Teachers want to encourage AI use among students. First, they need guidance from K12 leaders

Many teachers are using the technology to prepare students for a future inevitably accompanied by AI. But few educators have received guidance from administrators on how to do so.

If you were to ask a teacher at the start of the 2022-23 school year their thoughts on using artificial intelligence in and outside of the classroom, chances are their opinions would’ve been rather pessimistic, given the headlines that arose when ChatGPT first launched. But now that educators have had a chance to experiment with the technology, we’re beginning to see a warm embrace of AI to enhance instruction. In fact, teachers are championing its use compared to students.

That’s according to a new report from Quizlet, a global study platform, titled, the “State of AI in Education Report,” a survey of some 1,000 high school and college-aged students and 500 teachers at either the high school or college level. Respondents were asked how they are leveraging AI in and outside of the classroom.

Key findings

To no surprise, the majority of all respondents (62%) report having used AI technology before. For students, it’s become an effective study aid tool:

  • 73% say it helps them study faster.
  • 67% say it helps them study more efficiently.

A student’s workload also appears to be an indicator of AI use. For example, a student who studies three hours or more each night is more likely to leverage AI, according to the data.

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But most of all, the research reveals that teachers are simply leading the AI charge. Sixty-five percent of teachers say they currently use AI compared to 61% of students. Furthermore, 50% of teachers hold rather optimistic views toward AI in education citing excitement about its future compared to 39% of students.

“When it comes to ChatGPT and other AI technologies, media headlines have positioned students as early adopters and teachers as skeptics, but Quizlet’s research tells a different story,” the report reads.

“IT is encouraging to see the number of teachers who are championing AI in education,” Quizlet CEO Lex Bayer said in a statement. “Many of the teachers we speak with emphasize they are trying to best prepare their students for the world they will be living in, and see AI as an inevitable part of all our futures.”

Advice for leaders

However, despite their advocacy, few teachers receive the support they need from school and district leaders to sufficiently encourage its use in the classroom. For instance, 53% of students said their teachers or instructors have not yet talked to them about how to properly use AI as it relates to education. Similarly, 59% of teachers say they have yet to encourage their students to use it.

The underlying issue may very well stem from leadership, the report suggests.

“AI exploded at an unforeseen rate in the middle of the 2022-2023 academic year and as such only 22% of students and teachers report that their school has a code of conduct or advisory for AI technologies,” the report reads.

If that is the case for your school or district, consider turning to a variety of resources designed to help educators navigate AI and its use in the classroom while the technology is still in its infancy. For instance, Turnitin, a popular plagiarism detector, has published several papers that serve as guidelines for administrators wanting to introduce resources essential to supporting teachers’ use of AI in and outside of the classroom. Here are a few to begin with:

Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttps://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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