Breaking News: Microsoft AI Announcements at ISTELive 2023 #NotatISTE

Today, I have a breaking news announcement from Microsoft at ISTE 2023. This was prerecorded for a simultaneous release with today's news so that all of you who are not at ISTE could get this news. It will also be released on my podcast and YouTube channel, although I have embedded the YouTube channel below and included the transcript. Mark Sparvell sat down with me to share these amazing announcements.

This show is sponsored by Microsoft. Check out their new AI course. All opinions are my own.

Some of these awesome announcements include:

  • Generative AI features built into Reading Progress inside Microsoft Teams are game-changers for teachers.
  • Excellent generative AI features are now being used inside Kahoot and PowerSchool that will help teachers. These are powered by the Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service.
  • A cool collaboration between Microsoft and New York City Public Schools to support their exploration of the development of generative AI tools tailored for their own use.
  • A fantastic Microsoft AI Course is now available for educators at aka.ms/AIforEducators.
  • Check out today's announcement from Microsoft.

Episode 805: Microsoft AI Announcements at ISTELive 2023

Mark Sparvell – Bio as Submitted

Mark is an award winning educator and leader with over 25 years of experience driving whole school improvement. Mark is passionate about leveraging technology to humanize learning and give every the ‘best seat in the house' . Mark founded and co-leads the http://bit.ly/SELinEdu community which is closing in on 30,000 members and is engaged in a number of organizations around supporting mental health and developing social-emotional skills.

Episode 805 Transcript – Microsoft AI Announcements from ISTELive 2023

00:00:00:00 – 00:00:23:01

Vicki Davis

Hey, everybody, This is Vicki Davis and this episode is amazing. Announcements from Microsoft at ISTE. This is for all my friends out there who could not come to stay in person. We are bringing ISTE to you and a friend of mine from Microsoft is going to give you all the announcements directly. I will be at ISTE sharing from ISTE.

00:00:23:01 – 00:00:42:06

Vicki Davis

So check all my social media. But this will be posted just an hour or so after the big announcement is coming from Microsoft at ISTE It is sponsored by Microsoft that all opinions are my own. And these are some of the biggest announcements in artificial intelligence in education in that I've ever heard. Enjoy.

00:00:42:06 – 00:00:45:19

Vicki Davis

This is the ten minute Teacher podcast with your host, Vicki Davis.

00:00:47:06 – 00:00:52:02

Vicki Davis

Well, I'm so excited to have Mark Sparvell with us today.

00:00:52:02 – 00:01:21:09

Vicki Davis

He's an award winning educator and leader with over 25 years of experience driving whole school improvement. And he's passionate about leveraging tech to humanize learning and give every person the best seat in the house. Mark, you've been on the show before. In 2019 episode 524, we talked about SEL and EdTech. So you are passionate about reaching every child, social, emotional learning and all the things that just help us engage all our learners, aren't you?

00:01:21:14 – 00:01:36:02

Mark Sparvell

That's right. The big question is how do we give every kid the best seat in the house, the best seat in the house so that they can connect, so they can contribute and they can develop competence and confidence to be their best and do their best.

00:01:36:04 – 00:01:49:12

Vicki Davis

Today is a special interview sponsored by Microsoft for ISTE About once a year, we'll do a sponsored episode, but it's always very newsworthy and something I'd cover anyway. Some exciting things are coming, aren't they, Mark?

00:01:49:13 – 00:02:17:07

Mark Sparvell

There's some really exciting announcements that we're going to be making at ISTE 2023 and we're going to be sharing them in this conversation Today, First of all, is an amazing collaboration that we have with the New York City public schools around their use of generative AI. We'll be talking about some of the new features being rolled out with popular platforms like Kahoot and Power School, plus also enhancements to reading progress for Microsoft.

00:02:17:09 – 00:02:28:16

Mark Sparvell

There's also a brand new A.I. for Educators Course, which is being rolled out fresh and hot for teachers to take as soon as they're ready. So that and more coming up.

