Khan Academy and Microsoft partner to expand access to AI tools that personalize teaching and help make learning fun — from news.microsoft.com

[On 5/21/24] at Microsoft Build, Microsoft and Khan Academy announced a new partnership that aims to bring these time-saving and lesson-enhancing AI tools to millions of educators. By donating access to Azure AI-optimized infrastructure, Microsoft is enabling Khan Academy to offer all K-12 educators in the U.S. free access to the pilot of Khanmigo for Teachers, which will now be powered by Azure OpenAI Service.

The two companies will also collaborate to explore opportunities to improve AI tools for math tutoring in an affordable, scalable and adaptable way with a new version of Phi-3, a family of small language models (SLMs) developed by Microsoft.

 

Also see/referenced:

Khanmigo -- a free, AI-powered teaching assistant


Also relevant/see:

Khan Academy and Microsoft are teaming up to give teachers a free AI assistant — from fastcompany.com by Steven Melendez
AI assistant Khanmigo can help time-strapped teachers come up with lesson ideas and test questions, the companies say.

Khan Academy’s AI assistant, Khanmigo, has earned praise for helping students to understand and practice everything from math to English, but it can also help teachers devise lesson plans, formulate questions about assigned readings, and even generate reading passages appropriate for students at different levels. More than just a chatbot, the software offers specific AI-powered tools for generating quizzes and assignment instructions, drafting lesson plans, and formulating letters of recommendation.

Having a virtual teaching assistant is especially valuable in light of recent research from the RAND Corporation that found teachers work longer hours than most working adults, which includes administrative and prep work outside the classroom.

 
 

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Grasp is the world’s first generative AI platform for finance professionals.

We build domain-specific AI systems that address the complex needs of investment bankers and management consultants.

By automating finance workflows, Grasp dramatically increases employee productivity and satisfaction.

 

OPINION: Americans need help paying for new, nondegree programs and college alternatives — from hechingerreport.org by Connor Diemand-Yauman and Rebecca Taber Staehelin
Updating the Pell Grant program would be an excellent way to support much-needed alternatives

Janelle’s story is all too familiar throughout the U.S. — stuck in a low-paying job, struggling to make ends meet after being failed by college. Roughly 40 million Americans have left college without completing a degree — historically seen as a golden ticket to the middle class.

Yet even with a degree, many fall short of economic prosperity.

 

Why children with disabilities are missing school and losing skills — from npr.org by Cory Turner

The fact that a district could struggle so mightily with special education staffing that students are missing school – that’s not just a Del Norte problem. A recent federal survey of school districts across the U.S. found special education jobs were among the hardest to staff – and vacancies were widespread. But what’s happening in Del Norte is extreme. Which is why the Lenovers and five other families are suing the school district, as well as state education leadership, with help from the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

The district sits hidden away like a secret between Oregon, the frigid Pacific and some of the largest redwood trees in the world. It’s too isolated and the pay is not competitive enough, Harris says, to attract workers from outside Del Norte. Locally, these aides – like the one Emma requires – earn about as much as they would working at McDonald’s.

 

Introducing Copilot+ PCs — from blogs.microsoft.com

[On May 20th], at a special event on our new Microsoft campus, we introduced the world to a new category of Windows PCs designed for AI, Copilot+ PCs.

Copilot+ PCs are the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built. With powerful new silicon capable of an incredible 40+ TOPS (trillion operations per second), all–day battery life and access to the most advanced AI models, Copilot+ PCs will enable you to do things you can’t on any other PC. Easily find and remember what you have seen in your PC with Recall, generate and refine AI images in near real-time directly on the device using Cocreator, and bridge language barriers with Live Captions, translating audio from 40+ languages into English.

From DSC:
As a first off-the-hip look, Recall could be fraught with possible security/privacy-related issues. But what do I know? The Neuron states “Microsoft assures that everything Recall sees remains private.” Ok…


From The Rundown AI concerning the above announcements:

The details:

  • A new system enables Copilot+ PCs to run AI workloads up to 20x faster and 100x more efficiently than traditional PCs.
    Windows 11 has been rearchitected specifically for AI, integrating the Copilot assistant directly into the OS.
  • New AI experiences include a new feature called Recall, which allows users to search for anything they’ve seen on their screen with natural language.
  • Copilot’s new screen-sharing feature allows AI to watch, hear, and understand what a user is doing on their computer and answer questions in real-time.
  • Copilot+ PCs will start at $999, and ship with OpenAI’s latest GPT-4o models.

