Back office business: 5 big K-12 edtech deals this week

New in K-12 edtech: AI-inspired edtech helps prevent school shootings, enhance lesson planning, assess student data, and track butterflies?

Key points:

  • Smarter systems can help protect students
  • AI technologies continue to proliferate
  • Online learning platforms now support millions of students

ZeroEyes, creators of their AI-based gun detection video analytics platform announced a strategic partnership with AEGIX, a Utah-based provider of industry-leading resources, technology, equipment and training for first responders. Through the partnership, ZeroEyes’ AI gun detection and situational awareness software will be integrated into the AEGIX AIM active incident management platform to create a sole-source solution uniquely built for Utah public schools.

The system enables individuals in an organization, such as a school, to notify others of a crisis with the touch of a button. In a worst-case scenario, such as an active shooter, teachers simply push a button in the app to let administrators and first responders know if they are “safe” or “unsafe.” AEGIX AIM can be operated from a desktop, laptop or smartphone. 

Everyone on the system, including key law enforcement and first responders can utilize the dynamic interactive maps of a school campus, buildings and individual classrooms. This instantly provides room-by-room situational awareness. Users know exactly what the emergency is and where they need to direct their efforts. It also enables real-time communication within the patented chat feature. 

RedCritter launched its groundbreaking AI innovation, CritterCoin, a PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) suite for schools powered by ChatGPT from OpenAI. The new AI capabilities automate PBIS on a school-wide level. The suite now offers adaptive and personalized student tutoring and engagement, along with automated recognition and rewards. 

The CritterCoin suite consists of a House System, Reward Store, 3D Collectible Coins, fund-raising and collectible Web3 Critter NFTs as prizes. 

The new AI capabilities automate PBIS on a school-wide level. The suite now offers adaptive and personalized student tutoring and engagement, along with automated recognition and rewards. CritterCoin represents a significant milestone in education, revolutionizing the learning experience and how students engage with educational content. “Millions of teachers are already using OpenAI’s ChatGPT to create lesson plans and materials,” said Mike Beaty, CEO of RedCritter. “Our patent-pending technology takes ChatGPT beyond chat and transforms it into a fully automated school-wide PBIS solution that can automate tutoring, behavior correction, student recognition, issuing rewards and even help with fund-raising.”

Quests, a major enhancement in this release, allow educators to visually design personalized learning and corrective behavioral experiences for students. Quests deliver new types of AI-powered interactions, such as interviewing historical or fictional characters, receiving personal tutoring on any topic, learning a language, and learning to code. Students can even role-play scenarios with the AI in a foreign language. With CritterCoin’s Data Insights, educators can track AI-related learning school-wide as well as visualize data from every student’s AI session.

Espace pour la vie, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and the University of Ottawa announced the launch on a worldwide scale of a butterfly observation platform. Thanks to the collaboration of an international team of biologists, entomologists and computer systems specialists, the platform offers high-performance tools allowing community science everywhere to help draw up an inventory of butterflies around the world.

A veritable gold mine for scientists, its database consists of close to 20,000 butterfly species, meaning all those known at the present date. The platform allows for the organization of great quantities of data based on the distribution, number and diversity of butterflies in the world, which is essential for research. 

Ultimately, global, crowd-sourced community science projects like eButterfly give scientists access to more data than they alone could collect and serve a critical role in monitoring and mitigating the insect biodiversity crisis. “Every time butterfly watchers raise binoculars and cameras to record a butterfly sighting, they collect important data,” states Dr. Rodrigo Solis Sosa, eButterfly Human Network and Data Coordinator. “Recording the number, date and location of each butterfly, no matter how common or rare, may seem trivial, even repetitive—but this detailed information is invaluable to science and conservation.” A Quick Start Guide has been designed to guide new users through each step of using the platform.

edX, a leading global online learning platform from 2U, Inc. recently announced the debut of two AI-powered innovations: the new edX plugin for ChatGPT and edX Xpert, an AI-powered learning assistant on the edX platform. Both tools leverage the technology of AI research and deployment company OpenAI to deliver real-time academic support and course discovery to help learners achieve their goals.

