The Impact of ChatGPT: Are Public School Restrictions Giving Private School Students Unfair Advantages?

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Articles based on artificial intelligence (AI) are becoming commonplace in today’s education system. As technology advances, tools like ChatGPT are becoming more accessible and are capable of reshaping the way we learn and teach. The potential of ChatGPT is unprecedented and numerous schools across Australia are now integrating the AI tool into their classrooms.

At Our Lady of Mercy College, an independent Catholic school in Sydney’s west, History teacher Matt Esterman is using the tool to help revolutionize the way students acquire knowledge. By using ChatGPT, students are able to save time and access more visually engaging and accurate content. Arlene Kumar and Freya Scothern are taking advantage of the educational tool, finding it useful when it comes to quickly finding quotes and information.

Experts have also suggested that AI technology could also be used to tackle the teacher shortage problem in Australia. By cutting administrative work, the tool could make the job more engaging and help teachers focus on what they do best – teach in the classroom. Professor Sam Sellar from the University of South Australia supports this view, believing that the use of AI tools should be encouraged and explored further.

But ChatGPT has been banned in most public schools in Australia – leaving private schools with an unfair advantage. This has raised concerns about potentially widening the digital class divide in the country. Industry Professor Leslie Loble from the University of Technology believes now is the time to address these issues and put safeguards in place to ensure the use of AI is ethical and equitable.

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Matt Esterman himself sees the use of AI in education as a logical progression from ancient to modern times – where every tool from the library to the internet has been used to search for the best available information. With the help of AI technology like ChatGPT, we are able to access data and insights in seconds rather than hours and can quickly move onto secondary tasks such as formative assessments and lesson plans.

The upcoming meeting of all the education ministers in July offers great opportunity for a discussion on the best ways to use AI tools in the Australian education system – benefiting teachers and students alike.

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