Large Language Models in education could reform or transform. My stab at using ChatGPT in my seminar. I think it worked, but there are big questions.
It’s great to hear about the outcome of your seminar, and I like the bookending/framing of your process with King Thamus. At the very least, you’ve placed the questions - to use or not to use, and how - in their minds going forward. But I do think there’s something to the idea that it’s useful insomuch that you are already an expert in the material; you still need to know what things mean and how they can work together.
I really appreciate the thoroughness with which you documented your experiment. I’d love to see something similar applied well down into elementary schools, when students are first learning the think/write. I wonder how early kids will be learning to use ChatGPT and whether they will quickly approach it just as we did books when we were young, as simply something to test ourselves against?
Mark, this is a really thoughtful (and thought-provoking piece). I think you probably already know where I'm going to land on the mere tool vs. more pervasive technology question and the Phaedrus discussion is a good parallel to consider. In many ways if we think of any tool as a "mere tool" we're kidding ourselves. Of course some tools shape us more or less than others but I can't help but think that LLMs are going to be on the "more" side of the equation because of the interface.
I think LLMs and AI tools more generally will be more impactful because of the way that we directly interact with them and how they connect directly with our writing and thus, in a way, with our thinking.
Really good stuff here and I love the way that you prototyped some of these things in your seminar this semester. Bravo!