To maintain a properly running classroom, teachers are responsible for many behind-the-scenes tasks in addition to the actual time they spend in the classroom with their students. As a result, teachers can greatly benefit from some help, and Microsoft Research’s new AI project aims to provide just that.
Pilot with education is an AI-powered digital assistant that helps teachers with their needs using generative AI.
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For example, co-pilots will help teachers with back-of-the-classroom preparation, such as creating personalized learning experiences, designing assignments, creating hands-on activities, lesson planning, and more.
The research project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Microsoft Research India — their project VeLLM (aka, “Empowering Universal with Large Language Models”) — and teams across Microsoft.
Shiksha Foundation, a local organization focused on improving public education, is also involved, helping to run the program in more than 10 public schools in and around Bangalore, India. The goal of the pilot program is to gather feedback from teachers that will be used to refine and further develop the tool.
So far, pilot results seem promising.
Lesson planning is an important part of a teacher’s role as it helps them prepare the materials needed to carry out the next day’s lesson properly, including setting clear objectives and planning specific learning activities.
This task can be time-consuming because teachers often have to sift through different materials to put together a well-thought-out lesson plan. Education Co-Pilot can help make that task significantly easier.
Parimala HV, a teacher in Bengaluru, found that by using Education Co-Pilot, she could reduce her lesson planning time from 60 to 90 minutes to 60 to 90 seconds per day.
Demo of co-pilot [see video below] Shows how easy it is to create classroom materials. After the teacher chooses various options — such as grade, language, curriculum, subject and topic — Education automatically generates relevant content, including PowerPoint, take-home assignments, lesson plans and more.
Another teacher, Giresh KS, found that Education Co-Pilot can identify activities that help him better engage with his students, which can be especially challenging in a class of more than 40 students.
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The AI tool supports connections to both public and private resource content, enabling teachers to access the array of resources they need to create content for their classrooms.
“Education Copilot is very easy to use compared to other AIs we have tried because it is mapped to our own syllabus and our own curriculum,” Girish said.
Education is available through various modes including WhatsApp, Telegram and web applications to make it easily accessible to teachers.
Microsoft plans to expand the pilot to more schools in the state of Karnataka and beyond.