Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming very popular among students and teachers – NBC Los Angeles

  • The percentage of K-12 students and teachers who say they use and approve of artificial intelligence has increased dramatically over the past year, according to a new survey conducted by Impact Research for the Walton Foundation.
  • Nearly half of U.S. K-12 teachers and students say they use ChatGPT on a weekly basis.
  • Less than 20% of students say they never use generative AI.

American society as a whole continues to oppose artificial intelligence, according to multiple polls, but in education, its use among teachers and students is growing rapidly.

In just over a year, the percentage of teachers who say they are familiar with ChatGPT — the breakthrough generative artificial intelligence chatbot from Microsoft-backed OpenAI that will soon be coming to the Apple iPhone — has increased from 55% to 79%, while among K-12 students, it has increased from 37% to 75%, according to a new survey conducted in May by Impact Research for the Walton Foundation.

In terms of actual usage, there was a similar increase, with 46% of teachers and 48% of students saying they used ChatGPT at least once a week, and student usage increased by 27 percentage points compared to last year.

Perhaps most notable is student feedback, which is generally positive. Seventy percent of K-12 students had a positive opinion about AI-based chatbots. Among students, this percentage increases to 75%. Among parents, 68% have a positive opinion about chatbots based on artificial intelligence

“It’s a lot more positive data than I expected,” said Ethan Mollick, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and an expert on artificial intelligence in education who has reviewed the survey data.

The survey data echoes the experiences of Khan Academy and its founder Sal Khan, who has been working with the Newark School District, among others, over the past year to test the use of Khanmigo’s education-specific ChatGPT solution. Khan recently told CNBC that his AI tool will grow from 65,000 to one million students next year. It also recently announced that Microsoft is paying to provide AI for free to teachers across the United States. (School districts pay per-pupil usage, which has recently hovered around $35 per user, though Khan says it may be possible to lower that price to the $10-$20 range as technology improves.)

“Unlike most things related to technology and education in the past where it’s a ‘nice to have’, I think it’s a ‘must have’ for many teachers,” Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, recently told Squawk Box ” CNBC.

While Khan Academy is best known for its educational videos, its interactive exercise platform was one that OpenAI principals Sam Altman and Greg Brockman focused on early on when they were looking for a partner to pilot ChatGPT with socially positive use cases.

Adoption rates in education are higher than they are now in the world of work, and it’s students who are highly motivated to seek help “that bring teachers along on that journey,” Mollick said.

In fact, teachers were the only demographic group surveyed whose favorability dropped year over year, although a majority (59%) still had a positive view of AI-powered chatbots.

Older teachers and parents (over 45) were less likely to have confidence in their ability to use AI effectively, but Khan said that one reason Microsoft and his nonprofit wanted to provide access to AI in every education in USA, is the fact that the time its use saves teachers.

Khan recently told CNBC that in the past, teachers were often told, “If only you learned this one extra thing…” which becomes a burden for an already overworked teacher. “Teachers are already scattered. “Especially with these tools for teachers, it’s just another thing to learn,” he said. However, Khan’s research with school districts so far has saved teachers 5-10 hours a week. “For the first time on our technology journey, we can say to teachers: ‘There will be less for you to do. Yes, you have to study a bit, but it will save you time.

Mollick described himself as optimistic about artificial intelligence in education in the long term, but said that in the short term the results are relatively high compared to previous surveys on the introduction of new technologies. “I was kind of surprised to see the numbers look so good. “I was surprised by how positive the mood was among each group,” he said. “It’s not universally liked, but we don’t see the negatives as strong as we usually do,” he said.

It’s early. Khan noted in a recent interview with CNBC that the basic directive should be to never put technology ahead of a use case. He said that over the past 15 years, school districts have been able to “accelerate results quite dramatically with technology, but in many other cases iPads and laptops have been purchased and have been gathering dust.”

The new data also shows significant equity in the use of AI in education. Minorities are increasingly adopting AI in education, including teachers and parents who use AI to help children. Black and Latino K-12 students and undergraduate students were more likely to use AI in school.

Mollick said it’s too early to try to piece together the economic data conclusively – private school students were the most likely to use AI both in person and in school – but added that it’s worth digging deeper into the data to ask whether A.I. may be to fill existing gaps in the school system. “Now people have access to an AI tutor and don’t have to pay for it,” he said.

Khan said that AI in the classroom is a scaling of personalization that parallels his organization’s founding story – when he personally tutored his cousin Nadia. He recently told CNBC that artificial intelligence “could bring us much closer to the ideal, combined with everything we’ve done over the years, which is being able to emulate what a great teacher would do.”

“It passes the Turing test in my opinion,” Khan said, referring to the goal of Alan Turing, the famous British mathematician and artificial intelligence pioneer, for computer intelligence to be on par with human intelligence and humans’ inability to distinguish one from the other. “It’s indistinguishable from when I texted Nadia in 2004.”

Artificial intelligence and fraud

The results raise many questions for teachers and parents.

The value of in-class lectures is uncertain when the student can get all the information from the AI, Mollick said, but the accuracy of the AI ​​compared to the teacher, while generally good, remains an open question. “We have to be careful before we jump all the way in,” he said.

Nearly 20% of teachers surveyed said ChatGPT had a negative impact, up from 7% last year.

It’s impossible to discuss artificial intelligence in education without considering its use in cheating, even though online cheating is nothing new. “Students are highly incentivized to cheat,” Mollick said, because there is too much work to do and not enough time to complete it. Historically, homework has been proven to increase students’ grades, but with the rise of online fraud, this association has worsened, and artificial intelligence may further reduce the value of homework.

Khan recently told CNBC that the Gen AI tutoring system works by keeping a student within its walls, for example while writing an essay, and the AI ​​is able to determine whether work progress can be traced back to the student and flag any signs of cheating to the teacher.

The new monitoring systems will present their own set of problems, Mollick said, as well as new ways for students to learn how to bypass the controls.