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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Implement AI in classrooms

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A human hand and an AI robot hand extend from computer screens to shake. AI offers unique learning opportunities for students and professors willing to incorporate AI in the classroom. (Courtesy of Getty Images)

Artificial intelligence is a new powerful technology disrupting education, but it has the ability to enhance learning and be inclusive to all users.

Educators should embrace the use of AI systems such as ChatGPT, Microsoft Bing Chat and Google Bard to improve their lessons.

A survey of 500 undergraduate students showed that 35% use generative AI chatbots to help with schoolwork. It also showed 62% of students agree that AI will improve learning, according to a 2023 report from McGraw Hill.

Andrea Guzman, an NIU associate journalism professor, wants educators to help students understand these tools and use them in helpful ways.

“I think students have a variety of opinions about artificial intelligence, and I think they’re using it in a variety of ways, but we really don’t know how they’re using it right now,” Guzman said.

Educators’ main concern might be using these programs to substitute critical thinking. It’s easy for students to ask a generative AI to write portions of or entire essays.

“We don’t want the AI to do the writing for them so that they can understand what the difference is between good and bad writing,” Guzman said. “But at the same time, AI can be helpful in understanding what can be good writing.”

Students can use ChatGPT to improve their writing by brainstorming ideas, checking for grammar and punctuation errors, improving vocabulary or getting feedback on their papers.

Samuel Bonilla, a junior finance major, said using AI systems could speed up the process of finding resources to learn subject matter.

“To help you with the conceptual understanding of a larger topic and really give you the necessary formulas,” Bonilla said. “Or potentially, you know, it could lead you in the right direction for what needs to be studied or what you should review.” 

Using AI as a study tool is the right way to use this technology. However, students should remember that the information they receive from software like ChatGPT is not always credible or factual.

“There’s a gap between the individual and the actual learning being done,” Bonilla said. “I think that could be a very negative experience because as a student, you’re really doing a disservice to yourself.”

In 2023, teenagers were invited to share their thoughts on schools using ChatGPT, which ended with mixed reactions. Some students were worried that using AI chatbots would make them lose their creativity and critical thinking skills, while others said AI is the future and could be used for essay outlines, ideas for coding or as a reinforcement tool, according to a project by The New York Times.

Students should be open to using generative AI to help enhance and reinforce their knowledge. Despite the risk of getting inaccurate information, students can use these tools to improve their ideas and not cheat or slack off.

Higher education must embrace the use of AI as a study tool. Professors, alongside teaching to avoid plagiarism, should educate their students on how to use these tools.

“It’s gonna be part of our lives moving forward and finding ways where it’s actually beneficial,” Bonilla said. “It shouldn’t do your work for you, but it should assist you in getting your work done.” 

There is no doubt that AI is changing education, and professors need to adapt their classes to incorporate the future of learning technology.


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