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Artificial Learning: Students submitting assignments using AI, but most teachers can’t tell

A recent study shows that most teachers think students rely on Artificial Intelligence apps to complete their schoolwork. RM Technology, a company in the education tech field, conducted a survey and found that about two-thirds of teachers believe they regularly receive assignments written by AI. Interestingly, nearly 9 percent of teachers even confess they can’t distinguish between their students’ work produced by AI programs.

In this survey of 500 high school teachers, it turns out that 41 percent of them feel that there should be stricter rules for AI, and around 31 cents favor government intervention to supervise its usage.

Mel Parker, who used to be a school principal and now consults for RM Technology, has a clear stance: Teachers need government regulations to ensure safety. She also believes there should be more comprehensive training in rapidly advancing technology.

“They should understand how to engage students in conversations about ethical AI usage, what constitutes suitable application within educational settings, and how AI can aid learning. They must grasp how AI can enhance comprehension of concepts—distinguishing between dishonesty and productive methods,” she said.

She expressed worry that students might exploit AI for cheating, particularly as over a third of the surveyed teachers acknowledge that students are more knowledgeable about AI than they are.

“Teachers haven’t been provided the necessary tools to develop a comprehensive grasp of this. Consequently, they require assistance to identify such instances,” she added.

Students have a different perspective.
Teachers’ concerns didn’t resonate with students, as a parallel survey of pupils showed that 68% of them believe their grades have improved due to AI, and 49% think that not using AI would negatively affect their learning experience.

Miya Crofts, a 17-year-old student, frequently uses AI tools for her studies.

She explained, “I use AI often for things like online homework and revision tools. If I need extra help and don’t want to bother my teacher, or she can’t provide the assistance I need, AI programs are there whenever I require them.”

Miya sees AI as a positive force since it offers assistance whenever necessary. However, she is concerned: “On the flip side, I think some students might start depending too heavily on it, eroding their self-reliance. The immediate feedback and answers are great but might hinder independent thinking.”

“It’s like you can ask questions and immediately get answers, but you’re not engaging your critical thinking,” she added.

However, Tito Thomson O’Reilly, another student, has a different approach and doesn’t often use AI for his schoolwork. He highlights a significant drawback: “It removes the social interaction aspect from the equation. It’s like asking a little robot a question and receiving an immediate answer. But there’s no emotional connection, no teamwork; it’s just a straightforward response.”

Safety concerns
Safety online is also a growing concern, as more students are becoming adept at using programs surpassing adults’ knowledge.

Charlotte Ainsley, a consultant specializing in digital safeguarding, commented, “It’s crucial to acknowledge that AI is already an integral part of our daily lives. So, AI is usually behind it whenever you’re on social media or consuming content. Some of the algorithms and content can expose children to harmful material. If they sign up for a platform, lying about their age (which many children do), they might come across inappropriate content for their age.”

Charlotte believes the government has a significant role in AI regulation: “We don’t want to find ourselves in the same situation we did with social media.”

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