Unlocking AI’s Potential: Live Blog #ISTELive

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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This post will be a live post of the Microsoft “mini keynote” about Unlocking AI's potential. It will go from the oldest items at the top to the newest at the bottom. I will work to make sure everything is correct, but it may be a pretty fast post. I'll go back and revise and update afterwards and will note what is updated.  Link to Session

This blog post is sponsored by Microsoft, all opinions are my own. 

Unlocking AI's Potential: Transform Learning Experiences and Prepare for the Future.

Lydia Smyers, lead for US for Education for Microsoft.

Her son went with her to ISTE a few years ago and came back transformed. (NOTE: My own son and daughter can say the same thing.)

The focus for today is AI's potential and transforming the learning experience and preparing for the future.

It will be incredible to see what can be accomplished in just a few months. Want us to have stories to take back to our districts?

Introducing Victoria Thompson, Customer Success Account Manager – named as one of ISTE's 20 to Watch this year (and a Volunteer Award) — sharing what this award means to her. 


10:35 Talking about AI - Lydia Smyers

Six responsible AI Principles. How they make decisions for responsible AI use. 

10:38 Zeeshan Anwar (Chief Product Officer) and Tara Carrozza (Director of Digital Learning Initiatives) for NYC Public Schools

Advice is to make sure that you have AI Accountabilities in place. Zeeshan Anwar

Tara Carrozza: Worked with “Z” (Zeeshan) on building the Azure data link. We're looking at AI and built Edtech University to create search solutions some time a go.

We “blocked” ChatGPT but didn't “ban” it. So we captured what schools were doing and how they could start implementing it.

Zeeshan: New York City Schools is very close to putting generative AI into their schools. Discussing how they can secure data. Rolled out an AI Chatbot called Eureka and have seen it is great help with a 30-33% drop in call volume as a result of using Eureka to support students.

“AI is Talk of the Town,” and we need to discuss how we will integrate things and how it can help us.

Tara: AI Teaching Assistant in Computer Science with OER curriculum to support students in those subjects. Found the best way to improve is by doing. How can AI support teachers? Save time? Get feedback to students and take some of the load off the teachers. She really likes the security of the OpenAI Azure deployment with Microsoft.

Zeeshan: What we're doing is evolving. Educators will come in and we have to partner with them. We want to understand their needs, how they are using this technology, and how we can improve. Ages of students are a little bit different. We have a lot to learn. 

Note from Vicki: I think this is the attitude we all have to have — partner with teachers. We can improve. We all have a lot to learn!

Tara: We will expand teaching assistant to other curriculum and what prompting is needed to build student agency and agency and not give them the answer but will teach them to self solving problems as well. 

10:50 am Sean D'Arcy, VP at school and Home of Kahoot

When AI first came out, we stepped back because our core competency is helping kids get the content, and so we waited a little to see how AI could help us spark the joy of learning. 

Now they are about to demo. Demonstrating the Kahoot Generator with “Quick Draft” because teachers need more time. You enter your topic, and then it creates the questions. He is demonstrating “European Cities and Geography,” and now it can take seconds. This is already available on Kahoot EDU. 

This is their first step. By going back to school, they will have a much more narrow usage of the data sets. So, for example, they are partnering with other organizations like National Geographic to have much more narrow data and more accurate data. 

Automatic adapted learning option to create new Kahoots they can play asynchronously. Interestingly, 70% of students who have accounts are studying with Kahoot on their own – they want a “study tutor” to help them as they study.


10:58 am Devendra Singh, Chief Technology Officer, PowerSchool

They had a press release announcing “Personalized Learning at Scale” earlier this week.

Core principles with AI. One principle is it should help educators and save time for educators. It should help them with instruction and save time. They want solutions “fairness, accountability, transparency.”

Now showing a demo and what generative AI can do for PowerSchool – started in March and now demoing today.

The ability for educators to select a standard and receive AI-generated items in seconds. The items that come from them can be quickly dropped into a formative assessment. He is demonstrating math standards, and it is creating math problems with multiple choice answers that can be quickly dropped into the classroom to assess how students are performing on that standard formatively.

“We need core workflows and have everything in one place; you shouldn't have to go to many different places.” 

The fifteen minutes a day or an hour a week adds up in the life of a teacher.

So, this PowerSchool generative AI is standards-aligned and fits into the workflow of teachers, and they are keeping it all in PowerSchool.

Note: I think we'll see more companies building in generative AI to teacher tools.




11:04 am Mike Tholfsen, Principal Group Product Manager at Microsoft

Students get real-time coaching practice inside Reading Progress. Microsoft is working on “Learning Accelerators.” 

First, they are demonstrating “reading with expression” tutorials. A new tab can analyze students' expression and analytics are provided automatically to educators.

Just announced this morning the ability to personalize content, and they have AI generate passages. They built a word cloud of the most mispronounced words in the class. Choose language, topic, age, length, and pull in the most mispronounced words in the class. Complexity up and complexity down.

THIS IS A BIG DEAL. Look at Reading Progress Coach inside Teams.  

Similarly with generating questions, comprehension questions are attached to the reading passage. Embedded Microsoft forms technology. Can add comprehension questions as well to the generated passages.

Now, talking about Flip.

Flip has already added “topic Copilot.

Age, topic, age range and it helps pull the information into the topic. Time saver and it is available today on Flip.

Copilot not autopilot – putting humans at the center.

Bing Demo

Full GPT is integrated free into Bing (the only search engine that has it and generates citations.)

“As we know with ChatGPT we don't promise perfection but sourcing is a great start.”

You can pick several modes – creative mode, precise mode (and a different mode — sorry, I didn't catch the name.)

Click the “chat” pivot on the Bing search bar – He is showing a demo of lesson plans integrating standards. It also cites sources.

It can also generate cartoons for use in the images.

You can also open a PDF in Edge and say “summarize the PDF and give me the top 5 points.”

It pulls generative AI and citations together inside Bing and Bing chat. 

Microsoft 365 Copilot

All of M365 is fusing copilot into those and grounding it against the data in your organization. Think about it as ChatGPT but within your organization. It will work that way across data in your organization.

All ChatGPT plugins work inside this.

They are testing it now and they demoed what is happening with copilot.

Also can do with a website. 

11:17 am Copilot Demo

Students licenses, teacher licenses, and admin controls for all of copilot as school districts roll it out. It has to know about context – if you ask it to do things that it shouldn’t be doing, we can customize it for what it can do (or not do.) They are being tested privately now.

11:18 am Lydia Smyers

AI Fluency is not only a luxury. It is a necessity.

Lydia Smyers Tweet

aka.ms/AIforEducators with the new AI course. Open source available now AI for Educators learning module. It is ready now, and it will help you know how you can use AI to bring it to your classrooms.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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