How should a science teacher be in times of ChatGPT?


There are some recurring issues in the didactics of science that move between the disciplinary, school and everyday world. Why do we teach science? What science should we teach? What implications should it have in society? What values ​​should you promote?

To these timeless questions, the one posed by the emergence of artificial intelligence has recently been added. How to deal with the existence of this technology and how to guarantee its responsible use in the teaching of experimental and social sciences?

Debate on teacher training

There is no single way to teach and learn science, but the emergence of technologies such as ChatGPT opens an important and necessary debate on teacher training and on how to teach science without turning our backs on technological development.

When the teacher (or the teaching team) makes the decision to introduce some technology in the science teaching and learning process, they must have specific knowledge beyond the technical ones regarding the use of the tool, including scientific-disciplinary knowledge. and knowledge about didactics (general and specific).

On the other hand, we can attend to a fourth transversal variable: ethics. Ethics in the selection and approach of the contents, pedagogical ethics on which the teaching and learning process is based, and ethics in relation to the responsible use of technology.

Different levels of acceptance

When facing the introduction of AI in the initial (and ongoing) training of teachers, we can propose the following progression towards a more efficient and responsible use of this technology:

  1. Banning the use of AI: it is the easiest route in the short term. AI is not a passing technology and rejection is not going to stop pre-service teachers or students from using it, so sooner or later the teacher will have to face this reality. Technological advances are often accompanied by a greater digital divide or resistance to change, so the social reaction is not exceptional. However, it should be noted that, as reflected in the Artificial Intelligence Law , AI is not a risk-free technology.
  2. Anecdotal and very controlled use of AI: it represents a first step for those education professionals who are aware of the importance of AI, but who still have some uncertainty about how to introduce it didactically in science teaching-learning. Search for very specific data, causality, etc., are possible tasks to be carried out with the tool in this phase. However, although AI allows some tasks to be streamlined, from the moment you choose to introduce it into a learning situation, it is essential to urge students not to blindly trust it, to contrast the result and analyze it critically.
  3. Educate for a responsible and critical use of AI, which incorporates AI as another teaching resource. The third way is the one that requires a greater effort on the part of the teacher because it implies a methodological change and in the type of activities that are proposed to the students; however, it is also the one that allows efficient use of the possibilities of this technology.

In other words, and by way of example, asking for a summary of a text, without further ado, would be an activity that is not recommended since the AI ​​can do it in seconds. This is a reality that teachers, regardless of educational stage, cannot afford to ignore.

Explain processes

Obtaining data or knowledge of a factual fact is a part of the process, not an end in itself. What contributes to competency training and a responsible use of AI is the management and use made of data and information, how they are selected, sequenced, organized, contrasted, presented, exposed, how processes are explained or the justified variety thereof; if all the students in the same group are able to explain a process and if they understand what they are doing and why, if they are able to question the information they receive and argue their position, if they are able to use what they have learned inside and outside of the classroom, etc.

All this highlights the need for competency-based learning as opposed to mechanical learning.

Reformulate activities

When becoming aware of the existence of this technology, a teaching practice is necessary where activities are proposed in which issues such as multidirectional interaction, oral communication, scientific argumentation, interaction with the environment, creativity, thinking critic and reflection. It is necessary to reformulate some activities of a more mechanical and reproductive nature.

The implications of the use of AI in formal education go beyond the student, reaching the teacher and the development of their work at all levels.

This is a powerful impact on teaching work. It ranges from bureaucratic tasks , which would be significantly reduced, to support in the creation and design of learning situations, through attention to diversity with the development of the DUA (universal design for learning) and the response to needs. special educational activities, which, as UNESCO proposes, are values ​​that must be developed from a responsible use of AI.

Author Bios: Emilio Jose Delgado-Algarra is Professor of Didactics of Social Sciences. Director of the COIDESO Research Center and Director of the East Asia Academic and Cultural Center. Member of the DESYM and RED 14 Research group and Antonio Alejandro Lorca Marin is a Tenured Professor Area of ​​Didactics of Experimental Sciences both at the University of Huelva

José Antonio Vela Romero, teacher of Therapeutic Pedagogy and coordinator of Educational Digital Transformation of CEIP Luis Valladares, has collaborated in the preparation of this article.