Is ChatGPT Doing Your Kid's Homework? Maybe, but It Could Have Some Benefits

Still, not all teachers like the idea

  • New software tools give students help with their homework via AI chatbots.
  • Chegg uses the latest GPT-4 model to aid students.
  • Some educators are concerned that AI could dumb down homework. 
A young person using a chatbot on a laptop computer.

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Homework is getting a lot easier thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots, and not everyone thinks that's a good thing. 

The company Chegg is helping students with a new AI chatbot, called CheggMate, that could circumvent the rules some schools have in place concerning the use of ChatGPT. Experts say the move is a sign that teachers are losing control over how much effort students put into their work. 

"Over-reliance on AI may prevent students from developing critical thinking and research skills, which are crucial for academic success," Sathish Bala, the founder of the online learning program Schoolio, told Lifewire in an email interview. "Therefore, it is crucial to provide students with homework that encourages them to keep honing these skills while also teaching them how to use AI tools effectively."

How AI Can Help Students

CheggMate could soon help students with their homework. The AI chatbot is built with OpenAI's most advanced model, GPT-4. 

AI can help students learn and complete homework faster, so they can focus more on knowledge-building tasks, like studying, than on data search or organization.

"Students depend on Chegg's high quality, accurate learning platform to assist them in mastering their subjects and understanding their course material. We believe the combination of Chegg's proven ability to improve student outcomes, with the breakthrough technology of OpenAI and Chat GPT, will create the most powerful study companion for students around the world," Dan Rosensweig, the CEO of Chegg, said in the CheggMate news release. 

AI is a clear win for students, Marnix Broer, the CEO of Studocu, an online student resource, said in an email. Rather than spending time manually searching for solutions, they can input one prompt and let AI perform time-consuming functions at near instantaneous speeds.

"AI can help students learn and complete homework faster, so they can focus more on knowledge-building tasks, like studying, than on data search or organization," Broer said. "AI can also prevent students from getting 'stuck' when they're working through problems at home. Since they don't have the help of a teacher close by, students can use AI to find the answers they need. This extra support can also help even the playing field for students that might not have as much access to parental help as others."

A young child using a chatbot on a smartphone for homework help.

Annandistock / Getty Images

AI can offer students personalized feedback and achieve better academic results more efficiently, Aletia Trakakis, the co-founder of Swotknot, an educational software firm, told Lifewire in an email. She said the technology also opens up new possibilities for homework assignments. For example, AI-generated personalized tasks could be created based on each student's strengths and weaknesses. 

"These assignments could be automatically adapted to the student's learning styles and level of understanding, providing a unique and challenging experience that keeps students engaged," Trakakis added. "AI can create dynamic and adaptive assessments, where the questions change in real-time based on the student's responses. This then can provide a more accurate measure of the student's understanding of the material and can help identify areas where they may need additional support."

Is AI a Tool or Crutch for Students?

Not everyone is cheering for the increasing availability of chatbots for homework. The fear consuming most educators is that students will use generative AI to simply do the task for them, failing to understand the desired outcome and, ultimately, failing to master the concept or skill being developed, Ryan Lufkin, the vice president of global strategy at the educational software company Instructure said in an email to Lifewire. In the same way that calculators raised fears they would erode students' math capabilities, many worry that students will become reliant on AI technology for writing. 

"But if we look at AI tools as a means of raising the bar on the quality of writing for students that are already technology native, we can tease out the benefits of AI,” Lufkin added. “These tools are here to stay and are already being leveraged by people in the workplace. Creating ethical usage guidelines, teaching the art of prompt writing, and developing assessment methods beyond simply writing a long-form paper will become the norm.”

Schools are fighting back against the use of generative AI with software tools that check to see if computers have created assignments. Bala noted that students can now use AI paraphrasing tools to circumvent AI checkers.

“However, this presents an opportunity for educators to incorporate AI and create personalized assignments that cater to each student's unique learning style and skill level,” Bala added. “This may make homework more challenging and practical, ultimately leading to smarter students.”

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