Teachers are using OpenAI’s ChatGPT more frequently than their students, according to a new survey from the Walton Family Foundation. The survey found teachers are using ChatGPT for lesson planning and to generate creative ideas for classes.

While there has been significant focus on ChatGPT’s potential to enable cheating and plagiarism, the new survey found that teachers have a much different view of the technology, with the majority seeing an opportunity for it to help accelerate learning.

Within two months of its introduction, 51 percent of teachers reported using ChatGPT. Additionally, 40 percent said they use it at least once a week and 53 percent said they expect to use it more this year. On the other side of the desk, only 22 percent of students said they use ChatGPT on at least a weekly basis.

In terms of encouraging student use of the technology, teachers are nearly four times more likely to have allowed students to use ChatGPT than caught them using it without their permission. According to the survey, only 15 percent of students admit to using the program without their teachers’ permission.

Between students and teachers there is agreement on the potential of ChatGPT to benefit the educational experience. The majority of students (63 percent) and teachers (72 percent) agree that “ChatGPT is just another example of why we can’t keep doing things the old way for schools in the modern world.” Additionally, 68 percent of students believe the technology can help them become better students and 73 percent of students agree that ChatGPT can help their students learn more.

“Educators are innovators,” said Romy Drucker, director of the Education Program at the Walton Family Foundation. “They recognize the urgency of this moment and want to use every tool at their disposal to meet each student’s unique needs.”

In terms of where ChatGPT can be deployed, 91 percent of teachers and 87 percent of students believe it can be used to close the learning gap that is the result of COVID-19 school closures.

In Illinois teacher Diego Marin’s 8th-grade math class, ChatGPT helps provide differentiated support for students at all levels. “ChatGPT is like a personalized 1:1 tutor that is super valuable for students, especially in the math space,” Marin said in a press release.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs