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Finding the Write Balance in the Ethics of AI

Finding the Write Balance in the Ethics of AI, by Dennis Magliozzi and Kristina Peterson

By Dr. Dennis Magliozzi and Kristina Peterson. This is part two of a three-part series. See part one here


We are teaching in a time where the boundaries of creativity and technology are becoming increasingly fused, and tools like ChatGPT present both a challenge and an opportunity for educators and students. The delicate balance between human intelligence (HI) and artificial intelligence (AI) in the realm of writing is more intricate than ever. This dynamic poses some concerns.

Re-Defining Plagiarism

Redefining Plagiarism: Our best foot forward is to teach students how to use ChatGPT as an allyThe presence of a program like ChatGPT, one that keeps growing exponentially stronger the more we use it, is a temptation too great for our students to pass up. This leads educators to consider a couple critical questions: At what point is a student’s essay not theirs if ChatGPT has any role in its composition? Moreover, how can we effectively detect and evaluate the originality of a student's work? Our best foot forward is to teach them how to use it as an ally. We should keep two things in mind: First, the writer’s voice must still be present. When we work with students in research writing we encourage them to blend their thinking with the thinking of others. The same can be true with integration of AI. Second, in order for this collaboration to work, the writer must acknowledge the collaboration. Without this transparency, there is no trust between writer and reader, student and teacher.

Lazy Teacher. Lazy Student.

Lazy Teacher. Lazy Student.It doesn’t take much to imagine a bizarre world where the student turns to AI to write their papers and the teacher turns to AI to grade them. We would hope that readers of this post would join us in having a little more hope for education than that. This extreme only happens if we lose sight of the humans in the loop. We stand by the belief that the educational journey is inherently a human one. We engage in the writing process with our students because we know the work of a writer is just that, work. So we write beside them, move along from draft to draft, and the end product may or may not have used AI to support it. Either final product is okay. Having AI at the ready does not mean we need it for every instance we write. It is a tool, not a crutch.

The Threat to Writing Growth

The threat to writing growth: we must encourage students to work through their writing challenges before going to AI prompt box.The struggle with writing, the effort it takes to make a decision about the next best step, must remain part of the writing process. If students have a program ready to give five suggestions at any given moment when they struggle, what does that mean for the future growth of our writers? What we set out to express in writing takes effort. Sometimes it comes easily, and at other times the writer has to struggle. We must encourage students to work through their writing challenges before going to the AI prompt box.

The Hallucination Problem

The Hallucination Problem: part of being a responsible digital citizen requires students to see AI as another resource whose information needs to be vetted, challenged, and checked just as any other source of information. Some are hesitant to use AI with students because of hallucinations, inaccuracies in the responses it produces. At times, AI is literally making up information that is not true. Authors will be attributed quotes they never wrote, for example. There is no doubt that this is a major flaw in the current software, but it doesn’t have to stop the conversation about AI in education. In the case of potential hallucinations, part of being a responsible digital citizen requires students to see AI as another resource whose information needs to be vetted, challenged, and checked just as any other source of information. 

Try It Before You Deny ItTry it before you buy it: Only after their individual attempt to generate an idea should the student begin looking to others like their teacher or AI for answers

What we can testify to is that working alongside students with the aid of a chatbot feels natural to the writing process. We can use generative AI and embrace the writing process at the same time. It is here our students will see why they should resist the temptation to rely on AI alone. Only after their individual attempt to generate an idea should the student begin looking to others like their teacher or AI for answers. It is through these classroom struggles, with AI at our sides, that we will work towards finding the ‘write’ balance.

Note: Any teacher considering the use of AI with their students needs to pay close attention to their state and district recommendations and guidelines.


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Kristina Peterson and Dennis Magliozzi have been teaching English at Exeter High School since 2008. Kristina has a master’s degree in teaching and over a decade of experience mentoring teachers. Dennis holds an MFA in poetry and a PhD in CurriculumDennisMagliozzi_headshot and Instruction. Together they co-teach in the University of New Hampshire’s Writers Academy and Learning Through Teaching program. They are also Ambassadors to the award-winning Arts in Action program, and the cofounders of Bookshelf Diversity, a statewide grant project that provides diverse books to New Hampshire classrooms. Their work on generative AI’s impact in the classroom is part of a three-part series, setting the stage for their forthcoming book which is currently slated for a spring 2025 release.

Topics: Kristina Peterson, AI, Dennis Magliozzi

Date Published: 05/15/24

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