Lincoln Public Schools looks to minimize usage of ChatGPT

Photo by "Student workplace vector" by Ilyah Sedykh is licensed under CC by BY 4.0.

ChatGPT and many other chat bots have been released in the few years, helping students with their school work. In a poll by, 89 percent of college students admitted to using ChatGPT on an assignment.

On November 30, 2022, ChatGPT held its initial release for public use. ChatGPT is an AI based communications and educational technology, which “interacts in a conversational way, answers follow up questions, admits its mistakes, challenges incorrect premises, and rejects inappropriate requests,” according to OpenAI. ChatGPT’s ability to answer complex questions and write structured essays has raised concerns among Lincoln Public Schools as the chatbot has produced a way for students to use its abilities to do work for them.

The software has taken the world by storm – allowing users to create anything from essays on the connection of Batman to King Lear, to lines of coding for developing softwares. Though it may have the ability to create essays and give answers to complex or simple questions, the ChatGPT AI may not always hold the most meaningful or correct information.

“It’s a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now,” said OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. “It’s a preview of progress; we have lots of work to do on robustness and truthfulness.”

ChatGPT holds many uses for users such as writing code, creating poetry or songs, answering questions, and writing essays,. among many other uses, Hhowever, we shouldn’t expect the chatbot to create anything as meaningful or sophisticated as a human-being could.

“ChatGPT is incredibly limited, but good enough at some things to create a misleading impression of greatness,” tweeted Altman.

With the increase in usage and capabilities of ChatGPT, school districts across the country have become concerned of how students could use the AI to help them with school work – such as writing papers for them.

“We’re in a spot where we’re still figuring out how this tool can influence and impact education in both positive and negative ways,” Sara Danielson, Secondary ELA curriculum specialist, said. “We do not want students to use it as a substitute for completing their assigned work or doing their thinking for them, but we also need to be aware that it can help a student figure out a difficult concept or generate ideas for an essay.”

Lincoln Public Schools has looked to take action against the usage of ChatGPT to help students with writing papers, and the feeding of misinformation. Software has been developed to identify when a student has used ChatGPT or other chatbots in their writing, similar to a plagiarism checker.

“A number of chatbot detectors have emerged for identifying the likelihood that a piece of writing is AI-generated,” Danielson said. “If a teacher suspects that submitted writing may not have been generated by a student, and if there is sufficient evidence to show that the submitted work is not original to the student [an absence of seed writings, graphic organizers, drafts, etc.] then we’re looking at a case of academic dishonesty, and the student will face consequences.”

Lincoln Public Schools, and English teachers specifically, have looked to find ways in order to integrate AI technology into school curriculum.

“I think you just have to understand what it can do,” William Dimon, the English department chair at Lincoln East High School said. “IHow it can help students, then it’s a matter of experimenting because on the one hand, helping students learn how to use it productively is the game.”

Several teachers from East’s English department have even thought about experimenting by letting students evaluate a ChatGPT essay, and comparing and contrasting how good the writing is.

“Across the district, [ChatGPT] sparked a conversation,” Dimon said. “How can we use this for good and so it’s not used for evil?.”

Upcoming years for LPS students could look very different when it comes to accessing AI software through district owned devices, as well as using these AI for school work, as LPS looks to restrict them.