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Research Finds AI More Popular Among Teachers Than Students

A survey of students and educators at both high school and college levels found less then half of them think AI has had a positive impact on student learning, although educators seem more optimistic than students.

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When it comes to the use of artificial intelligence in the classroom, educators seem more optimistic than students about its potential to reverse learning loss and improve outcomes, according to recent research from the study-materials company Quizlet.

Quizlet released a summary of its research, State of AI in Education, on July 24. The field work commissioned by the San Francisco-based company was conducted in June by data and analytics experts with the marketing company Allison+Partners. The team surveyed 1,000 students between the ages of 14 and 22, and 500 high school or college teachers. All respondents were in the United States. The organization released key findings but not the full data set.

All told, 62 percent of respondents said they had used AI technologies of an unspecified kind, although the study makes mention of the generative AI tool ChatGPT. For the students, 73 percent indicated that AI helps them to understand material better, and 67 percent said it helped them to study faster and more efficiently.

By contrast, less than half of students (47 percent) and teachers (48 percent) indicated that AI technologies “have had a positive impact on the student learning experience.” And only 42 percent of all respondents said AI fosters a more equitable learning system, the report summary said.

In a separate section of the summary focused on questions about ChatGPT, Quizlet indicated more teachers (65 percent) use it than students (61 percent). In addition, exactly half of the teachers surveyed noted they were “excited or optimistic” about ChatGPT use in education, compared to only 30 percent of students.

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

Students and teachers differed in their reasons for using AI. According to Quizlet’s summary, the top AI uses for teachers included research (44 percent), creating lesson plans (38 percent), summarizing or synthesizing information (38 percent), and generating classroom assignments and tests (37 percent).

Students listed the top three reasons as research (44 percent), summarizing or synthesizing information (38 percent), and generating study guides or materials (33 percent). Of the student respondents who said they study at least three hours per weeknight, 72 percent said they had used ChatGPT or similar AI technologies.

The survey also asked about learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty-eight percent of teachers predicted that using AI in the classroom will help students make up lost learning time, while 18 percent believed the technology “will neither harm nor help.”

“AI technologies hold immense promise for improving the way we educate students by personalizing the learning experience to the needs and styles of each individual student,” Bayer, the Quizlet CEO, said in a public statement. “We are excited to put more AI learning tools in the hands of students, especially as those who fell behind during the pandemic are looking for ways to catch up.”

The report summary concluded that while AI in its current form is still somewhat new, it is “gaining traction” in schools. Fifty-three percent of students said their teachers or professors had not yet explained the proper and allowed uses of AI technology as it relates to schoolwork, and 59 percent said their instructors “have not encouraged” them to use AI technologies. For both teachers and students, only 22 percent indicated that their school had formalized a code of conduct or advisory for using such tools.