00:02:28:18 – 00:02:36:20

Vicki Davis

This will be released after the announcement have been made. It is. So you're kind of getting it along with everybody else at ISTE. So what are some of those announcements?

00:02:36:22 – 00:03:11:00

Mark Sparvell

Probably not surprising. It's all about the power of generative text. It's about the power of A.I. and what Microsoft is doing, both directly with our own products, what we're doing through partnerships, and also what we're doing to empower other partners with their solution. I tell you, as an educator, as you said of 25 years, there's some things that are going to be talked about and demonstrated across the three days of ISTE that will just blow people's minds, I guess, before the announcement.

00:03:11:00 – 00:03:34:05

Mark Sparvell

One of the things we know about educators is their superpower has always been asking great questions and providing great prompts to students. That's kind of the jam for teachers. We've always been good at doing that and the tools that we're releasing and the features that are being released by our partners really kind of lean on that superpower that teachers have to be.

00:03:34:05 – 00:04:04:10

Mark Sparvell

Great prompters and great question. It's one of the ones that is really, really exciting is from Kahoot, which is leaning on the power of Microsoft Azure's OpenAI service to release three new features and as we know, who is enormous, used by over 50% of US students, 6 million teachers use code and over 800 million students use code. I think there's a billion questions that have been generated.

00:04:04:10 – 00:04:33:15

Mark Sparvell

And one of the challenges in sometimes is just having time to build a quiz. Well, now it will help you build the quiz for you so you can use the power of generative text to ask code to build, let's say, a ten question, multiple choice code, which is all around the solar system, and it will generate that code for you with those multiple choice questions.

00:04:33:17 – 00:04:47:14

Mark Sparvell

Reducing time for busy teachers, hugely. Teachers, of course, can go back in and they can tweak and edit to make sure it's appropriate. But that's going to be a massive timesaver and super exciting for teachers.

00:04:47:16 – 00:04:58:05

Vicki Davis

So you are you were reminding and encouraging teachers that, yes, it can generate it, but teachers are still needed and they need to edit and they need improve it to customize it to their classrooms, right?

00:04:58:10 – 00:05:13:22

Mark Sparvell

Correct. Yeah. This is like if you if you like computer human collaboration, teachers bring the best of what they know and can do, but they lever on the power of generative text and AI services to do a lot of that initial heavy lifting.

00:05:14:00 – 00:05:28:14

Vicki Davis

Is that talk about it A.I. and so it's kind of giving you your first draft. But, you know, I found that generative A.I. can typically give me 80 to 90% of the way there. So this is fantastic. It's going to be a big timesaver for teachers.

00:05:28:16 – 00:06:04:08

Mark Sparvell

Or I'd imagine if you're an emergency teacher, you've been called to cover a class you just briefly know and you don't have a huge amount of time. And you know that they've been studying the water cycle and it's a grade five class. You know, what you can do now is literally by the time you've walked in the door and shared out, whether it's through teams or on a Promethean board or whatever, you're using a quick quiz to act as an engager, to get a sense of what the current knowledge is, to make a connection and and create an atmosphere in the class, which might set you up for the whole day of success.

00:06:04:13 – 00:06:10:20

Vicki Davis

Yes, that's very exciting. Okay, so that's your first one and that's huge. So what's your second Kahoot?

00:06:10:20 – 00:06:49:19

Mark Sparvell

Also releasing a more advanced semantic search across all of their Kahoots. So searching is going to be a lot faster and easier. And another great feature is the brainstorming tool that you can do within code or is in the past. As a teacher, I had to look in categorized responses. It now will recognize and will auto categorize. So if I've asked a question around what strategies to students use to study better and it recognizes that a large group of them are talking about and I call a friend, use a chat bot, watch a video, it will automagically categorize those brainstorming into categories for people.

00:06:50:00 – 00:07:01:08

Mark Sparvell

And again, the power of the editorial and the control always sits with the educator to go back. But it's doing that heavy lifting based upon so clever behind the scenes.