Why it matters: Tony Stark’s all-powerful JARVIS AI assistant is getting closer to reality every day. Once Copilot, ChatGPT, Project Astra, or anyone else can not only respond but start executing tasks autonomously, things will start getting really exciting — and likely initiate a whole new era of tech work.


 


Landscapes Radiate Light and Drama in Erin Hanson’s Vibrant Oil Paintings — from thisiscolossal.com by Kate Mothes and Erin Hanson

 

AI’s New Conversation Skills Eyed for Education — from insidehighered.com by Lauren Coffey
The latest ChatGPT’s more human-like verbal communication has professors pondering personalized learning, on-demand tutoring and more classroom applications.

ChatGPT’s newest version, GPT-4o ( the “o” standing for “omni,” meaning “all”), has a more realistic voice and quicker verbal response time, both aiming to sound more human. The version, which should be available to free ChatGPT users in coming weeks—a change also hailed by educators—allows people to interrupt it while it speaks, simulates more emotions with its voice and translates languages in real time. It also can understand instructions in text and images and has improved video capabilities.

Ajjan said she immediately thought the new vocal and video capabilities could allow GPT to serve as a personalized tutor. Personalized learning has been a focus for educators grappling with the looming enrollment cliff and for those pushing for student success.

There’s also the potential for role playing, according to Ajjan. She pointed to mock interviews students could do to prepare for job interviews, or, for example, using GPT to play the role of a buyer to help prepare students in an economics course.

 

 

The State of the American High School in 2024 — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Over the past 120 days, we’ve conducted tours of over 50 high schools in more than 1,000 classrooms across various cities including Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Northern Colorado, Kansas City, Twin Cities, Pittsburgh, and San Diego. These schools were purposefully selected for their dedication to real world learning, positioning them at the forefront of innovative education. These visits showed schools leading the way into new pathways, active learning methods, and work-based learning initiatives. From our observations at these leading schools, we’ve identified 8 key insights about the state of American high schools.


We are on the brink of a significant transformation in how education qualifications are perceived and valued, thanks to a strategic move by ETS to make Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) a subsidiary. This pivotal development marks a shift from traditional metrics of educational success—courses and grades—to a more nuanced representation of student abilities through skills transcripts.

The partnership between ETS and MTC is not just a merger of organizations, but a fusion of visions that aim to recalibrate educational assessment. The collaboration is set to advance “Skills for the Future,” focusing on authentic, dynamic assessment methods that provide clear, actionable insights into student capabilities. This shift away from the century-old Carnegie Unit model, which measures educational attainment by time rather than skill mastery, aims to foster learning environments that prioritize personal growth over time spent in a classroom.

As we move forward, this approach could redefine success in education, making learning experiences more adaptive, equitable, and aligned with the demands of the modern world.

See:
Skills Transcripts at Scale: Why The ETS & MTC Partnership is a Big Deal — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Key Points

  • One of the core problems is that education is based on time rather than learning.
  • We finally have a chance to move courses and grades into the background and foreground powerful personalized learning experiences and capture and communicate the resulting capabilities in much more descriptive ways—and do it at scale

How to Help Older Students Who Struggle to Read — from nataliewexler.substack.com by Natalie Wexler
Many students above third grade need help deciphering words with multiple syllables

Kockler hypothesizes that the reading struggles of many older students are due in large part to two issues. One has to do with “linguistic difference.” If a child’s family and community speak a variant of English that differs from the kind generally used in books and by teachers—for example, African-American English—it could be harder for them to decode words and connect those words to their meanings.

The Decoding Threshold
The other issue has to do with difficulties in decoding multisyllabic words. Kockler points to a couple of large-scale research studies that have identified a “decoding threshold.”

In theory, students’ reading comprehension ability should improve as they advance to higher grade levels—and it often does. But the researchers found that if students are above fourth grade—past the point where they’re likely to get decoding instruction—and their decoding ability is below a certain level, they’re “extremely unlikely [to] make significant progress in reading comprehension in the following years.” The studies, which were conducted in a high-poverty, largely African-American district, found that almost 40% of fifth-graders and 20% of tenth-graders included in the sample fell below the decoding threshold.


What Is Doxxing, and How Can Educators Protect Their Privacy Online? — from edweek.org by Sarah D. Sparks

The education profession relies on teachers being accessible to their students and families and open to sharing with colleagues. But a little information can be a dangerous thing.


