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  • Writer's pictureRobin Gonzales

Navigating the AI Minefield: Proactive Strategies for School Administrators to Combat Plagiarism

view of soldier's feet and this person is using  mine dection tool that's lowered to the ground.  The heading says "Navigating the AI Mindfield: Strategies to Help School Administrats Combat Plagiarism. There is also a slight overlay of circuitry on the graphic.

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve and integrate into various aspects of our daily lives, the educational landscape is no exception. The prevalence of AI tools, like ChatGPT, offers both opportunities and challenges to educators and administrators alike. A significant challenge that has emerged is how to combat plagiarism, particularly as it relates to AI-generated content.

The article "ChatGPT and Beyond: How to Handle AI in Schools" touches upon the ways in which AI is reshaping the educational environment, bringing to light the potential for plagiarism as students might turn in AI-generated essays as their own work. This is a concern that requires immediate attention and action from school administrators to uphold academic integrity.

One form of plagiarism that has become more prevalent with the advent of AI is paraphrasing plagiarism. In Lee's article entitled "AI plagiarism changers..." she states "Misuse of plagiarism changers—using them to avoid detection and thereby omitting citations and thereby enacting paraphrasing plagiarism—is an example of deliberate academic dishonesty. And cause for concern."

While learning to paraphrase is an essential academic skill that involves comprehending, evaluating, and synthesizing information, AI paraphrasing tools can hinder this learning process by offering a shortcut that bypasses critical thinking and analysis.

Furthermore, these AI paraphrasing tools often market themselves as "plagiarism-free," taking advantage of students who may not fully understand the nuances of proper citation and attribution. This is especially concerning as recent versions of these tools have become more sophisticated, making it harder for educators to detect misuse and subsequently limiting the opportunities for necessary intervention and guidance.

Here are some strategies that school administrators can employ to tackle this evolving challenge:

1. Educate Staff and Students:

Administrators should ensure that both teachers and students are well-informed about what constitutes plagiarism and the importance of academic integrity. Schools should have clear policies and consequences for engaging in plagiarism.

2. Promote a Culture of Academic Integrity:

Fostering a culture where honesty and original work are valued is key. Teachers should be encouraged to create an environment that supports and celebrates academic integrity.

3. Utilize Plagiarism Detection Tools:

Various tools are available to help detect instances of plagiarism. See the latest list here. These tools can compare student work against extensive databases to identify copied or paraphrased material.

4. Implement Regular Formative Assessments:

Formative assessments can help teachers monitor student progress and identify areas where additional support may be needed. This regular assessment can also serve as a deterrent to plagiarism.

5. Encourage Collaboration and Open Communication to Combat Plagiarism:

A collaborative learning environment, paired with open lines of communication between students and teachers, can foster a sense of support and reduce the temptation to resort to plagiarism.

In addition to the above strategies, school administrators should also be aware of the need to include paraphrasing in the teaching curriculum. As Elaine Khoo, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough, pointed out during a 2021 panel, paraphrasing is a complex skill that requires time, practice, and feedback. It involves higher orders of thinking, such as understanding, analysis, and evaluation.

Moreover, administrators should be proactive in addressing the existence of AI-powered paraphrasing tools and plagiarism changers. By explicitly acknowledging these tools in instructional policies and guidelines, educators can pre-emptively tackle potential misuse and ensure that students understand the importance of original work.

The rise of AI plagiarism changers presents a new challenge for educators and administrators. By being aware of these tools and taking proactive measures, such as those outlined above, school administrators can help uphold academic integrity and ensure that students are engaging in meaningful learning experiences that truly foster their academic and personal growth.


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