The Commercial Appeal

AI tool making way into classroom

Many students, teachers report using CHATGPT

- Kayla Jimenez

Despite concerns about whether students are using CHATGPT to cheat on exams or as a shortcut to doing their coursework, a national survey shows students and teachers have quickly incorporat­ed the new technology into their everyday lives.

Laila Ayala, a student at Comp Sci High in New York City, has used CHATGPT to research prompts for her debate team on the effect of AI on students, student mental health and whether the SAT and ACT should be abolished. In Kentucky, high school junior Zachary Clifton said he has used CHATGPT to create study guides for some of the college courses he takes at a nearby community college.

Even as some school districts ban the artificial intelligen­ce platform – which can quickly answer questions about nearly any subject it’s asked – and some college professors find themselves becoming hypervigil­ant about whether students are using it to cheat, the new survey commission­ed by the Walton Family Foundation and conducted by Impact Research found 22% of students use the chatbot to help them with coursework or in extracurri­cular activities “on a weekly basis or more.” And more than half of teachers surveyed reported using CHATGPT at least once. Forty percent of teachers used it “at least once a week.”

The nationally representa­tive survey results, shared exclusivel­y with USA TODAY, involved more than 1,000 teachers and 1,002 12- to 17-year-olds.

The survey, which was done in early February, also found 63% of students and 72% of teachers agreed with the sentiment that CHATGPT is “just another example of why we can’t keep doing things the old way for schools in the modern world,” and 73% of teachers said the tool “can help students learn more.” The Walton Family Foundation funds research and platforms that use AI to develop tools for educators and students.

Other surveys, however, capture teachers’ apprehensi­on about artificial intelligen­ce. One survey of 203 K-12 teachers from found that more than 70% of teachers “have not received any faculty guidance on CHATGPT,” 43% “think CHATGPT will make their jobs more difficult,” and about 1 in 4 have caught a student using CHATGPT to cheat on assignment­s.

Another survey by the online magazine Intelligen­t found 30% of college students used CHATGPT on written assignment­s.

Romy Drucker, a director of the education program at the Walton Family Foundation, said the organizati­on commission­ed its survey to understand what students and their teachers want from education, especially with the need to help students make up for learning time lost during remote schooling triggered by the coronaviru­s pandemic. “With this research we’re hoping to cast a light,” said Drucker, adding that teachers and students should have a voice in how CHATGPT and AI is used in their classrooms.

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