Leading AI Company Launches Classroom Assistant Built on First Large Language Model Designed Uniquely for Education

NEW YORK PRNewswire/ — Today, Merlyn Mind, an AI company focused on building domain-specific AI platforms and solutions for improving human productivity, announced the launch of its AI-powered classroom solution, Merlyn Origin. Built on an education-specific large language model (LLM) developed in-house by a team of researchers from top AI labs, including IBM Research, Amazon Alexa, and Google Brain, Origin helps educators eliminate tech friction and focus on creating powerful learning moments in the classroom.

Built for the unique workflow of the classroom, Origin enables teachers to use their voice from anywhere in the classroom to control their learning applications, computer, and front-of-class display. With Origin, teachers can access classroom lessons, generate quick quizzes, and help students find answers on the spot – all with the confidence that they’re pulling content from an LLM specifically trained on vetted, educational content and resources, not from the entirety of the internet.

In the future, Origin will allow schools and districts to integrate their own content and curriculum into the platform as part of a walled-garden approach that allows both teachers and students to harness the capabilities of generative AI safely to encourage curiosity and promote higher-order thinking during class, which, in turn, enhances the learning experience.…Read More

More high school grads are rejecting 4-year pathways

Key points:

  • More than half of surveyed students say they will opt out of the traditional four-year undergraduate path
  • This decision to pursue alternative post-secondary options hints at an evolving postsecondary landscape.
  • See related article: Companies go to high schools for career training
  • For more news on career readiness, visit eSN’s Innovative Teaching page page

A significant trend is growing among high school graduates in the class of 2023, with 55 percent opting out of the traditional four-year college route, according to a new survey from YouScience, a technology provider dedicated to solving the skills gap crisis for students and employers. The findings from YouScience’s second annual national 2023 Post-Graduation Readiness Report.

Comparatively, for graduates spanning the 2019-22 classes, this figure stood at 48 percent, signaling a noteworthy transformation within the education landscape. This paradigm shift highlights a growing sentiment among recent high school graduates, who are increasingly questioning the value of pursuing a conventional four-year college degree and exploring alternative pathways.…Read More

Two Cincinnati Firms Help Cincinnati Non-Profit Create World-Class Animations for National Mindful Music Program for Student Wellbeing

Two Cincinnati animation firms, Pixel Fiction and Lightborne, joined forces to support Mindful Music Moments, Cincinnati non-profit The Well’s signature program that brings world-class music in combination with daily creative, calming prompts to schools and classrooms in Greater Cincinnati and far beyond.

The Well’s Director of Music and Arts Programs, Bryce Kessler says “We heard from a lot of our teachers that students need support in focusing their attention. As a small non-profit, we needed to find a dynamic, cost- and time-effective way to create daily video content in addition to daily audio content for all 300 schools and national partnerships we serve. Kessler continues, “we innovate and learn directly from our school partners and lean in to our 50+ schools in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to make sure we are always supporting the ever-changing environment.”

Kessler continues, “Pixel Fiction, with support from Kattspaw Audio, created our new mascot Mel O. Dee and Lightborne’s team created audio responsive designs that animate to the daily music selections. The result is delightful and compelling to students.”…Read More

3 best practices to create a STEM-focused school

Key points:

The benefits of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education are numerous, and one would be hard-pressed to find a school district that doesn’t have a project, initiative, class, or lesson with the acronym in its title.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2021, there were nearly 10 million workers in STEM occupations–a total projected to grow by almost 11 percent by 2031. This figure represents a growth rate twice as fast as non-STEM occupations.

The department also noted that STEM jobs often pay substantially more than jobs in other fields. Even if a student doesn’t select a career in STEM, the soft skills they will learn at a STEM-focused school (critical thinking, teamwork, problem-solving and more) will serve them well in whatever they choose to do in life.…Read More

How AI could save–or sink–creative writing in schools

Key points

This story originally appeared on the Christensen Institute’s blog and is reposted here with permission.

Ninth-grade English was a paradox for me—both the best and worst year for helping me learn to write. …Read More

5 tech tools for kinesthetic learners

Key points:

  • It’s key to remember that students need to move–and that’s OK
  • There are a number of edtech tools that encourage students to move around while reinforcing important learning concepts
  • See related article: 5 edtech tools to save time this year

Educators often share a useful mantra: “The mind can only absorb what the bottom can endure.”  This is a great phrase to remember as districts, schools, and educators increasingly rely on technology tools to support student achievement. Although many teachers (and too many school administrators!) believe quiet students seated in front of computer screens is indicative of good classroom management, remembering that our students need to move is always sound instructional strategy.

I have a vivid memory of a co-worker visiting me in the library at school to mention that my older son Gus had fallen out of his desk in class. When my calmer younger child Flynn began high school, I asked what he thought at the end of the first week, and his comment was, “High school hurts my butt,” directly echoing the above quote about “bottom endurance!” As an adult, I personally struggle to sit through presentations or professional development lasting longer than 20 minutes. Additionally, many schools are emphasizing longer learning blocks where students are expected to be seated for over an hour.…Read More

Taking a measured look at AI in the classroom

Key points:

  • What if AI can take over mundane tasks and free teachers up for more direct instruction?
  • AI doesn’t just spit out data–it provides real, actionable insights that allow teachers to better help students
  • See related article: The importance of teaching generative AI

AI in the classroom: The idea brings up images of students plugged into the Matrix, learning differential equations in seconds, doesn’t it? Well, not quite, even if the question of existential threat for schoolchildren has been purported in recent discussions. We’re talking about something more grounded, a little less sci-fi, but nonetheless intriguing.

