The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) recently made headlines for its decision to allow the use of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence language model, in classrooms.
ChatGPT, also known as Conversational Human-like Artificial Text Generator, is a language model developed by a Hong Kong-based company, PELAGO AI. The AI language model has been trained and equipped with a vast amount of text data to generate human-like responses to language queries.
The use of ChatGPT in the classroom actually has several potential benefits. One significant advantage would be helping students to learn more efficiently and effectively, given that the language model generates instant and accurate answers, saving research time to focus on more challenging discussions. It was also said that using ChatGPT helps students to develop essential skills like critical thinking and problem-solving by interacting with the human-like AI.
The decision to allow the use of ChatGPT in the classroom has stirred mixed reactions from the academic community. Some experts praised the move as a step forward to embrace technological advancements in the education field.
Why can’t we let students use ChatGPT to write a first draft, and have them tweak and thoroughly analyse it to enrich the content?”, said John Tsang.
John Tsang Chun-wah, former finance chief supported the use of ChatGPT inside classrooms, by likening the uncalled prohibition of ChatGPT to “not allowing students to use a calculator, only letting them use pen and paper.” While it was pointed out that robotic tasks should be left to robots, educators should instead actively think how to integrate these AI tools into the curriculum to motivate students to be more creative.
ChatGPT saves me a lot of time and energy on completing meaningless tasks, so I can put more effort into learning and analysing more advanced knowledge”, said Noriko Chan.
Noriko Chan, a student majoring in Psychology in EdUHK, feels a lot safer for using the AI language model after getting official approval from the university. As a university student, Chan found out that it not only makes learning easier and faster, but also motivates students to create and improve as it requires less effort now. When asked about the risk of plagiarism, Chan emphasised that those who wished to cheat will still choose to cheat even when ChatGPT does not come within sight, so cancelling the AI just for those people is simply not “worth it”.
While the Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) has allowed the use of ChatGPT in its classrooms, other universities in Hong Kong have taken different approaches. The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has established an Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative, which aims to promote responsible and ethical AI usage. Hong Kong’s Baptist University (HKBU) also sent warning letters to students for committing plagiarism if words or ideas are taken from ChatGPT, as the academic use of any AI-powered chatbots are temporarily banned and a long-term policy will be hammered out. The Chinese University of Hong Kong announced policies of expulsion if students are caught using ChatGPT without authorisation.
There are other universities holding perspectives resembling that of EduUHK, such as the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) which allows the use of the AI robot to “a certain extent”. In contrast to the majority, the Education University of Hong Kong remains committed to its decision to allow the use of ChatGPT inside classrooms. The university believes that incorporating AI technology into daily learning can help its students stay ahead of the curve in nowadays’ increasingly competitive world. While the decision is still primary, it is interesting to see how this technology evolves and how it will shape the future of learning in Hong Kong.
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