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Khan Academy and Microsoft Join Forces for Personalized Learning

What is The News About?

Khan Academy is a non-profit online educational organization founded in 2008 by Sal Khan with the mission of providing a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Higgason has decades of experience in education, but she’ll be the first to admit that the idea of using everyday items to teach physics came from an AI-powered teaching assistant called Khanmigo for Teachers. The program was introduced as a pilot last year by Khan Academy.

Microsoft and Khan Academy have launched a new relationship at Microsoft Build. The goal is to provide these AI tools—which save time and improve lessons—to millions of teachers. A t**** version of Khanmigo for Teachers, powered by Azure OpenAI Service, will now be available to all K-12 educators in the US at n******, thanks to Microsoft’s donation of access to Azure AI-optimized infrastructure.

In addition, using a revised version of Microsoft’s Phi-3 family of small language models (SLMs), the two businesses will investigate potential ways to enhance scalable, adaptive, and cost-effective AI solutions for math instruction. In addition to engaging lesson plans, Khanmigo offers a variety of suggestions and tools driven by artificial intelligence that help teachers with administrative tasks that might lead to fatigue. In as little as a few minutes, or even less time, teachers can create personalized lesson plans, recommend student groups, and “level” text passages for students who are struggling or could benefit from a greater challenge with the click of an onscreen dashboard. According to Khan Academy, when used in conjunction, these resources can help educators save five hours each week on average.

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Why Is It Important?

Though it has been receiving praise from educators such as Higgason since its inception in March 2023, Khanmigo used to cost teachers $4 a month. All of the new technology’s development and testing, as well as access to the LLMs that enable Khanmigo, were financed by fees.

Azure OpenAI Service will now power Khan Academy’s instructor tools as part of the new agreement. Using the Azure infrastructure that Microsoft generously donated, the nonprofit education organization will be able to scale up its teacher tools and make them available to all K-12 teachers in the US for free.

The businesses will also investigate the possibility of using small language models (SLMs)—like Microsoft’s new Phi-3 family of models—to enhance and expand AI tutoring tools. These models are more efficient and user-friendly than larger ones, and they do well with basic AI jobs. In light of this, Khan Academy and Microsoft are teaming up to investigate the possibility of creating new, open-source tiny language models based on Phi-3. Investigative efforts aim to make scalable, cost-effective, and state-of-the-art math tutoring skills a reality.

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Despite their diminutive stature and limited data training set, mini-language models perform comparably to their larger counterparts. on organizations who are strapped for c***, they are also made to be user-friendly and easy to access.

As part of their new partnership, Khan Academy will provide Microsoft with instructional materials including arithmetic problem sets and detailed solutions so that the software company can use Phi-3 to create math tutoring capabilities powered by artificial intelligence. Ongoing feedback and benchmarking data will also be provided by Khan Academy to evaluate performance. The model will not be trained using any user data from Khan Academy.

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In a field with enormous untapped potential, Khan is thrilled about the prospect of working with Microsoft to train small language models for math coaching. When it comes to teaching subjects like chemistry, algebra, or English, smaller language models are both more efficient and easier to modify than larger ones. “The efficiency with which we can expand access to this will be greatly enhanced if they can achieve performance levels comparable to the larger frontier models while maintaining substantially lower costs,” Khan stated. For schools in underprivileged countries without access to computers, Khan envisions a future where miniature language models run locally on devices rather than in the cloud, opening up possibilities to supply instructors and tools for teachers.

Lastly, the two groups will collaborate to increase the amount of Khan Academy content available through Copilot and Teams for Education, a free edition of Microsoft’s widely used Teams software that caters to educational institutions and students’ specific needs in terms of collaboration and learning. Copilot and Teams for Education users will have access to high-quality content from Khan Academy’s extensive library, and more learners will be able to access it thanks to the integration.

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