Imagine you’re teaching a class, and instead of that time-consuming grading, you have AI in the classroom, taking care of the rote tasks. Interesting, but not quite a blockbuster movie scenario, right? It leaves you with time to ponder the intricacies of your educational philosophy or perhaps even enjoy a quiet lunch break.…Read More

Carolina Biological Products Named Best-in-Class for K to 12 Science Teaching and Learning in National STEM Awards

BURLINGTON, NC Carolina Biological is proud to announce that its products won a number of new science education awards. Leading K-12 science supplier Carolina Biological Supply Company won four prestigious national Educators Pick Best of STEM® 2023 Awards and earned Finalist in two more categories. The awards are the only competition in which products are reviewed and judged only by STEM educators. Thirty-four awards total were given in thoughtful and important categories tailored to STEM education. The awards program, operated in partnership with the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), MCH Strategic Data and the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), spotlights innovative products, technologies, and services that are changing the world of STEM education.

Winners were chosen for qualities such as alignment with NGSS standards, the use of simulations, instructional support for teachers, and the flexibility of implementation for different modes of instruction across all STEM topics. Carolina Biological Supply Company was awarded for: Building Blocks of Scienceâ 3D won“Bridging the Gap—English Language Learners: Science & Literacy,” Smithsonian Science for the ClassroomÔ  wonBest of STEM: Most Comprehensive Culturally Relevant Teaching,” and Carolina® Healthcare Simulations Kit Series: Blood Typing Kit won “CTE Training: Health Science—Training Kits” and Carolina Distance Learning® Online Gateway HyFlex won aTrailblazer Award: Hybrid Learning Superhero.” Carolina also received Finalist status for 3-D Earth and Space Science Kits for “Best of STEM: Environmental Science” and CRISPR in a Box™ Kit for Trailblazer: Biotechnology Innovator.”

Products were judged first by an expert panel of judges. Then, more than 267,000 STEM educators were invited to evaluate the finalists via survey.For information about the awards program, visit www.bestofstemawards.com.…Read More

StickTogether Kicks Off Back-to-School with Pixel Portrait Project

NEW YORK — To help educators and school media specialists promote community-building and creativity as students come back to school, StickTogether Products is launching its Back-to-School Pixel Portrait Project. This free activity allows students to create self-portraits using StickTogether’s free Pixel Art Platform and then display them in their classrooms, around their school, or at home.

“The Back-to-School Pixel Portrait Project provides a great, tech-enabled way for students of any age to showcase their individuality and uniqueness,” said Sylvia Stein, president of StickTogether Products. “Whether using it as a fun way for students to introduce themselves to their class or as a lead-in to a new lesson or unit, this activity will get students engaged and thinking creatively to kick off the school year. Plus, showcasing all the portraits together makes for a stunning display in any classroom or school hallway.”

To complete their portraits, students simply access the StickTogether Pixel Art Platform, create their portrait using their choice of 17 different colors on a 320-box grid, and then save their creation directly to their teacher’s or librarian’s dashboard. From there, the artwork can be printed or shared electronically. In addition to the artwork, a coded worksheet is also saved so students can ‘sticker’ their portraits. Educators can purchase Pixel Art Class Packs which include a color key and matching colored stickers.…Read More

Big Deals—New and enhanced edtech tools from Quizlet, eSpark, and Turnitin

Global learning platform Quizlet today announced a series of new study tools designed to help students return to the classroom with renewed confidence this school year. These new product launches deliver more AI-powered resources to Quizlet’s 60 million monthly active users, combining cognitive science and artificial intelligence to help students study more effectively and efficiently.

Joining well-known and beloved study tools, including Flashcards and Learn and Test, this back-to-school Quizlet is introducing:

  • Magic Notes: With Magic Notes, students can upload their class notes to Quizlet and instantly and automatically turn them into flashcards, practice tests, and more. Whether notes are hand-written or digital, this AI-powered solution gets users ready to study in mere seconds, saving valuable time that was previously used manually building studying tools, and helping students extend their knowledge with outlines, sample essay topics and related course materials. 
  • Memory Score: Memory Score lets students track their personal memory scores based on their study habits and help them understand how likely they are to remember material at different intervals and when test day comes.
  • Quick Summary: Quick Summary pulls key concepts out of dense readings, providing summaries that help students digest material faster and at the right level to match their current understanding.
  • Brain Beats: With Brain Beats, students can automatically turn their flashcards into a song to enhance studying, using a tune to aid in memorization.
  • Q-Chat: Q-Chat launched in beta in March as the first personalized AI tutor built on OpenAI’s ChatGPT API and has since powered millions of conversations with students on Quizlet. Today, it is officially out of beta and Q-Chat will now be a part of the core Quizlet experience and with additional activities including Teach Me, Quiz Me, Apply my Knowledge, and Practice with Sentences. Q-Chat is built to help students achieve a deeper understanding of the topics they are studying through a virtual tutor-like experience.
  • AI Enhanced Expert Solutions: Millions of step-by-step explanations written by verified experts on Quizlet are now enhanced by advanced AI capabilities. On top of the trusted step-by-step guidance this feature is known for, students can now access alternate explanations to better understand tricky concepts, practice problems to test their knowledge, and use Q-Chat for personalized AI-powered tutoring all built within the experience.

All Quizlet users 16 years and older will be able to access these new features, with Quizlet Plus users gaining unlimited access. …Read More