, some students have felt the need to succeed in academia outweighs any risk.
- Classroom Solution – What is old is new again
In a recent interview, Siva Vaidhyanathen of the University of Virginia states “Going forward I will demand some older forms of knowledge creation to challenge my students and help them learn. I will require in-class writing which will demand they think fluidly at the moment. I will require them to ask questions of the presenters, generating a deeper real-time understanding of a subject.”
- Adopt widespread use of interactive classroom instruction, such as EDI instructional practices. Effective instruction using Explicit Direct Instruction relies on TAPPLE for frequent Checking For Understanding. These are procedures developed by DataWORKS to create regular interaction on academic content using academic language. It involves Teach First, Ask a Question, Pick a Non-Volunteer (so all students have to be ready), Pair-Share (so all students interact), Listen to the Response, and Give Effective Feedback. Another key to effective interactive instruction with EDI is the use of Engagement Norms. These 8 procedures help keep the students on task and engaged. It involves Pronunciation, Tracking, Choral Reading, Gestures, Pair-Share (to involve all students in real-time interaction), Attention Signal, Whiteboards (to elicit responses from all students), and the use of Complete Sentences in their expression.
- Use a Homework Quiz. Sure, students may use AI for their homework, but the proof of the pudding is whether they learned the content. The problem with traditional homework, says Dr. Silvia Ybarra, is that it has very specific answers. There is no way to check to see if they are answering using the skills. The way to check their learning is to have a Homework Quiz the moment they come into class. Maybe have them read something or take a quick Homework Quiz. Can they understand the concept? Can they perform the skill? Can they demonstrate understanding?
Maybe AI is not a bad Thing
If the outcome of using Chat AI is that students are learning, then maybe it is for the better.
Using it or not using it, ultimately it is what the student is learning. Are they able to do the process, practice, or exercise?
Schools need to control the 6 hours of the day the students are with them. At the end of the day, the goal of the school is to assess if the student can perform independently. If AI can help, then fine. If AI Adaptations mentioned above can help, then even better.
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Dr. Silvia Ybarra
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