Exploring the Transformative Power of AI in Education: A Conversation with Kiran Athota and Dr. Wendy Oliver Transformative Principal 554

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This episode is part of the Summer of AI Series, brought to you by SchoolAI, Scrible, and FocalPointK12.

Jethro Jones is interviewing Kiran Athota, CEO of FocalPoint Education, and Dr. Wendy Oliver, Chief Learning Officer at FocalPoint,K12, Inc. The discussion centered around the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education and its impact on student engagement and personalized learning.

Athota and Oliver delved into the distinction between AI assistants and human teachers, emphasizing the importance of teachers in catching plagiarism and guiding students. They acknowledged the fear surrounding new technology but highlighted the benefits of AI in understanding student knowledge better than ever before.

The conversation also touched on the role of AI in assessing student progress and skills. Athota and Oliver stressed the need for authentic and personalized measures of growth, moving away from traditional assessments. They emphasized the importance of partnerships in education, with teachers and students actively involved in the development of AI tools.
  • ChatGPT vs. Generative AI. 
  • Georgia Tech’s Experiment
  • Students not know the difference between AI assistant and professor. 
  • Any student can plagiarize 
  • The best tool is the teacher to catch plagiarism 
  • Teachers and students should know how to use it. 
  • We are afraid of new technology. 
  • AudioPen AI
  • Discussing plagiarism and how to make choices around it. 
  • How FocalPoint is using AI. 
  • Giving teachers back time for their work. 
  • Using ChatGPT for scoring 
  • Multi-dimensional score 
  • Building a learner profile and informing the personalization of education 
  • Student engagement 
  • Standards work has already been there. 
  • How to make it more engaging for kids. 
  • “I already know the student is struggling, how do I get them from here to here?” 
  • Generative AI is giving us engagement 
  • Technology is at a point where we can understand what students know better than ever. 
  • AI can pull in questions/assignments/activities/etc. for growth that are aligned to kids’ interests and skills. 
  • Ugh, another diagnostic… 
  • We need to find other ways to assess students 
  • Parents found that they have a voice and choice in education. 
  • We need partners, not vendors, in education. 
  • Developed with teachers and students in mind. 
  • If we have a good authentic way to measure student progress and skills, you don’t need the assessment. 
- Starting to see trends and growth in policy and procedure in Education.

About Kiran Athota

Kiran Athota has always been at the forefront of edtech innovations. As chief architect for GADOE’s longitudinal data system, he won national attention from EdWeek and the Data Quality Campaign. He subsequently was the first to introduce single-sign-on to K12 education. As co-founder and CEO of FocalPoint Education, he led his team in groundbreaking developments in an xAPI-enabled adaptive learning platform, and assessment platform and overcame education data silos with FocalPoint’s proprietary data-interoperability model. Most recently, he and FocalPoint have introduced blockchain student credentialing to serve the CTE segment and national trade and professional credentialing associations.

About Wendy Oliver, Ed.D.

With more than 20 years of experience in digital education, Dr. Wendy Oliver, a Tennessee teacher and administrator, thrives when implementing innovative learning models and creating amazing learning experiences for students. Throughout her career, Wendy has had the opportunity to develop and pioneer a district, TN’s state-wide, and international digital learning programs.  She served as the Chief Learning Architect for Arizona State University’s digital charter network of schools and recently launched a network of private, for-profit schools.  Wendy created Oliver’s Frameworks for Blended and Online Instruction, and subsequently, a software that allows teacher to self-assess their knowledge of instruction in each respective environment, a software that has been implemented in multiple districts and states. 

Her leadership expertise, experience as a certified scrum master, hands-on knowledge of digital learning and curriculum design, paired with her expertise in assessment and evaluation, are leveraged to design innovative, learner-centered solutions in her role as Chief Learning Officer at FocalPoint,K12, Inc.

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Exploring the Transformative Power of AI in Education: A Conversation with Kiran Athota and Dr. Wendy Oliver Transformative Principal 554