Q: Is AI forcing us to switch to project-based learning? A: Not really, but…

The newest moral panic, as I’m sure you’ve heard, has teachers and professors clutching their pearls about AI, specifically ChatGPT. A couple of weeks ago I proposed three solutions to this problem, but now I want to address three more solutions.

One of these is John Spencer’s: Project-Based Learning (PBL). I have always found something attractive about PBL, and I like to dabble in it, but devoting a significant fraction of available time to projects (at least in math classes) has never struck me as the best use of that time. I’m willing to devote 10–20% of a course to projects, but any more than that makes the cost-benefit ratio greater than 1, at least IMHO.

A very different approach is what Spencer calls “lock it and block it”:

This happens every time a school says, “We’ll just block that site from the network.” I’ve seen this approach happen in schools where they block sites like YouTube, online gaming, and social media. In terms of ChatGPT, I’m already seeing people say, “I’ll just make students handwrite all their essays in class.”

Maybe, but this quick band-aid is far from sufficient.

Third we have a variant of lock it and block it: detect it. Like the second solution, this may work temporarily. But I doubt that it will work in the long run.

Maybe a combination of all three? Who knows, and at this point I have more questions than answers.

Categories: Teaching & Learning, Technology