A SWOT Analysis of ChatGPT

Plan your next steps forward by considering the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats posed by ChatGPT.

Grades K-12 3 min Resource by:
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Schools will ultimately need to determine how they will approach ChatGPT. Should it be embraced as a tool to improve writing and thinking—much like a web search, spell-check, or the calculator have been used—or is ChatGPT a tool for cheating and a threat to academic integrity that should be banned? A final determination may lie somewhere between these two perspectives.

Some school districts, like New York Public Schools and Los Angeles Unified School District, have already banned ChatGPT from use by teachers and students. Others, such as the School District of Philadelphia and Chicago Public Schools, have not. Because it’s so new, many districts are still in the process of reviewing their policies regarding this tool.

One way to approach the review of any new idea, practice, or resource is to conduct a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and this framework is one way to guide the decision-making process in an open-minded and measured way. In that light, this article will attempt to provide considerations about ChatGPT framed by the SWOT analysis approach. These ideas are not intended to be a comprehensive list of ideas. Rather, they are thought-prompts that you can use to begin your own SWOT analysis about ChatGPT in your school.

  • Is free and easy to use
  • Quickly synthesizes information
  • Makes broad connections due to its large database
  • Saves time by summarizing results from many sources
  • Generates new content, rather than simply listing existing resources
  • Responses are well written and easy to read
  • Pulls responses from static, rather than live, data
  • No content available from after 2021
  • Cannot predict future events
  • Can produce inaccurate and sometimes made-up responses
  • Results can be biased or harmful
  • No sources are cited for the content provided
  • Save time generating ideas
  • Facilitate virtual tutoring
  • Analyze and revise writing
  • Learn skills, concepts, ideas
  • Make new connections between ideas
  • Create new jobs
  • May be used to cheat and undermine academic integrity
  • May make some skills less relevant
  • May make it harder to teach students to write
  • May disrupt current curriculum and school practices
  • May be used for malicious intent, such as hacking
  • May replace some jobs

ChatGPT is not the first disruptive technology to hit schools, and it won’t be the last. As with other disruptive inventions—like the printing press, affordable books, calculators, the personal computer, the Internet, Google, spell-check, and cell phones—this new tool forces us to reflect and rethink what we are currently doing. While uncomfortable, this can be a powerful growth experience.

Using a SWOT approach is one way to begin processing what this change may mean for you and your organization. Perhaps the examples in this article can help you begin an analysis that represents the unique dynamics of your school and district.