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What was once a far-fetched possibility only seen in science fiction novels is now a reality—and it’s one that’s rapidly becoming a part of everyday life. We’re talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI). It’s here, and it’s already shaking up the world as we know it—and that includes the classroom.

In fact, education is a natural incubator for AI capabilities. From adaptive learning to personal assistants, educators can now take full advantage of the power of AI and use it to benefit their students. This is just one of the many reasons why we decided to dedicate Day 1 of this year’s STEM Summit 5.0 to artificial intelligence. We’ve gathered leading experts in the field to come and share their invaluable insight and perspectives with our attendees.

A brief history of AI

The basic concept of artificial intelligence has been around for centuries. Of course, the earlier concepts were a bit more rudimentary—Chinese and Egyptian engineers built automatons, while the ancient Greeks dreamed up myths about robots. It wasn’t until 1956 when the modern concept of AI—and its term—were developed at a Dartmouth College conference.

While the modern concept of AI was a hot topic for many years in the tech space, it eventually went cold, for the most part, from 1974 to the mid-nineties. Then, IBM’s Deep Blue brought back AI with a vengeance and put the multinational technology company at the forefront of AI advancement. Fast forward to today, and IBM’s Watson is known for beating reigning Jeopardy champions and powering a variety of programs and devices.  

AI in education today

While AI’s adoption is more readily accepted throughout various business sectors, the technology is making its way into the education space.  We’re at the tipping point with this new technology, and we’re eager to see where the latest trends will lead.  A few currently developing areas to keep an eye on include:

    • Adaptive learning: Twenty years ago, an instructor wouldn’t find out if students were struggling with their homework until after it was due. With the potential of today’s AI adaptive learning programs, instructors AND students could have a much better learning experience . Using advanced predictive algorithms that adapt to specific learning styles, assignments can change to cater to students needs as they surface. This ensures that students are actually learning, at the right pace and at the right level.

    • Voice activated technology: Siri, Alexa, and Google are all ready and waiting to help you out with anything you need—and this includes in the classroom. If you’re stumped on a specific question in the middle of class, just ask Alexa. Don’t know what your schedule looks like for office hours? Siri can help you with that.  How will these “assistant” technologies ultimately pair up and play with pedagogy to be most beneficial to students? We’ll ask our panel of presenters at the conference.


    • Customized content: Not all content is created equally—and the same goes for student’s learning preferences, too. AI can be used to match students preferred learning modalities to popular and effective content. Think of this as similar to the way in which Netflix recommends movies it thinks users will love. Can AI find a way to re-engage students into learning with more effective content that is tailored to their interests?


The future of AI and education

While many aspects of the future remain uncertain, we do know that AI will continue to impact and transform the classroom. We expect the current trends listed above to evolve in terms of sophistication and adoption. In fact, one of our STEM Summit 5.0 speakers, Ashok Goel, created an AI teaching assistant that is powered by IBM’s Watson. Imagine a course where an AI voice-activated teaching assistant is the norm? That means less time grading papers, answering emails, and scheduling appointments and more time spent focusing on student success.

And, of course, there are a host of issues that come along with these powerful advancements. As a society, we will have to decide how to deal with issues surrounding student privacy, what it means to lead an inclusive classroom in an AI world, and what will the future roles of teacher and student look like?

Macmillan plans to be on all of these front lines of AI development in education. This is one of the many reasons why we’ve dedicated a portion of STEM Summit 5.0 to AI. It’s a great time to become a part of our Summit community. For those who are unable to join in person, you can tune into our live stream.  You’ll be able to watch the leading AI experts present from wherever you happen to be.

Bring your curiosity and join the conversation.


We’re gearing up for another exciting STEM Summit this year, and our presenters are getting ready to answer all your questions on current trends in technology will impact and transform the future of education. Throughout this two-day summit, we’ll be discussing artificial intelligence (AI), consumer engagement around STEM education, and practical, actionable strategies for engaging students in STEM courses.


We wanted to give you a chance to get to know our presenters and take a peek at what they’re working on at the moment.  


Sean M. Arnold - @seanmarnold

As special educator and STEM coach for New York City’s District 75 citywide special needs program, Sean M. Arnold is passionate about making learning accessible to everyone. He believes in the value of technology instruction and game-based learning, and is also a NYCDOE Excellence in School Technology Award winner, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Certified Educator, and more.


Dr. Randall Bass - @RandyBassGU

As vice provost for education and professor of English at Georgetown University, Randall Bass has been working at the intersections of new media technologies and the scholarship of teaching and learning for twenty years. This includes his work as director and principal investigator of the Visible Knowledge Project, a five-year scholarship of teaching and learning project involving 70 faculty on 21 university and college campuses.

