Stepping into the Age of AI

“I think that people should do their own work, and I think that it’s harmful to creativity and different
creative fields.” – Senior Ainlsey McCoy

“I don’t think it’s a problem at all to have AI help generate an idea with seeds that are provided to it.” – Anatomy and Physiology and IB Biology 1 teacher Angie Rizzo

“It is a very helpful tool, and it is the future, so we might as well teach students how to use it correctly and efficiently.” – Senior Valentin Galas

Thanks to the digital age, information is at our fingertips, and with the implementation of Artificial Intelligence, this access is only growing.

Students and teachers voice their opinions on how AI should be used in schools, offering a wide range of perspectives.

While there are many differing opinions, Instructional Technology Coach Rachel Baxter argued for a middle ground: the education system must take part in teaching students how to use AI responsibly.

“Regardless of our feelings about AI, the truth is that the world that the students enter, AI is going to be a huge part of it,” said Baxter.

Baxter said that the next step is to teach students how to use the new technology properly. Librarian Elizabeth Toledo agreed.

“We needed to get our mind around it as being a tool instead of all the concern,” Toledo said. “We need to teach people how to use it as we would any other tool.”

Toledo says she cautions students to think about how they are using the technology before submitting any work they used AI to create.

“It’s still a representation of you,” Toledo said. “You are putting your name on it, and this is what you’re submitting to your teacher or an application for college or whatever it might be. It’d behoove you to make sure that you have used smart prompts.”

Baxter said the emergence of AI in schools raises the question on how and when students should be allowed to use it. For IB Literature HL and IB Theory of Knowledge teacher Hendrick Booz, he invites students to use AI as a jumping-off point.

“Most of the difficulty I think that all of us have is getting started on a project, so getting beyond that little barrier, I think there’s where AI works well now,” Booz said.

Anatomy and Physiology and IB Biology 1 teacher Angie Rizzo said that she also thinks that students should use it to prompt their ideas before they develop them.

“I actually encouraged students to [use AI] if they were feeling stumped about coming up with a science fair idea,” Rizzo said.

Senior Valentin Galas agreed, saying he has used AI to find topics for Internal Assessments papers across his IB classes.

“I would look through [the results], and it would have some really good ideas that I would manipulate a little bit to get a different result because I didn’t want to do exactly what it said,” Galas said. “It helped me a lot in finding ideas for major assignments like that.”

Despite AI’s benefits, many teachers have commented on the quality of work it produces.

“I think showing high-level students what crap it produces is of benefit to both of us, and then also to say, here’s how you can use it,” Booz said.

Baxter agreed that AI is not a perfect technology.

“AI can make things up,” Baxter said. “It has a lot of bias because the people that create it have bias which gets put in there.”

Considering the pitfalls in AI’s credibility, Galas said its intended use was not for students to directly copy the chatbox’s responses.

“People should not plagiarize [but] just use it for ideas [and] not just straight up copying and pasting what it’s saying,” Galas said. “That disrupts the learning that each student may have.”

Senior Ainsley McCoy agreed.

“I think that the point of being in schools is to learn, and if you’re trying to use the easy way out of using these different things, using AI to write your essay or something like that, then you’re not really learning,” McCoy said.

McCoy also said that she views AI to be harmful to students developing their writing capabilities in the early years of their education.

“A lot of younger kids will probably use it because it’s an easy way out to get out of homework,” McCoy said. “They won’t build up the skills that are necessary for when they are in high school and have to write on an IB exam where they don’t have that kind of crutch.”

While its use is still a topic of contension, AI is already changing the education landscape.