Meet our two new AI bots modeled on CEO Sahra-Josephine Hjorth and Chief Learning officer Lise Andersen-Alstrup
The future of learning is all about leveraging the power of technology to make learning experiences more efficient and more effective. Having said that, when designing our software, we wanted to ensure the preservation of those spontaneous collaborative moments that take place between teachers, students and team members. You know, the “Do you have any cool materials I can use to teach about Louis XIV in class today?” or the “I can’t decide between AP Chemistry and AP Physics, which one would you recommend?”. That’s why we put great effort into creating numerous social spaces within our platform.
But we also wanted to ensure that our course creators and learners felt supported throughout the learning process, regardless of whether their friends or colleagues were available to answer questions. Our goal was to ensure the provision of high-quality, consistent and personalized support 24/7. How could we achieve this? Well, by creating bots modeled on our top learning experts: Sahra-Josephine (our CEO) and Lise (our Chief Learning Officer). Don’t you love technology?
As well as being cultured, funny and up for a casual chat, Sahra-Josephine and Lise can answer any questions you may have about the learning process or course creation. As a learner, you can ask Sahra-Josephine questions about courses, knowledge tags and exercises and she will guide you through them. This comes in handy if you’re having trouble accessing a feature or if you can’t decide on your next course and want some recommendations.
If you’re a course creator and you need an extra hand building your courses or learning about exercises, tagging, videos and materials, Lise will help you. She knows everything about the how, where and why of course creation. Our goal is that if you bump into the slightest obstacle while creating your courses, Lise can help you out right away. We value your time and want to help you optimize your course creation efforts so that you spend those extra hours on other activities.
So… Head over to say hi to Sahra and Lise. And don’t forget to ask them about their favorite music!
Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to launch the self-building course – a course that is auto-created after placing materials in the cloud
In 2015, while conducting her Ph.D. research at Aalborg University on virtual learning environments, social media, and empowerment through learning, Sahra-Josephine Hjorth co-founded CanopyLAB with the vision of revolutionizing the way we learn.
Five years later, CanopyLAB is pioneering the future of learning through a learning experience platform that, through Artificial Intelligence (AI), combines Nordic principles of education with adaptive learning and a social network structure.
The platform is optimized by AI, not because it’s a buzzword, but because it solves a series of very specific problems for learners and course creators, and solving those makes digital course creation fun, fast and scalable. Let me elaborate:
Self-building content, pedagogical support, and quizzes that will blow your socks off
While we often work with learning nerds – a group we strongly identify with – a biology teacher once reminded us that you can be an incredible teacher without being a learning expert. He loved geeking out about biology but not about learning design and he couldn’t define social or adaptive learning. That interaction taught us an incredibly important lesson. That our job is to empower course creators to make a difference for learners, and the task of creating courses should be easy, fun, and adaptable to the needs of the course creators in a way that accommodates both the learning nerd and the biology nerd. So we created a series of AI automation processes that can assist you in creating courses. How? Well, we took a look at the DNA of a course first.
Mapping the DNA that makes up a course
On the CanopyLAB platform courses consists of:
- Learning materials (videos, audio files, pdfs, PowerPoints, and much more)
- Course introduction texts and unit descriptions with learning goals
- Pedagogical exercises such as adaptive quizzes, learning journals, brainstorming, baseline tests to mention a few.
- A tagging structure that allows learners to earn knowledge and exercise tags as they complete courses, showing progress in knowledge and skills shaped as a virtual CV.
- “Behind the scenes” a few more items are critical, one being curating exercises and not simply designing the content. It’s actually a lot of work pairing content and learning goals with exercises. Especially since we have 55 learning templates.
Let’s refer to each of these items as DNA molecules.
Automating each DNA molecule one by one
Our first challenge was actually cracking the CV which shows the knowledge you have learned from a course. It’s a very cool functionality because it helps us articulate what we have learned and what we are good at. Initially course creators manually picked tags that they felt were representative of what the learner would gain from each unit. But after we introduced Natural Language Processing (NLP) to meta-tag and catalog all the content that you upload onto a course (to our cloud as you commence building the course), we learned that after serious algorithm training, we could meta tag all text and video materials in less than 2 minutes and create an automated CV based on that, because our AI knows what every piece of material is about and what you learn from reading or watching it. Internally we refer to this algorithm as A1, and the process we used to train it as Dragon Training – and yes we are obsessed with How to Train Your Dragon.
