Despite low levels of preparedness and barriers to adoption in education, there is a belief in generative AI's potential to empower learners.

Is generative AI a beacon for more accessible education?

Despite low levels of preparedness and other barriers to adoption, there is a prevailing belief in generative AI's potential to empower educators and learners alike

Key points:

  • Many educators look forward to the opportunity afforded by AI, but few feel ready to use it
  • Other educators wonder if they have proper district support for AI use
  • See related article: 5 positive ways students can use AI
  • For more news on AI in education, visit eSN’s Digital Learning page

A resounding 90 percent of educators in a recent survey said they believe that AI has the potential to make education more accessible. 

Teachers are recognizing that when implemented ethically and with thoughtful consideration, AI can help students with special needs, learning disabilities, and language barriers, for example, and experience more effective, personalized learning methods, according to the 2023 Educator AI Report: Perceptions, Practices, and Potential from digital curriculum solution provider Imagine Learning.

With generative AI emerging as a pivotal element in the dynamic educational landscape of 2023, Imagine Learning conducted the survey to explore the perceptions, current practices, and future aspirations of educators who have already embraced technology in the classroom. The inaugural report showcases a comprehensive exploration of AI’s current and future role in K-12 classrooms.

When it comes to readiness, however, only 15 percent of educators feel “prepared” or “very prepared” to oversee the use of generative AI in the classroom, with over twice that number (32 percent) expressing they are completely unprepared to do so. What’s more, educators indicate a disparity when it comes to the likelihood of using Generative AI in the classroom, with district and school leaders perceived as less likely to embrace new AI tools when compared to educators and students.

On top of this, only one-third (33 percent) of surveyed educators feel that they have the support they need from their district and school leadership to successfully implement generative AI into their teaching.

Other key findings from Imagine Learning’s report include:

  • Almost half of educators (44 percent) who have used generative AI believe that its use has alleviated the burden of their workload and made their jobs easier.
  • Of the respondents who reported they have not used AI in the classroom, 65 percent cite a lack of familiarity as the primary obstacle to the future utilization of generative AI, with 48 percent also expressing ethical concerns.
  • 72 percent of educators are most concerned about plagiarism and cheating due to generative AI, highlighting the need for clear guidelines for students for using AI with academic integrity.

“Generative AI is a blend of promise and prudence. Its transformative potential is undeniable, but the journey forward requires thoughtful consideration,” said Sari Factor, Vice Chair and Chief Strategy Officer, of Imagine Learning. “Learning is above all a human endeavor. With generative AI as a tool to simplify lesson planning, reduce administrative tasks, and enhance personalized learning, we can empower the potential of teachers and students and improve learning outcomes.”

This press release originally appeared online.

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