00:07:01:10 – 00:07:08:00

Vicki Davis

So you're really kind of taking it to the next level of A.I. helping teachers, aren't you?

00:07:08:02 – 00:07:10:09

Mark Sparvell

It's like becoming your ultimate teacher’s assistant.

00:07:10:09 – 00:07:13:21

Vicki Davis

Yeah. Oh, that's fantastic. Okay, so where do you go next?

00:07:13:23 – 00:07:55:08

Mark Sparvell

Probably to PowerSchool. I mean, PowerSchool is used as that sort of backbone school information system by 90 of the top 100 districts in the US and I think supports around 45 million users globally. So PowerSchool is a big platform, cloud platform to use to run a lot of school systems, whether it be finance, curriculum planning assessments, it manages that ebb and flow of information and they're releasing a number of features, again, leaning on Microsoft's Azure OpenAI services to again reduce churn and friction for educators.

00:07:55:08 – 00:08:36:23

Mark Sparvell

And an example of the feature that's being released is around helping to build formative assessment tools, which again can generate based upon curriculum standards, based upon the content, the parameters that the educator sits. You know, I want to achieve these outcomes, this standard, and it will generate within the environment of PowerSchool. It will generate the formative assessment questions which will help guide the learning design and again, these are super useful, you know, suggesting for example, students might, you know, create a vision board if they're working on them.

00:08:37:01 – 00:08:49:11

Mark Sparvell

My project is around interior design that I'm a grade eight and I need some generate some ideas for getting assessment information along the way. It will create those on the fly for educators.

00:08:49:11 – 00:08:51:01

Vicki Davis

Inside the learning management system.

00:08:51:06 – 00:09:16:14

Mark Sparvell

Yeah, and alignments matched so you've got your standards alignment sitting there and you're being generated with formative assessment suggestions. At the end of the day, these are suggestions and recommendations based upon the clever prompts that the expert in prompting the educator is placing and requesting within the system, which is then going, compiling and generating this unique content for them.

00:09:16:14 – 00:09:44:23

Vicki Davis

Well, my absolute favorite SARS and L.A. has been PowerSchool out of my whole 21 year career. I absolutely love it. Yeah, you can look back and see a lot of stuff I've written and and actually done some work for PowerSchool because I love their system. But to have the formative tools built in there that can the generate, like you said you know get that first draft you tweak it you use the human intelligence that teachers use to make it even better.

00:09:44:23 – 00:09:46:13

Vicki Davis

I mean, that's a game changer.

00:09:46:17 – 00:10:23:00

Mark Sparvell

Yeah, adaptive testing, the formative assessment and the adaptive testing, the two of those folded in. We're standing on the cusp of this kind of hyper personalized learning that, you know, we've always wanted. And this doesn't mean learning becoming automated. It means that learners are being able to achieve greater autonomy because they're getting the feedback and the information just in time that they need and the teachers getting the feedback and information just in time that they need to make changes and adapt so that it's super exciting.

00:10:23:02 – 00:10:39:00

Vicki Davis

When you're collapsing in the amount of time it takes us teachers to create all these things that we create. So instead of staying at work until 8:00 at night, we can generate get ourselves 80 to 90% of the way. There. And it's just great news for educators. This is great.

00:10:39:05 – 00:11:09:12

Mark Sparvell

Yeah, and you're right about that time, a recent McKinsey study I was sharing on the weekend at Fresno Unified School District, you know, noted that 50% of teachers time is non teaching. It's filled with planning assessments, curating ideas, team building lessons, ideas, assessments, formative. Summative 50% of the time is spent on non-teaching. So it is a game changer.

00:11:09:14 – 00:11:13:11

Vicki Davis

It is absolutely. Okay, Mark, what else do you have?

