08 Sep 2023

Using Chatbots such as ChatGPT without Cheating

Since last fall, many of us have been using chatbots such as ChatGPT. Since ChatGPT is so popular, I am going to focus on the benefits and pitfalls of this conversational AI, which are similar to other chatbots.

ChatGPT stands for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer. This artificial intelligence chatbot tool was trained to respond to a user’s request in an interactive chat interface. You can ask ChatGPT almost anything and receive a grammatically correct, easy-to-understand response. There are many ways that students can use it to enhance their learning, but students need to learn how to use it ethically.

I recently spoke with a parent who asked for writing help for her son. She said that he asked ChatGPT to edit his essay, and the wording was changed so much that it didn’t sound like his own anymore.

It is so tempting to get ChatGPT to write your essays and stories for you. However, even when you get a spot-on result, this will not be your writing. There are many reasons that children should not use ChatGPT to write their essays:

  1. They may get caught. Teachers have anti-plagiarism and anti-Chatbot software to detect AI- written essays.
  2. They will lose your own voice. (In fiction and persuasive writing, prose and voice are just as important to a story as content.)
  3. They will be cheating.
  4. They will not learn how to write unique, cohesive, thoughtful essays and will be unprepared for classroom essay tests.

This does not mean students should not use ChatGPT at all. It is a wonderful learning tool. Here are some ways it can benefit students:

Preparation for Essay Writing

You can use ChatGPT as a brainstorming tool to help come up with ideas about a topic. You can ask it to organize your notes with an outline, and then you can add more detail to the outline. For a research paper, it can help find information, but it does not supply sources. Sometimes, it presents information that is incorrect or nonsensical. It is a tool, but you must double check facts and find sources separately.

Studying for a Test

Students can ask ChatGPT to create a study guide or sample test for any subject. Just tell it as much detail as possible about your topic.  For example, “Provide me with five questions on [enter topic]. “Provide feedback on my response.” “Write me a study guide on the following topics.”


We can ask ChatGPT for step-by-step instructions to solve any type of problem. We can also ask for a shortcut or visual representation. For more review, we can ask for questions and answers about a specific math topic.

Simplify Text

You can ask ChatGPT to break down complex text into a simplified version. You can also ask for a summary and key points. Or you can ask ChatGPT to tell you about a topic. Example: “Provide me with a 200 word summary of …” “Summarize the following article:”

Summarize Notes

Students can ask ChatGPT to summarize or outline notes that they took during a class lecture.


You can ask ChatGPT to give you mnemonic techniques to memorize specific information.

In summary, chatbots such as ChatGPT are excellent learning tools, but children need to be educated about how to use them ethically. With practice, students can discover the elements that will be most useful to them. Parents are critical in helping them navigate this new technology and teaching their children how to use chatbots ethically and responsibly. When I was growing up, encyclopedias were a wonderful source for our research papers and for learning. Our teachers routinely told us that we were not allowed to copy from the encyclopedia, and if we did so, they would know! And they did.

Need help with essay writing and how to use ChatGPT effectively?  Click here.

By Cheryl Gedzelman, President, Tutoring For Success, Inc.

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