Students and Faculty React to ChatGPT

For hundreds of years, students at Andover have spent much of their time in classes learning how to write. However, the introduction of ChatGPT, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) language generator, has called into question how and why students traditionally cultivate this skill. Students and faculty share their views on ChatGPT and the role it could play at Andover.  

Ishan Patel ’23

“I think [ChatGPT] is an incredibly powerful tool that we should be able to utilize in school eventually. [There’s] a lot of debate [around if] it should be used to write essays and stuff, and I think that it should be, because there’s no way to prevent students from utilizing the tool, and I think it gives an unfair advantage regardless of whether or not it’s allowed… ChatGPT and the development of AI itself prompts us to ask ourselves the question: should we reconsider how education, in general, is done? I mean, 50 years ago, the calculator really blew up, and then we had an entirely different way we approached math… Eventually, I think we should move away from traditional grading systems, and use AI [in our classes].”

Nicholas Zufelt, Instructor in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

“We, as teachers and students, have established a pretty clear relationship as it comes to calculator use. It’s very clear when it’s okay to use a calculator, when it’s not okay to use a calculator. And if it’s not clear, a student should be asking. I think the exact same thing should hold for ChatGPT… We just need clear conversation around what’s okay and what’s not okay. I think every teacher should be talking about this for a short amount of time with their class, and establish what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. I think, for better or worse, [ChatGPT is] here, and we have to have a conversation about it.”

Anna Du ’24

“[In an academic setting], I think [its usage] very much depends on the subject. For example, in subjects like computer science and things that are more rigid, I would say probably not. But in cases like humanities subjects, like English or history, I think there are some interesting applications. [There’s] this [English teacher] who has their students generate prompts using ChatGPT, and then, in class, they’re deconstructing the argument that ChatGPT makes. Then they’re analyzing some of the good parts of the argument compared to the flaws, and they’re using that in order to generate a new essay. I think that that’s a very interesting application, and I think that [others] would be very interesting in the classroom for English and history.”

Malcolm Tolbert ’26

“To be honest, I think that there should be limits on what academic questions you can ask [ChatGPT] because it can be used to cheat or other things like that, but, at the same time, it also can be used to study and further your academic goals… I think that it is in its early stages… At this current state, it’s not as [well-designed], and it needs to be changed for it to be beneficial to students and teachers.”

Madeline Wong, Instructor in Chemistry

“I’d love for [ChatGPT] to be a dialogue between students and teachers…[but I] just wanted to recognize that the quality of the answers that you get back is not going to be the same thing, necessarily, as thinking through it and getting feedback from a teacher and even talking about it with your peers… [As a teacher, I am interested in] coming up with good cases where ChatGPT can be helpful in terms of being a resource for students to learn and, hopefully, identifying cases where it’s better not to use it because either it comes up with inaccurate answers or because it would actually be a detriment to learning it [yourself].”

Michael Huang ’23

“[ChatGPT] is like a calculator. Eventually, it will become so popularized that regulating it has no effect at all, like you cannot regulate using a calculator for anything that is take-home… I think writing, as an ability or a skill, will not have that much value to learn anymore, just like doing arithmetic is no longer a valuable skill. I mean, it’s still important because writing helps you organize your thoughts and is probably necessary to learn other parts of literature…[but] I think assessments in [English and history] class will have to shift dramatically because of this new tool that we have, just like how math assessments changed when the calculator came about.”

Max Berkenblit ’24

“ChatGPT is a very nuanced tool. [It] can be really helpful in some areas of education, especially when you’re trying to study for something. It’s really great for making mnemonics, ways to memorize stuff, songs, et cetera. Its shortcoming is really when you start to look at academic integrity. So when you see math, computer science, and essays being done, that’s where you really start to see that it’s kind of a problem, especially at a school like Andover that depends really heavily on these types of assignments. I think that Andover needs to reconsider why we assign these, what we’re looking for students to learn, and how we can either implement ChatGPT to reduce its harm or how we can show students the shortcomings of it so that students don’t use it in the first place.”

Ishaan Padmawar ’26

“I think [ChatGPT is] an interesting tool because, while it can be helpful [for finding simple things], [when] it comes to more deep topics like writing essays, I don’t think it should be used because it’s cheating… [I also don’t think it should be used for] research [because] you should be able to do your own research. Being able to find stuff on the internet and in books is a skill that you should have, so just asking the chatbot to do it for you is kind of like cheating… [Something] I like about ChatGPT is that it’s able to condense information and explain it very well. Maybe don’t use it for a history research paper, but [it can be helpful] for personal use.”