Bangkok Patana School
Asking Better Questions
Over the recent Christmas break, I was fascinated by the explosion of interest and discussion about a new online tool that was released to the public on November 30, 2022.
This tool, named ChatGPT, is a language model developed by OpenAI that can generate human-like text. It can be used for a wide range of tasks such as language translation, question answering, text summarisation and more. The release of ChatGPT generated great debate amongst educators, many of whom were excited about its potential, whilst others were concerned about the implications it could have on academic integrity.
As a school community, it is important that we stay informed and educated about new technologies, and this is no exception. Recently, I had the pleasure of leading a staff meeting where we discussed the potential of this technology (AI writing in general) to significantly change education in a positive way. Instead of being worried about the challenges that this technology may bring to academic integrity, we encouraged our staff to explore and embrace the potential benefits for our students.
One of the most significant potential benefits of this technology is its ability to function as a personal tutor for our students. Imagine a student who is struggling to understand a particular concept or piece of literature. With this tool, they can input their question and receive a personalised response that is tailored to their individual needs and learning style **. This can be especially beneficial for students who may not have access to additional resources or one-on-one tutoring.
At Bangkok Patana School, we aim to provide a challenging and inclusive education that develops inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people. I believe that this technology has the potential to enhance our mission and values by providing our students with a powerful tool that can help to achieve this. By providing them with personalised support, they can develop a deeper understanding of the subjects they are studying, which in turn can lead to greater engagement and interest in their learning.
I also believe that the use of this technology can help us to ask "better questions." As teachers, we must set better tasks for our students which allow positive use of new technologies, and as students, we must learn to ask better questions in order to maximise output whilst using this tool. This technology can foster critical thinking and deeper understanding of subjects. By encouraging students to ask more thoughtful and inquisitive questions, it can lead to greater engagement and learning.
It is important to recognise that this technology is still in its infancy and it will be a privilege to learn alongside it as it grows and develops. As educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that our students are learning how to use this technology responsibly, and that they are aware of the implications of using it to cheat or plagiarise.
I would like to encourage our community to embrace the potential of this technology. By approaching it with an open mind and a willingness to learn, we can leverage its capabilities to further our mission and values. This is an exciting journey, and I personally look forward to discovering the full potential of this technology, and how it can support the education of our students.
By Matt Seddon*
*Or was it….The above article was generated by the websire https://chat.openai.com/ with the following commands:
“You are the Secondary Principal of Bangkok Patana School. Empathy and community are important to you. You are writing a magazine article, for the audience of our community (Parents, Staff and Students). Please write an article between 800 - 1000 words, introducing them to ChatGPT and AI writing. Please focus on Patana's values and aims and use the following key points:
- concern around academic integrity.
- A recent staff meeting led by myself encouraged staff to be excited by it's potential.
- It’s potential to significantly change education in a positive way.
- It can be a personal tutor
- It can enhance our mission and values.
- the importance of us asking "better questions". This is relevant both to how we use the tool, and as teachers to students - we must set better tasks.”
** Learning Styles – “Students may have preferences about how to learn, but no evidence suggests that catering to those preferences will lead to better learning”.
Cedar Riener and Daniel Willingham. The Myth of Learning Styles, 2010
Updated research in this area questions the importance that has previously been placed on this area. Could its inclusion in this article be a signature of a maturing platform?
My takeaway - whichever way we react to this new technology; it is not going away. The technology is only going to get better. If you like, Pandora’s box has been opened. I am genuinely excited to work with students, parents and staff, to discover how we can “ask better questions” so that this technology can benefit us all.
By Matt Seddon, Secondary Principal, Bangkok Patana School