Microsoft and Khan Academy Collaborate to Increase Access to AI Tools for Enhanced Learning
Microsoft and Khan Academy
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In a high school chemistry classroom in Northern Indiana, pressure gauges typically used to demonstrate Boyle’s Law have been replaced by an innovative approach led by Melissa Higgason, a chemistry teacher at Hobart High School. Instead of traditional equipment, Higgason engages her students with everyday items like mini marshmallows, plastic water bottles, balloons, and eyedroppers. This hands-on method encourages students to design their own experiments and observe how gases behave under varying conditions, making abstract gas laws more tangible and relatable.

Despite her extensive experience in education, Higgason credits the inspiration for this creative teaching approach to an AI-powered teaching assistant named Khanmigo for Teachers, a program introduced by Khan Academy. Founded in 2008 by Sal Khan, Khan Academy is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free, high-quality education globally. The success of this teaching method led to a partnership announcement between Microsoft and Khan Academy at Microsoft Build. This collaboration aims to extend the reach of AI tools like Khanmigo for Teachers to educators nationwide by leveraging Microsoft’s Azure AI-optimized infrastructure.

Through this partnership, Khan Academy will offer K-12 educators in the U.S. free access to the enhanced Khanmigo for Teachers, now powered by Azure OpenAI Service. Additionally, Microsoft and Khan Academy will work together to enhance AI tools for math tutoring, focusing on affordability, scalability, and adaptability. This initiative includes the development of a new iteration of Phi-3, a series of small language models (SLMs) created by Microsoft, to further improve educational experiences for students and teachers alike.

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