Hasty thoughts on AI in the Classroom

This morning, I had a great talk with Dr. Elia Elisa Cia Alves and several of her Federal University of Paraíba colleagues about using artificial intelligence tools in the classroom.

Based solely on my observations of colleagues and literature, I perceive a roughly even split between AI adopters and naysayers. I’ll admit that I lean towards the naysayers in that I argue AI stifles critical thinking and effective writing skills. Yet, I know educators who’ve fully embraced AI and teach students how to use it as a tool rather than a crutch. Two examples include critiquing AI-generated papers and students comparing their own writing against an AI revision of their work. I’ll admit this approach is lending me some ideas, such as having students generate an article on a news topic, then providing them an actual news article on the topic and letting students compare the two (this, of course, assumes the article is genuine).

I felt better about using AI in the classroom at the end of the meeting, but with one lingering caveat–large classroom assignments. Even the AI skeptic in me can imagine running an AI-driven activity in my smaller courses (19 and 40 students), but my 150-student courses? I mean, I can barely see the back row of students in those sections without a telescope, let alone trying to imagine wrangling an activity in an efficient amount of time.

This post barely scratches the surface. I’m curious to read your thoughts in the comments and am open to guest submissions on longer treatments! alps@activelearningps.com