MSMHS Blocks Student Use of AI. That's (Mostly) a Bad Idea.

Seniors Loralei Bishop and Theo McGee debate artificial intelligence at MSMHS.

MSMHS Blocks Student Use of AI. That's (Mostly) a Bad Idea.
Photography and illustration by Kaiden Chandler.

By Loralei Bishop and Theo McGee

Each month, Loralei and Theo have a conversation on an MSMHS-focused issue.

What to Know: With the advent of artificial intelligence and ChatGPT, the administration has taken a largely anti-AI response as they work to debate the merits of its use. Seniors Loralei Bishop and Theo McGee sat down to debate these AI bans and what they’d like to see in the future. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Theo: All right, hello. My name is Theo McGee. I am a senior here at MSMHS and an editor of The Current.

Loralei: And I’m Loralei Bishop, a senior here and a member of The Current.

Theo: So today, Loralei and I are going to be discussing artificial intelligence (AI) and its place in the classroom.

Loralei: It's been an issue for a long time and there are a lot of issues that have come up around it.

Theo: So, two years ago, ChatGPT came out and it swept the world by storm, including the educational world. Students do not have access to many forms of AI; they’re frequently banned on our school computers.

Loralei: Unless you have a teacher that specifically focuses on AI, there is no place in school where are we taught about AI literacy. So unless you're informed about it in school, there's no way to really learn about it. 

Theo Absolutely, that is a concern because it is absolutely going to be used when all of us get into the workforce. It is hurting the students because we don't have any access to artificial intelligence and the benefits that it has. 

We also don’t have access to the negative parts of AI. If we did have access to this then we would be more prepared for these risks and would be able to go further in the workforce. 

Loralei: You need to know how to craft the prompts right and if there's no one teaching us that, then we're going to be behind other people that know how to do it.

Theo Yeah, and there are valid concerns from the administration, which doesn’t want students to have access to AI on their computers to cheat on homework or plagiarize. But if students are going to do that, they're going to find a way to do that. Many students have computers at home or phones where they access ChatGPT, so banning just harms students with harder backgrounds.

Loralei: Yeah, it creates an equity issue, because the majority of people might have a way to access it at home, but certain people do not. If a kid's going to use ChatGPT, they're going to find a way to use it. In my opinion, we should teach kids how to use it in an ethical way. 

Theo: Absolutely. There were the same concerns with the internet about students looking everything up, and now it's just an everyday tool that it would be insane not to use. I think that over the next ten years or so, AI will eventually become that way. MSMHS can adopt it early since we already have the ability to look forward. We need to continue that into AI. 

Loralei: AI can also help people with learning disabilities. It can help you read complex stuff. Some things are worded in a way that is hard to understand; if you put it in ChatGPT and simplify it, it can help so much. 

Theo: I think that what you just touched on is another thing that is concerning administration: kids not doing the homework because they can say summarize a chapter. I think that's a valid concern because this makes it so much easier to do homework. You wouldn't have to do any readings — you just copy and paste it in. But again it goes back to students who want to cheat on homework. If they're going to cheat, they're going to use SparkNotes or something similar.

Loralei: Yeah, they will get around it. So those are all of the main concerns that I heard from teachers and administrators. They aren’t totally valid because students already have access to AI — if they want to cheat, they are going to cheat. We need to teach kids how to use it ethically because otherwise, they're going to go behind the teachers’ backs and use it for homework and essays.

More on artificial intelligence

What’s Going on with AI at MSMHS?
Teachers and administrators offer thoughts on artificial intelligence and education.
The Current