Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

AI and Cheating

One of the most common concerns many teachers and parents have today regarding generative AI / artificial intelligence tools is that students are using and will use them “to cheat.” While students have used and will continue to use a variety of tools and strategies to cheat during exams, quizzes, and other forms of formal school assessments, and as educators we should continue to uphold high standards of academic and personal integrity, this situation calls for greater inquiry. In our modern “Age of AI,” I think it’s imperative as well as valuable for us as educators to critically interrogate the assessments we use our classrooms to measure student learning. We should consider whether or not these benchmarks are viable and/or desirable in our new age of readily accessible AI platforms.

Kai-Fu Lee is a businessman and former AI researcher / academic who has valuable perspectives to consider when it comes to artificial intelligence. I’ve heard him speak in multiple documentaries about AI, including the excellent 2019 PBS Frontline documentary, “In the Age of AI.” Last night, thanks to the YouTube algorithm (and my past interactions / training with it) I watched Kai-Fu Lee’s May 2024 interview with Fortune Magazine titled, “About 50% Of Jobs Will Be Displaced By AI Within 3 Years.” The segment I want to highlight starts at 23:32 of this video:

Kai-Fu Lee says:

I think the first thing we all have to do, and influence all the people around us, is to stop this nonsense about kids using ChatGPT to cheat. This is not cheating any more than using Word or Photoshop. When kids go into the workplace, they will be measured based on the final output of their work. They won’t be measured on whether they used ChatGPT, Google search, or any other tool.

So, I think we need to encourage people to harness AI and use all the tools available so they can be the best they can be. It’s also a great guide to help them understand what things they can aspire to and what things are not worth following. I think it’s incredibly important to harness and embrace AI and stop trying to catch people cheating. This is not cheating; This is producing great output. It’s no more cheating than Fortune journalists using Microsoft Word’s spell check or a Fortune photographer using Photoshop.

Everyone should use and learn from AI tools and embrace them.”

Hala, M. (2023, May 20). About 50% of jobs will be displaced by AI within 3 years [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZs447dgMjg

Last school year (2023-24) I created and shared a series of “AI Guidelines” with my students. I permitted and invited my students, at different times and for different activities during the year, to use AI tools to brainstorm, co-write, and create media. I plan to continue this next school year.

If you are a teacher, how could the permitted use of AI tools transform and improve the kinds of assessments you use with students in the classroom?

The most challenging exam I ever took was part of my doctoral studies, and it was in my quantitative analysis course. Our final exam was entirely open note, and we were required to solve complex problems which involved the applied use of multiple algorithms we’d studied during the course of the semester.

When I hear about students in elementary and (sometimes) even in middle school being prohibited from using calculators on assignments, quizzes and tests, I have similar questions. What could assessments look like if students ARE permitted to use calculators? What if students are permitted to use AI platforms and tools?

Many quizzes, tests, and other assessments are rough attempts to gain insight into the mind of another human being. What knowledge and skills does the student possess, which can enable them to communicate their understanding of a concept or situation, or offer a workable solution to a problem? Often in schools, especially in mathematics classes, we use simplistic problems with simple answers.

In contrast to the answers to the odd problems in the back of many mathematics textbooks, life itself is complex and multi-faceted. Situations and problems often do not have a single answer, and there is great value in developing the capacity to grapple with vague conditions and partial information, and still come up with an “answer” or approach which can address a need or potentially solve a problem.

The availability of artificial intelligence tools provides us, as teachers, educators and parents, opportunities to rethink some of our assumptions about learning and assessment in the classroom. In some cases, perhaps many, it may FORCE transformative changes to the assessment of student learning. In many classrooms, I think it should.

What if using AI in your classroom was NOT considered cheating? As creative and capable educators, I think we should use this question to re-think and re-design our student assessments in the year to come.

AI in the Classroom” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

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