October 17, 2023— A year after artificial intelligence (AI) powered chatbots were introduced for the first time to the public for widespread use, a poll released today by the National Parents Union (NPU) sheds new light on how parents of K-12 children perceive the new technology, specifically through the lens of education.
Overall, only a small percentage (16%) of parents surveyed feel as though they have a detailed understanding of AI. A third of parents report knowing a lot of general information about AI, but not much about the details. 41% say they know a little general information about AI and 10% feel as though they do not know anything about AI.
When it comes to the use of AI tools and how they can be applied in education, 62% of parents say they have heard little or nothing at all about this. More than two-thirds of parents agree that the potential benefits of using AI in K-12 education either outweigh or are equal to the potential downsides. Only 16% believe the downsides outweigh the benefits and 17% are unsure.
Among the benefits of AI on a child’s education, 56% of parents view an AI-driven online tutoring program as having the most positive potential effect. More than half (53%) see upside in their child using AI tools to get initial feedback on homework before turning it in. On the flip side, just 36% of parents see a positive effect of their child using AI tools to help write essays.
Parents also see potential value in how teachers and schools use AI:
Less than half of the parents surveyed (49%) feel their child’s school is well prepared to use AI tools in their child’s education. Slightly more than half (53%) say their child’s school is preparing them to succeed in a future where AI technology could affect jobs and the global economy, whereas 29% say the schools are not doing this and another 18% are unsure.
Keri Rodrigues, President of the National Parents Union, said, “The public education system in America has a long history of being woefully unprepared in keeping pace with innovation and technology, and coupled with the challenges our children are currently facing, we need to start understanding and embracing this new era. Our ability to prepare our children for the jobs and economy of the future is dependent on it, and if schools don’t recognize the opportunity that this new technology presents, far too many students risk falling further behind.”
National Parents Union Survey
N=1,515 parents of public school students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade
Sample from online web panels
Field Dates: October 3-6, 2023
Margin of sampling error: ± 3.4 percentage points
Click here for toplines.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARENTS UNION
With more than 1,000 affiliated parent organizations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, the National Parents Union is the united, independent voice of modern American families. We channel the power of parents into powerful policies that improve the lives of children, families and communities across the United States. https://nationalparentsunion.org/