 

 

io.google/2024

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How generative AI expands curiosity and understanding with LearnLM — from blog.google
LearnLM is our new family of models fine-tuned for learning, and grounded in educational research to make teaching and learning experiences more active, personal and engaging.

Generative AI is fundamentally changing how we’re approaching learning and education, enabling powerful new ways to support educators and learners. It’s taking curiosity and understanding to the next level — and we’re just at the beginning of how it can help us reimagine learning.

Today we’re introducing LearnLM: our new family of models fine-tuned for learning, based on Gemini.

On YouTube, a conversational AI tool makes it possible to figuratively “raise your hand” while watching academic videos to ask clarifying questions, get helpful explanations or take a quiz on what you’ve been learning. This even works with longer educational videos like lectures or seminars thanks to the Gemini model’s long-context capabilities. These features are already rolling out to select Android users in the U.S.

Learn About is a new Labs experience that explores how information can turn into understanding by bringing together high-quality content, learning science and chat experiences. Ask a question and it helps guide you through any topic at your own pace — through pictures, videos, webpages and activities — and you can upload files or notes and ask clarifying questions along the way.


Google I/O 2024: An I/O for a new generation — from blog.google

The Gemini era
A year ago on the I/O stage we first shared our plans for Gemini: a frontier model built to be natively multimodal from the beginning, that could reason across text, images, video, code, and more. It marks a big step in turning any input into any output — an “I/O” for a new generation.

In this story:


Daily Digest: Google I/O 2024 – AI search is here. — from bensbites.beehiiv.com
PLUS: It’s got Agents, Video and more. And, Ilya leaves OpenAI

  • Google is integrating AI into all of its ecosystem: Search, Workspace, Android, etc. In true Google fashion, many features are “coming later this year”. If they ship and perform like the demos, Google will get a serious upper hand over OpenAI/Microsoft.
  • All of the AI features across Google products will be powered by Gemini 1.5 Pro. It’s Google’s best model and one of the top models. A new Gemini 1.5 Flash model is also launched, which is faster and much cheaper.
  • Google has ambitious projects in the pipeline. Those include a real-time voice assistant called Astra, a long-form video generator called Veo, plans for end-to-end agents, virtual AI teammates and more.

 



New ways to engage with Gemini for Workspace — from workspace.google.com

Today at Google I/O we’re announcing new, powerful ways to get more done in your personal and professional life with Gemini for Google Workspace. Gemini in the side panel of your favorite Workspace apps is rolling out more broadly and will use the 1.5 Pro model for answering a wider array of questions and providing more insightful responses. We’re also bringing more Gemini capabilities to your Gmail app on mobile, helping you accomplish more on the go. Lastly, we’re showcasing how Gemini will become the connective tissue across multiple applications with AI-powered workflows. And all of this comes fresh on the heels of the innovations and enhancements we announced last month at Google Cloud Next.


Google’s Gemini updates: How Project Astra is powering some of I/O’s big reveals — from techcrunch.com by Kyle Wiggers

Google is improving its AI-powered chatbot Gemini so that it can better understand the world around it — and the people conversing with it.

At the Google I/O 2024 developer conference on Tuesday, the company previewed a new experience in Gemini called Gemini Live, which lets users have “in-depth” voice chats with Gemini on their smartphones. Users can interrupt Gemini while the chatbot’s speaking to ask clarifying questions, and it’ll adapt to their speech patterns in real time. And Gemini can see and respond to users’ surroundings, either via photos or video captured by their smartphones’ cameras.


Generative AI in Search: Let Google do the searching for you — from blog.google
With expanded AI Overviews, more planning and research capabilities, and AI-organized search results, our custom Gemini model can take the legwork out of searching.


 

Rise Of Homeschooling Is Making A Transformative Impact On Education — from forbes.com by Sarah Hernholm

In 2019, prior to remote learning, approximately 2.5 million students were homeschooled in the United States. This number has risen significantly, with estimates indicating that almost 4 million students are being homeschooled nationwide.

The homeschooling educational approach allows parents or guardians to educate their children at home rather than sending them to a traditional public or private school. Homeschooling families typically design their own curriculum or use pre-designed curricula tailored to their children’s needs and interests. In many cases, homeschooling is a choice made by families seeking more flexibility, personalized instruction, or alignment with their values and beliefs about education

 

 

Hello GPT-4o — from openai.com
We’re announcing GPT-4o, our new flagship model that can reason across audio, vision, and text in real time.

