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Mar 8, 2024

AI Bytes 8 - Flint.AI (Illinois Math and Science Academy)

Sohan joins a panel of teachers and students at IMSA to cover use cases of Flint and their outlook on AI in education.

Sohan Choudhury, Co-founder & CEO of Flint | LinkedIn

Dr. Peter Dong, Physics and Computer Science teacher at IMSA | Profile

Dr. Eric Rettberg, English teacher at IMSA | Profile

Dr. Marta Kaluza, Spanish teacher at IMSA | Profile

Britta McKenna, Director of Special Initiatives (IMSA AI Center) at IMSA | LinkedIn

Neev, Student intern at IMSA's AI Center

Video Summary

This recording of IMSA's AI Bytes lunch and learn #8 is a pilot showcase of Flint to introduce the platform to teachers and staff followed by a panel presentation of individual teachers sharing about their use of AI in the classroom.

Britta McKenna initiates the discussion by speaking to how Flint's platform creates an AI garden for their students to test things. Flint was suggested by an alum of IMSA, and the pilot started at the beginning of the year and will go until the end of the school year.

Sohan's Flint Demo

Sohan joined the meeting virtually to introduce and demo Flint, as well as speak about new updates to the platform. He explains:

  • Flint's focus is on bringing AI to schools and personalized learning while making AI usable in a classroom environment.

  • The platform allows teachers to create an AI tutor that students can interact with based on learning objectives and available materials.

  • Teachers can also monitor how their students interact with the system to provide help when necessary.

  • As an example, Sohan speaks to how Flint has been useful in teaching computer science, with teachers creating AI tutors that dynamically give students different problems and exercises, pause to provide help when necessary, and level the content to keep students engaged.

Sohan then shares his screen (5:23), walking through how to use Flint to:

  1. Create a class group

  2. Create a tutor with a specific learning objective

  3. Edit the tutor settings and test it out before sharing with students

  4. Create a 24/7 AI tutor for a specific class group

Speaking about how the updates to Flint focus on the idea of tutoring (12:20), Sohan shares about how the highest usage we saw from student was from when they were using AI independent of teacher's activities to get extra help and guidance. Sohan's time is concluded with a quick Q&A session.

IMSA Teacher Panel Discussion

The next section is a panel discussion where Dr. Peter Dong, Dr. Marta Kaluza, and Dr. Eric Rettberg share how they are using Flint and other AI tools in the classroom (16:15). A student intern, Neev, also joins later.

  • Dr. Dong cites benefits in reinforcing physics concepts and some confusion from the AI in respect to obscure topics, though he could get a sense of the students' performance from reading their chat transcripts.

  • Dr. Kaluza used the written chat, essay, and spoken chat Flint assignments in her Spanish 2 and 3 courses. She found that the chats went well and that the essay could involve more interactive editing processes, which she might want to emphasize with her students.

  • Dr. Rettenberg shares a project where students critically compared the analysis of literary texts with ChatGPT's analysis.

  • Neev shares how their team evaluated Flint, tried to break it, reviewed its feedback, etc.

The panel continues onto their next question of "What potential is there for AI education tools such as Flint" (38:13) where they discuss:

  • How the fuzziness of AI is similar to how teachers aren't always right and doesn't discount that AI is worth exploring

  • AI project Dr. Kaluza had done was very exciting for students because they got to explore the possibilities of AI and extraordinary for her to see the variety in output, knowing students still had to piece the project together (storyline, consistency in art, etc.)

  • Flint, from the student point of view, is great because it gives equitable access to AI for all students and is more powerful than just ChatGPT because it can analyze code, website links, attachments, etc.

The final question the panel answers is "Do you feel that AI is a threat or asset to education" (42:17):

  • From the point of view of English teachers like Dr. Rettenberg—it feels like both. He compares it to the panic around calculators from the 80s. He has gone traditional in some ways and more innovative in others.

  • Dr. Kaluza says that spotting AI-generated essays is pretty easy in world language courses which reassures her. She instead wants to focus on showing students how to use AI to improve their work.

  • Britta compares AI to a helper that helps you stretch when you work out.

  • Neev believes that AI can't be ignored, definitely has a presence, and needs to be explored to find ways to be used productively.

Sohan concludes the session by saying how impressed he is by IMSA's forward-thinking and willingness to view AI as a sandbox in which teachers and students alike are playing in the sand and testing where the edges of the tech's sandbox may be right now.

Spark AI-powered learning at your school.

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Spark AI-powered learning at your school.

Start a trial to get free access to Flint for any number of teachers and administrators at your school.

Watch the video

Spark AI-powered learning at your school.

Start a trial to get free access to Flint for any number of teachers and administrators at your school.

Watch the video