00:11:13:17 – 00:11:46:19

Mark Sparvell

This is the most exciting bit. You know, we know that, you know, reading is more than code breaking. Reading is meaning making and we know that literacy is a foundational skill that unlocks learning across all subject areas. So we're really incredibly excited and proud to release Passage generator within Microsoft's Reading Progress and Reading Coach that sits within Microsoft Teams, a great free solution available as part of the M365 package.

00:11:46:21 – 00:12:25:00

Mark Sparvell

So we've had Reading Progress for a while, which is awesome in itself, where the students can read a level two piece of text straight to camera like I am now, and the analytics engine will listen and pay attention and will provide the student and the teachers with a report on fluency, on pace, on the intonation, and will also identify miscues, substituted words, basically a running record and as teachers we know, but they take a lot of time and attention.

00:12:25:02 – 00:12:48:07

Mark Sparvell

So that's been an awesome and much loved feature in reading progress. But there's also some really clever features within there for the educators. The educators are able to select the topic so they can select the topic of the generated text, The age that it would be appropriate for for the students, the length of text, whether it's short, medium or long.

00:12:48:09 – 00:13:19:03

Mark Sparvell

And get this, even the language using multiple languages. So if you have ELL students or you're in a language immersion class, the opportunities there are just massive for educators. Wow. So the teachers also have and critical to this is the ability to adjust the complexity as well. So not only does it have the challenge words, but the nature of the text can be made more complex or less complex.

00:13:19:03 – 00:13:33:13

Mark Sparvell

And this isn't about dumbing down. This is about reducing cognitive overload so the learner can focus on what matters most in this piece of work, which is developing vocabulary and making sense of reading.

00:13:33:15 – 00:13:58:05

Vicki Davis

It's more than mind blowing because you've already had this great platform that students could read and they kid. The teacher could really have a lot of granular data about their ability to comprehend and teach reading. But now you've got the ability to generate unique passages. Now the teacher is still looking at those passages right before they go to the student and then they can connect.

00:13:58:05 – 00:14:15:18

Vicki Davis

So I think it's not hard enough. I can just say make it more complex. Exactly like increasing a font. I hit that button to make my font bigger, but now I can say make it more complex or make it less complex in the generative. I will take it there.

00:14:15:19 – 00:14:38:14

Mark Sparvell

This is exactly right, because it means that I can adjust a topic so that's more inclusive of students in my class. It means the student can develop mastery at their own right and pace getting feedback when they need it in a way that they need it. And it's all happening within a safe and secure environment that they're familiar with.

00:14:38:14 – 00:14:53:16

Mark Sparvell

And that data is all flowing back to the teacher because we know that the teachers are the experts in learning design and with information, you know, they can't help but take action to tweak, adjust, personalize and bring their best.

00:14:53:18 – 00:14:58:01

Vicki Davis

So do you feel like this is a revolution in teaching reading?

00:14:58:03 – 00:15:38:04

Mark Sparvell

I think this is a game changer, quite frankly. Again, speaking as an educator, this is kind of like the Holy Grail because nothing's going to replace a teacher in person listening to a student read. You know, it's a it's a very social emotional experience. But if you've got 26, 30 kids trying to get to everybody, trying to ensure that every learner is getting an opportunity to develop these foundational skills, to get feedback that's timely and actionable, it's a real struggle when it, quite frankly, would make me as a teacher and quite an organized teacher.

00:15:38:06 – 00:15:55:08

Mark Sparvell

I'd always feel a little bit guilty because I just didn't have time. What this does is it reduce is that pressure on educators and it frees them up to do the stuff that they're best at doing. Building and sustaining positive relationships with students.

00:15:55:08 – 00:16:04:04

Vicki Davis

Kind of quality controls are in there. I mean, are the teachers seeing everything that the kids are are having generated for them? How does that work?

00:16:04:06 – 00:16:33:10

Mark Sparvell

Reading Progress and Coach sit within Microsoft Teams. So the educator is in the driver's seat the whole time. And also the educator obviously has a view into all of the student's activities through their insights dashboard. So that's super important. Like other tools, when when Reading Coach generates this unique piece of text, this passage creation, the teacher can edit it, so it's created at level.

