With Artificial Intelligence and its applications rapidly developing, College Prep continues to make meaning from knowledge through in-person discussions that cannot be replaced or replicated by AI. In guided conversations, students are examining ethical gray areas that AI technology presents.
When music is sampled without permission • Do artists and creators have the right to sue OpenAI for using their content? • When markets are manipulated using artificial intelligence and financial crimes result, does AI
have personhood? • How is culpability for such crimes going to be determined?
Students wrestle with these questions in a new History elective, Ethics and Artificial Intelligence, taught by Ian Beier. He introduces case studies as a way for the students to examine ethical matters within a challenging legal framework. “Anxiety about AI exists everywhere, largely because this disruptive technology is not regulated under any specific laws,” Beier explains. This course encourages students to assess and evaluate the diverse scenarios where AI may pose ethical issues. Classroom conversations are thoughtful and dynamic as students engage with relevant real-world challenges and their own use of AI.
One real-world challenge that our teachers face is figuring out how to access evidence of student learning when ChatGPT allows people to outsource the creation of some tried-and-true measures. An essay once offered a window into a student’s thinking, but in the age of ChatGPT, it could just as easily be the output of a well-authored prompt.
College Prep teachers develop lesson plans that emphasize the importance of process. Much of the scaffolding around student discussions is built on a concern that students should not be outsourcing their thinking. The significance of how solutions may be derived, ideas are pursued, and conclusions arrived at, are emphasized rather than condoning the idea that students should head directly for answers. Assessments are designed so that students can demonstrate the paths they have taken to their destinations. They are tasked to explain the provenance of evidence and justify their conclusions, which ChatGPT cannot do well.
Beyond the Ethics and Artificial Intelligence course, teachers across disciplines are reimagining methods by which learning outcomes can be measured. “AI can be a useful tool for repetitive or formulaic tasks, but we want students to understand where AI stops being a positive tool. When it starts being detrimental to learning is when it shortcuts the process that gives value to a classroom exercise,” says Preston Tucker, History Teacher and Director of Curriculum Innovation and Research. “We believe that our students want to learn, but AI can tempt a student to take shortcuts. By leaning into the social dimensions of learning, we can see that students aren’t taking shortcuts. When a student teaches a concept to their table group, explains their conclusions to the class, or debates the meaning of a passage, we know they are developing skills. That work can’t be outsourced.”
College Prep teachers build learning experiences around human interactions and creativity, in the age of ChatGPT just as before. Developing their problem-solving skills and communication abilities in this familiar way, students prepare for an AI-driven world and are better equipped to adapt as the transformative technology evolves.