Others

AI Adoption Surges in Education with Positive Feedback and Equity in Usage

Familiarity with ChatGPT surged to 79% among teachers and 75% among students, with weekly usage at 46% and 48% respectively.

By Athena Xu

6/11, 14:44 EDT
article-main-img

Key Takeaway

  • Familiarity with ChatGPT surged among teachers (55% to 79%) and K-12 students (37% to 75%) over the past year.
  • Khan Academy plans to expand its AI tool, Khanmigo, from 65,000 to one million students next year, with Microsoft funding free AI tools for teachers.
  • Minority groups show higher AI adoption rates; Black and Hispanic parents express strong support for increased AI chatbot usage in schools.

Rising AI Familiarity in Education

The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in education is experiencing significant growth, according to a recent poll conducted by Impact Research for the Walton Family Foundation and the Learning Engineering Virtual Institute’s AI Lab. The poll, conducted in May, revealed that familiarity with ChatGPT, a generative AI chatbot developed by OpenAI and backed by Microsoft, has surged among both teachers and students. Specifically, the percentage of teachers familiar with ChatGPT rose from 55% to 79% over the past year, while familiarity among K-12 students increased from 37% to 75%.

Usage of ChatGPT has also seen a notable rise, with 46% of teachers and 48% of students reporting weekly use. This represents a 27 percentage point increase in student usage compared to the previous year. The feedback from students has been largely positive, with 70% of K-12 students and 75% of undergraduates expressing favorable views of AI chatbots. Among parents, 68% held favorable views of AI chatbots. Ethan Mollick, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, commented on the data, stating, "It is a lot more positive data than I expected."

Khan Academy's AI Expansion

Khan Academy, a well-known educational platform, has been at the forefront of integrating AI into education. Over the past year, the organization has been working with school districts, including Newark, New Jersey, to test a customized version of ChatGPT called Khanmigo. Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, recently announced plans to expand the AI tool's reach from 65,000 students to one million students next year. Additionally, Microsoft is funding the initiative to offer AI tools to teachers across the U.S. free of charge.

Khan emphasized the importance of AI in education, stating, "Unlike most things in technology and education in the past where this is a ‘nice-to-have,’ I think this is a ‘must-have’ for a lot of teachers." He also highlighted the time-saving benefits for teachers, noting that AI tools have saved teachers 5-10 hours per week. Despite the positive reception, only 25% of teachers reported receiving any training on AI chatbots, and 32% cited a lack of training and professional development as major barriers to AI adoption.

Equity and AI Adoption

The poll data also indicates significant equity in AI usage in education, with minority groups adopting AI at higher rates. Black and Hispanic K-12 students and undergraduates were more likely to use AI for school purposes. Among parents, 47% expressed a desire for increased AI chatbot usage in schools, with higher support among Black (57%) and Hispanic parents (55%).

Mollick noted the potential for AI to address existing gaps in the education system, stating, "Now people have access to an AI tutor and now they don’t have to pay for a tutor." Khan echoed this sentiment, suggesting that AI could help achieve the personalized tutoring experience that inspired the founding of Khan Academy. He remarked, "AI could get us that much closer to this ideal, in conjunction with everything else we’ve been doing over the years, of being able to emulate what a great tutor would do."

Street Views

  • Ethan Mollick, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (Bullish on AI in education):

    "It is a lot more positive data than I expected."

  • Ethan Mollick, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (Cautiously Optimistic on AI in education):

    "I was sort of surprised to see the numbers look as good as they do. I was surprised by how positive the feelings were among every group... It’s not universally loved, but we’re not seeing the strong negatives we usually see."

  • Sal Khan, Khan Academy (Bullish on AI for classrooms):

    "Unlike most things in technology and education in the past where this is a ‘nice-to-have,’ I think this is a ‘must-have’ for a lot of teachers."
    "This will be fewer things for you to do. Yes, there’s a little bit of a learning curve, but it will save you time."
    "[AI could] get us that much closer to this ideal...of being able to emulate what a great tutor would do."