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AI Chatbots in Education Can Enhance Student Engagement and Support

A teenage student sits on a park bench with her phone and laptop engaged in a school assignment.While artificial intelligence (AI) incorporates a broad range of innovative apps and tools, one in particular has recently captured the most attention: ChatGPT. The natural language processing AI, more frequently called a chatbot, can write essays, solve math problems and produce computer code. It is little wonder AI chatbots in education have become a hot topic.

It’s not just education feeling the impact. ChatGPT has the potential to transform aspects of almost every industry. But it may have the most exciting applications in education, where it has the potential to revolutionize the way students learn, engage and receive support.

By leveraging AI chatbots, educators and schools can create personalized, dynamic learning experiences that cater to the unique needs of each student, increasing engagement. Fresno Pacific University’s online ChatGPT Crash Course for Educators prepares teachers with the best practices for putting the AI chatbot to work for them.

What Is an AI Chatbot?

Other companies are developing AI chatbots, but ChatGPT is currently dominating the world stage for generating text, creating ideas and solving problems. AI chatbots understand and generate human-like text based on the input they receive. Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is specifically fine-tuned to excel in generating conversational responses.

ChatGPT understands prompts and generates coherent and contextually relevant responses. Writing for the New York Times, tech columnist and author Kevin Roose wrote that the “freakishly capable tool” has caused concern among educators that students will use it to cheat.

However, he added, “I believe schools should thoughtfully embrace ChatGPT as a teaching aid—one that could unlock student creativity, offer personalized tutoring and better prepare students to work alongside AI systems as adults.”

Potential Benefits of AI in Education

While AI chatbots present educators with challenges, particularly in monitoring their use among students, they also represent a potential leap forward in enhancing student engagement and support. AI is in its early evolution, but there are already benefits to using ChatGPT.

One of the foremost capabilities is the ability of AI chatbots to adapt to individual student learning styles and preferences, offering tailored learning experiences. Traditional classrooms often struggle to accommodate the diverse pace at which students grasp concepts. AI chatbots can provide real-time feedback, answer questions and offer additional resources based on a student's progress and performance.

Another significant advantage of AI chatbots in education is their availability around the clock. Students can access assistance, clarification and guidance on their coursework anytime. The interactive nature of AI chatbots also allows them to simulate conversations, quizzes and interactive exercises that make learning more enjoyable and effective.

They also can assist students by recommending supplementary resources, suggesting further reading, and even helping with skill development. This continuous support encourages a lifelong learning mindset, where students perceive education as an ongoing journey rather than a limited study period.

AI chatbots can manage routine administrative tasks for teachers, such as answering frequently asked questions, providing assignment instructions, and scheduling appointments. This automation frees educators' time, enabling them to focus on more meaningful student interactions.

AI chatbots can also help educators create a more inclusive learning environment. They can support students with various learning styles, abilities and backgrounds, ensuring that every student has equal access to educational resources and assistance.

Fresno Pacific University’s ChatGPT Crash Course for Educators

The ChatGPT Crash Course of Educators introduces teachers to this groundbreaking technology. They learn the many exciting potential uses of the AI-driven tool—as well as the challenges. Through hands-on experience, educators learn the best practices for managing ChatGPT in the classroom and how it can support students and help them manage administrative tasks.

Todd Vazquez, Ph.D., teaches the course. He has been involved with coding for decades and works as an instructional designer, helping design Fresno Pacific University’s many online courses, including professional development courses for educators.

Part of the course focuses on creating academic integrity policies and identifying ethical criteria to judge how students use ChatGPT. The ChatGPT course goes beyond just technicalities, offering insight into the emotional states ChatGPT can evoke in users and the implications for age-specific regulation of the tool. It’s a timely course for teachers who want to understand how to use the latest AI-powered digital tool in their classroom.

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