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ChatGPT and School Libraries

Updated: May 7, 2023

If I am honest I have steered clear of anything to do with Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the last few years. Thinking if I stuck my head in the sand I would not have to acknowledge its presence so when at the beginning of December ChatGPT came on the scene I was of the same opinion. I tried to read a few blogs about it, all of which were very technical and from that decided it was definitely not for me or the people I work with in school libraries.


However, something changed when I began to see more people talking about ChatGPT on Twitter and the impact that it may or may not have on education. This niggling feeling that maybe I should be interested got the better of me. It was currently free after all and I was on my Christmas break so had time to have a look. I set up an account at https://chat.openai.com/ and after a quick look around asked it to create a poem for me about school libraries. I got this:-




Of course, I posted straight to Twitter to show I was able to use ChatGPT 😂. I was shocked at the speed and how I was able to ‘talk’ to this system and ask it to change things. This poem is ok but not great by any standard and as Jan Kemp @JaninLincoln replied “the biggest takeaway is that it’s fine for formulaic responses. The poem is a composite of cliches - so use it as such, and look for ways to improve it”. This certainly made me begin to think about ways it could be used to be creative.


As I was looking to understand AI more Heeru Bhojwani shared with me a blog post she had written using AI explaining What is AI. This is a very clever example of how AI can be used effectively. As she says at the end "this blog post was created with the help of ChatopenAI in less than 10 minutes". It also helped me understand more about AI and its uses.


How ChatGPT could be used in schools?


I do think that regardless of whether schools adopt it or not students will be using it to complete their homework. If there is a shortcut why wouldn’t they? It reminds me of the early days of Wikipedia when I spent my time trying to discourage students from using it. When what I should have been doing was learning how to use it properly myself and then teaching how to work with it. I'm sure you will be delighted to hear I did eventually realise 😊.


This blog written by Stephen Taylor (If You) USEME-AI – A Draft Model For Adapting To AI in Schools talks about Useme-AI and poses a great question -


How might understanding our learners as AI-augmented consumers, users and creators of knowledge shift the focus away from ‘cheating’ and towards constructive and productive relationships with technology?”


He follows with a wonderful graphic that gives ideas for schools to promote its use including understanding the technology and supporting learning as well as questions for students. It is well worth a look https://learn.wab.edu/innovation/ai/useme-ai


We really need to be thinking about how school librarians can be ahead of the game with this. Do not doubt that your students are already aware of it so you should be too. One of the examples Bhojwani gives in her blog is that ChatGPT can "Find a way to simplify complex concepts and explain them in simple ways". This is something that I thought should be explored more.


Will ChatGPT do it all?


It's important, however, to remember that AI and ChatGPT are just tools, and need human curation and interaction to be used effectively so no it can't do it all, yet! I’ve read enough to realise that this will have an impact on education, especially those students who do not worry about getting high marks and are happy with a pass, or those that don’t want to read and check what ChatGPT churns out. The problem is that AI can sound truthful even when it is talking rubbish. It is going to take teachers more time to check students' actual understanding when a piece of writing is handed in. It will be easy to spot if it is factually incorrect and maybe at the moment as Sarah Pavey pointed out "the results are very homogenised and the style is easy to spot being devoid of any personality" but I’m sure it won't be long before it is impossible to tell who has written it.


This is why it is important that school librarians take time to learn its capabilities and be in a position to demonstrate how ChatGPT can be used effectively within education. School librarians can work with students and teachers to incorporate these tools into the curriculum, providing guidance and oversight to ensure that they are used ethically and responsibly.


In order to do this it is important to make sure that school library staff are trained and supported in using these tools and to ensure that they are used in a way that is consistent with the school and library's values and mission. This is certainly something that I will be keeping in mind for 2023.


Recommended reading to learn more…


When planning to write this blog I was given lots of suggested reading and have found others myself. Here are a few to get you started. There are people far more experienced than me you should be listening to.

As much as I find the technology very exciting I personally found ChatGPT a little distracting when I wanted to write this blog. It was good to have an overview but to be honest I wrote better when I decided I should speak with my own voice rather than from ChatGPT. It was harder to correct what was written than write it myself. I hope that this is what most students find but I have a feeling that as Chat GPT grows and gets more clever and intuitive schools will have to find ways to incorporate it into their curriculum.


Let's finish this with what ChatGPT said was a good way to finish this blog. “Overall, I think the potential for AI and ChatGPT to enhance school libraries is really exciting, and I can't wait to see how these tools will continue to evolve and be integrated into school libraries in the future”.


Final warning! #ChatGPT is free for now... how long that will last is unknown. Don't get too reliant on it unless you are happy to pay.


We certainly need to keep an eye on it and learn all we can to support our students. Let me know if you have tried it out and what you thought in the comments below...


UPDATE January 2023: ChatGPT can support teacher marking in seconds... check out this Twitter post https://twitter.com/DanFitzTweets/status/1609675061211930625 Something for you to share with your teachers!


@FHS_Lib shared this wonderful Slideshare for education created by Dr Torri Trust that outlines all that ChatGPT currently does https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Vo9w4ftPx-rizdWyaYoB-pQ3DzK1n325OgDgXsnt0X0/edit#


Free - Listen to my two podcast interviews about how ChatGPT can be good for school libraries going forward ChatGPT and School Libraries and ChatGPT inquiry and questions


Come and join my AI for beginners session on the 23rd May 2023. Find out more here...

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6 Comments


Guest
Aug 31, 2023

I can understand the initial skepticism and hesitation towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the past. It's common to feel uncertain about new technologies, especially when they seem complex and technical. However, the mention of ChatGPT and its potential impact on education caught my attention. This made me question my previous stance and sparked an interest in exploring AI further.


The decision to give ChatGPT a chance during the Christmas break seemed reasonable, considering it was free and allowed for some leisurely experimentation. I visited the chat.openai.com website and decided to test its capabilities by requesting a poem about school libraries.


Overall, this experience has challenged my preconceptions about AI and its applications. It's important to keep an open mind and…


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Guest
Feb 01, 2023

What are your thoughts on the potential for these tools for cheating? As much as they can help students, just like Wikipedia, opened up students to a world of information, it seems like ChatGPT needs to be regulated to ensure that students don't submission. I recently read an article about ChatGPT content detectors and how educators are using them just like they have with plagiarism checkers https://infinitepeer.com/how-to-detect-ai-generated-content/

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Unknown member
Mar 27, 2023
Replying to

I think there is a problem with cheating but as with everything it is about learning how to use the resources we have effectively. If we are able to engage students in using it ethically the majority will. There will always be some students who cheat but most recognise they only person they are really cheating is themselves.

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Guest
Jan 12, 2023

This was such a helpful and encouraging and informative post! Thank you!!

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Guest
Jan 04, 2023

Thanks for your insightful post! I'm also very interested in these technologies and can see many implications for education and learning - and lots of potential for the school librarian/teacher librarian to play a huge role in navigating this area. The speed at which these tools are evolving and the ways in which they will change how and what we teach are exciting and scary. I've started an initial collection of articles on Flipboard - https://flipboard.com/@koddone/ai-and-education-ich593oby. Kay Oddone

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Unknown member
Jan 04, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Kay for your useful Flipboard... You have given me an idea to start something similar myself 😊.

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