Curating the pedagogical exercises
After this process, our AI engine recommends a pedagogical exercise for the course creator to include in the unit. Recommendations are essential because picking an exercise out of our 55+ templates can be tricky and time consuming. This is extremely helpful if you’re not sure which exercise is best for the content that you uploaded or which exercises your learners prefer.
AI Quiz question engine and 7 other exercises created by the AI
After our engine recommends pedagogical exercises, you may be unsure how to describe an exercise or want a bit of inspiration as to how it could be done. Don’t worry, our AI also auto-generates exercise descriptions for you; from instant quiz questions generated based on your course content to learning journals and definitions exercises designer to ensure learners understand all fundamental concepts.
Writing the course descriptions and learning goals
Based on the materials and choices made by the course creator, we can now automatically generate your unit description that details what the course is about and what the learners will gain from taking part in the course. In 2021 we are adding a learning goal generator. Isn’t that cool?
Now, we may not have a totally self-building course yet, but we have automated the most essential molecules already, and are excited about inviting you on this journey with us.
7 free courses for teacher development that you can take right now
It was one year ago this month that COVID-19 overwhelmed us and changed our classrooms. Overnight, we educators had to learn, on our own, how to shift our lessons to Zoom, how to assess students virtually and how to use attractive presentations or games to keep our students engaged.
Many of us had to teach all day and then do research and prepare all evening for our lesson the next day. We were stretched and stressed as this massive change hit us like a Tsunami. To make matters more complicated, most of us had never taught virtually before. Digital tools we had to implement were completely new to most of us.
A critical need emerged in the community of educators and CanopyLAB responded. We invented TeacherLAB as a platform where a global network of teachers can learn new skills, collaborate with one another, and share successful practices. We now offer more than 40 cutting-edge courses designed to empower teachers to master new digital tools, online pedagogy techniques, and strengthen relationships with students and parents. In this article, we invite you to be part of this community and take 7 free courses that will help you in different aspects of distance learning: digital skills, pedagogical methodologies and emotional health.
To improve your skills in digital and remote teaching
How to create engaging presentations
Let’s be honest! Remote teaching involves a LOT of presentations. How can we make them effective and engaging? Our beginner’s level course will guide you through how to make attractive presentations to keep your students engaged and learning.
Teachers spend most of their time assessing student performance. This course will show you how to take advantage of the latest digital tools to assess your students’ work in remote environments.
Ensuring that all students are engaged, motivated and active can be a challenge even in the physical classroom. In remote teaching, the challenge is even greater. Students are more likely to lose motivation and concentration when isolated from the classroom learning environment. This course explores different ways to keep students engaged during online teaching.
Here are some of our interesting courses on general pedagogy
Problem Based Learning (PBL) is a wonderful tool that allows teachers to increase student engagement, practice collaborative learning, and develop research skills based on their interests. In this course, we introduce you to the main characteristics of the PBL approach so you can implement it in your classroom.
Blended Learning is the combination of face to face and online teaching. This model is becoming very relevant now that some schools are going back to the classroom only a few days a week. This course will lead you through the basics of blended learning and provide you with a few tips to make your lessons more effective.
Resilience is key when going through frustrating periods. When we cultivate it in our class we are not only having an impact on learning, but in our student’s lives. This course will show you how to include activities and ideas in order to cultivate an attitude of resilience in your students.
If you want to take some time for yourself
We won’t sugar coat anything- the pandemic is scary and overwhelming. Teachers have been dealing with an immense level of stress and this course is designed to help you through these times. In this mini-course, you learn tips on how to take care of your mental wellbeing during the time of COVID-19. You will learn about resources to spark interest in starting your own self-care journey.
As you can tell, we offer courses on a wide range of topics, from pedagogy to your well being as an individual. And these are just 7 out of 40+ that we currently offer on TeacherLAB. And we add new ones every month! Sign up here to join a community of teachers where you can learn, collaborate, and meet other educators around the world.