A bunch of surveys came out recently talking about how educators and students feel about AI tools like ChatGPT. But you know who hasn’t really been part of the conversation? Parents. Well, the National Parents Union decided to change that with a new poll. They wanted to know what parents think about AI and how it can help their kids in school.
So, here’s what they found. About 4 out of 10 parents say they know a little bit about AI, but most of them have heard next to nothing about how AI can be used in education. But get this, even with all that uncertainty, over two-thirds of parents believe that the benefits of AI in K-12 education outweigh or are equal to the potential drawbacks. Only 16 percent of parents think that the downsides are worse than the benefits.
But let’s not take that openness for granted. Keri Rodrigues, the president of the National Parents Union, says that schools need to be transparent with parents about how they’re using AI in the classroom. They don’t want parents filling in the gaps with stuff they read on the internet. And you know what? I couldn’t agree more. We need to inform parents about this technology instead of letting them form misconceptions and fears.
Now, ChatGPT has made AI more accessible to everyone, and it’s been getting a lot of attention in education too. But here’s the thing, AI is not new to K-12 education. Schools have been using it for a while now, whether it’s adaptive assessments or translations services. There are so many possibilities.
The National Parents Union survey, which included over 1,500 parents, also found that about half of them believe their child’s school is prepared to use AI in their education. That’s great, but there are still 29 percent of parents who feel like their kids’ schools aren’t preparing them for the future. And we also got 18 percent of parents who aren’t sure about it. That’s a bit concerning, don’t you think?
But here’s the thing, schools just need some guidance on where to start. Pat Yongpradit, from Code.org, says that schools should focus on teaching AI literacy to students and teachers. They also need to reach out to parents and let them know that they’re following existing policies when it comes to using AI in schools. TeachAI even has a toolkit with resources to help schools address these challenges. It’s all about being proactive and reassuring parents.
So, let’s talk about what parents see as the benefits of using AI in education. There’s this mom from Maryland, Pascale Small, who wants more information on how AI is being used in her kids’ education. And I don’t blame her. If schools are using AI tools, they should show parents how it positively affects teaching and learning. It’s all about transparency, my friends.
Now, when it comes to AI in education, many parents see potential in online tutoring. They believe it can have a great effect on K-12 education. And you know what? They’re not wrong. Online tutoring can be a game-changer, especially after all the learning loss that happened during the pandemic. We need to move fast, people!
But here’s the interesting part. Most parents don’t feel comfortable with the idea of teachers using AI to grade assignments. Only 46 percent of them think it’s a good idea. And a little more than a third of parents believe that using AI to help their kids write essays would have a positive effect on their learning. So, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
But there’s still hope. About half of the parents surveyed believe that AI can be used by educators to customize curriculum and lesson plans. They also see the value in using AI to analyze student performance data. So, there’s definitely some potential there.
At the end of the day, parents and educators are in the same boat when it comes to AI. Both groups are still trying to wrap their heads around this new technology. A survey from the EdWeek Research Center found that only 1 in 10 teachers, principals, and district leaders feel like they know enough about AI to teach it or use it in their work. So, there’s a lot of room for growth and learning.
But hey, let’s not forget to keep parents in the loop. Schools need to be proactive in sharing information and addressing parents’ concerns. We’re all figuring this out together, and as we learn more, things will keep changing. So, let’s keep the conversation going and make sure our kids are prepared for the future.