One Year On: Chat-GPT’s Impact on Education

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A new report shows Chat-GPT’s startling impact on computer science education just a year after its release. After becoming the fastest-adopted technology in history, with over 100M users in the first month, Chat-GPT is changing classrooms unlike any technology in generations.

The classroom, for the most part, hasn’t changed much in 100 years. Rows of front-facing desks take aim at a teacher who stands in front of a board, explaining ideas to students.

A New Educational Paradigm

For the last twelve months, however, a newly emerged paradigm has been shifting this age-old tradition. An A.I. is doing the teaching, and each student gets individual attention.

The report from Programiz surveyed over 10,000 programmers and coders, most of whom were students. 67% said Chat-GPT was their “primary source or aid for learning programming.”

Students arriving at college to study computer science come with differing levels of competence in various programming languages. Lectures on basic concepts might be vital to some but are already well-known to more experienced students.

It’s a common problem in educational circles: how do you teach a group with different abilities without boring the brightest or leaving behind the least capable?

One-on-one teaching is the answer, but it’s rarely economically feasible until now. Using an A.I. like Chat-GPT to do the teaching, every student can set goals and get the personalized instruction they require.

What did the students think?

30% of respondents felt that Chat-GPT outperforms college lectures, and 36% preferred it over using Google.

Instant Answers and Feedback

Unlike traditional classroom teaching, book learning, or even performing a web search, using the Chat-GPT gives students instant answers. For example, students can ask Chat-GPT to “Correct my code” and paste their code, and the A.I. will debug the problems, an instant fix.

Once corrected, the student can type, “Explain what I did wrong,” and Chat-GPT will give an explanation.

There is no other teaching method that can give this kind of instant feedback simultaneously to a classroom full of learners. 

Students see the value, too. 72% say they use Chat-GPT multiple times per week, and they can save the answers within a second brain app, like Obsidian. 

Personalized Answers

When a student has a specific problem, they need a specific solution. No matter how good a lecturer is, there’s no way they can solve every student’s individual issue. Many also feel uncomfortable raising their problems in class, depending on their personality type.

Students must find an alternative. Usually, that means searching Google for others who have had a similar problem, but when they find an answer, it might not solve their exact issue.

Finding a precise answer to a coding problem is very unlikely when coding something unique. What makes Chat-GPT different is that it can understand what you are trying to do, read your code, and give you an answer specifically for your use case.

Engaging Learning Environment

If a professor is hard to understand or easily gets side-tracked, students will have difficulty learning much in class. With an A.I. instructor, however, it will adapt to how the student wants to learn.

If a learner struggles, asking it to “explain that again in simpler terms,” is all it takes. Asking Chat-GPT to “give 5 examples with increasing complexity,” or “quiz me like a game show and keep score.”

Rather than explaining dry concepts, Chat-GPT can show how to use the idea to code a game or anything the learner finds more interesting. By making their learning environment more stimulating, students become more interested and ultimately learn better.

Will Chat-GPT Replace Traditional Education Methods Anytime Soon?

84% of the I.T. specialists and students surveyed feel that educational institutions should adjust their programming curriculum for Chat-GPT. However, when asked if it could completely replace traditional teaching methods, only 17% agreed.

Chat-GPT and other large language models like Google’s PaLM, which powers Bard, are new technologies. Although they can already give tremendous value, developers are still making necessary improvements.

33% of users reported that there were glitches or bugs with Chat-GPT. Other common complaints included “inconsistencies in responses,” and “inaccurate or irrelevant responses.”

So don’t expect a rehaul of the educational system anytime soon, although it’s likely that A.I. models like Chat-GPT will become increasingly common.