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Can ChatGPT Be a Good Educational Tool?

Have you ever talked to a robot? You may have interacted with one without even realizing it. These days, everyone is talking about ChatGPT, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) designed to converse with you and help you with whatever you need.

Meet ChatGPT: Your Personal AI Assistant

ChatGPT was created by OpenAI and launched in June 2020. Since then, it has been and continues to be continuously trained with large amounts of linguistic data and has been enhanced with new data and machine learning algorithms. In this way, it has learned to produce consistent answers from the inputs it receives.

It last collected data from various online sources, necessary for training Chat, in September 2021, where it received a major upgrade that improved its ability to understand and generate text in several languages, including Spanish. It has also been updated with new features, such as the ability to answer questions, translate languages and generate programming code.

Its capabilities go beyond answering simple questions. It is able to hold more complex conversations, learn from them and improve its ability to communicate. This makes ChatGPT a valuable tool for those who need help on a variety of topics, from trivia questions to more specific tasks.

ChatGPT as an Educational Tool

As we have seen, ChatGPT can be a very effective artificial intelligence tool in different fields, but… will it be beneficial in education, will it help students or teachers in a classroom? From Smartick we have had these doubts,  and we have asked ChatGPT about it. This has been their answer, telling us in which ways it can be a useful tool in the classroom:

  • Generate educational content: Teachers may ask me to generate learning materials, such as readings, exercises and test questions. I can also help students generate ideas and content for research projects or essays.
  • Assist in research: Both teachers and students can ask me to help them with research. I can research and provide information on any topic needed.
  • Provide feedback and correction: Teachers can use my ability to provide detailed feedback and comments on student work, including essays, reports, and projects. I can also help students correct grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Answer questions: Both teachers and students can ask me questions on any topic, and I can provide accurate and detailed answers in real time.
  • Personalize learning: With my ability to adapt to each student’s individual needs, I can help teachers personalize learning for each student. I can provide personalized and adaptive lesson plans that fit each student’s pace and learning style.

It appears that it can be very useful for both teachers and students in a classroom. It appears to have the ability to generate educational content, assist in research, provide feedback and correction, answer questions, and personalize learning. This could make it a very valuable tool for improving the teaching and learning process.

To put it into practice, we have asked several questions about didactic content in Mathematics. We are going to show you one of these conversations in the next section.

Example of a ChatGPT Conversation

ChatGPT is asked a typical first-year teacher training question, which has to do with the use of keywords in problem solving. This question is usually answered correctly by future teachers (student teachers).

🧑🏼‍🏫Smartick: If I give you a simple maths problem, can you tell me what explanation you would give to a child who does not know how to solve the problem so that he/she can understand it?

🤖ChatGPT: Of course, tell me the problem and I will do my best to explain it in easily for a child.

🧑🏼‍🏫Smartick: Pedro has 3 euros more than Juan. And we know that Pedro has 15 euros. How many does Juan have?

🤖ChatGPT: Sure! As far as we know, Pedro has 15 euros, so we can start solving the problem from here. If Pedro has 3 euros more than Juan, then we can subtract 3 from Pedro’s 15 euros to find out how many euros Juan has.

15 euros – 3 euros = 12 euros. Therefore, Juan has 12 euros. Do you understand?

🧑🏼‍🏫Smartick: I have a hard time, because in the problem there is the word “plus”, which usually indicates that you have to add, but you told me that you have to subtract. Why?

🤖ChatGPT: That’s a good question! The word “plus” in mathematics can mean two different things depending on the context. In this case, the phrase “Peter has 3 euros more than John” means that Peter has an amount of money that is 3 euros greater than the amount of money that John has.

This is a comparison, and to solve the comparison, we subtract the larger number (Peter’s 15 euros) with the smaller number (the 3 euros more that Peter has than John). This gives us the number that represents Juan.

I hope this explanation has helped you understand the problem better. Do you have any other questions?

🧑🏼‍🏫Smartick: Yes. Can you give me a problem statement that has the word “less” in it, but you have to add to solve it?

🤖ChatGPT: Sure! Here’s an example: John has 12 euros and wants to spend 3 euros on a toy. How much money will John have left after spending those 3 euros?

🧑🏼‍🏫Smartick: It’s just that I asked you for a problem that has the word “minus” and you gave me the word “spend” and I asked you for the problem to be an addition problem, and you gave me a spending problem.

🤖ChatGPT: Sorry, my bad. Here is an example of a problem that has the word “less” and requires addition to solve: John has 12 euros and his brother lends him 5 euros more. How much money will John have after he receives the 5 euros lent by his brother?

🧑🏼‍🏫Smartick: I asked you to use the word “less” and you used the phrase “5 euros more” instead. Can you do it with the word “less”, as I have asked you to do?

🤖ChatGPT: Sure, sorry for the confusion. Here’s an example with the word “less”: John has 12 euros and wants to keep 3 euros less. How much money will John keep?

🧑🏼‍🏫Smartick: You did the problem with the word “less”, but you solved it by adding. But I have asked you for a problem with the word “less”, to be solved with an addition. What I want is to understand well why sometimes the problem has the word “plus” and it is a subtraction problem, and sometimes it has the word “minus”, but it is an addition problem. That’s why I want the example of the problem with the word “less” but it is of addition.

🤖ChatGPT: I’m very sorry, I can’t provide you with a problem that meets those requirements, since the word “minus” in mathematics usually indicates a subtraction operation and not an addition operation. Instead, I could provide you with an example of a problem with a similar sentence that is solved with an addition.

🧑🏼‍🏫Smartick: Can you give me a comparison problem, with the word “minus” with the unknown in the reference quantity?

🤖ChatGPT: Sure, here’s an example of a comparison problem with the word “less” and with the unknown in the quantity reference: Peter has 3 fewer toys than John. How many toys does John have if Peter has 9 toys?

🧑🏼‍🏫Smartick: Okay, but do you realize that this statement contradicts something you said to me earlier? You said, “I’m very sorry, I can’t provide you with a problem that meets those requirements, since the word “minus” in mathematics usually indicates a subtraction operation, not an addition.”.

🤖ChatGPT: You’re right, that answer is incorrect. Thank you for bringing that contradiction to my attention. The word “less” can be used in verbal comparisons in different ways, and does not always imply a subtraction operation. Sorry for any confusion I caused.

🧑🏼‍🏫Smartick: Thanks to you, I think we have both learned a lot in this little while. Thank you very much! And before I say goodbye, I’d like next time to address you by your name. What do you like to be called?

🤖ChatGPT: I’m a language model created by OpenAI, so I don’t have a proper name. You can just call me “OpenAI” or “ChatGPT.” Thanks you and see you next time!

Exploring Other AI Tools in Education

While ChatGPT excels in certain educational contexts, there are several other AI tools that can significantly contribute to the education sector, enriching the learning experience for both students and teachers. LUCA, for instance, stands out as a digital reading tutor that utilizes AI and speech recognition technology to enhance reading skills and increase student engagement. Another noteworthy tool is kids’ words ending A to Z, which reinforces the connection between letters and their sounds while introducing children to a variety of words associated with each letter.

As we can see, chat can be helpful in a classroom, and you can have a good conversation with someone; however, you have to know how to ask them, and you also have to interpret their answers with criteria.

From Smartick, as you can see in this other post that talks about technology and Smartick, we are always attentive to technological trends that can intervene or improve some aspect of education. Therefore, we will continue to investigate about this artificial intelligence and we will keep an eye on its updates and improvements.

What do you think about ChatGPT and do you think it can be an appropriate educational tool?

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Diane Ackerman
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