ChatGPT has faced a lot of criticism in the realms of education for its use as a tool for cheating. But look past the bad press and the unethical use cases, and the chatbot is actually an incredibly useful learning tool that students can use to enhance their studies - in a completely ethical way.
With that in mind, we've put together this list of six ways students can use ChatGPT to support their learning and academic endeavors.
Let's dive right in!
One of the most time-consuming parts of studying is...well...studying. When your reading list feels neverending and deadlines are stacking up, ChatGPT can do a fair share of the legwork for you.
Simply copy and paste the text from a document, a report, or an ebook into ChatGPT and ask it to summarize the content, and it will provide you with a clear and easy-to-read summary. Better still, if there are specific topics or themes you're looking for, or if you want the summary presented in a certain way, let ChatGPT know and it'll provide you with exactly what you need.
Taking notes during a lecture or seminar can be distracting, and it can be hard to keep up! You're busy trying to write down the last thing your professor said, and before you know it you've missed a huge section, your notes don't make sense, and you've lost track of what they've moved on to.
With ChatGPT, you can upload a lecture transcript, and receive detailed notes in no time. With the right prompt, you'll get a summary of key information from the lecture, structured in a way that suits you. And once you've got that, you can easily skim-read the notes, search them for key points, and share them with your classmates for extra kudos.
Find out how to record and transcribe a lecture - trust us, you'll never look back.
Struggling to get your head around a certain topic? One of the main challenges of online learning is that there are fewer opportunities to interact with your professor and peers and ask questions. And even if you do have plenty of contact time, often time is of the essence and you want to get to the bottom of something right away.
Let ChatGPT be your substitute study companion/personal tutor! It can provide explanations, clarify confusing topics, and offer additional insights to help get things straight and deepen your understanding.
It can also assist students in solving problems in subjects like math, physics, and programming. It can provide step-by-step explanations, offer strategies, and help you work through complex calculations or coding challenges.
While in theory ChatGPT can write entire essays for you from scratch, it goes without saying that we would never recommend this. Firstly because it's unethical. And secondly because the chatbot is prone to making up facts and figures and presenting them as if they were real and true - meaning your essay could be practically a work of fiction.
But that's not to say it can't be used to help you polish your written assignments. Once you've finished doing your research and writing your coursework, ChatGPT can help you by suggesting sentence structures, offering grammar and spelling checks, and providing feedback on how coherent and well-structured your essay is.
As important as it is, citation and referencing can often be boring and repetitive. And it can be confusing too, with different rules and conventions depending on the referencing style you've been asked to use.
Take advantage of ChatGPT to provide guidance on proper citation formats, generate references for you, and ensure accuracy and consistency in formatting. That way, you reduce the risk of getting penalized for incorrect or inadequate referencing.
Last but not least, ChatGPT can also be used to help you organize your study schedule. Provide the chatbot with information about your courses, deadlines, other commitments, and availability, and ChatGPT will help you create a structured timetable that meets your needs.
This is particularly useful if you need to cram a lot into a short period of time, like in the lead-up to your exams. Use follow-up prompts to place more emphasis on certain topics, add in breaks, or even to ask for subject-specific study tips.
And there you have it! Six effective and ethical ways to use ChatGPT for studying.
In theory, there's nothing stopping students from using ChatGPT so long as they use it ethically and to support their studies, not to write entire assignments or to pass assessments.
According to a recent survey from Study.com, 67% of teachers do not believe ChatGPT should be banned in schools, because they can see that the chatbot can be leveraged as a helpful tool in many different scenarios.
That said, it's worth checking with your school or college, as they may have specific guidelines and rules regarding using ChatGPT.
The quick answer is yes, it tends to be fairly obvious to teachers when a student uses ChatGPT content as if it were their own. In fact, the same study from Study.com found that more than one in four teachers have caught students cheating using ChatGPT. What's more, OpenAI (the creator of ChatGPT) has developed a new tool to help call out instances of cheating, and hopefully deter it.
So it goes without saying that you should use ChatGPT wisely, and only to support your studies, not to write entire assignments.
Used the right way, ChatGPT can be an incredibly useful tool for students, helping with everything from note-taking and research to grammar and citations. Keep in mind, though, that the tool is still in development, it may not always provide you with factual information, and it should always be used with caution.
For more insight into how artificial intelligence can supplement your studies, check out our article on the use of AI in education.
Written By Katie Garrett