Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft, Khan Academy Partner to Make Khanmigo Teaching Tool Free

At its Build conference this week, Microsoft announced it has inked an AI partnership with education nonprofit Khan Academy.

Specifically, Microsoft is enabling Khan Academy's AI teaching assistant, dubbed Khanmigo, to run on its Azure cloud platform. The infrastructure support will let Khan Academy offer Khanmigo, which launched last March, to teachers at no cost.

Previously, it cost $4 per month, with the fees going toward enabling Khanmigo to access the large language models (LLMs) that power it. With Khanmigo now running on Microsoft's cloud, it's able to directly tap into the Azure OpenAI service, which provides programmatic access to a library of major LLMs.

"As your planning ally and instructional collaborator, Khanmigo leverages Khan Academy content to simplify AI for teachers," Microsoft's education team wrote in a blog post Tuesday. "No prompting is required. Khanmigo will help create engaging lesson hooks, provide insights on student performance, recommended assignments, and support for refreshing your knowledge."

According to Khan Academy, the Khanmigo capabilities can help teachers shave as much as five hours from their weekly workload, potentially helping avoid burnout.

The free Khanmigo access takes effect on May 21 for K-12 educators based in the United States.

Khan Academy To Help Train Microsoft's Phi-3 Model

In another layer of the partnership, Khan Academy will help Microsoft train an open source version of the latter's new small language model (SLM), Phi-3, with the goal of creating an AI math tutor for students.

SLMs are designed for domain-specific data and can be compact enough to work in edge devices. Released last month, Phi-3 is designed with instruction tuning, which enables it to interpret and execute a variety of instructions that mirror natural human communication.

Per Tuesday's agreement, Khan Academy will work with Microsoft to explore "how to improve AI-powered math tutoring in a more affordable and scalable manner with an open source fine-tuned version of Phi-3."

To that end, Khan Academy will give Microsoft access to its math-related data, including math problems with step-by-step solutions. Data from Khan Academy users will not be part of the traiing data, the companies said.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.