Chat GPT: The future of education?


Nikki Sajja

Student using Chat GPT before school starts.

There’s no way you’re going to finish this paper before the deadline. You want to message your teacher for an extension, but you’ve never been good at writing emails. You always seem to come off as disrespectful or unprofessional. If this sounds like you, you’re in luck: this dreaded email can be written for you in just a matter of seconds with Chat GPT.

Chat GPT is an advanced chat box that was launched by OpenAI in November of 2022. Essentially, you can type almost anything into the chat and a response will be instantly provided, ranging from “write an email to my boss giving her my two weeks notice” to “summarize chapter 9 of the Great Gatsby”. You can even copy and paste your own essays into the chat, and AI will edit it for you. With this tool’s seemingly limitless possibilities, it has rapidly been gaining popularity over the last couple months.

While Chat GPT can be used in many helpful ways, many schools have become increasingly worried about how it may negatively affect modern education, especially English. New York City public schools have already taken it upon themselves to ban the use of this tool, fearing students will use it to cheat. Is North Penn next? Mrs. Elizabeth Weizer, chair of North Penn’s English department, is well aware of this emerging new reality.

“The English department has read about, talked about, and tried out ChatGPT, but as the technology is ever-evolving, it’s tricky to figure out how to combat students using it in a deceitful way–like to cheat or plagiarize. On one hand, having a bot write an essay for you and you passing that off as your own work certainly defies our plagiarism policy, but on the other hand, the AI can potentially help you study, write an email addressing a difficult situation, or create your shopping list and menu for the week. I think there are still so many unknowns about ChatGPT’s potential that crafting a policy regarding its acceptable use is hard. The ethical questions are numerous and multi-faceted,” Weizer explained.

It’s difficult to currently formulate an opinion on Chat GPT, given how many different purposes it can serve. If used responsibly, the tool can actually be very beneficial- whether it’s taking the pressure off sending an important message or studying for your upcoming history test.

Although technology is always evolving, Weizer made it clear where North Penn’s priorities stand.

“Our goals as a department remain the same: every day, we want students to read critically, think deeply, and communicate effectively. We want to cultivate a love of reading and an appreciation for the language. These are the things we will continue to do, no matter what technology emerges next,” Weizer concluded.