“Not see the forest for the trees,” is a North American idiom that is used to urge one that focusing on the details might lead them to miss the larger issue/problem. ChatGPT is the tree. Perhaps it’s the tallest or the leafiest tree, or the one that blossomed rapidly right in front of your eyes… sort of like a Japanese flowering cherry. What does this mean for you?

If you’re exploring ChatGPT – as a student, instructor, administrator, perhaps as a community – don’t focus solely on ChatGPT. Certainly, this particular tool is can serve as one illustration of the possibilities, pitfalls, and challenges of Generative AI, but making decisions about Generative AI by focusing solely on ChatGPT may lead you to make decisions that are grounded on the idiosyncrasies of this particular technology at this particular point in time.

What does this mean in practice? Your syllabus policies should be broader than ChatGPT. Your taskforce and working groups should look beyond this particular tool. Your classroom conversations should highlight additional technologies.

I was asked recently to lead a taskforce to explore implications and put forward recommendations for our teaching and learning community. ChatGTP was the impetus. But our focus is Generative AI. It needs to be. And there’s a long AIED history here, which includes some of my earlier work on pedagogical agents.