How To Keep Students from Using CHATgpt and AI

Pen on top of a student essay written without ChatGPT.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been about a year since Chat GPT transformed our lives. While there is a lot that AI can help us with, it’s also far from perfect. Students, however, from college down through elementary school have begun using it and claiming AI’s work as their own. So, how do you prevent students from using AI?

Pen on top of essay written by a student instead of ChatGPT

As teachers, we know our students’ work and their authentic voices. It’s always clear to us when work students submit is not their own. The new great conundrum for us is proving it, without setting off a firestorm. So, how do you conteract ChatGPT or another form of AI? Read on for the answer.

Students Have Been Introduced To AI

Let’s be honest: We have all taught students whose parents have essentially done the work on behalf of their child. I’ve even had years where students’ homework has been written in their parent’s handwriting. Parents and students are very grade-conscious today. Unfortunately, priorities sometimes become confused, and the goal of earning an A becomes more important than mastering the material.

There are websites we can use to determine the likelihood a paper was written by AI, but truthfully, without the full backing of your school district, I don’t know how well you’d be able to enforce it as an indicator. Unfortunately, we are all in new territory when it comes to having students use AI to write a paper. How do we address it? How do we bring it up without dealing with backlash?

Avoid the AI Pitfall Altogether

The best way to keep students from cheating by using Artificial Intelligence is to create new assignments and rubrics that are NOT AI-friendly. One tool I use in my room is assigning projects that require explanation presentations. A good example is my Freedom Quilt project. Each student creates their quilt square for African American History Month and presents it to the class. The grading rubric is shared early on with parents and students. The rubric is set up so that the presentation is an integral part of the grade.

If a student stands up to make their presentation with something written by their parents or AI, they inevitably have difficulty reading what was written for them. If a student can’t read what is supposed to be their work, they score poorly. The other great thing about presentations is that they welcome questions. If I’m on the fence about how much of the work the student is responsible for, I ask a question after their presentation that they will know the answer to if they did the work but won’t be able to answer if it was written by someone else. The way my rubric is set up, they lose points if they can’t answer my questions.

In-Class Writing Assignments

Another way to prevent students from using AI is to have them complete important writing tasks in class only. You can still assign some writing assignments for home, but you’ll have to structure your writing grades so that writing done at home is only worth a fraction of what in-class assignments are worth.

To do this well, students need multiple class sessions to complete their assignments. You also have to ensure that their 1 to 1 devices are not used during time dedicated to completing their writing. In-class writing, however, ensures that the parameters you want students to follow are met.

In-Class Research Projects

Research projects can also be created in class, although this one is tricky. For research to be done well, students will need technology. The amount depends on the grade level and subject. For the grade level I teach, it’s easy for the final project that students create to be something other than a paper. It can be a diorama, a poster, quilt square, business, you name it – but I try to steer my students away from traditional writing assignments for research projects.

Parents and Students Must Understand How Projects Are Scored

I send the grading rubric home with the directions for all projects. Students and parents know how projects will be scored from day one. If parents or students want to meet about the final grade given, I have the rubric ready to share with them. I also leave a section on the bottom where I write comments.

While reviewing the rubric with my students, I always say something like, “If your parents do too much of your assignment, you will have a harder time presenting it, so make sure that you participate in making your project. If I taught older students, I’d add a sentence about AI not benefiting them for the same reasons.

One fun idea for older students is for them to learn more about AI, and how it is impacting our lives. Find ways for students to learn how to use AI for good, and not evil. You could also do a unit comparing how this new technology is being received and how new technologies were received in the past.

Whatever you choose to do to counteract the effects of ChatGPT and AI, it is important that we address it head on as Educators. Otherwise, our students will master less and less of our material, which will only hurt them in the long run. Comment below with any tips you use to prevent your students from using AI to complete their assignments.

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How To Keep Students from Using CHATgpt and AI
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  • Reply
    Kathie Yonemura
    February 19, 2024 at 2:37 am

    These are great tips, Michelle! We just had a fourth grader who admitted his older sibling used Chat GPT to help write his essay (which we could tell was not his language). These are conversations that need to be had!

    • Reply
      March 7, 2024 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you! It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year since ChatGPT launched. It has definitely created a new dilemma for educators.

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