AI tools for teachers are getting stronger. Here's how

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Major ed-tech players are adding generative artificial intelligence tools to existing products already popular in the K-12 world. While some educators and AI experts are excited, they say these new tools make the need for teacher training on AI even more urgent.

Google is providing Gemini.— its creative AI model — as an add-on for educational institutions using its Workspace for Education product. A lower-level version of Gemini Education provides access to creative AI features in Google's workspace apps, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Gmail, and access to the Gemini chatbot. The premium version offers additional features, such as AI-powered note-taking and summaries in Meet.

Khan Academy and Microsoft is partnering to provide free access to Khanmigo — its AI-powered teaching assistant — for teachers. Both tools can help teachers with administrative tasks and creating content for students.

The announcements come as more teachers try out the emerging technology. And as school districts discuss and create guidelines and policies for the use of AI..

“This is a great example of the speed of AI tool development,” said Pat Yongpradit,'s chief academic officer and TeachAI leader. “And I'm really happy that big companies are thinking about how to serve teachers.” How to, and they're not just focusing on building general-purpose chatbot tools.”

How do teachers use AI?

Educators who are using AI are mostly using ChatGPT or other free AI tools available online.. But these releases from Google and Khan Academy should increase access to AI tools, Yong-Predit said.

“If you're using Google stuff, which is millions of schools, now you have. [AI] Things to play with,” he said. And Khanmigo being free now is “amazing, because the cost of access to Khanmigo has been a problem before.”

Mark Erlenwine, principal of New York's Staten Island Technical High School, has yet to try the Gemini, but he has tried the Khanmigo and says he's “impressed” with what he's seeing so far. With Khanmigo, Khan Academy provides ready-made prompts and activities that teachers can use. For example, if a teacher wants Khanmigo to help her create an exit ticket, she can simply click this button, enter a grade level, subject, and topic, and then create a Khanmigo exit ticket. Will do.

In the past, Erlenwein mostly used ChatGPT, but now with these new tools, “it kind of comes down to: Do ​​you want to go directly to ChatGPT to do the work or do you use those platforms? Want to make it honestly easier for a teacher?

It's helpful that Khan Academy has “found the skill behind asking prompts the right way,” Erlen Wynne said, “which I think is going to make the difference here” because now educators have time to figure out No need to spend. The perfect prompt to ask a chatbot to get what you want.

Along with increased accessibility, these tools also likely have better data privacy and security mechanisms than some other free AI tools, Yung-Predit said.

“One hit.” [Google’s and Khan Academy’s] Reputation is a huge hit that has a lot more impact than some ad tech startups might not be as careful about privacy and security and age appropriateness and compliance with existing policies,” he said.

Google said in its announcement that it is not using data that users feed into Gemini to train its AI models without permission and that it is not sharing that data with other users or organizations. And Khanmigo, which is powered by the same technology behind ChatGPT, is also not training an AI model. It uses teacher feedback to improve the indicator.

Why Training on Using AI is Important for Teachers

Educators and AI experts say that providing access to AI tools is great, but it's pointless if educators don't know how to use the tools properly.

Schools need funds and time to provide professional development for teachers. To understand how to use these tools as well as how to evaluate the effectiveness of these tools, he says.

So far, 7 in 10 teachers say they haven't received any professional development on using AI in the classroom, according to a nationally representative survey by the EdWeek Research Center. 953 educators including 553 teachers between January 31 and March 4.

“Teachers really have to figure out what makes the most sense for their context,” said Yung-Predet. “They still need healthy skepticism and evaluation skills to get the most out of it. [what the AI tool produces]”

It's also important to think beyond the use of AI to improve performance, said Glenn Kleiman, senior adviser at Stanford University's Graduate School of Education. Districts, researchers, and policymakers need to start thinking about changes in content and pedagogy as AI advances.

He said that advances in AI tools are outpacing advances in human ability to use them well.

School districts need to be thoughtful about creating policies around the use of AI.

Kleiman added that the rapid pace at which AI is evolving may make districts feel like they need to respond just as quickly, but they must stay calm and implement thoughtfully over time.

Erlenwein has always been an early adopter of new technologies, and is passionate about these new tools increasing efficiency and productivity. However, he is concerned about the lack of research on the impact this would have on K-12.

“As an early adopter, I'm ready to adopt. But I don't know if we really know what we're adopting,” he said.

There are organizations that are trying to figure out how to fund the research that is needed, but it takes time, said TechAI's Yung Predet. For now, districts should rely on their strong evaluation, procurement, and piloting processes, he said.

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