Most news related to students using AI has focused on unethical and abusive ways students use it to get out of doing work, but AI can be a powerful tool with a vast amount of helpful uses for students when used correctly.
In general, you should think of AI as your assistant. Its best use is for small tasks and refining your work.
For instance, using AI to write your entire paper isn’t a good idea, but using it to assist you can be a big help. You shouldn’t ask it to complete a big group project, but it can certainly help you brainstorm for that project. It can spark ideas that you never thought about before, and help you refine ideas that you know could be better.
But there’s a big issue you should be aware of.
AI won’t always be correct. It makes stuff up from time to time because it isn’t actually analyzing your work in the same way a human would. It’s spitting out text based on what it thinks is the most likely chain of words that go with your request. However, the beauty of using it as an assistant is that it doesn’t matter if the AI is correct. You’re using it to spark ideas in your head, so as long as that happens, the AI is providing value to you.
“AI right now is like having a little assistant to boss around and make you some stuff so you can say, “Most of this is garbage, but I can use this part, and you’ve given me something to work with or against.”
Now that we’ve covered the general way you should use AI, let’s dive into some specific use cases. Most of these will be using ChatGPT, the most popular tool for AI right now, but there are several other useful tools that you could use in a similar way.
Use AI to critique your work
AI can give you ways to improve your essays and provide a “second pair of eyes” before you submit your assignments.
In a more specific way, you can ask it to point out errors in your arguments.
Your brain can trick you into thinking your ideas and arguments are better than they actually are. That’s what happens with most people, most of the time.
Asking AI to critique your work might be unpleasant, but it will show you where you need to improve your work before it’s done.
The more you argue with the AI, the better your work will be.
Need Help With A Standardized Exam?
Use AI for brainstorming
Colors, essay topics, research examples, book recommendations, and more can all be brainstormed using AI.
You could get a lot of the same information by googling, but it would take longer, and you couldn’t personalize your searches in the same way.
Don’t get me wrong, the AI is going to generate some really dumb ideas. But that’s not unlike brainstorming with real-life humans.
The key to any good brainstorming session is generating as many ideas as possible so that you can find a few good ones, and AI can generate ideas much faster than humans.
Use AI to get over writer’s block
Introductions are my least favorite part of anything I write. They’re extremely important, which stresses me out and causes my brain to overthink every word. Recently, I’ve started using AI to generate an introduction that I can use for inspiration. For example, here’s the one ChatGPT generated for this post:
“Artificial intelligence (AI) has transformed various aspects of our lives, including education. As students navigate the ever-evolving academic landscape, it is essential to understand how to harness the power of AI to enhance learning experiences and achieve greater success. This article delves into the myriad ways students can leverage AI tools to bolster productivity, personalize their learning journey, and optimize their potential in and out of the classroom. Join us as we explore the exciting possibilities that AI brings to today’s students, preparing them for a future where technology and human intellect work hand-in-hand.”
This paragraph isn’t great.
It’s too formal for the style of this newsletter, it’s wordy, and it claims the post will cover things that it definitely won’t. But the paragraph also has some good ideas that I implemented.
It spells out “artificial intelligence” (which I didn’t think of doing before), the opening sentence was a better introduction to the ideas of the article, and the last sentence sparked several ideas about angles to cover in the body paragraphs.
You shouldn’t use large chunks of unedited AI text, and you definitely shouldn’t ask AI to generate an entire essay and submit that as an assignment. However, looking at the text that AI generates can give you some ideas to work with when you sit down to write yourself.
Use AI to tweak words and phrases in your writing
AI can give you synonyms when you can’t think of the correct word to use.
It can do this within the context of your writing, which makes it a better alternative to using a synonym list online.
It can also rephrase entire sentences or paragraphs.
Just like using it to get over writer’s block, you shouldn’t blindly use these synonyms and phrasing ideas. Evaluate them so you can take the good ideas and reject the bad.
In conclusion, AI can be a valuable tool for students when used correctly. It can assist with small tasks and refining work, as well as help with brainstorming and getting over writer’s block.
However, it is important to remember that AI won’t always be correct and should be used as an assistant rather than a replacement for human effort and creativity.
That conclusion was written by AI. Could you tell?