Collaborating to bring AI innovation to education

Over the past few months, AI technology, the surrounding discussion, and learning in the worldwide education community have continued to advance. Back in March, we shared three critical focus areas that continue to guide us as we work towards bringing AI innovation to education.

Over the past few months, AI technology, the surrounding discussion, and learning in the worldwide education community have continued to advance. Back in March, we shared three critical focus areas that continue to guide us as we work towards bringing AI innovation to education. Today, we’re thrilled to announce our recent collaborations with New York City Public Schools, PowerSchool, and Kahoot!, highlight additional AI-powered experiences, and introduce a new AI course built for educators.

Preparing New York City Public School students for the future

Last month, New York City Chancellor David Banks shared a look into the journey they’ve been on over the past six months to embrace the potential of generative AI to support students and teachers. We’re proud to share that we have been partnering with New York City Public Schools to support their exploration of the development of generative AI tools tailored for their own use and to help ensure they can lead the way in the responsible, safe, and innovative use of AI by implementing appropriate safety and security measures. This has already included the launch of a chatbot that uses Microsoft AI technology to be the first point of contact with employees and families calling the IT Help Desk to offer faster, personalized support. While new opportunities are being explored, it’s important to note that the district has been working towards goals such as a full picture of student performance for years. 

We’re thrilled to be working with Microsoft to develop a path forward and leverage AI tools to bring meaningful benefits to our schools. I’m encouraged by the initial success we’re seeing and the opportunity we have to build on the enormous strides we’ve already taken with Azure.

Zeeshan Anwar, Deputy Chief Information Officer of New York City Public Schools

New York City Public Schools is also focused on preparing students for a world where understanding generative AI is crucial. They are working to ensure that this technology’s benefits are equitably distributed and that students are educated about the significant ethical concerns being contemplated. These discussions are already happening in classrooms across the city, and they will continue to equip students not only to utilize AI but also to critically examine its implications.

We are committed to taking the lead in understanding and harnessing this technology for our students, especially as AI reshapes the future jobs and careers available to them. We also believe it’s critical we learn how AI can support our educators and be most effectively incorporated into teaching and learning by closely engaging with our community and with industry leaders like Microsoft.

Tara Carrozza, Director of Digital Learning Initiatives for New York City Public Schools

Empowering our partners to personalize learning and save time

We are also excited about the work we have been doing with PowerSchool and Kahoot! to enable their new AI-powered experiences with the Azure OpenAI Service.

PowerSchool recently shared their vision to deliver personalized learning pathways built for individual students based on their learning goals within a secure platform. This new collaboration between PowerSchool and Microsoft provides additional functionality within the PowerSchool Personalized Learning Cloud that lets educators save time by leveraging AI to create formative assessments aligned to a desired learning objective, grade level, subject, and standard. It will be complemented by Adaptive Testing to better understand each student’s needs and the ability to then track student progress thanks to standards-aligned assessment items created by generative AI. We look forward to continuing our collaboration.

Kahoot! began weaving generative AI into their product suite as an extension of their long-lasting commitment to innovation and making learning efficient, accessible, and engaging. While Kahoot! has already been on an AI journey, new capabilities offered by the Azure OpenAI Service have enabled them to further enhance their experience and save time for educators. In addition to improved brainstorming and search functionality, Kahoot! is making it possible to create quizzes and presentations on any topic in seconds. We sat down with the Kahoot! team to share more about how this feature is already giving back valuable time to educators to focus on what matters most.

Enhancing Reading Progress with AI-powered experiences

At Microsoft Education, we are continuing to focus on opportunities to save time for educators and keep them at the center of new AI-powered experiences. This includes learning and building alongside education experts, and with their help, we are excited to share new capabilities for passage generation. Educators can now generate a passage directly in Reading Progress, allowing them to leverage insights to personalize it based on the needs of their class and individual students. Passage generation offers the option to select a topic, age, length, and language. Further, educators can easily adjust the complexity of the passage once it has been generated.

Generate a custom passage in Reading Progress in Microsoft Teams.

Comprehension is a critical pillar for reading fluency but often requires a considerable amount of time from educators to create questions. To better support educators, we have built a new feature that can generate comprehension questions based on a specific reading passage. Educators can choose the number of questions and then review them, make any necessary edits, and publish to students. We’re excited about the potential for these features to save time and further customize learning for each student or class. Passage generation and comprehension questions leverage the power and security of Azure OpenAI, plus platform innovations to support responsible usage in education. Both features are in an initial private preview with our testing community.

Generate reading comprehension questions in Reading Progress in Microsoft Teams.

Building AI literacy

The importance of AI literacy will only continue to grow, as evidenced by a recent study which found that 82% of leaders say employees will need new skills such as analytical judgement, flexibility, and the ability to direct AI with the right prompts. As part of our continued efforts to support AI literacy, we’re thrilled to announce a new AI course built for educators now available on Microsoft Learn: Empower educators to explore the potential of artificial intelligence. The course is designed to help educators navigate the world of AI in education by covering essential AI concepts, practical applications, and Microsoft AI technology. And in the coming days, Microsoft will be announcing additional opportunities to help people gain the AI skills they need.

Artificial intelligence and the various ways it can be beneficial in education are undoubtedly top of mind for many of us, and we are encouraged by the progress and innovation that we were able to share today — especially as we recognize that we are still at the start of this journey. We are optimistic about the opportunity we collectively have to unlock AI’s potential for education and will continue prioritizing the time we spend collaborating with and learning from the broader community to innovate responsibly.

Take the course: Empower educators to explore the potential of artificial intelligence