- On the same topic: #ISTELive: AI on Everyone’s Lips + Noteworthy Discoveries
- French version of this text available here: De l’équité à l’agentivité : autres nouveautés et trouvailles au congrès d’ISTE 2023
As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to expand into various aspects of everyday life, its influence in education has never been more significant. At the core of this technological revolution are questions of cultural and digital equity. In this context, the 2023 edition of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference highlighted the importance of giving students a voice, allowing them to make choices, and personalizing their learning. AI plays a crucial role in this mission.
Not only did the event unveil exciting new advancements, but it also shed light on existing tools through the lens of AI. Here are some highlights.
Although Bard is not yet available in Canada without the use of a VPN, we had the chance to learn more about it when Eric Curts from the Control Alt Achieve blog presented it. He demonstrated the Beta version of the service, giving a good overview of its upcoming integration into the Google suite of tools.
For those interested, you can check out Eric Curts’ resources on Bard here.
During the ISTE conference, other innovations concerning Google tools were announced. One of these is a new feature that allows teachers to close a task in Google Classroom, preventing students from submitting new work. Additionally, Chrome browser’s accessibility options now include a reading mode, which reduces distractions around on-screen text. Another exciting update is the upcoming integration of an OCR reader in the browser, allowing simplified reading of content. Moreover, Google’s teacher certification program has been renamed “Google Champions,” now encompassing three types of certifications: Trainers, Innovators, and Coaches.
Canva, an already recognized tool for its versatility, is seeing its features enriched with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). A new translation feature has been introduced, allowing for quick translation of templates from English to French. While a review is recommended, this represents a considerable time-saving. In addition to this, new features such as Magic Design have been unveiled, giving AI the ability to assist users in their creations.
Microsoft was highly active during the ISTE conference, showcasing popular tools like Minecraft, Flip, and Make Code Arcade, along with several new additions. Among these new offerings, our favorite is the Reading Progress tool, which provides a simple and effective approach to improve reading fluency with instant feedback. In the future, an AI-powered feature will be integrated directly into the tool, enabling text generation for students by suggesting topics and reading levels. Additionally, Microsoft is offering a new free online course on intelligence in education, which you can find here.
READTHEORY, SAMSUNG EDUCATION, AND NOLEJ
Other tools also caught our attention.
- ReadTheory, already used for differentiated reading comprehension in English, has evolved with the integration of AI.
- Samsung Education also left a positive impression with a comprehensive team and several dynamic workshops presented at their booth. In addition to offering screens of all sizes tailored for classrooms and esports clubs, they provided opportunities for professional development. One of our collaborators at Engaged Learning, and also a collaborator of Samsung, Matt Miller, led some very interesting workshops, and the resources are available here.
- Nolej is a tool that allows for creating comprehensive lesson plans with interactive activities (questions integrated into videos, questionnaires, hidden words, etc.) using AI. French language support is expected to be available soon for this France-based company. Their recent integration with Google Classroom is particularly promising.
DIFFIT AND FIGJAM
Two other tools that caught our attention are Diffit and Figjam.
- Diffit allows for differentiation of AI-generated or user-submitted texts for a specific grade level. It works in multiple languages, including French. Although it is still in beta, it demonstrates a lot of potential.
- As for Figjam, developed by Figma, it is a new online collaborative whiteboard tool. It has been mentioned everywhere and has become a favourite among many attendees. This collaborative online tool offers multiple possibilities, works on all devices, and is free. It will definitely be one of the tools we’ll be testing out this year!
INSPIRING ENCOUNTERS AT ISTE
Finally, the annual ISTE conference provided an opportunity to meet in person some “education rockstars” from the United States. For instance, we were fortunate to meet Dee Lanier, Holly Clark, Eric Curts, and, of course, Matt Miller, just to name a few! We invite you to follow these passionate educators on their respective social media and blogs.
ISTE 2023 was a true source of inspiration, where equity and student agency were at the heart of all conversations. Many tools, both old and new, demonstrated how AI can help personalize learning and give students a voice.