Kettle Moraine School District discussing how to address AI use by students

NOW: Kettle Moraine School District discussing how to address AI use by students

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- If you haven't heard about artificial intelligence, or AI, you will.

It's all the talk in educational circles because students can use it in many different ways, including falsifying their own work.

Southeast Wisconsin school districts are already discussing how to address the concerns.

"What is the concept of AI as it relates to cheating? That's certainly what's front and center right now," said Superintendent Stephen Plum of the Kettle Moraine School District.

He says school administrators within his district held a meeting last week about how to address the explosion of AI in regard to cheating, and how students will be using the technology in the future.

"They're being exposed to it. They have access to it. So, we have to allow them to understand it and use it in a positive way," said McGee Elementary School Principal Justin Nies.

Students currently in his school will be graduating in the mid-2030s.

He says the wrong approach is to lock out new potential tools from the classroom, when they could be graduating into a future where they use AI every day.

"If you're not talking about it, you're saying 'don't do it.' Then we're opening the door for people to use the tool in a way that's negative," said Principal Nies.

The popular AI platform known as "ChatGPT" is, by its own admission, not considered a credible source for academic writing.

Plum says some academic programs are already incorporating ways to use it as a citation, however, when used for other purposes.

That's why his own district is requiring students to cite AI if it's used.

"If you're representing ideas that aren't yours, then you have to cite those, it's quite simple," said Superintendent Plum.

Plum says there are always concerns when new tools are being introduced in educational environments.

He says the same way calculators can help students look at bigger picture mathematical ideas, AI could end up doing the same.

"If this is about writing, then conceptually, we might think about writing differently in the future," said Superintendent Plum.

For now, Plum says he thinks vigilant teachers will be able to ask questions when they feel like a student's writing isn't from their true human perspective, and that's something AI hasn't cracked.

"I just don't see it getting to that point yet," said Plum.

Kettle Moraine and many other districts know they have to keep on top of this swiftly growing technology.

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