Saline Library Hosts Informational Talk on ChatGPT with Professor Michael McVey


Michael McVey hosted a talk on ChatGPT and its uses and impacts in the classroom during a recent presentation at the Saline District Library. 

ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a powerful language model utilizing artificial intelligence to that can generate human-like responses to diverse prompts.

McVey, who is president of Saline Area Schools Board of Education, is a professor at Eastern Michigan University, where he teaches educational technology. He has seen the popularity of this technology increase since its debut.

“ChatGPT got one hundred million users in less than two months,” McVey said.

He has heard from a lot of educators who are seeking help when it comes to its usage.

“I ran across a professor who said ‘I caught two students cheating using ChatGPT,'”McVey said.

“My question is this: Did the kids cheat? Probably. But was it because he gave an assignment that they could cheat at using ChatGPT?’”

Educators will have to re-examine their students’ homework in light of this new technology.

“Teachers all over the world are going to have to figure out how we can frame this assignment so that kids are not just going to post it into ChatGPT. This is one of the things I am trying to promote as school board president,” he said. “ It is extraordinarily important to teach writing as a process. A lot of teachers know that, but there are still some that do not.”

McVey showed three examples of a writing assignment about lunch in a school cafeteria and had audience members guess which assignments were written by students and which assignments were written by ChatGPT. Clues on word usage, grammar, and spelling errors were indicated.

Teachers are able to use programs such as Grammarly to see if a student’s work is original or if it was AI-generated.

While this technology can pose challenges for teachers, McVey showed that it also has benefits outside of the classroom. He refers to it as an ‘idea generator’, and gave several examples.

“They’re using artificial intelligence to figure out comprehensive meal plans. You could do a five day plan based on different cuisines.”

To highlight this, McVey asked ChatGPT to devise a recipe using four ingredients.

“It not only tells you how to use it, but it gives you instructions.”

The technology can be used to ask for gift ideas for various age groups based on their interests, as McVey demonstrated, with ChatGPT providing suggestions based on the parameters.

In another example, McVey used the site to write a story for a child, and used another site to create illustrations.

“If you are playing with this at home, try to leave out personal details if you can. Don’t share confidential data,” he said.

McVey compares the use of artificial intelligence to the use of calculators.

“It will eventually just fade into the background. We’ve got to give teachers more experience using it, and the kids are using it anyway at home, so this is the next step.”

McVey noted that artificial intelligence will likely impact the workforce in the near future, and students need to be prepared.

“I think with ChatGPT, if teachers are doing it right, it’s going to change the way that education happens.”

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