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The New Normal: Navigating Education and College Admissions in an AI-Enhanced World


A day doesn't go by without some news about AI. It seems like just yesterday we were all hearing about this new thing called ChatGPT, and now the AI options seem limitless - AI image creation and editing, AI marketing creating, AI music and sounds, and so much more. AI has exploded in a short amount of time, revolutionizing the world, and education is no exception.


There is no doubt that educators will have to grapple with how to incorporate AI into their curriculums. Educators are going to have to decide whether they are going to embrace this new technology and teach students how to use it effectively or if they are going to limit its influence in the classroom. re going to limit its influence in the classroom.


What Is the Potential of AI in Education?

There is a lot of potential to revolutionize education for students with AI. What are some of the things that could be coming?

  • Personalized Learning - One of the most promising ways AI can impact education is the potential for education to be specific to the learner. AI learning platforms can track student progress and tailor instruction to each individual student's needs. This can lead to more effective and efficient learning and help reduce the achievement gap.

  • Innovative Learning Platforms - AI is being used to create AI-powered chatbots that can provide students with real-time support and feedback, and AI-powered virtual reality can allow students to experience things in learning that were previously unavailable. Want to experience what it is like to be on the International Space Station—interested in participating in the French Revolution? This can now be possible with AI.

  • Improving Efficiency in Education - AI-powered grading systems can save teachers time, allowing them to spend time on other tasks. AI administrative resources can help schools manage resources more efficiently.


Are There Downsides to AI in Education?

While AI has undoubtedly brought transformative advancements to education, it is crucial to acknowledge its potential downsides, which could include:

  • Job displacement of teachers. AI-powered teaching assistants and tutors could eventually replace some human teachers, especially in large, lecture-based courses. This could lead to job losses for teachers, especially in low-income countries with tight education budgets.

  • Dehumanized learning experience. AI-powered education tools may lack the human touch and emotional connection that students need to learn effectively. For example, an AI tutor may not be able to provide the same level of empathy and support as a human teacher.

  • Privacy concerns. AI-powered education tools collect and store a lot of student data, which could raise privacy concerns.

  • Dependence on technology. AI-powered education tools are dependent on technology, which could make them vulnerable to outages or cyberattacks. For example, if an AI tutor's server goes down, students may be unable to access their lessons.

This school year is the first full year where the explosion of AI tools will be dealt with in the educational setting. As we enter a new year with a new technology tool, there are many things to consider.


Some teachers are fully embracing the technology. Texas Christian University Business School professor Beata Jones incorporated ChatGPT into her classes last spring. Noting that AI will be something students must use and adapt to in the real world, she is integrating it into her curriculum so that students see the benefits and shortcomings of the technology and learn how to use it wisely in their professions [Read HERE].

Others have been more skeptical, wondering if there should be a return to handwritten exams and papers and oral exams to prevent cheating with AI software. Some schools and universities have employed AI-powered detection software to try and determine when students are using AI to essentially "cheat on assignments." However, these programs aren't foolproof and can result in some getting away with their work and others being falsely accused of cheating (Young, 2023).

AI in College Admissions

We are even dealing with this in the college application world. Students around the country are in the thick of college applications, and the idea of a chatbot that can do the work for you may be tempting.


With all of the buzz around ChatGPT, it could be tempting to use it to write your college essays. Katie Garrett, Garrett Educational Consulting, says it is not a good idea. "Often what is produced from AI software lacks the depth and personalization a college admissions officer is looking for," Katie says she can recognize an AI written essay almost immediately. She thinks that many admissions reps will be able to recognize them as well. "At the end of your process, you do not want to be questioning whether using an AI program affected your admissions decisions."


"It makes me sad. The idea that this central component of a story could be manufactured by someone other than the applicant is disheartening." --Lee Coffin, Dean of Admissions at Dartmouth College

Furthermore, when submitting your application, you acknowledge that the work you are submitting is your own. One college admissions consultant puts it this way, "[a] good rule of thumb in any situation is that if there is a copy/paste involved, it is probably not ok."


In a recent blog post, a Georgia Tech admissions officer laid out his take on the appropriate use of AI in the college admissions process.

  • The Activities Section of the Common App - ChatGPT can be helpful for taking the information that you provide about your extracurriculars and "rephrasing, reformatting, iterating, and doing so within specific word parameters…"

  • Supplements and Essays - "…consider any interaction with an AI tool as a learning experience that may help you generate ideas, provide alternative phrasing options, and organize your thoughts." Use AI as a "tool, a collaboration, and a way to get started."

Bottom line, use AI to brainstorm - put your ideas in and see what AI produces, then put it away, open a new page on your computer, and start writing your own original essay or supplement (Clark, 2023).

Integrating AI in education holds remarkable potential to revolutionize learning experiences and make them more personalized, efficient, and accessible. While there are challenges to address, such as potential job displacement and privacy concerns, responsible and thoughtful implementation can help mitigate these issues. As technology continues to advance, educators, policymakers, and innovators must collaborate to harness the power of AI in education for the betterment of students worldwide. With careful planning and a human-centric approach, AI can indeed be a powerful ally in shaping the future of education.


Resource articles:



 

Citations:

Young, 2023. 'Instructors Rush to do Assignment Makeovers to Respond to ChatGPT.' EdSurge, 27 July, accessed September 1, 2023.



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