Half of secondary teachers believe benefits of AI outweigh risks

According to a report from Capgemini, half of secondary school teachers globally say that the potential of generative AI as an educational tool outweighs the risks. Of the perceived benefits that AI tools could bring, key use cases highlighted by teachers include using it to teach how to interact with and understand AI models (60%), to aid critical thinking exercises (56%), and as a tool to help suggest edits to students’ work (52%), among others.
Education systems around the world are already making moves to either accommodate or exclude generative AI tools such as ChatGPT from students’ day-to-day activities. Nearly half (48%) of secondary school teachers, for example, report that their schools have either blocked or restricted the tools’ use in one form or another. Others have been less restrictive in their approach with 19% saying that such tools have been allowed for specific use-cases, and 18% noting that they are still evaluating it for its applicability and usefulness in the classroom. Overall, over half (56%) of secondary school teachers agreed that curriculums and assessments needed to be adapted to account for student use of AI-generated content, and a similar proportion (52%) believe AI tools will change the teaching profession for the better.
While many can see the potential of generative AI tools, 78% of secondary school teachers globally share concerns about the negative impact of generative AI tools on student learning outcomes, including the perception that the value of writing as a skill, will be diminished (66%) and that the tool will limit student creativity (66%).
The sentiment towards generative AI varies significantly across different geographies: teachers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Finland recognise the importance and potential of generative AI, much more than Singapore, Japan or France.
Almost two thirds (64%) of secondary school teachers are convinced of the importance to develop students’ digital skills to make them job-ready and the vast majority (82%) agree that compulsory education in digital skills would be beneficial to students. However, according to the report, they seem to overestimate students’ confidence in digital skills: 70% of them believe that their students have the necessary skills to be successful in today’s workforce (83% in large cities versus only 40% in rural areas), while only 64% of parents and 55% of students aged 16-18 agree. The research also finds that teachers in rural areas are less likely to believe that digital literacy is a priority for their school than their peers in suburban and urban areas[1].
As per the research, while 72% of students aged 16–18 feel confident about their basic digital literacy, less than half (47%) feel the same way about digital communication and data literacy – attributes which are considered crucial for success in the modern workplace. The report highlights that instilling confidence is key to empowering students to correctly identify fact from misinformation online. While the majority (80%) of students say they are confident in finding information online, fewer know which online sources to trust (66%) and even less are able to decipher fact versus opinion online (61%).
“As the world undergoes a dual transition to a digital and sustainable economy, the shortage of digital talent is reaching a critical point, and widening the digital divide,” said Shobha Meera, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer at Capgemini and member of the Group Executive Committee. “With the emergence of technologies such as generative AI, we must empower the younger generation by building their capabilities and confidence in digital technologies. This will require a collaborative approach between businesses, governments, and education establishments. At Capgemini, we are committed to play a major role in digital skills training: over 2 million people have already benefited from our digital literacy programs since 2018, and we have already hired 6,000 of the 29,000 graduates from our digital academies.”

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