“The incredible capabilities of generative AI will only amplify the value edX delivers to learners worldwide. By leveraging the intelligence and adaptability of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, we are creating more personalized and engaging experiences that further enable learners to achieve great academic and career outcomes,” said 2U Co-Founder and CEO Christopher “Chip” Paucek. “Our announcements today are just the first of many innovations edX is developing to harness the power and potential of generative AI, from new platform capabilities to cutting-edge new educational programs on AI-related topics.”

The edX ChatGPT plugin is part of the initial wave of plugins available for ChatGPT Plus users. It enables users to seamlessly discover educational programs across edX’s library of 4,200 courses, as well as access in-depth learning resources on select advanced topics — beginning with Circuits and Electronics. As users engage with ChatGPT on topics that interest them, the plugin will instantaneously provide course recommendations, content, videos, and quizzes, with direct links to access courses.

Also debuting this week is edX Xpert, an AI-powered learning assistant embedded in the edX platform. Xpert leverages the ChatGPT API to provide learners with real-time, personalized academic and customer support as they engage in online coursework from leading universities and institutions worldwide. These new capabilities will enhance edX’s industry-leading student support services, which are designed to drive best-in-class outcomes for learners engaged in online academic programs on the edX platform, from free courses to technical boot camps to full degrees.

Xpert is currently in pilot, with additional learners gaining access throughout 2023. New features will be released in stages, including:

  • Academic Assistance: Xpert will offer learners personalized assistance with coursework and assignments. Learners can ask Xpert to break down complex concepts from course material, answer follow up questions, recommend additional modules, and quiz learners to help check their comprehension.
  • Course Discovery: As a guide and partner, Xpert will help connect learners with the right learning for their career goals and educational background. Factoring a learner’s prior experience and knowledge with their desired program length, Xpert will help to match learners with best-fit program options to learn the skills to meet every professional moment.
  • Customer Service: Xpert’s customer service functionality will provide clear advice and step-by-step solutions instantaneously to help eliminate any technical barriers to learning encountered while on the platform.
  • Course Content Summaries: Xpert will be able to generate brief, helpful summaries of video lectures and text material within courses. This allows learners to quickly identify relevant content for learning, reviewing, or reinforcing concepts, helping to maximize the time they spend learning on the platform. Currently, this feature is available in the program built from the first-ever MOOC on edX – MITx’s Circuits and Electronics – with plans to roll out across the wider portfolio.

LingoAce recently surpassed 10 million classes worldwide. Since launching in 2017, LingoAce’s preK-12 online learning platform offers Mandarin Chinese and English language learning programs for children of all language proficiency levels and cultural backgrounds. According to the company, LingoAce’s growth has largely been driven by word-of-mouth amongst Chinese diaspora families around the world. Driving the strongest interest are families from North America with nearly 4 million classes taught collectively. Today, 4 in 5 students in the U.S. have studied with LingoAce for more than a year. Through the online learning platform, students can connect to accredited teachers using a proprietary research-based curriculum in a virtual classroom. 

Features include:

  • Instruction—Each of LingoAce’s 4,000-plus teachers undergo a rigorous screening process with a 2% acceptance rate. They are continuously trained in the latest teaching methods for engaging students through games, animated storytelling, and visual teaching aids.
  • Content—Every lesson is the product of more than 200 hours of curriculum development, teacher training, and quality control. Each interactive game, picture book, and assignment are designed to clearly introduce new concepts and reinforce previous lessons.
  • Technology—With LingoAce’s virtual classroom app available on iOS, Android, and web, students can take classes from any computer or mobile device. Meanwhile, parents can manage their child’s class schedules and monitor their learning progress with ease.

Sign up for our K-12 newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Kevin Hogan

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at

New Resource Center
Explore the latest information we’ve curated to help educators understand and embrace the ever-evolving science of reading.
Get Free Access Today!

"*" indicates required fields

Email Newsletters:

By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

eSchool News uses cookies to improve your experience. Visit our Privacy Policy for more information.