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PowerSchool’s Ryan Imbriale on the promise and perils of AI in education, a preview of the forthcoming 2023 Education Focus Report, and more

Just try to have a conversation about edTech these days without mentioning AI. It took about five minutes for Ryan Imbriale, PowerSchool’s VP of Education Solutions, and me before we cracked. To be fair, Powerschool’s announcement this week that it will integrate Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service to use OpenAI’s large language models within the company’s Personalized Learning Cloud will probably be the biggest news to come out of ISTE next week. Have a listen and scroll down for some edited highlights:

The details:

Powerschool will use Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service to use OpenAI’s large language models within PowerSchool Performance Matters and PowerSchool LearningNav, part of PowerSchool’s Personalized Learning Cloud.

According to Powerschool, The generative AI functionality will save educators a significant amount of time by providing them with AI-generated assessment items within the PowerSchool Performance Matters formative assessment solution aligned to a desired learning objective, grade level, subject, and standard, which the teacher can use to deliver more frequent formative assessments at scale. 

I think it’s important to note that we come at this work, around personalizing the experience with generative AI by also saying, we want to do it the right way. We want to be responsible. Just in early May, we announced that we were partnering with the Teach AI Advisory Committee to ensure that whatever work we’re doing as a company is truly aligning to being responsible and making sure that we’re making the right decisions. 

—Ryan Imbriale

Instead of spending hours creating assessment items, the built-in AI-powered item creation will reduce this effort to minutes. The AI-generated assessment items will be complemented by AI-powered Adaptive Testing in Performance Matters to better understand each student’s competency and personalized instruction needs. The educator can then leverage generative AI within the PowerSchool LearningNav product to create multiple-choice questions within diagnostic tests personalized to each student’s competency level to assist in instruction and measure progress against learning goals.

Want to dive deep into what Microsoft’s Azure technology is all about? Check out this recent conversation I had with their team for our sister site eCampus news. While the focus is on higher ed, it’s applicable all around.

Going to ISTE? PowerSchool will be hosting a free happy hour event after the first full day of ISTELive ‘23. The happy hour will feature a panel of K-12 teachers, leaders, and former educators discussing generative AI, learning loss, personalized learning and other factors impacting the education space.

In addition to hosting the panel Ryan will share exclusive findings from the upcoming 2023 Education Focus Report (sourced from 1,300+ district leaders, educators, and administrators). The happy hour will be from 5:30 – 7:30 pm ET on Monday, 6/26 at The Liberty View Independence Center (10-minute walk away from ISTE/the Philadelphia Convention Center).

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