“Calculators” – “ChatGPT” and Creative Adaptation – 101 worlds of science and innovation

Part One: Why do universities exist? When ChatGPT and AI allow us to graduate too.

Part 2: The trend of cheating in exams using ChatGPT: Even though we don't know, why should we worry?

Part 3 What can ChatGPT do and where are its weaknesses?: Things you need to know before adapting.

Part Four: Leading universities and strategies for dealing with ChatGPT decentralization: answering the question but not enough.

From the story of ChatGPT and the world of education that I wrote about in previous episodes, actually the issue of technology and university panic is not new. In the past, when Greek youth had access to writing instruments, he is also concerned that this technology will cause young people to lose their memory skills. In the era when there was access to radio and television, teachers and parents were concerned that this might hinder children's good development. When Google search was just emerging, universities used to fear that the next generation of teachers wouldn't know how to do research.

Some people call this a spiral. “The Absurd Cycle of Technological Panic”

But of all these cases, none is as clear-cut as that of the early calculator. In this article, I will invite readers to take a look at a proposal that I call “creative adaptation.” An idea that comes from taking lessons from the calculator case.

In my last article, I told you that most major universities have a stance on decentralized ChatGPT. This means letting operational-level trainers decide for themselves how much they will or won't use ChatGPT. In fact, the idea behind the decentralization strategy is creative adaptation. In short, this means integrating ChatGPT into the overall teaching and learning enterprise.

I already told you that a decentralized approach may not work. Because the teachers who gained power did not adapt. Using the words just described, it can be said that decentralization may lead a university to not achieve the creative adaptation it dreams of. Before we get to the question of what needs to be done to achieve creative adaptation? I'd like to stop here and tell you a little about calculators.

If we look at history electric calculators appeared around 1957 before gradually becoming more popular. It has been reduced to portable size including the price being tens of dollars cheaper. When the price drops, more people use it. It is estimated that by 1975, 11 out of every 100 American students had a calculator in their school bag. Because of this phenomenon, it has become one of the driving factors pushing America toward the “Era of the Great Divide” in designing mathematics curricula

Teachers and parents at the time were afraid that kids would use calculators to “cheat” on homework or math tests (are you aware of this yet?), and said that cheating was against the rules. Furthermore, it may cause students to be unable to perform basic arithmetic operations on their own. Next, imagine that the older child is having a problem. he won 20% of 36 baht investment He won't be able to think for himself. Pretend you're just clicking the symbols in the question on your calculator and waiting for the result ((20 ÷ 100) x 36)

But then people started wondering: Would the results really be that bad? More deeply, how much does a child need to calculate something like this? The party that came out to ask the question believed that instead of resistance, educational institutions should accept and encourage children to use calculators. Then take the time to train children to solve more complex problems. For example, training to become an accountant does not require heavy arithmetic exercises. Instead, focus on your ability to manage tasks and notice irregularities in the comprehensive list. Minimize the practice of arithmetic skills to understand concepts and perform basic arithmetic operations when necessary.

At the time, this argument was contextual. There is also the “Math War” (Math War), this war is a war between conservative educators who believe in teaching mathematics through the practice of computational thinking. And using symbols and equations (mathematical calculation) as a basis for teaching. With a reformist aspect focusing on mathematical understanding and application at the concept level (conceptual mathematics)

Both sides of the war supported mathematics curricula in different ways. The first aspect adheres to a mathematics teaching style that allows children to memorize symbols. Practice basic calculations to increase accuracy and experience in calculations. The curriculum will focus on reviewing previous lessons. Ready to gradually increase the complexity of codes and calculations according to development.

The latter is more open to the process of obtaining answers to basic calculations, such as allowing students to use drawing and coloring to find answers to fractions. But more emphasis is placed on understanding mathematics at a conceptual level and applying the concepts to decipher and solve real-world problems. They clashed with each other to the point that it led to political conflicts. School boycotts or protest marches at all and sometimes parliamentarians and the president are forced to intervene.

But what was interesting was that the latter were beating each other back and forth until they started to get tired and became motionless. Recently, the debate around calculators has begun to change significantly. That is, the problem began to change from the black and white debate about whether to use a calculator or not. To discuss in terms of degrees of use rather than wondering whether or not to take them all. We should separately ask when schools should allow students to start using calculators. In what activities and how?

When we move to the argument in this way and the schools have begun to adapt in detail. For example, we now agree that young children should not be allowed to use calculators to practice understanding addition, subtraction, multiplication and division at the concept level and in everyday life. But once the child understands the basic concepts and calculations at higher levels may be available. You will have time to practice deciphering more complex problems. As you make adjustments gradually, continue to collect data to conduct research on the extent to which the adjustments cause children's scores on standardized tests to decrease or increase or their understanding of math concepts to decrease or increase.

What did he resort to doing like this? Because at a certain point, calculators have become the new normal in society. It is easy to think that if schools do not train students to recognize this tool, after graduation who will take me to work? And then people will wonder, why are you still sending your child to school? (Does this sound familiar again?)

As for cheating on exams, he stopped worrying. It's not because students don't use calculators to cheat on exams. But because it changed the definition of the word “cheating,” the test had previously been focused on testing an individual’s arithmetic skills. If the expectations and measurement rules are like this, using a calculator is considered cheating. But as he saw this skill became less necessary. (Because there is a calculator) The current curriculum has shifted to giving more importance to testing in other areas such as decoding images and solving problems. The account is only a supporting part. Not a goal If so, using a calculator is not cheating. But it's about supporting higher education.

What do such cases tell us? I think there are 3 interesting points.

1. Adjustment is normal. Adaptation does not mean abandonment. But integrating technology is the new normal in part of teaching and learning. This, apart from not being a problem, is something that needs to be done. Try closing your eyes and imagining it. If we have to take our children to school tomorrow and that school says they have a policy that forbids children from knowing and using calculators. Would parents like us today still dare to send their children to study? In the future, the same feeling may happen with ChatGPT.

2. Universities should not be concerned about students' over-reliance on technology. (Technological dependency) will cause students to lose skills such as writing. The example of the case of calculators shows that such issues are not black and white. It's used and broken. Or if you don't use it, you will get better. But the important question should be about the details of how much, how and what matters a university should apply ChatGPT to.

3. Concerns about “cheating” depend in part on how we define it. What is “academic honesty”? This word is not a fixed thing. Determining what does or does not violate standards depends on what we expect students to think or do. If you want to train children to count numbers, using a calculator is equivalent to cheating. But if you focus on training children to solve problems or implement projects. Using a calculator is not cheating at all.

Simply put, the definition of “cheating” varies depending on the educational objectives. Not all activities can be considered cheating. It all depends on what we expect from the students.

This article is a collaboration between Science Technology and Innovation Policy Institute (STIPI), King Mongkut University of Technology Thonburi and The101.world

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