How Microsoft is Helping Educators Use AI to Unlock Productivity and Personalize Learning

How Microsoft is Helping Educators Use AI to Unlock Productivity and  Personalize Learning

Over the last year, Microsoft has integrated powerful new AI capabilities into its tools to empower educators and enhance personalized instruction for students. Here's a look at the next wave of AI innovations coming to Microsoft Education

Copilot for Education

Starting in early February 2024, Microsoft Copilot with commercial data protection will be accessible to all faculty and higher education students over 18. Additionally, education faculty and staff are now eligible to purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365 which brings access to Copilot's AI-powered capabilities inside apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

Early adopters like The University of Hong Kong, The University of Manchester, and GEMS Education are already leveraging Copilot to augment both teacher and student productivity.

Collaborating with Microsoft Loop

Joining the educational toolkit in March 2024 is Microsoft Loop. This AI-powered platform facilitates real-time co-authoring and collaborative feedback, now included in select Microsoft 365 education subscriptions at no additional cost. Educators can utilize Loop's dynamic canvases for seamless planning and content creation, promoting a more interactive and engaged learning environment.

Reading Coach Now With Generative AI

At the heart of Microsoft's education strategy is the Reading Coach, now enhanced with generative AI. The tool assesses reading ability and offers a personalized approach to reading practice, adapting content to match each student’s pace and needs.

Reading Coach's latest upgrade utilizes generative AI to dynamically create stories that respond to an individual learner's reading level and engagement. Students can steer plots by selecting characters, settings, and narrative choices to stay invested. The app moderates quality and age-suitability using ethical guardrails informed by research partnerships.

Importantly, Microsoft is making Reading Coach more accessible and widely available for both students and educators. Firstly, it will now be available for free via the web and a Windows app to anyone with a Microsoft account. Additionally, in late spring, Microsoft is adding an integration with major LMS platforms like Canvas that will allow educators to create Reading Coach practice assignments.

Streamlining Workflows to Enhance Instruction

To save time for instructors developing curriculum, Microsoft Teams for Education will enable auto-generation of assignments, rubrics, and other course content using AI. The Classwork module leverages suggestions tailored to subject area and grade level to expedite course development.

AI module generation in the Classwork feature in Teams.

When creating assignments, teachers can utilize prompts to emphasize key points, add detail, simplify instructions, inject learning objectives, and incorporate lighthearted emojis. Content will be flagged as AI-generated until educators review, edit as desired, regenerate alternatives, or opt to remove proposals entirely.

Example of AI-generated content in Assignments in Microsoft Teams. 

Similarly, the rubric creation process will be supplemented with AI, allowing teachers to swiftly generate criteria and scales for evaluation. Educators are reminded to thoroughly proofread computer-generated academic resources before formal publication.

Creating a new rubric in Assignments in Microsoft Teams, using the Create rubric with AI option.

Emotional Intelligence with Microsoft Reflect

Microsoft Reflect, the company's emotional learning app providing student check-ins, can auto-generate personalized follow-up question suggestions based on emotional tone and expert wellbeing research. This allows educators to efficiently gauge root causes behind expressed student mindsets and experiences.

A flow showing how to create, respond, and analyze student check-ins from Microsoft Reflect. Reflect can now further enhance understanding by enabling educators to generate options for learners to specify reasons behind the emotion.

Ethical AI and Literacy

As AI technology advances, Microsoft maintains that it will remain committed to transparency and building literacy for responsible adoption. Its new online courses help educators navigate AI-enabled resources while teaching students about ethical creation and consumption of synthetic media. This sort of measured approach that weighs the benefits and risks of AI technology is vital as policies evolve.

Microsoft's AI advancements are not just about technological prowess; they represent an incremental step towards more personalized, engaging, and inclusive education. These tools are reshaping how education is delivered, accommodating diverse learning styles and environments, including remote and hybrid models. With a focus on ethical AI practices, Microsoft is nurturing a generation of students equipped with future-ready skills, setting a new standard for educational excellence.

Chris McKay is the founder and chief editor of Maginative. His thought leadership in AI literacy and strategic AI adoption has been recognized by top academic institutions, media, and global brands.

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