Teachers value AI. Unfortunately, half of them are locked out

Since its release late last year, ChatGPT has sparked widespread debate and concern over fears that it will erode academic integrity among students. Yet, a new survey suggests that half of secondary teachers believe AI will change education for the better.

The data, conducted by the technology services and consulting company Capgemini, reveals how generative AI tools are disrupting K12 education globally—for good and for bad.

For instance, both teachers (81%) and parents (70%) alike overwhelmingly agree that digital skills are necessary for students to be prepared for “future entry into the workforce” in the United States, the survey says. However, only 55% of students ages 16-18 worldwide feel they’re equipped with the digital skills required to be successful in today’s workforce.

Regarding students’ confidence in their digital skills, most feel they understand digital literacy and basic computer fundamentals (72%), digital citizenship (65%) and media literacy (59%). However, they lack an understanding of digital communication and data literacy (47%).

Another key component of digital skills necessary for the modern workforce, to no surprise, is generative AI. Seventy-four percent of secondary teachers in the U.S. said they agree with the statement, “Interacting with, and getting work done by, AI will be a key skill for jobs of the future.” This was also true for 58% of teachers globally.

To that end, teachers gave insight into their own experiences and feelings toward generative AI tools such as ChatGPT. Here’s what they said:

  • 61% of teachers have used ChatGPT for professional reasons.
  • Nearly 50% of teachers worldwide say their school has blocked or restricted its use.

Teachers do in fact worry about generative AI’s impact on learning, but many see its potential.

  • 78% of teachers are worried about AI’s possible negative impact on learning outcomes.
  • 50% believe ChatGPT’s potential as an educational tool outweighs its risks.
  • 56% of teachers believe curriculum and assessments should be tailored to account for students’ use of generative AI.

“It is our conviction that as technologies like generative AI increasingly shape our world and amplify the criticality of foundational digital skills, they also hold the key to bridging gaps through self-paced learning, hyper-personalization and other such capabilities,” said Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer at Capgemini Shobha Meera in a statement.

Recommendations for leaders

As the data suggests, both students and teachers alike understand the growing importance of digital skills—including generative AI—in the classroom and beyond. With this in mind, here are four recommendations outlined in the survey designed to help students hone their digital skills:

  • Mandate digital and media literacy as a requirement in their education.
  • Share and mobilize knowledge surrounding the subject.
  • Encourage corporations to be part of the learning ecosystem.
  • Engage parents in meaningful ways to reinforce and support learning digital skills.