January 13, 2023

NYC Public Schools Ban ChatGPT amidst the rise of AI

At the end of 2022, the new artificial intelligence (AI) platform, ChatGPT, took the world by storm. The AI tool and chatbox are changing the way the world uses artificial intelligence, by writing college application essays, debugging code, and providing answers to a variety of different questions. 

In response, New York City public schools are banning the use of ChatGPT on district networks and devices to combat students using the new tool to cheat.

What does this mean for students? Let’s dive in. 

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New York City public schools banned ChatGPT after growing concerns that the AI tool is making it easier for students to cheat on homework and other assignments. School administrators are also concerned that it could spread misinformation. 

ChatGPT is an exciting advancement for AI, but educators’ fears are not unfounded. As many people are finding new ways to use the platform, some are finding ways students and educators could be tripping up, such as:

Jenna Lyle, the deputy press secretary for New York City public schools, said,“Due to concerns about negative impacts on student learning, and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content, access to ChatGPT is restricted on New York City Public Schools’ networks and devices.” She also said, “While the tool may be able to provide quick and easy answers to questions, it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success.”

Although the public school district has banned the use of the platform on devices, schools can request to gain specific access to the tool for tech-related and educational purposes. 

And while New York may be the first to ban the use of the AI platform, other public districts may be following suit. Peter Feng, the public information officer for the South San Francisco Unified School District, says that they are aware of ChatGPT but have not yet “instituted an outright ban.” 

In a statement from ChatGPT, the company says that it is planning to work with educators and their students on ways they can benefit from AI. A spokesman for the platform shared, “We don’t want ChatGPT to be used for misleading purposes in schools or anywhere else, so we’re already developing mitigations to help anyone identify text generated by that system.”

TSI’s Take

Social media and tech are powerful tools that allow us to learn new ideas and connect with the world around us. With any new platform, we are reminded of the importance of playing to our core, and what it means to stay true to our values, character, and interests in our actions online.

As educators, we can equip students with the tools to make positive decisions when using social media and tech. Discover how students are already using ChatGPT in high-character ways in our latest Platform Playbook. Not a partner but want to gain insight into how students are using the latest apps? Request a demo today! 

Always stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest trends online by subscribing to our newsletter where we talk about trending tech and social media news weekly! In the meantime, check out our Instagram and TikTok @thesocialinst for tips, trends, and highlights when it comes to social media. 

The Social Institute (TSI) is the leader in understanding student experiences and creator of #WinAtSocial, a gamified, online learning platform that equips students, educators, and families to navigate social experiences — online and offline — in healthy ways. Our unique, student-respected approach incorporates topics like social media, technology use, and current events that have a significant impact on student well-being. Lessons teach life skills for the modern day to inspire high-character decisions that support the health, happiness, and future success of students, while capturing data that provides insights to school leaders to inform school policy and communications, and enable high-impact teaching and a healthy learning environment. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities.