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The AI Frontier in Academia: Students Embrace, Professors Pause

  • Rask AI studied input from more than 150 students and professors on their perceptions of the use of AI tools in the educational process.
  • Students are more likely to use AI tools than professors, with 52% of students and 15% of professors using AI tools.
  • AI-powered translation is one of the most popular use cases for academia. 

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, a new horizon is emerging, shaped by the groundbreaking advances in Generative AI (Gen AI). The global education technology market is expected to reach $348.41 billion by 2030. A study by McKinsey shows that AI-powered education technologies have the potential to reduce the achievement gap between high- and low-achieving students by up to 20%. But the debate continues: professors are polarised on AI, while students are actively using the technology.

The Rask AI team conducted a study that revealed a gap in the perception of the use of AI tools in the educational process. According to the research, professors are already using tools for basic tasks (search, translation) without knowing that AI is built into them.

However, students are more experienced in using AI tools than professors. 73% of students surveyed use AI-based tools at least occasionally. And 86% of students reported an improvement in their academic performance after using AI tools.

In general, academia is at a very early stage of adopting AI and is currently outlining different frameworks for the use of AI. Some respondents believe that the integration of AI methods could enrich and diversify the learning experience.

“AI-based learning systems would be able to give professors useful information about their students’ learning styles, abilities, and progress, and provide suggestions for how to customize their teaching methods to students’ individual needs”, — Lasse Rouhiainen Harvard Business Review Author.

According to the research, AI translation is one of the most popular scenarios for both students and teachers (80 per cent and 20 per cent respectively). This could mean that the language barrier is still an issue in education.

Maria Chmir, Rask’s CEO and founder, states: “In a world with over 7100 languages, learning platforms use an average of only 9 languages. Knowledge is not English or Spanish. AI can help educators make knowledge truly global and accessible to everyone.”

Rask’s research also shows that AI has the potential to significantly broaden the scope of a teacher’s influence. It allows students to engage not only with their human teachers, but also with AI-powered educational assistants, fostering an ongoing educational dialogue.

Looking at the balance between human teachers and AI, it’s conceivable that a large proportion of traditional teacher roles, particularly those focused on administrative tasks, could be effectively handled by Generative AI. In this evolved model of education, technology acts as a co-pilot rather than a replacement.

See the full report here.