LAUSD launches Ed, the nation’s first AI “personal assistant” for students


LAUSD welcomes Ed, a new AI assistant for students.

Credit: Los Angeles Unified / X

Los Angeles Unified School District students will soon have their own individualized AI tool, a “personal assistant,” to help them with everyday tasks and remind them about school work when they forget.

The tool, named Ed, is the first of its kind in the nation and will be able to accommodate students verbally and on screen in 100 languages. 

“What we are announcing here today is a vision that was built over years of thinking about it, but only one year in actually bringing the necessary partners together — to give a voice, to give a simple life, to give a color, to give an experience,” said Superintendent Alberto Carvalho during Wednesday’s inaugural event at the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center. “And what has emerged is Ed.” 

Ed includes a number of features. It will, for example, be able to remind students of upcoming tests, inform them of the cafeteria menu, provide updates on school buses and even wake them up in the morning, Carvalho said. 

“Ed will tell Maria ‘you’re falling a little behind in reading, but we got you – click here,’” Carvalho said Wednesday. “Maria will click, and, without the need for an additional sign on, ….[it will] open the doors to all of the resources to elevate each student’s needs.”

Carvalho said this tool will not replace the many people in LAUSD who teach and support students on a daily basis. 

During the pilot period, Ed will become available to 55,000 students across 101 elementary, middle and senior high schools starting March 20, he said. Once an initial pilot period is over and the program proves successful, Carvalho said it would expand to the whole district. 

“Just like humans are not perfect — although sometimes in certain political circles, some say they are — the technology produced by humans isn’t perfect either,” Carvalho said Wednesday. 

“With all of the protections against the vulnerabilities, there is always a concern. That’s why we are over vigilant.” 

Carvalho also tried to dispel potential cyber security concerns — emphasizing that the district has had support from local, state and national agencies in monitoring the program’s evolution. 

He also said Ed is currently operating at 93% accuracy, several percentage points above the gold standard of 85 to 87% for ChatGPT.

A strong set of filters will also ensure the program is free from any kind of offensive language, Carvalho added. 

More than 100 people, including LAUSD school board members, partners from various universities and businesses as well as representatives of local and state government officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass attended Ed’s inauguration. 

The event space was decorated with balloon archways and various photo backdrops — along with Lego building tables, face painting, juice stations and food trucks to celebrate the occasion. Students also sat at tables testing out various features provided by Ed, while the parent interface was displayed on iPads.

“It is the power of artificial intelligence that will allow us for real time understanding of where students are and where they need to go,” Carvalho said. 

“It is the power of this technology to ensure that we will meet every one of our students where they are and accelerate them academically and in terms of enrichment towards their full potential.”

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