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Teachers worldwide are using AI

A survey of over 300 teachers from around the world has asked how AI impacts their lives. So, what do our colleagues have to say?

A study from the University of Cambridge and the University of Bedfordshire asked 386 teachers from 70 countries about their experiences with AI. Lead researchers Dr Evelina Galaczi and Dr Nahal Khabbazbashi surveyed teachers on subjects such as:

  • How teachers use AI in everyday teaching
  • Their attitudes towards AI
  • The challenges and benefits
  • What training they may need

In their report, Dr Galaczi and Dr Khabbazbashi found teachers were, on the whole, positive towards and comfortable with AI. Educators told researchers that AI had become a teaching aid for them, with one teacher from Kenya expressing it ‘is currently my best teaching tool’.

The report found that teachers use AI fairly frequently, with 46% saying they use it on a weekly basis, and 36% using it monthly. When asked about how they use AI, teachers say they often use it as an assistant that creates lesson plans and activities. They also described AI as a ‘work buddy’ that can offer a second perspective on completed assignments. One teacher from Argentina said:

‘It’s like a team member you can count on even on a Sunday afternoon when you don’t want to bother any of your teachers, or your coordinators and you need somebody to exchange ideas with.’

In December, the Gazette reported on the British Council’s Artificial Intelligence and English language teaching research. The Council found that teachers were not worried AI would take their jobs, an opinion shared in the report from Cambridge and Bedfordshire. According to Dr Galaczi and Dr Khabbazbashi, 73% of teachers surveyed said they did not believe AI would replace them as educators.

However, cheating and plagiarism is still a concern for educators. The survey also found respondents were worried about an over-reliance on AI. One teacher from Ecuador said they had noticed that ‘sometimes students tend to look for answers on ChatGPT instead of analysing and thinking critically’.

On the other hand, some teachers expressed concern about unequal access to AI. In the Council’s report, experts were concerned AI may widen the digital divide, a worry shared by teachers surveyed by Cambridge and Bedfordshire. As explained by one teacher from Kenya:

‘There are students who do not have access to AI and I feel they are disadvantaged as compared to those who do have access.’

So, where do we go from here? Well, with the ever-evolving world of AI, educators would like to see more training as part of their professional development. Dr Galaczi and Dr Khabbazbashi say they found a ‘high demand and appetite for more training’ in their research. A staggering 85% expressed their enthusiasm to learn more about AI, a quarter of teachers believe they would need ongoing monthly training, and around half would like a few training days a year.

As the researchers note in their report, the most commonly used tool – ChatGPT – was only launched in November 2022. In just over a year, it has made a huge impact on the teaching world, and it remains to be seen if teacher attitudes will continue to be positive as time goes on.

If you’d like to read more, click here.

Image courtesy of Rolf van Root
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