Writing the essay in 80 seconds

A closer look at the impacts of AI in the classroom

The room is full of the clacking of computer keys. The teacher has assigned an essay. There is no doubt that AI is being used, but is this entirely a bad thing? While there are the students writing the essay entirely with AI, there are others using it through Grammarly and to cite sources and get constructive feedback. So where is the line? Is the world of AI clear-cut black and white, or is it more complicated than that?

Both teachers and students have found that using AI for some assignments can be helpful. However, teachers have also found it to be a detriment to teaching.

“[AI] can make some tedious work much more efficient,” CIS World History teacher Tara Rosh said. “For example, today I showed some students how to very quickly create some APA citations [with AI]. The fact that students can definitely use it to cheat and basically not do anything. That’s really concerning to me.”

However, students can also use AI as a positive aid for school work.

“For one of my projects, I had to make a slideshow about a picture book,” Lucas Lawrence ‘25 said. “I didn’t want to do the illustrations myself, but I knew pictures out there of what I wanted just didn’t exist. I was able to utilize an AI-generated image thing, and ask the AI to generate me an image of this. It gave me a great picture that I was able to use in my presentation.”

AI has changed the relationship between teacher and student as well as the way that teachers view assessments and assign work. It has also changed the way that work must be turned in.

“It makes it a less trusting place to be,” said English Teacher and creator of the Writecheck AI feedback generator Ryan McCallum, “and then teachers are starting to spend more time chasing cheaters, which is very much not fun.”

There may be a need for change, but can we change fast enough to keep up?

“I think [progress we make] is probably slower than how fast AI technology [is developing],” said Rosh. “We’re just sort of beginning to have discussions about AI as a staff.”

Students and teachers that use AI have the ability to use it for good.

“People got nervous about [AI] until they realized that it could actually be used for good things,” said Lawrence. “Now I think that if it continues to be used for good things, it can be a great resource for the students and the teachers both.”

Students and teachers found uses that benefit everyone yet there is also a common problem. AI being misused as a form of intelligence.

“Some teachers know kids are cheating,” said McCallum, “and I know some who have said ‘I wasn’t hired to be an AI scanner’. So they’re just gonna roll with it and pretend like everything’s legit because it makes them miserable to spend 12 hours copying text into various AI detectors and analyzing document histories and looking at everybody’s changes and to see if they wrote a whole essay in 10 minutes, or if they actually did the work Or did they put their phone up next to their computer and have their Snapchat AI type it and then they type it so it looks like it was written over time instead of pasted into the document?”

However, others do not agree that cheating is widespread at BHS.

“It’s not widely used by students yet,” said physics teacher Paul Anderson, “because there’s not enough understanding. You need to know what to do in the first place in order to cheat.”

Teachers found misuse of AI is common for students looking for shortcuts. That idea is tiny in scale considering the world as the presence of AI has brought changes benefiting people around the world.

“I think this is equivalent to the printing press or even the internet itself,” said McCallum. “This is a world-changing invention.”

AI is here to stay and will likely have an increasing presence in the future world.

“I definitely think that [AI is] going to do some incredible things,” said Rosh. “There’s talk that it could have the ability to diagnose people and cure diseases – maybe far better than what people are capable of doing. There is also the possibility that it will take over a lot of jobs that we currently have and those jobs will no longer exist. So as a society, we will have to come up with new economic theories as to how to deal with the changes in the workforce it’s going to bring. Just like with the Industrial Revolution, humankind came up with economic theories of capitalism, socialism and communism. There will be new economic theories that you will all have to come up with to deal with the changing workforce under AI.”

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