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Teachers Believe AI Can Boost Classroom Creativity and Support Learning, Survey Finds

June 11, 2024
As new tools show AI's emerging potential, educators are eager to learn how to better use the technology to boost student achievement

Washington, D.C. – A new national survey of teachers, students and parents shows all three groups largely support using artificial intelligence tools in classrooms to enhance student learning. However, a lack of training and guidance from school leaders is holding back efforts to make the most of the technology.

The survey, commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation in partnership with the Learning Engineering Virtual Institute's AI Lab, found almost half of teachers use AI-powered tools like ChatGPT at least once a week to grade and review student work, plan lessons and develop quizzes and assignments.

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However, although teachers are embracing the technology, they also report having received little training or guidance from school leaders on the issue: only 25% of teachers said they have received “professional development on how to use AI chatbots in the classroom.” More than half – 56% – said they want training but have not received any.

To show the power and potential of AI-powered tools, the Learning Engineering Virtual Institute’s AI Lab released five new online educational tools today. The tools - which were developed through rapid prototyping with educators, parents and learning scientists - demonstrate how AI can enhance how students learn, how teachers teach and how parents support their children’s education. The Walton Family Foundation, along with other funders, supports the Learning Engineering Virtual Institute.

The pilot tools address critical issues in education such as facilitating personalized feedback on student work, helping teachers understand education research and choose the optimal program for each learner, and assisting parents in making decisions about which school is right for their child.

“Teachers are moving quickly to experiment with artificial intelligence tools into their teaching to help drive student learning,” said Kumar Garg, founder of the Learning Engineering Virtual Institute and President of Renaissance Philanthropy.

“However, a lack of training and guidance from school officials is slowing their progress. The tools we’ve released today demonstrate that when developed intentionally and in collaboration with educators, AI tools can be a powerful addition to classroom instruction.”

The five pilot tools released today address a number of pressing issues in education:

  • The Rori Math Hint Generation Chatbot aims to boost students' math problem-solving skills by identifying mistakes students have made and providing constructive hints to help move them forward. The ultimate goal is full integration with online math assignments, ensuring constant student support.
  • The Personalized Writing Tutor for Analytic Writing gives individualized advice and critiques on student writing. Developed by a veteran teacher, the tool gives students feedback that helps them develop the coherence, tone and effectiveness of their writing.
  • An Early Literacy Tool that simplifies the process of creating support plans and assists educators in selecting interventions to help with early literacy issues. Drawing from the Doing What Works Library, the chatbot supports a comprehensive approach to help students who are behind in reading and writing.
  • A Student Portfolio Assessment Tool, created by the Mastery Transcript Consortium, aims to help educators identify top durable skills in student assignments to ensure students are prepared for the jobs of the future. 
  • A School Comparison Bot allows parents to compare schools across key progress measures including academic performance, attendance and other factors. The development team focused on the Cheltenham School District, which educates more than 4,300 highly diverse students and is located just outside Philadelphia, but the application can be adapted for any district with available data. 

The AI Lab is a project of the Learning Engineering Virtual Institute (LEVI), which seeks to drastically improve math outcomes in middle school grades. Over the next five years, LEVI will fund efforts to develop, scale and implement interventions that will double the rate of math progress in middle school, especially for low-income students.

To explore the role of AI in boosting student achievement, LEVI created the AI LEVI Lab to develop prototype ChatGPT-based tools like the ones released today.

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta.

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