Insight and Microsoft deliver AI chatbot EdChat for South Australia DoE – CRN Australia

Insight Australia has partnered with Microsoft to create AI chatbot EdChat for the South Australia Department of Education (DoE).
The first chatbot of its kind in Australia, EdChat is designed specifically for teaching and learning and aims to provide a safe environment for schools to explore artificial intelligence.
EdChat utilises Azure OpenAI and incorporates the same technology as ChatGPT.
Students can interact with the chatbot to obtain information, ask for creative suggestions or analyse complex ideas via an interface designed by Insight.
More than 1500 students and 150 educators from eight schools in SA took part in an initial eight-week trial completed in August .
DoE's chief executive Martin Westwell said EdChat was born as a response to tools like ChatGPT entering the market.
“We realised that if this tool is out there and if it’s going to transform the future workforce, the only question to ask ourselves is ‘how do we learn to use this safely and ethically to positively impact teaching and learning?’” he said.
“EdChat is the first step in our strategy to maximise the value AI can deliver in the education space, while minimising the risk.”
The trial also addressed concerns about student data privacy and the appropriate use of AI.
DoE leveraged the built-in mechanisms for data collection and secure storage in its existing Microsoft technology.
Safety measures to block harmful content have been built EdChat via the Azure AI Content Safety service.
"EdChat is a truly inspiring example of how the education sector can embrace generative AI to deliver value to its most important stakeholders – students," Insight's CTO Veli Mati-Vanamo said.
"This breakthrough technology empowers students to take control of their own learning, improve their academic performance and develop essential skills for their future careers."
DoE plans to expand EdChat to more schools following the successful trial.
“Going into this project, the Department was very aware that we were navigating uncharted waters,” DoE's CIO Daniel Hughes said.
“This kind of project had never been done before and we didn’t have all the answers, so we relied heavily on the Microsoft team to guide us through the process.”
“We now know that EdChat was safe and appropriate for school use and that gives us confidence to readjust some of those controls and settings for different cohorts, as we roll it out more widely.”
“Our next steps are to get EdChat out to the schools and students who stand to benefit the most from AI."
“Schools in remote or rural areas and those that serve communities in lower socioeconomic areas can explore differentiated learning, and other ways to use AI to drive equity in education.”