GPT-4o (“o” for “omni”) is a step towards much more natural human-computer interaction—it accepts as input any combination of text, audio, image, and video and generates any combination of text, audio, and image outputs. It can respond to audio inputs in as little as 232 milliseconds, with an average of 320 milliseconds, which is similar to human response time in a conversation. It matches GPT-4 Turbo performance on text in English and code, with significant improvement on text in non-English languages, while also being much faster and 50% cheaper in the API. GPT-4o is especially better at vision and audio understanding compared to existing models.

Example topics covered here:

  • Two GPT-4os interacting and singing
  • Languages/translation
  • Personalized math tutor
  • Meeting AI
  • Harmonizing and creating music
  • Providing inflection, emotions, and a human-like voice
  • Understanding what the camera is looking at and integrating it into the AI’s responses
  • Providing customer service

With GPT-4o, we trained a single new model end-to-end across text, vision, and audio, meaning that all inputs and outputs are processed by the same neural network. Because GPT-4o is our first model combining all of these modalities, we are still just scratching the surface of exploring what the model can do and its limitations.





From DSC:
I like the assistive tech angle here:





 

 

Learning On Purpose | What problem do you want to solve? — from michelleweise.substack.com by Dr. Michelle R. Weise

I quickly decided to take a different tack with my students, and instead asked each of them, “What problem in the world do you think you want to solve? If you could go to a school of hunger, poverty, Alzheimer’s disease, mental health … what kind of school would you want to attend?” This is when they started nodding vigorously.

What each of them identified was a grand challenge, or what Stanford d.school Executive Director Sarah Stein Greenberg has called: purpose learning. In a great talk for Wired, Greenberg asks,

What if students declared missions not majors? Or even better, what if they applied to the School of Hunger or the School of Renewable Energy? These are real problems that society doesn’t have answers to yet. Wouldn’t that fuel their studies with some degree of urgency and meaning and real purpose that they don’t yet have today?

 


Information Age vs Generation Age Technologies for Learning — from opencontent.org by David Wiley

Remember (emphasis DSC)

  • the internet eliminated time and place as barriers to education, and
  • generative AI eliminates access to expertise as a barrier to education.

Just as instructional designs had to be updated to account for all the changes in affordances of online learning, they will need to be dramatically updated again to account for the new affordances of generative AI.


The Curious Educator’s Guide to AI | Strategies and Exercises for Meaningful Use in Higher Ed  — from ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub by Kyle Mackie and Erin Aspenlieder; via Stephen Downes

This guide is designed to help educators and researchers better understand the evolving role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in higher education. This openly-licensed resource contains strategies and exercises to help foster an understanding of AI’s potential benefits and challenges. We start with a foundational approach, providing you with prompts on aligning AI with your curiosities and goals.

The middle section of this guide encourages you to explore AI tools and offers some insights into potential applications in teaching and research. Along with exposure to the tools, we’ll discuss when and how to effectively build AI into your practice.

The final section of this guide includes strategies for evaluating and reflecting on your use of AI. Throughout, we aim to promote use that is effective, responsible, and aligned with your educational objectives. We hope this resource will be a helpful guide in making informed and strategic decisions about using AI-powered tools to enhance teaching and learning and research.


Annual Provosts’ Survey Shows Need for AI Policies, Worries Over Campus Speech — from insidehighered.com by Ryan Quinn
Many institutions are not yet prepared to help their faculty members and students navigate artificial intelligence. That’s just one of multiple findings from Inside Higher Ed’s annual survey of chief academic officers.

Only about one in seven provosts said their colleges or universities had reviewed the curriculum to ensure it will prepare students for AI in their careers. Thuswaldner said that number needs to rise. “AI is here to stay, and we cannot put our heads in the sand,” he said. “Our world will be completely dominated by AI and, at this point, we ain’t seen nothing yet.”


Is GenAI in education more of a Blackberry or iPhone? — from futureofbeinghuman.com by Andrew Maynard
There’s been a rush to incorporate generative AI into every aspect of education, from K-12 to university courses. But is the technology mature enough to support the tools that rely on it?

In other words, it’s going to mean investing in concepts, not products.

This, to me, is at the heart of an “iPhone mindset” as opposed to a “Blackberry mindset” when it comes to AI in education — an approach that avoids hard wiring in constantly changing technologies, and that builds experimentation and innovation into the very DNA of learning.

