Classroom Technology

Schools Want Guidance on AI Use in Classrooms. States Are Not Providing It, Report Says

By Alyson Klein — September 18, 2023 2 min read
Photo of student using laptop.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

More than half of state educational technology officials are seeing a spike in demand for guidance about proper use of AI tools in education, according to a recent report released by the State Educational Technology Directors Association.

But only 2 percent of state education technology officials said their state had initiatives or efforts underway to provide that kind of information, according to the survey of 104 officials from 45 states, Guam, and the Department of Defense, which operates schools for some military children. The survey was conducted in May and June by Whiteboard Advisors, on behalf of SETDA.

The lack of state initiatives on AI is a significant gap, given that 55 percent of respondents reported that they were seeing increased interest in guidance or policy around the use of AI in the classroom.

The number of states working on AI policy for schools is bound to increase in the coming years, the report said. It noted that the federal government has already gotten the ball rolling, with the U.S. Department of Education releasing a report on AI in schools in the spring that recommended educators understand the technology’s limitations and be empowered to decide when to disregard its conclusions.

At the time the federal report was released, Roberto Rodriguez, the department’s assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy analysis, expressed concern that schools and districts would be unable to produce the kind of guidance educators need to keep up with rapid advances in AI technologies.

“I am worried that we are not moving quickly enough [in setting school level policies and district level policies] that both capture the powerful potential that AI provides, but also minimize the risks of these tools in classrooms and in learning for students,” Rodriguez said.

SETDA expects that states will soon move to provide guidance on how to safely, securely, and productively use AI in the classroom, the report said.

And at least one state official signaled she’s urging schools to embrace the technology.

“ChatGPT took the world by surprise when it hit the market in 2022 and some found it a little intimidating,” Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota’s superintendent of public instruction, wrote in her introduction to the SETDA report. “Generative AI wasn’t part of the curriculum when I was a student, but it should be for the students we serve today. If we are to serve them well, we need to learn about and become intimately familiar with generative AI, cybersecurity and other nascent topics. ... I’ve challenged everyone in the agency to learn about and use ChatGPT.”

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Classroom Technology From Our Research Center The AI Classroom Hype Is All Wrong, Some Educators Say
Amid all the encouragement to try the technology, there are plenty of educators who don’t plan to start.
1 min read
Illustration of a large, sinking iceberg forming the letters "AI" as a business professional stands on the tip of the iceberg that remains above water with his hands on his hips and looking out into the large sea.
iStock/Getty
Classroom Technology What Worries District Tech Leaders Most About AI? (It’s Not About Teaching)
A new report from the Consortium for School Networking explores district tech leaders' top priorities and challenges.
3 min read
Motherboard image with large "AI" letters with an animated magnifying glass pans in from the left.
Canva
Classroom Technology From Our Research Center How Educators Are Using AI to Do Their Jobs
Educators are slowly experimenting with AI tools in a variety of ways, according to EdWeek Research Center survey data.
2 min read
Tight crop of a white computer keyboard with a cyan blue button labeled "AI"
iStock/Getty
Classroom Technology Opinion Let's Not Oversimplify Students' Cellphone Use
Vilifying the technology, including social media, is easier than digging into the societal issues that contribute to mental health issues.
5 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty