ChatGPT and Physics Education

Following on the theme of ChatGPT, I see that Phil Moriarty has done a blog post about its use in Physics Education which many of my readers will find well worth reading in full. His findings are well in accord with mine, although I haven’t had as much time to play with it as he has. In particular, it is easily defeated by figures and pictures so if you want to make your assessment ChatGPT-proof all you need to do is unlike lots of graphics. More generally, ChatGPT is trained to produce waffle so avoid questions that require students to produce waffle. This shouldn’t pose too many problems, except for disciplines in which waffle is all there is.

Phil Moriarty also done a video in the Sixty Symbols series, on that YouTube thing that young people look at, which you can view here:

I start teaching Computational Physics next week and will be seeing how ChatGPT does at the Python coding exercises I was planning to set!


4 Responses to “ChatGPT and Physics Education”

  1. The same thing has happened with calculators, of course. A long time ago we expected our students to do manual calculations. now we expected them to do estimates and catch mistakes. It will be easy though to recognize when a students used ChatGPT. It uses correct grammar.

    • telescoper Says:

      Exactly. I remember when I was at school, calculators were just coming in and some people thought they would be the end of mathematics education. I’m not particularly worried about ChatGPT in physics – we can use the opportunity to focus on what should be the important aspects. I think it will however prove much more a problem for some other disciplines!

  2. My father, who was a sociologist, used to say that he could set the same exam each year and simply change the answers!

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