Face to Face: Is it ok to use ChatGPT for schoolwork?

Michael Seton

Face-to-Face is a piece that allows two members of the Redwood community to debate a topic. We provide the topic, and they do the rest. This month’s participants are junior Dylan Hecht and a new member of our academic community, ChatGPT. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Will ChatGPT help or hurt your ability to learn as a student?

Dylan Hecht:  When it comes to writing an English essay, I think ChatGPT hinders my ability to learn. However, with math, it enhances my learning ability because it goes through the process of how a math equation works and how it got the answer. In English, it just writes the paragraph out.


ChatGPT:  ChatGPT can help students in a number of ways, such as providing explanations, answering questions and even help them generate text or summaries. However, if ChatGPT is not used responsibly, it could hurt student’s ability to learn. In some ways, ChatGPT may hurt students’ ability to learn including overreliance on the model, lack of critical thinking, lack of creativity, and use of inaccurate information.


Is it cheating to use ChatGPT to gather facts and opinions to write a paper?

DH:  ChatGPT’s purpose isn’t so much to gather information but rather to complete something. You have Wikipedia and other resources to do the data gathering. While ChatGPT can be used to gather that information, you’re better off gathering that research yourself. So it’s more of an assignment completion tool than a research tool.


ChatGPT:  It can be acceptable to use ChatGPT as a tool to gather facts and opinions for an academic paper, as long as the information is properly cited and the student’s own understanding and analysis is clearly presented in the paper. However, it’s important for students to evaluate the credibility of the sources and to be aware of the limitations and potential inaccuracies of the information provided by ChatGPT, as it’s a language model and its information is based on the text it was trained on.


Will students’ writing get better or worse by using ChatGPT?

DH:  It depends. ChatGPT is really diverse in the way it writes so it will impede writers’ creativity, but not necessarily their ability to write.


ChatGPT: The impact of using ChatGPT on students’ writing will depend on how they use it and their own effort and practice. ChatGPT can provide suggestions for word choice, grammar and even generate sample sentences and paragraphs, which can help students improve their writing skills. However, if students rely solely on ChatGPT for information and don’t put in the effort to practice and improve their writing, their writing skills may not improve.


Should students use ChatGPT to write their essays and papers?

DH:  No. The writer’s creativity is a huge factor in how someone writes an essay. Without that creativity, a lot of bland school work will start appearing. But using ChatGPT to write an essay and then revising that essay is a method that does work. Doing revisions would help a writer see errors in the work, but to use ChatGPT to write the entire thing is not good.


ChatGPT:  ChatGPT can be a helpful tool for students when writing essays by providing suggestions for word choice, grammar and even generating sample sentences and paragraphs. However, it should not be used as a replacement for the student’s own effort and creativity.

Using ChatGPT too much may discourage students from developing their own voice and ideas. It’s also important to note that ChatGPT is a language model and it’s not capable of understanding the context, purpose and the specific requirement of the essay that student is writing.


Should students be banned from using ChatGPT?

DH: There should be regulations. ChatGPT is already blocked on school internet. When it comes to assistance, it’s helpful. But when it comes to completing homework or doing assignments, it should be regulated.

ChatGPT:  It’s not necessary to completely ban students from using ChatGPT, as it can be a helpful tool for students to support their learning. However, it’s important for students to use ChatGPT responsibly and to understand its limitations.