ChatGPT could help improve our education system, David Williamson Shaffer argues in Newsweek op-ed

In a recently published op-ed in Newsweek, School of Education professor David Williamson Shaffer argues the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT could have a positive impact on our education system — but only if educators approach the new technology a certain way. 

Shaffer is the Sears Bascom Professor of Learning Analytics and the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Learning Sciences in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology. He is also a data philosopher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. 


In the editorial, Shaffer acknowledges concern in the education community about ChatGPT’s ability to write passable essays and pass high-level exams. But he argues reducing the conversation about the tool to fears of plagiarism wouldn’t best serve students. Instead, he says educators should consider how the tool can be used to angle their teaching and assessments toward critical thinking and 21st century problem solving. 

“We need to teach students how to use AI to answer the complex questions that are far beyond what AI can do on its own,” he writes. “AI can’t solve the climate crisis, or move us toward social justice, or fix our broken political discourse, or keep social media from invading our privacy and fanning the flames of intolerance. It’s people—people using AI—who can do those things. But only if we help them learn how.”

Read the entire Newsweek op-ed here.

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