For all my concerns here though, maybe there is something to being inspired by the Blackberry/iPhone analogy — not as a playbook for developing and using AI in education, but as a mindset that embraces innovation while avoiding becoming locked in to apps that are detrimentally unreliable and that ultimately lead to dead ends.


Do teachers spot AI? Evaluating the detectability of AI-generated texts among student essays — from sciencedirect.com by Johanna Fleckenstein, Jennifer Meyer, Thorben Jansen, Stefan D. Keller, Olaf Köller, and Jens Möller

Highlights

  • Randomized-controlled experiments investigating novice and experienced teachers’ ability to identify AI-generated texts.
  • Generative AI can simulate student essay writing in a way that is undetectable for teachers.
  • Teachers are overconfident in their source identification.
  • AI-generated essays tend to be assessed more positively than student-written texts.

Can Using a Grammar Checker Set Off AI-Detection Software? — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young
A college student says she was falsely accused of cheating, and her story has gone viral. Where is the line between acceptable help and cheating with AI?


Use artificial intelligence to get your students thinking critically — from timeshighereducation.com by Urbi Ghosh
When crafting online courses, teaching critical thinking skills is crucial. Urbi Ghosh shows how generative AI can shape how educators can approach this


ChatGPT shaming is a thing – and it shouldn’t be — from futureofbeinghuman.com by Andrew Maynard
There’s a growing tension between early and creative adopters of text based generative AI and those who equate its use with cheating. And when this leads to shaming, it’s a problem.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

This will sound familiar to anyone who’s incorporating generative AI into their professional workflows. But there are still many people who haven’t used apps like ChatGPT, are largely unaware of what they do, and are suspicious of them. And yet they’ve nevertheless developed strong opinions around how they should and should not be used.

From DSC:
Yes…that sounds like how many faculty members viewed online learning, even though they had never taught online before.

 

Are Colleges Ready For an Online-Education World Without OPMs? — from edsurge.com by Robert Ubell (Columnist)
Online Program Management companies have helped hundreds of colleges build online degree programs, but the sector is showing signs of strain.

For more than 15 years, a group of companies known as Online Program Management providers, or OPMs, have been helping colleges build online degree programs. And most of them have relied on an unusual arrangement — where the companies put up the financial backing to help colleges launch programs in exchange for a large portion of tuition revenue.

As a longtime administrator of online programs at colleges, I have mixed feelings about the idea of shutting down the model. And the question boils down to this: Are colleges ready for a world without OPMs?


Guy Raz on Podcasts and Passion: Audio’s Ability to Spark Learning — from michaelbhorn.substack.com by Michael B. Horn

This conversation went in a bunch of unexpected directions. And that’s what’s so fun about it. After all, podcasting is all about bringing audio back and turning learning into leisure. And the question Guy and his partner Mindy Thomas asked a while back was: Why not bring kids in on the fun? Guy shared how his studio, Tinkercast, is leveraging the medium to inspire and educate the next generation of problem solvers.

We discussed the power of audio to capture curiosities and foster imagination, how Tinkercast is doing that in and out of the classroom, and how it can help re-engage students in building needed skills at a critical time. Enjoy!



April 2024 Job Cuts Announced by US-Based Companies Fall; More Cuts Attributed to TX DEI Law, AI in April — from challengergray.com

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Education
Companies in the Education industry, which includes schools and universities, cut the second-most jobs last month with 8,092 for a total of 17,892. That is a 635% increase from the 2,435 cuts announced during the first four months of 2023.

“April is typically the time school districts are hiring and setting budgets for the next fiscal year. Certainly, there are budgetary constraints, as labor costs rise, but school systems also have a retention and recruitment issue,” said Challenger.


Lifetime college returns differ significantly by major, research finds — from highereddive.com by Lilah Burke
Engineering and computer science showed the best return out of 10 fields of study that were examined.

Dive Brief:

  • The lifetime rate of return for a college education differs significantly by major, but it also varies by a student’s gender and race or ethnicity, according to new peer-reviewed research published in the American Educational Research Journal.
  • A bachelor’s degree in general provides a roughly 9% rate of return for men, and nearly 10% for women, researchers concluded. The majors with the best returns were computer science and engineering.
  • Black, Hispanic and Asian college graduates had slightly higher rates of return than their White counterparts, the study found.
 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian