Instructure Survey Shows Most Teachers, Students Are Optimistic About AI in the Classroom

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023

 Instructure, the leading learning platform and maker of Canvas, today announced the results of a survey about the experiences and attitudes of educators and students on generative AI. The survey, conducted by research firm Justkul Inc., found that while its over 1,000 respondents, comprised of students, educators and administrators from K-12 and higher education institutions, feel generative AI helps students understand their strengths and weaknesses despite the fact that it is "likely used sometimes" to cheat. Respondents feel generative AI is more helpful than harmful and makes students feel more confident.

According to the survey, sentiment about AI is primarily positive, with 54.5% of teachers, students and administrators feeling either very positive or positive about the technology, with 29.9% staying neutral. While both teachers and students agree that the biggest risk of generative AI technology is cheating in the classroom, teachers (76.4%) are more concerned about the risk of cheating with this technology than students (43.5%). Despite the rapid adoption of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT in K-12 and higher education, the survey found that over half of respondents (57.4%) have not used AI for their schoolwork.

"The results of this survey show the majority of educators and students are beginning to see the benefits of generative in a classroom setting," said Ryan Lufkin, vice president of global strategy at Instructure. "Used correctly, this transformative technology can elevate student success, empower educators and enhance the ways we teach and learn. When implemented with an intentional, secure and human-driven approach–generative AI has the power to save educators time and promote impactful learning experiences for all."

Cheating and Generative AI

  • All major groups in the survey thought passing off an AI output as your own work without modification was a clear case of cheating.

  • Students, teachers and administrators agree that teachers should be told when AI was used on homework.

  • Using AI to help when stuck generally was not seen as cheating by any of the groups surveyed.

Human-driven Generative AI

  • Survey respondents stated they preferred human-led classes as opposed to AI-led options.

  • 41.9% of respondents were concerned about "de-humanization" as a result of using the technology.

  • Only 17.4% of teachers were concerned about job security due to the adoption of the technology.

Generative AI Can Help Educators Teach More Efficiently and Effectively

  • The main advantage that respondents saw in using AI was to enable them to complete their tasks more quickly and efficiently.

  • K-12 teachers and students agreed that generative AI is most useful in science, math and English Language Arts and least useful in social studies or learning foreign languages.

  • Teachers and administrators feel AI can positively impact learning in several key areas, the top four being multilingual content (31.7%) cheating detection (30.1%) neurodiverse content (29.7%) and question development (28.8%).

Eliminating Biased Responses

  • Administrators (30.3%) were more concerned about bias introduced by generative AI than students (14.4%) or teachers (18.8%).

Where and How Generative AI is Being Used

  • Students claimed the top benefits of generative AI are to help them complete their tasks more quickly and efficiently, avoid mistakes, avoid missing things and help generate answers.
  • The survey found that generative AI seems to get more use in K-12 than in higher education. It also seems to be more useful for community colleges and public colleges and universities than it is for private or denominational colleges or universities.
  • Generative AI programs were more than twice as likely to have been used outside of school than in school, with 57.4% of respondents indicating they had not used generative AI for school work.
  • By the end of the 2023-2024 school year, roughly 30% more people expect to have tried using generative AI for school work than today. Roughly 50% more respondents were anticipating using it for school work at some regular interval.

More Guidance is Needed

  • Teachers and administrators agree that both schools and the federal government must provide more guardrails when it comes to the use of AI in schools, especially when it comes to privacy laws.

For more information about how Instructure is approaching generative AI technology, visit