Artificial Intelligence (AI) is Growing in Our ClassroomsEd Market Sales Are Holding Steady

We conduct a quarterly survey of education sales in publishing, school supplies, and furniture. Detailed results are shared with participants. Sales for 2023 showed a modest improvement over the prior year. Some interpret that to mean that the market has stagnated.

However, the National Center for Education Statistics projects that the number of teachers and total spending in grades PK through 12 will grow by 2% per year. This 2% rate of growth is projected to occur at the same time that enrollments are expected to fall by 1% each year. If your sales have been growing at 2% per year, your sales are keeping up with the market’s spending and ahead of enrollment decline.

Technology is Changing Our Schools and Teaching

Education spending and enrollments are not the only things changing. Technology is changing our schools and teaching. We are seeing the growth of AI, or artificial intelligence programs in our classrooms.

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, published Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning, in May of 2023. The report recognizes a “clear need for … developing policies for artificial intelligence” and makes several recommendations. However, it does not speak to those AI programs currently in practice in our schools.

AI Tools Currently in Use in Classrooms

In an article published on October 20, 2023, by Edutopia entitled 7 AI Tools That Help Teachers Work More Efficiently, Rachelle Dene Poth states, “Through AI-powered platforms, teachers can curate a range of educational resources…in particular, teachers are able to create lessons, activities, assessments, prompts for discussion, and presentations simply by providing a short prompt with keywords.”

We Are Teachers published an article on June 22, 2023, entitled 31 AI Tools Teachers Should Know About. The author, Shannon Morris, states “AI tools have the potential to transform teaching and learning. Although some teachers are hesitant to embrace AI, there are numerous productive ways to use AI tools … in the classroom.”

Sixty percent of respondents said they had integrated AI into their classroom to improve daily teaching responsibilities.

Forbes Advisor Survey, Oct. 2023

Forbes Survey:  AI Improved Ed Outcomes

The Forbes Advisor surveyed 500 practicing educators in October of 2023. Among the survey findings, more than half of the educators surveyed felt AI improved educational outcomes. Only 18% felt it was a hindrance. Sixty percent of respondents said they had integrated AI into their classroom to improve daily teaching responsibilities. Among the most popular AI-based tools were educational games, adaptive learning platforms, automated grading and feedback systems, chatbots for student support, and intelligent tutoring systems.

Is this the end of what we have come to call the supplemental materials market? Are textbooks soon to be outdated? Will chatbots overseen by humans teach future students? Not for a while anyway.

Are Schools Ready for AI?

Our teacher training programs are not prepared for AI. The U.S. Department of Education has yet to suggest an appropriate role for AI in the classroom. A portion of the teacher workforce is not comfortable with it. Administrators are not certain how to manage it.

AI will continue to grow in education. Many educators see it as helping teaching and learning. However, AI will not likely replace human teachers (or administrators). Meeting standards in various subjects is key to our education system. That is how we establish progression through grade levels. We use standard tests to measure student readiness to advance through grades. We do not teach third-grade students sixth-grade curricula. Human teachers need to judge how to apply AI in the classroom.

Over time, AI will change how we teach. For now, it is providing tools to help teachers be more efficient and that is a good thing.

NCTM Approves AI Tools for Teachers

In a President’s Message in November 2023 to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, President Kevin Dykema wrote, “Can artificial intelligence be used to help educators better and more efficiently do what only educators can do? The answer is yes! Mathematics educators can use AI tools to more efficiently create real-life applications of concepts students are learning, which can allow us to use our focus and time on building relationships with students and helping students develop a positive mathematical identity. Artificial intelligence can’t replace educators, but it can be used to free up some of our time.”

Over time, AI will change how we teach. For now, it is providing tools to help teachers be more efficient and that is a good thing. The supplemental materials industry is still an important resource for education and not likely to be superseded by AI in the short run.

Bob Stimolo, School Market Research Institute

Bob is EDmarket’s Official School Market Consultant and president of School Market Research Institute. As a member of EDmarket, Bob will advise you on your promotion materials and list selection free of charge.