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84% of U.S. educators actively use AI in the classroom

The first full school year since OpenAI launched ChatGPT on Nov. 20, 2022 has come to a close. Since then, educators' attitudes toward artificial intelligence have changed. For example, New York City Public Schools was the first district to ban ChatGPT in January 2023, only to lift the ban later that year in May. In fact, 70% of educators in New York report that AI has actually increased their passion in teaching.  

It's not just New York, though. Data shows that, across the country, educators' relationships with AI are evolving for the better. Nationally, 65% of teachers feel more passionate about teaching due to AI. But why? All signs point to a simultaneous increase in AI literacy and integration. That is, the more educators learn about AI, the more they use it. 

Study.com takes a closer look at how our nation's educators have changed their minds about AI. 

Methodology: Data for this article comes from Education Week, the 2023 HMH Annual Educator Confidence Report, RAND corporation, Stanford, and two Study.com surveys, conducted via Pollfish, from 2023 and 2024. The 2024 survey had a total of 1,109 teacher participants, 58% of which were male and 42% of which were female. 40% were between 35-44 years old, 31% between 25-34 years old, and 15% between 18-24 years old. Regarding ethnicity, 74% of respondents identified as White, 12% as Black, 5% as Hispanic or Latinx, and 4% as Asian. Statistically significant sample sizes were achieved in several states, ensuring a 90% confidence level and a margin of error of ±10%. The states with significant samples included California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

The Evolution of AI in Education

Alina Lehtinen-Vela

In 2023, most educators had heard of ChatGPT, but only a small fraction used it in the classroom. Many feared it would complicate their jobs or be misused by students. Fast forward to 2024, and the landscape looks very different. Now, a Study.com survey shows that 84% of educators are actively using AI tools, with many planning to expand their use in the upcoming school year. 

This shift in attitude is echoed by education leaders across the country. "AI is here to stay and will be further developed. It cannot be feared but in education, we better understand its use and how we can embrace it or we will once again be left behind," said a district superintendent from West Virginia, as quoted by EdWeek

More Educators Use Generative AI Tools in 2024 than in 2023 

The HMH Annual Educator Confidence Report found that, in 2023, 80% of educators had at least heard of ChatGPT, but only 10% of educators used generative AI in the classroom. Furthermore, the 2023 Study.com AI survey found that 43% of educators thought that ChatGPT would make their jobs more difficult, 26% had caught a student cheating using ChatGPT, and 72% had not received any faculty guidance on its usage.  

Attitudes have changed in 2024, though. Today, 84% of educators are actively using AI tools in the classroom, and 74% of educators plan to increase their usage in the coming school year. Of the educators who don't currently use generative AI tools in the classroom, 38% plan to start.  

Though AI usage varies from person to person, most educators (48%) use between one and three generative AI tools.  

The increased use of AI among teachers follows a trend of school districts providing training to teachers on AI literacy. After interviewing educational leaders in 2024, RAND corporation found that 60% of districts plan to have trained teachers about AI use. Notably, the potential for AI tools to make teachers' jobs easier has prompted leaders to focus primarily on teachers' AI literacy rather than students'.  

Educators Passion and Outlooks are Changing for the Better  

While educators' use of AI has increased, their passion for teaching has, too. In fact, 65% of educators nationwide attribute their recent increase in passion to their use of AI. There has also been a 5% increase in confidence among educators, compared to 2023. This increase in confidence is attributed partially to a 17% increase in the use of digital platforms to increase student engagement.  

As teachers become more AI literate, they're finding new ways for AI to help them at work. Stanford researchers discussed some of the potential capabilities of AI at the inaugural AI+Education Summit in 2023. One of these potentialities is the enhancement of personalized support for teachers at scale. According to the discussions at the summit, the limited actionable feedback that teachers receive can make it difficult for them to improve their practice. AI tools could help them by refreshing their expertise, providing them real-time feedback and suggestions, post-teaching feedback, and even simulating students to equip teachers with the knowledge necessary to effectively engage and communicate with their real students.  

Another potential capability of AI discussed at the summit was the ability to enable learning without fear of judgment. According to Rani Liu, chief AI scientist at Amira Learning, AI can offer constructive feedback that does not carry the same stakes or cause the same self-consciousness that a human response would.  

Educators Want More Training on AI for Schools and Classrooms 

Training teachers on AI use is important not only because it gives teachers a better understanding of how they can help students but also because it can improve teacher retention. Happy teachers tend to stay longer in their jobs, and data shows that teachers with more AI knowledge have become more enthusiastic about teaching. 

Among the educators who reported an increase in passion for teaching, 50% had received comprehensive AI training. Meanwhile, only 9% of educators who did not experience an increase in passion have received comprehensive AI training. This suggests a positive correlation between the amount of comprehensive AI training an educator has received and their passion for teaching.  

That said, 90% of educators have spent time outside of work to learn more about AI and only one in five educators feels equipped to harness tools like ChatGPT in the classroom. Additionally, 39% of educators report a lack of any formal AI guidance whatsoever, and 32% are hesitant to fully integrate AI into their classroom without said guidance. 

This story was produced by Study.com and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.

 

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