What Is ChatGPT and How Is It Impacting Schools?

Paige Geis Bradshaw

Remember when you spent hours at the library or on the computer in order to craft the perfect research paper? You likely first learned about the structure of an essay in elementary school!

What if you’d had a tool that could have done all the work for you?

It may not have existed then, but it does exist now. Meet ChatGPT: a revolutionary form of artificial intelligence that can write up just about anything you ask it to!

The release of ChatGPT has made headlines and sparked controversy. From the potential impact on copywriting careers to the possible detrimental effect on public education, people are raising their eyebrows in both awe and concern at ChatGPT. Keep reading to find out why!

What Is ChatGPT?

Developed by OpenAI—an artificial intelligence research and deployment company—ChatGPT is an advanced chatbot that interacts with users in a uniquely conversational way.

In fact, ChatGPT looks a lot like an online messaging platform. All you need to do is initiate a conversation and ChatGPT will respond to what you write. Whether you input “How are you today?” or “Write an introduction to an essay about the American Revolution,” ChatGPT will instantly deliver an answer.

How? Well, artificial intelligence! The technology behind ChatGPT—featuring rule-based and machine-learning algorithms—answers your questions, challenges inaccuracies in your requests, and improves future responses based on previous mistakes. It can concoct just about anything it’s prompted to, from academic essays to creative stories.

Just launched in November 2022, ChatGPT is still new. But it’s learning and adapting more and more every day! (An equally cool and scary thought.)

Advantages of ChatGPT

As far as your child’s education is concerned, there are various advantages of ChatGPT.

Instant and Easily Accessible Results

ChatGPT offers responses to your prompts almost immediately! Whatever your child may be using ChatGPT for, they won’t have to wait long for an answer. Plus, anyone can use ChatGPT! It’s free, easy to use, and widely accessible.

Creative Inspiration

For many, the hardest part of a project is knowing where to begin. With ChatGPT, your child can find inspiration and put an end to their writer’s block! They can generate ideas for essay topics, kickstart a killer introduction to a book report, and get those creative juices flowing.

Picks Up the Pace

If your child is stuck in a class that piles on the busy work, ChatGPT can help them swim through the tasks more quickly.

Need to analyze every chapter of The Great Gatsby for English? Have to come up with weekly discussion questions for social studies? ChatGPT can make the load a little lighter.

Disadvantages of ChatGPT

That said, as the Spider-Man series once reminded us, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

It’s a double-edged sword to have a language-processing tool as powerful as ChatGPT. Though it can be helpful, ChatGPT also poses complex challenges and ethical issues.

Here are are some disadvantages of ChatGPT:


ChatGPT creates content not only by learning through daily interactions with users, but by pulling from various online sources. ChatGPT had to learn from something in the beginning—content like Wikipedia pages, news articles, and academic journals provided that data.

If your child simply copies and pastes what they generate in conversations with ChatGPT, they run the risk of plagiarizing material.

Erases Crucial Skills

Few people enjoy writing essays or taking spelling tests. However, these language and literature assignments and assessments teach crucial skills:

  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Language mechanics
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Research skills
  • Sentence structure
  • Writing composition

If your child regularly completes their English homework with ChatGPT-generated content, they might be missing out on fundamental language lessons that will support their success throughout their life.

Eliminates Emotion

The fact of the matter? ChatGPT is a robot. And robots lack the emotion, relatability, and, well, humanity that we all have!

In addition to an absence of emotion—which makes writing worth reading—ChatGPT responses can contain unnaturally long and redundant phrasing.

The Easy Way Out

Even if your child finds their school projects to be uninteresting or irrelevant, there’s something to be said for sticking it out and seeing it through.

Life is full of unpleasant tasks and annoying responsibilities. Homework has always offered students valuable perspective in perseverance! With platforms like ChatGPT, your child skips the life lesson and takes the fast track.

Compromises Creativity & Integrity

The primary ethical concern with ChatGPT comes down to this: are you really doing your own work when you use it?

With ChatGPT, there is no creativity or originality required. The less anyone uses those traits, the harder it will be to call upon them in the future.

Imperfect Alternative

As a fairly new platform, ChatGPT is rife with bugs. It responds with incorrect and illogical answers, struggles with complex ideas and concepts, and hesitates to provide clear and concise information.

ChatGPT and Schools

It should be no surprise that ChatGPT and schools simply don’t mix. Educators are among the most opposed to ChatGPT.

Jenna Lyle, spokesperson for the New York City Education Department, said: “While the tool may be able to provide quick and easy answers to questions, it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success.”

Schools across the country are blocking access to ChatGPT and prohibiting use for academic projects. Many schools are classifying the use of ChatGPT as cheating—with serious consequences to follow.

ChatGPT was not intended to be used for homework or cutting corners, anyway. Company spokespeople said, “We don’t want ChatGPT to be used for misleading purposes in schools or anywhere else, so we’re already developing mitigations to help anyone identify text generated by that system.”

All in all, there are certainly perks to using ChatGPT. But it’s an imperfect tool. Even Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, said: “ChatGPT is incredibly limited, but good enough at some things to create a misleading impression of greatness. It’s a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now.”

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