A student working on a computer

Don’t ban ChatGPT in schools

Another notable voice has spoken against banning ChatGPT in schools.

Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, was interviewed by Education Week yesterday. He says banning ChatGPT and other AI technologies will leave students at a disadvantage:

“The same week that New York City public schools banned ChatGPT, Anthropic [an AI safety and research company] posted a prompt engineer job paying $275,000 a year…. If New York City’s ban were effective, you’re essentially keeping kids from this transformation of technology, which isn’t just going to be for prompt engineers. It’s going to be for any job that probably anybody is going to do for the rest of time.”

Taking his argument to its logical extreme would be problematic. If a skill is necessary for the job market, it should be taught in K-12; therefore any skills NOT necessary for employment should be omitted from school. But Khan is not arguing the extreme, he’s talking about a revolutionary skill that literally could become the foundation of all intellectual work. So if we do see school as life preparation, as we should, then his argument to include AI in school is sound.


I’ve argued before that we must find ways to teach and assess students’ critical thinking skills on their own as well as their abilities to apply AI to their work. How can we do this without reverting to in-class handwritten work?

A few options:

1. Build assignments around generating prompts and predicting their results. Prompts are metacognitive: they require the prompter to think critically about how one would produce the intended result, rather than just produce that result themselves. This is arguably a more complex cognitive process. Ask students to write a prompt, then to write a prediction of what a good AI response to their prompt might be, and then have them run the prompt and evaluate their prediction. (Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy fans: this checks some of the furthest boxes on both axes!)

2. Rather than assessing the product of a student’s work, assess the process. Do this in conversation with the student: why did you write this argument? How did you get to your result? What if you needed to solve it a different way? It adds time to the assessment process but it’s worth it. (Even in the absence of AI tools, it’s worth it.)

3. Use ChatGPT for its intended use: chat! A student can practice their conversational skills by having a conversation in the target language, or use ChatGPT to practice verb conjugations by requesting examples of specific verb tenses in context.

(The examples in that last point, with a few minor edits, are direct from ChatGPT. If you’ve not tried augmenting your work with it, you’re really missing out.)

How are you using AI in your learning or work, and what’s your stance on including it in education? Love to hear from you in the comments!





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