Why teachers and K12 administrators are split over AI’s impact on teaching

Since its inception, generative AI tools like ChatGPT have taken the world of education by storm. As time passes, more and more educators seem to be buying into its potential to enhance student learning and streamline the profession. Yet, many still worry it will make their jobs more challenging, and administrators simply disagree.

A new survey by the digital learning platform Clever reveals some of the latest thoughts and perceptions of teachers, administrators and edtech professionals about artificial intelligence and its impact on education. Most notably, K12 administrators believe more than teachers that it may actually serve more harm than good.

According to the data, an overwhelming majority of teachers (85%) and administrators (78%) believe that AI will have a “significant” impact on teaching. Yet, when asked to consider its consequences, their opinions vary.

Nearly half of the teachers surveyed (49%) express concerns that AI will actually make their jobs more challenging within the next three years, whereas 46% of administrators predict it will streamline educators’ workloads. That said, 63% of teachers said that edtech overall has “significantly streamlined their work,” allowing them to allocate more time to better support their students and themselves.

And despite administrators’ positive feelings toward AI, their districts lack the preparedness to properly adopt the technology in their classrooms.

“Considering rapid developments in generative AI, it may come as no surprise that 89% of districts do not currently offer AI-focused professional development despite recognizing its impending impact,” the survey reads. Similarly, 96% of teachers said they’ve received no professional development or training on the topic, “revealing a potential opportunity to better support educators for AI’s future role in education.”

AI is also having a profound impact on the edtech industry as well, the survey suggests. According to the responses of more than 100 leading edtech companies, nearly 40% of developers report that AI is currently shaping their product roadmap.

“AI is changing the way we approach education, and this shift is happening faster than most people realize,” CEO of Clever Trish Sparks said in a statement. “As a former teacher, I see the potential to streamline administrative work for educators so they can invest in what’s most impactful—learning in the classroom.”

These findings come at a time when edtech experts and consultants are advocating for AI’s implementation in the classroom, as long as it’s used with integrity. For instance, Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbookhighlighted during the first Future of Education Technology virtual roundtable last week some of the ways he leveraged ChatGPT to streamline traditionally boring and mundane classroom tasks.

In a matter of six minutes, Miller said he detailed more than 10 ways ChatGPT can be utilized in the classroom to promote effective, seamless instruction.

“I asked it all of these questions like, ‘Can you write me a five-paragraph essay about the Peloponnesian War?’ It does it,” he said during the webinar. “‘Can you write it at an 8th-grade level?’ It does it. ‘Can you write it at a college master’s level?’ It does, and of course, the language gets more sophisticated. ‘Can you summarize bullet points for it that I can use for PowerPoint slides?’ And it writes a whole bunch of text I can put on PowerPoint slides.”