00:16:33:14 – 00:17:01:08

Mark Sparvell

So the right level for the student, but the teacher has the ability to go in and edit any piece of that text at all again, to make sure that it's appropriate, that it's it's fit for purpose. So that's really exciting. But wait, there's more. There's another feature which is Mind blowing, because again, like I said, reading isn't just code breaking, it's not a mechanical activity.

00:17:01:08 – 00:17:29:23

Mark Sparvell

It's it's a sense making activity. So we're releasing at the same time comprehension question generator within Reading Coach, Microsoft Reading Coach Reading Progress. And this will do exactly what it suggests. It will take a piece of text, understand the text and the content and generate depending upon the parameters that you place around it. Comprehension questions built around that text.

00:17:29:23 – 00:17:52:20

Mark Sparvell

And they're not just at the lowest level of sort of Bloom's taxonomy. You know, you can be specific and you can bring them through to inferring. So they're not just going to be questions about how many cals, but they'll be questions about why do you. So it will again, it takes this heavy lift off teachers all of the time.

00:17:52:22 – 00:18:06:13

Mark Sparvell

It doesn't take away their power and control. It gives them the time that they can use to focus on reading groups, in listening to students, in talking in questioning, face to face, and in small groups.

00:18:06:15 – 00:18:26:18

Vicki Davis

You talk about mind blowing. I thought my mind was blown a moment ago, and these are all new to me, You know, like everybody else. I'm learning about this right now. So you're saying that students can have their passages customized to them based on their specific challenge words in The teacher can, of course, go in, edit, tweak, make sure it's appropriate.

00:18:26:20 – 00:18:42:14

Vicki Davis

It can automatically generate comprehension questions based on a variety of levels of Bloom's taxonomy based on that customized passage. And the teacher has access to all of this as they're teaching reading.

00:18:42:16 – 00:19:09:09

Mark Sparvell

The data from all of it is coming back in to insights. I think what's important here is, you know, as teachers, you can end up with too many things like an epilog. It's happened. We've been there and lived it, and then all of the data is lost there. It's fragmented in different apps and tools. What I love about this is, you know, as an educator, everything's in one safe, secure environment.

00:19:09:09 – 00:19:42:17

Mark Sparvell

It's sitting within Microsoft Teams. I know that the data is safe. It's all being aggregated. So reflects data on student well-being is in the same place that this reading comprehension data is and this reading fluency data and the other data being gathered around students achievements that are being reported through the assessment services. So, you know, as an educator, I'm getting one view into what students and knowing, doing and failing.

00:19:42:19 – 00:20:05:10

Vicki Davis

And this particular tool has been around for some time. It's already proven it's already worked since you just adding generative AI features on top of what we already know works in that educators already love, which is, you know, I mean, if we were getting all this at once, I could see people raising their eyebrows. But you've already pretty much tested improving the basic platform and now you're just adding generative.

00:20:05:10 – 00:20:06:05

Vicki Davis

I'll top of.

00:20:06:05 – 00:20:35:21

Mark Sparvell

It. Yeah. This is the enhancing bid, first of all, is an amazing collaboration that we have with the New York City public schools and what we've been doing with them using generative A.I. tools which have been created for the use of the New York public schools. One of them is is already in place, which is releasing a chatbot which is fielding sort of I.T helpdesk questions coming from students and families and teachers across the school districts.

00:20:35:21 – 00:21:07:07

Mark Sparvell

But there's a clear and clearly articulated commitment across the New York public schools to be leading in on finding ways that generative. I can improve the learning experience for everyone and part of that is understanding the ethics involved. And conversations have already begun in classrooms. It's already happening right now across the New York public schools, around the ethical uses that the problems and challenges involved in this space and place.