Dr. Vince Bertram - @vincebertram

Education has been and central theme in Dr. Vince Bertam’s life. This bestselling author and president and CEO of Project Lead The Way has served as a principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent of Indiana’s third-largest urban school district. His leadership has earned him several appointments and awards over the years, including (but not limited to) education expert for its United States Speaker and Specialist Program, member of the Indiana State Board of Education, and the “Intellectual Contributions and Faculty Tribute” award at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Kate Biberdorf - @FunWithChem

Once described as a cross between Wonder Woman and the next Bill Nye, Dr. Kate Biberdorf brings a fresh energy and approach to today’s scientific community. She is a lecturer and director of demonstrations and outreach for The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Biberdorf is also a general chemistry instructor and is well known for her explosive demonstrations that excite her undergraduate chemistry students.

Blair Blackwell - @blairblackwell

Another STEM Summit veteran, Blair Blackwell is the manager of education and corporate programs at Chevron, where she also heads up U.S. education-focused social invest initiatives for the company. Overall, Blackwell believes learning and education is a vital to prosperity. Throughout her career she has done work on education reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina and worked with students in Kazakhstan.


Dr. Emily Musil Church - @emilymusilchrch

As director of education for XPRIZE—a non-profit organization that designs competitions intended to encourage technology advancements that could benefit humanity—Dr. Emily Church brings more than 12 years of experience in both higher education and non-profit organizations to her work. Dr. Church served as a college professor at Lafayette College, Trinity College, and American University and she has also been awarded a Fulbright-Hays Research Fellowship.

Dr. Bryan Dewsbury - @BMDewsbury

As a professor at the University of Rhode Island, Dr. Bryan Dewsbury teaches biology and focuses his research program on broader social and equity questions related to discipline-based education research. He is specifically interested in how students (especially those in underrepresented groups) develop perceptions of the world and others, and how these perceptions might affect their engagement with science content, career choices, and academic performance.


Grace Clawater Doramus - @100Kin10

As director of strategic initiatives at 100Kin10—a company dedicated to bringing 100,000 excellent STEM teachers to American classrooms by 2021—Grace Clawater Doramus is dedicated to promoting systemic change against the challenges facing STEM education. She is a former STEM teacher herself, and is passionate about encouraging students to explore the countless opportunities a STEM education can offer.


Dr. Ashok Goel

Professor of computer science at Georgia Institute of Technology, and editor-in-chief at AAAI’s AI Magazine, Ashok Goel conducts research into human-centered computing, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science with a focus on computational design, modeling, and creativity. His LinkedIn article Using AI to teach AI would be a good one to check out before the Summit.

Carson Kahn - @carsonkahn

Founder and CTO of, Carson Kahn, has worked at the frontiers of learning technology, data science, and design for nearly a decade. His company is a Silicon Valley artificial intelligence business with $5.3 million in disclosed seed financing from Zuckerberg Ventures; AI EdTech investors TAL Group (NYSE: XRS) and Reach Capital; and executives from Apple, Facebook, and Goldman Sachs.

Karina Linch - @mslinch

As SVP of product at BrainPOP—a company that creates animated, curricular resources that engage students, support teachers, and bolsters achievement—Karina Linch brings a unique perspective to this year’s summit with her colleague, Sean Arnold, STEM Coach. She leads a stellar team of writers, animators, educators, professional development trainers, project managers, researchers, assessment experts, data scientists, game designers, and UX specialists.

Dr. Russell Shilling - @Russ_Shilling

As Senior Innovation Fellow at The Digital Promise, which is funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Russell Shilling will be joining us again for this year’s summit. He is an early pioneer in the educational games movement and has been busy ensuring students from pre-K and beyond are engaged in STEM.

Dr. Beverly Park Woolf

As a research professor for the computer science department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and director of the Center for Knowledge Communication, Dr. Beverly Park Woolf is responsible for the three-dimensional graphics and multimedia classes at the University of Massachusetts. These courses offer students the opportunity to expand both intellectual and practical skills.

Dr. Michelle Zimmerman - @mrzphd

We’re happy to have Dr. Michelle Zimmerman joining us again for this year’s STEM Summit. This Microsoft MVP and award-winning educator will lend her fresh perspective to our stellar-list of presenters. Over the course of her impressive career, Michelle Zimmerman, Ph.D., has taught grades from pre-K to 10th, been assistant principal, lead teacher, and she is also a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.


Be sure to follow these leaders on their social accounts where they share valuable information and content that will impact the future of education. You can also follow the STEM Summit 5.0 conversation as we stream it live.

We look forward to connecting with you soon!