WA Education’s ChatGPT ban — for teachers as well as students — exposes an uncomfortable truth.

Despite a far-reaching technological revolution that has changed almost every aspect of our lives over the past couple of decades, how we assess what our students have learned has barely changed in centuries.

Education Director General Lisa Rodgers points out users of the ChatGPT artificial intelligence tool, which can produce an essay in the time it took me to write this sentence, must be over 18, which certainly justifies a secondary school student ChatGPT ban for now.

But the central concern — that ChatGPT can be used to cheat — raises a couple of awkward questions for educators about whether our assessment methods are fit for purpose.

Banning ChatGPT may throw a few extra obstacles in the path of a potential cheat but anyone with access to a personal hotspot (which is most students with a mobile device) will almost certainly be able to find a way around it.

A more pressing issues is the hindrance posed by the broader block on teachers’ ability to understand the technology and assess its potential to enhance students’ learning experiences.

As educators, maybe it’s time to have a long overdue rethink about how we measure what our students are learning, how they are thinking and their capacity to solve problems.

And what of the potential for a tool such as ChatGPT to lighten teacher loads and help educators provide quicker, individual feedback to each students?

Is there not potential to get excited about these developments and how we might use these to prepare our students for the future?

Maybe what we need in education is a wide-ranging, honest discussion about how to get best learning outcomes and harness rapid technological change for the benefit of students and teachers.

It’s hard to imagine that shutting the door on this sort of technology is helping us with the robust grounding we believe prepares our students for the world they are living in now, let alone the one they will encounter when they graduate.

In the short-term, while we work out how we can better assess skill and knowledge, we may have to conduct assessments in the classroom to ensure the integrity of the results.

By staying abreast of AI language models such as ChatGPT we can get a deeper understanding about how we can use this to support our students’ learning and growth.

As educators it’s crucial that we stay current and adapt to change so we can effectively impart the knowledge and skills our students need. By keeping pace, we can equip our students for success in an ever-changing world.

We need to properly assess new technology and its potential implications before introducing it into the classroom.

Another thing to note is the split in response to ChatGPT in WA schools, with some schools and systems being broadly open to considering the possibilities of how ChatGPT might be used to improve outcomes.

We have restructured our school, which runs from pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, to reflect the emphasis that we place on innovation, wellbeing and learning and teaching. Our vision is to support our students to develop creative, critical thinking and problem solving skills to prepare them to thrive in an unpredictable world, which is why we have pledged to keep an open mind on the use of AI in the classroom.

We have made an undertaking to our school community that we will take a considered approach to ChatGPT. We are encouraging our staff to explore options to exploit the potential for the benefit of our students.

By staying abreast of AI language models such as ChatGPT we can get a deeper understanding about how we can use this to support our students’ learning and growth.

We hope this will help us realise our goal of giving our students access to cutting-edge resources and tools to enhance their educational experience.

We believe that learning about AI will not only prepare our students for future careers in the sector but will give them skills — much needed skills — to critically evaluate and understand the impact of AI on our society and the world we live in.