New AI Newsletter – Leading Indicator: AI In Education

Last week my colleagues Alex Spurrier and Marisa Mission launched the first edition of a new Bellwether newsletter focused on AI. I’m crossposting the first one in its entirety and hope you will subscribe to get future ones by signing up here. – AR

June 2024

By Alex Spurrier and Marisa Mission

We’re sharing the first issue of this newsletter with all our subscribers, but if you want to receive future updates on the latest AI news, be sure to subscribe here.

The education sector is no stranger to technological fads and shifts. Flipped classrooms, Massively Open Online Courses, 1:1 device programs, and other tech-forward approaches are variations on the same tune: over-hyped introduction, muddled and inconsistent implementation, and results that fall well short of their initial, transformative promise. 

The introduction of ChatGPT nearly two years ago felt like a renewal of this all-too-familiar cycle. But there’s good reason to believe the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education will present a far different challenge to educators and policymakers, with far more impact than prior ed tech offerings. Within two months, ChatGPT reached 100 million users, making it the fastest-growing consumer app in history. New AI tools – including ChatGPTClaude, and others – are already used formally and unofficially in schools by students and educators. Meanwhile, districtstate, and federal policymakers have struggled to catch up and regulate a fast-moving environment. 

Bellwether’s Leading Indicator: AI in Education newsletter helps folks working in the education sector, from teachers and administrators to policymakers and funders, stay current with the latest AI developments and understand what this fast-moving technology means for sector-wide policy and practice. We’ll cover education-specific AI patterns before they become trends by aggregating links worth clicking and providing expert analysis that separates signal from noise. We’re excited for you to join us on this trip. 

Get More AI News from Bellwether

Education Evolution: AI and Learning

Newark is one of many school systems across the country piloting and assessing the use of AI tools. In doing so, education leaders must grapple with evolving opinions from key stakeholders like teachers. Survey data from Pew and the RAND Teacher Panel last fall indicated that only 6% of teachers thought AI tools offer “more benefit than harm,” while 25% thought they offer “more harm than benefit.” The remainder thought it’s an equal mix of “benefit and harm” (32%) or were unsure (35%). Yet a new survey from the Walton Family Foundation conducted in May 2024 found that knowledge of and support for AI in education is growing quickly, with 59% of teachers feeling favorably towards chatbots. These survey results demonstrate that educators’ opinions of AI are a nuanced blend of skepticism, optimism, and curiosity. If school systems are serious about integrating AI tools into classrooms, there’s work to be done to get educators on board. 

 The Realm of Possibility

 Teacher’s (AI)de

⚠️ Cautionary Tales

 Hello, Ed: Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Launches AI Tool

The Latest: AI Sector Updates

OpenAI, Google, Microsoft, and Apple each held recent keynotes and product announcements that unveiled new and more powerful ways to integrate AI into everyday life. The Sal Khan-led demonstration of ChatGPT–4o tutoring his son is one example of how AI products built for a general audience can have education-specific applications. It’s impressive, especially given the progress of ChatGPT in less than two years. But it also has important limitations in an education context – see Dan Meyer and Ben Riley for more on the limits of this generation of Large Language Models (LLMs). 

 Updates From Some of the Largest AI Companies

 Searching With Gen AI: Promising Tech or Highway to Hallucinations?

 How Much Can AI Really Do?

Pioneering Policy: AI Governance, Regulation, Guidance, and More

State policymakers are offering guidance for schools regarding the use of AI, but efforts are unfolding slowly. Absent leadership from state education agencies, districts are establishing policies and guidance on their own or in collaboration with peers. Meanwhile, the patchwork of state policies that govern what children can (and can’t) do is often inconsistent – as a recent Bellwether analysis highlights. Lawmakers considering policies related to children and AI should center the consequences both for children and bodies tasked with enforcing those policies, like schools.

🚧 Road Work Ahead: New State and District Policies

 The Next Generation: Centering Children in AI Policies

We’re sharing the first issue of this newsletter with all our subscribers, but if you want to receive future updates on the latest AI news, be sure to subscribe here