Professor Jing Lei: ChatGPT in the Classroom Presents Both Challenges and Opportunities

“ChatGPT is not the first nor the last technology innovation that brings challenges as well as opportunities to education. It wouldn’t be a good idea to try to compete against technology, but rather to figure out how to work together with technology,” says Professor Jing Lei, Syracuse University School of Education Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Jing Lei headshot

“For educators, the first step is to understand what ChatGPT can or cannot do (and it’s evolving), and then to consider how the use of a technology like ChatGPT might help to achieve learning objectives and educational goals.”

Lei says the key is to help students learn from and learn with the technology. “For example, reviewing and critiquing works produced by ChatGPT can help students develop critical thinking skills, or students can practice creative thinking in giving original instructions to ChatGPT. Such technology forces us to be more creative with our teaching, in what to teach, how to teach, and how to assess student learning.”

Lei also offers some suggestions for educators who are concerned that students might use ChatGPT to cheat. “First, to focus on the learning objective instead of the format of assessment. For example, what’s the learning objective for students to write an essay? Are there other practices that can achieve the same objective? Second, find resources and support to detect AI work.”

Lei adds, “Now there are websites and apps that can detect if a work is produced by AI, or specifically ChatGPT, and there will be more resources available.”

By Christopher Munoz