Analysis of Google search data reveals that online searches for AI essays in the US exploded in November, with interest shooting from almost 0 interest to 100 after the launch of ChatGPT.
Students can use AI-powered tools to complete assignments, take tests, and even cheat on exams. While convenient, educators and parents worry that overreliance on these tools will rob students of the opportunity to learn and develop critical thinking skills.
In light of this sudden surge of AI tool usage by students, several concerns arise:
Students may use these tools to cheat on exams or gain an unfair advantage over others who are completing the work as instructed;
Usage of these tools will lead to a decline in critical thinking skills, which does not bode well for the future of education and eventually the workforce at large;
Educators will have a more difficult time guiding students without being able to get an accurate picture of their current skill level, strengths, and weaknesses.
From using AI-powered software to generate essays and complete math problems to using chatbots to cheat on exams, students are finding new and creative ways to use technology to avoid putting in the effort to learn. This trend is not only cheating students out of a proper education, but it also has the potential to harm the future workforce and society as a whole.
A spokesperson for Studen commented on this alarming uptick in AI-assisted learning:
“When students rely on AI tools to complete their work, they miss out on the valuable learning experiences that come from struggling through a difficult assignment or problem. Without the opportunity to learn and develop critical thinking skills, students will be ill-prepared for the workforce and life in general.
“If this trend continues, the future workforce will be filled with individuals who lack the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in the increasingly competitive job market. Additionally, society will suffer from a lack of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”
Educators and parents must work together to educate students on the importance of learning and the dangers of relying on AI tools to avoid putting in the effort necessary to learn. Most learning occurs through the process of making errors, identifying those errors, and working through correcting them; the “quick results” of AI negate this process entirely. Furthermore, using AI tools to cheat on exams undermines the integrity of the education system.
However, it’s undeniable that this technology will not simply go away. Ignoring it or banning it will likely prove ineffective. Educators must strike a balance where technology is used as a tool to aid in learning, while also teaching students the dangers of using a shortcut to instant answers.