- At $162,500 a year, the Institut auf dem Rosenberg is “possibly” the most expensive school in the world.
- The director of the Swiss boarding school told Insider that it is embracing AI technologies like ChatGPT and DALL-E.
- She says banning ChatGPT is “mass hysteria” and students need to learn the ethics of AI.
As educators around the world ban ChatGPT, the Institut auf dem Rosenberg – one of the most expensive schools in the world at $162,500 a year – is encouraging students to use AI tools.
The Swiss boarding school, which it says is “possibly” the most expensive in the world, requires a non-refundable fee of more than $1,000 just to enroll. While descendants of German oligarchs and billionaires are rumored to have attended, Rosenberg’s student privacy rules mean she neither confirms nor denies the names of alumni.
Anita Gademann, the school’s principal and head of innovation, told Insider how she started preparing for AI five years ago after reading “AI 2040: Ten Visions for Our Future” by Kai-Fu Lee.
“We are very determined to ensure that everything we teach our students is relevant to them – relevant to the world they will enter in the future,” she says. “It would be disingenuous to say ‘don’t use AI’ and then pretend we’re going to send them ready to go about their lives as adults.”
Using ChatGPT and DALL·E in the Classroom
Gademann says students are taught to use AI “as a tool” and she is particularly excited about text-to-picture generators like DALL·E. Seventh-grade students used it in a history project to visualize the Middle Ages and the “discrepancies between nobility and peasants”. Another student used DALL·E to generate images in an essay on the role of women in World War I.
But students are also “incredibly cautious” and “very critical” of ChatGPT, she says. In an economics class, they graded their answers. The AI did not score more than one C.
“I would argue that if you’re getting C-level responses from ChatGPT, you’re asking the wrong question,” adds Gademann. “My kids are learning to ask specifically so the first answer is correct.”
Students also explore ethical issues, as well as the pros and cons of AI, such as a September course called “The Art of Conflict.” They produced a play and a law, around hypotheses like “What happens if AI kills?” questioning whether the programmer or inventor was responsible.
‘Mass hysteria of censorship and prohibition’
Gademann says professors know if a student has plagiarized an essay because they are familiar with their writing styles and any shortcomings. Although this is most easily achieved at Rosenberg which has a student to staff ratio of 2:1. “I’m not naive,” says Gademann. “I am acutely aware of the fact that we are a very, very special school.”
But she adds: “I know the name, aim and objective of each of my 230 children. I make a point of knowing that.”
Gademann references a New York Times article that noted how 6,000 professors at universities, including Harvard and Yale, signed up for GPTZero, a program that can detect AI-generated text. Other universities have revised plagiarism policies or banned ChatGPT altogether.
She calls it “mass censorship and ban hysteria”, adding that it “shows us how far behind we are as a world” because her students already use AI every day.
“Can you imagine a scenario where we are throwing millions and millions of dollars to find out if a student used a calculator in math homework in the 80’s?” asks Gademann. “Sounds bizarre, doesn’t it?”
Insider previously reported that London’s Alleyn’s School, which costs $28,000 a year, is putting more emphasis on class preparation over traditional homework amid the rise of ChatGPT. Gademann endorses this approach, saying, “I think education has to change to one where the teacher and student work together towards something, rather than being taught and then producing something in a silo.”
She explains how, when she was younger, “the more languages you spoke and the more books you read, the cooler you were.” Now, she says, “the knowledge is completely outdated.”
“You have to teach skills, and you have to teach values and ethics.”