How to Identify AI Content in the Classroom
Because of Artificial Intelligence’s remarkable strides in the field of education, detecting AI-generated content such as assignments and homework can be challenging for teachers. Although AI can help students to understand complex concepts and visualize their lessons, it should not be used to write assignments for them. Many AI tools successfully mimic human writing and compositions, but it is not impossible to detect AI-authored texts.
The following are some ways teachers can tell if assignments and content are generated by AI:
Inconsistencies in writing: AI-generated texts often lack the natural inconsistencies that may be found in human writing. Often (unless a human is a writing expert), any writing by a person will lack consistent style, tone, and vocabulary throughout an assignment. Additionally, very abrupt shifts in tone may also indicate that an AI tool has been used.
Lack of personal experience: AI tools obviously don’t have emotions or personal experience, so they are unable to provide individual anecdotes in writing. Most writing by AI models lack the distinctive touch of a human, so very impersonal writing may often be AI-generated.
Different from students’ previous work:Another way to identify AI-generated content is by comparing assignments with a child’s previously submitted work. Every child’s writing style—although bound to evolve with time—is reflective of their personal preferences, sentence structures, and vocabularies. If any text submitted by a child dramatically differs from anything they have submitted in the past, it may have been AI-generated.
Overuse of information: AI tools can generate extensive amounts of information about any topic, which may sometimes result in texts that are overloaded with data and facts. Children may use such tools to write about topics they do not fully comprehend.
Plagiarism checkers: Consider using plagiarism detection tools that can help identify AI-generated content, like Turnitin or Eklavya AI Proctoring. Although AI content may not have been published elsewhere, it can still match other available or AI-generated text.
Here are additional instructional strategies that can help prevent misuse of AI:
Ask follow-up questions: Once a student submits an assignment, engage them in a conversation about it. Ask them questions that require them to have a deeper understanding of the topic. Children who rely on AI to write assignments usually find it difficult to answer nuanced questions that require in-depth explanations.
Innovative Assignments: Create assignments that require students to engage with the real world; like interviewing people, conducting local research, or collaborating with others. Incorporate real photos/videos taken by the student to capture and record the learning process. Get students to work together in groups and assess them at frequent intervals. Ask students to submit notes, outlines, and other planning documents to help ensure that they are doing the background work themselves while writing an article or assignment and not just creating it with AI tools.
As AI tools evolve, the way we assess learning also needs to evolve. A final assignment does not need to be a text article and can instead be a video, journal, poster, or blog post. For example, instead of asking students to write a 500-word article about the stages of the moon, they may be asked to submit selfies with the various stages along with textual or visual descriptions.
Learn more about AI with the free online PD course: AI in Education.
About the Author
Ellen Paxton is a respected expert in education and best known as the Chief Learning Officer of Professional Learning Board. As a two-time National Board Certified Teacher, Ellen has successfully published and customized online professional development courses and Learning Management Systems for 20 years to help teachers meet their state continuing education renewal credit requirements.
Through ProfessionalLearningBoard.com, RenewaTeachingLicense.com, and ConnectedPD.com. Ellen has established solutions and maintained partnerships with several accredited universities, higher education institutions, teachers’ unions and state Departments of Education while setting strategic direction that makes a difference and overseeing implementation of popular online PD.