00:21:07:07 – 00:21:39:22

Mark Sparvell

And we see that as being one of those critical additional bits. Having new tools and features sitting in a safe environment is awesome. It's great for us teachers. The flip side will. The other part of it is also ensuring that everybody has got the skills and the knowledge and the capability to use these tools ethically and responsibly. So the final big announcement at ISTE coming up is an awesome course that we're releasing for educators on Microsoft.

00:21:39:22 – 00:22:06:12

Mark Sparvell

Learn Empower Educators to explore the potential of artificial intelligence. It's a brand new. It's going to be released at ISTE course to build A.I. literacy. It will look at defining AI history of AI. It looks at this explosion of generative AI, which, you know, really only happened since November last year. And, you know, by February there were 100 million people using it.

00:22:06:16 – 00:22:38:07

Mark Sparvell

You know, it took nine months for, I think it was Spotify to get to 100 million. It took generative AI. I think it was three months to reach that. And so the course, yeah, the course looks at the application in education for those generative tools, whether it's generating AI code or text and also the ethical considerations. So that course will be totally free and available through Microsoft Learn and will be announced at ISTE 2023.

00:22:38:09 – 00:23:09:19

Vicki Davis

And you know, one of the strategies that schools and teachers need to have is that we are going to have to constantly be learning about the emerging tools, which no other way to move forward than to educate ourselves, because ignorance about A.I. will all equal major catastrophe in your school. We have to be well-educated about A.I. and be learning it with our students, which is what I love about what you talked about earlier.

00:23:09:19 – 00:23:16:09

Vicki Davis

So if I'm an educator and I'm interested in taking this course, do you have a link or some place I can go to get started?

00:23:16:11 – 00:23:29:23

Mark Sparvell

Absolutely. Do you can grab the course and take it for a spin. It's completely free on Microsoft Learn and it's simply aka.ms/AIforEducators .

00:23:30:04 – 00:23:35:00

Vicki Davis

And that is the numeral 4 right A.I. for educators. If you spell it out?

00:23:35:00 – 00:23:37:01

Mark Sparvell

It's “for”

00:23:37:03 – 00:23:44:20

Vicki Davis

Oc. So we spell it out like we should. Okay, very exciting. I think it's something I'm definitely going to be digging into also.

00:23:44:22 – 00:23:59:10

Mark Sparvell

Yeah, it's a great course. I've actually taken it in its draft form and it covers everything from defining AI, defining generative AI, looking at ethical considerations and looking at practical applications for the classroom.

00:23:59:10 – 00:24:28:18

Vicki Davis

Well, it's definitely something that we all need to keep up with. So Mark, thank you for all of these exciting announcements. These are things that are really going to change education things. Honestly, a month ago I personally don't think I could have comprehended in yesterday. I could have comprehended things that are changing everything about teaching in very positive ways, but ways that are going to take a little bit of learning and getting used to.

00:24:28:18 – 00:25:00:04

Vicki Davis

So we're really reaching an exciting day in education. I do encourage everyone listening to the 10 Minute Teacher. We run a little over 10 minutes and that's just fine. But there are even more exciting things that you can read about all these their videos and resources. Head over to the Microsoft Education blog. We will have a link in the show notes and just dig in a little deeper because I think these are the things that we're all going to be talking about when school comes back in the fall.

00:25:00:06 – 00:25:01:15

Vicki Davis

Thanks for coming on the show, Mark.

00:25:01:15 – 00:25:14:02

Vicki Davis

You've been listening to the Ten Minute Teacher podcast. If you like this program, you can find more at coolcatteacher.com. If you wish to see more content by Vicki Davis, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter under @coolcatteacher. Thank you for listening.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via 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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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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2 comments

Natalie McKalip June 27, 2023 - 11:36 am

I’m trusting your Ed tech guidance about learning and applying AI in the classroom. All of the students at Longfellow will be exploring the creative uses of AI in the elementary art room. So, I’m registering for the educators training offered by Microsoft. Thanks

Reply
Vicki Davis July 4, 2023 - 1:01 pm

Good luck, Natalie. I know you will find safe and wise ways to use AI in the classroom.

Reply

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