Furcolo Hall, UMass Amherst College of Education

College of Education Faculty Members Publish Article on the Impact of AI in History Classrooms

Teacher education & school improvement faculty members Torrey Trust and Bob Maloy in the College of Education have published an article in a recent issue of a leading education journal in Australia about educators’ challenges in teaching history in the era of artificial intelligence.

Torrey Trust
Torrey Trust

The article, titled “AI in the History Classroom: Rethinking Teaching and Learning,” is in the September 2023 issue of Teaching History, a leading education journal in Australia published by the History Teachers Association of New South Wales.

In addition to addressing the challenges history educators face with artificial intelligence, the article features ideas and strategies for teaching students the digital-age skills of historical inquiry, critical thinking, media analysis and fake news detection.

“Following the emergence of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools, the issues and complexities of online information and history learning have been moved to an entirely new, uncharted arena,” Trust and Maloy write. “What history content do teachers teach when chatbots can provide information instantly to students?”

NEWS Bob Maloy
Bob Maloy

In their research, Trust, a professor, and Maloy, a senior lecturer, outline four “action strategies” that educators can use to integrate AI chatbots such as ChatGPT into the history classroom. They also urge educators to ask their students to engage with chatbot-generated text in the same way they would a textbook or an article they find online.

“Students are not turning to ChatGPT to provide information that they then memorize. Instead, they investigate what ChatGPT writes and why,” the authors write.

Trust and Maloy also note that this type of critical analysis is particularly useful for engaging with hidden or untold histories that are often left out of traditional textbooks and curricula.

“AI chatbots can serve as research partners who can quickly access hidden history and untold story information. Students then need to critically assess that information for historical accuracy and relevance, just as historians do with any sources they encounter in their research,” they write.

They conclude that, with the advent of AI chatbots, students have new roles to play and teachers have new skills to teach.

More information about Trust and Maloy’s research, including action strategies for educators, can be found on the College of Education news website.