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One Antioch high school says no to AI . . . for now

Artificial intelligence engenders caution from schools.

Advanced technology is changing education. 

From Alexa to ChatGPT, artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving faster than ever, giving students and teachers new ways to engage with one another and the world around them. However, AI also is uncovering new ways to exploit and cheat the system. This is causing one Antioch Unified School District high school to question its use.

Officials at Deer Valley High School currently do not address or discuss with their teachers incorporating AI into the curriculum. And several of the school’s teachers – as well as some students – say they aren’t sure of what the future holds for the tech tool on their campus. Instead, teachers find different ways to combat the usage of AI in their classrooms, such as limiting all classwork at school so they can supervise their students or learning their writing style to see if AI was used to alter text.

“Students have tried to use AI to pass off ideas as their original thoughts,” said Todd Truesdell, a history teacher at Deer Valley. “I don’t think that that’s the purpose of AI or its intent.”

 A survey conducted via Google Forms by the writer for this story asked students if their teacher(s) used AI in the classroom; if as students, they had ever used AI for school (to cheat); and if so, were they caught cheating at any point. Close to 75% of instructors reportedly don’t use AI as a teaching tool. However, of the 100 teens who answered the survey under anonymity, 61% said they had cheated and none reported being caught.  

Educational systems like New York City Public Schools and the Los Angeles Unified School District banned AI due to learning concerns. In an article posted by Education Week, teachers from across the country who took part in an EdWeek Research Center survey shared mixed opinions about ChatGPT – an AI-powered tool that can write anything with just a simple prompt.

“I believe students already have too many readily available resources, such as answers to tests, essays, reports, etc.,” a Missouri high school teacher said in the article. “AI just makes it even easier for students to gain answers without gaining knowledge.”

In March 2023, Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, introduced “Khanmigo” to the world. The 24/7 AI-powered tutoring tool asks youth questions and finds out where the student’s reasoning went wrong. It also offers teachers lesson plans to engage with their students. Khan is one of many educators who argue that instead of banning AI, educators should embrace it and learn how to use AI to their advantage. 

To combat the use of artificial intelligence, Deer Valley teachers use AI detection websites such as Scribbler’s AI detection and Turnitin for plagiarism. When using school laptops, access to ChatGPT is disabled for students. And, of course, there are those who blatantly discourage using the tool. 

Student Khai Andrews is one of many students on the DVHS campus who support the use of AI in the classroom – for the right reasons and in the correct way.

“AI could help teachers lighten their workload and students understand assignments in a way that works for their specific learning styles,” the 16-year-old said. “If proper steps are taken to ensure the prevention or minimization of cheating, or poor creativity and problem-solving skills, then I believe AI can be a beautiful tool … as long as it is wielded with responsibility and consideration.

*Additional resources:

Emma Mayta Canales is a 10th grader at Deer Valley High School in Antioch. 


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