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Should We Be Embracing AI?

As we continue to adapt to the advancement of technology, the use of artificial intelligence (known better as AI) has become prevalent in our daily lives. Though the use of AI has simplified the tasks in different settings and aided the transformation of many industries, its role in everyday life remains highly debatable. Some may argue that the use of AI in an educational setting can be seen as cheating and dishonest, while others may say that it is beneficial, and can improve the way students learn and grasp challenging concepts. 

The use of AI has expanded to many classrooms. Many school-provided tools like iReady, Microsoft Math, and Quizlet have embraced the use of AI to assist students with personalized learning. This enables users to solve personalized practice problems that strengthen their skills on where they need help the most.

“AI gives you a different view of the world. The different view helps you understand everything you need in a matter of seconds.” declared junior Gabriel Finaldi, a current student at John A. Ferguson Senior High. 

The International Baccalaureate, an advanced educational program recognized in high schools worldwide,  has stated that the use of such tools will not be banned in their program, as long as it is specified that the content of a student’s assignment has been generated by a Large Language Model. On the other hand, school districts such as the New York City Public Schools have attempted to ban the use of such tools, citing concerns about the academic honesty of students, and bias in the algorithms used by them. This ban has then been lifted since May 2023, with the New York Department of Education announcing they would work alongside schools to develop policies for the fair use of AI in their classrooms.

The powerful ability of AI language models leaves the door open for a vast amount of exploits from students. Students have started using AI to complete their assignments in a breeze, without putting any effort at all. 

“One of the resources we use in the English department is some of those filters like TurnItIn.com, so we can have students submit papers, which filters how much of it is written by AI.” shared Ms. Sandra Obando, a beloved English teacher at John A. Ferguson. “That way, if we are telling students ‘This has to be your own work’ we can double check that it is in fact, their own work.” She continues. 

Unfortunately, such tools have also been found to negatively affect students who are non-native English speakers. This is due to the fact that these tools are trained on large amounts of text written by native speakers. While instructors should enforce these kinds of filters to ensure students’ genuine writing, it should not be the only factor to decide whether a text is AI-generated or not. Additional factors may include analyzing the English proficiency of the student, and taking into consideration their writing mood and style.

“They have to build a different type of program to try and help with that.” Ms. Shannon Lugo, physical education instructor, says. “[A possible solution is to] have some kind of a conversion program for the students to possibly help them to convert what [ESOL students] need, so they are getting what they need to get out of the assignment.” 

With AI already being used in the classroom by teachers and students alike, it is imperative to learn about how to apply it correctly in the education field. Careful planning and implementation should be put into place to ensure the safe and effective use of these next-generation tools that are already taking the world by storm. The potential benefits of these tools are significant for students seeking to understand better and learn beyond the classroom, and for teachers to break down the most complex of topics for students to understand. Schools are starting to adapt to these new technologies, and hopefully, Miami-Dade County Public Schools will develop a comprehensive set of guiding principles that benefit students and teachers who use these tools for good.

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