Pressto, the New York- and Halifax-based maker of edtech software, has opened early access to its artificial intelligence system for teachers.
The system offers teachers personalized prompts for their students, as well as generating lesson plans, vocabulary and feedback tailored to each youth’s abilities and interests.
Pressto, founded by former magazine publisher Daniel Stedman, is a web app that lets children write and edit a mock newspaper and receive automated feedback on their work.
The app, which launched a year ago, is targeted at kids in Grades 3 through 8. It lets them share their creations online or print them off to make a physical newspaper.
“We have been putting most of our resources over the past year into making Pressto time-saving and helpful for teachers,” said Stedman in an interview. “So we've released a number of different features, including integration with Google Classroom, the ability to generate assignments and return assignments to students, and give feedback to students.
“And now we have … an AI prompt generator that can do what in education they call differentiated learning.”
Differentiated learning refers to the process of using AI to tailor classroom material and exercises to the interests of individual students, such as by giving them writing topics relevant to their personal backgrounds.
On Monday, Pressto will demo a limited suite of freshly released artificial intelligence features at the Future of Education Technology Conference in New Orleans, as well as showcase a more fulsome AI suite to come in March.
The company first rolled out its software in Brooklyn, New York and North Preston, Nova Scotia, later adding Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Honolulu, Hawaii.
Now, Stedman said Pressto has been used by schools throughout North America, as well as in Brazil and Jamaica, with 183 teachers registered on the platform.
A trait of Pressto that makes it particularly suited to international markets, Stedman added, is its adaptability for use in other languages.
“(Students) don't require translation of the content that they themselves are creating,” said Stedman. “If we were globally distributing a reading product or curriculum, then we would require an onerous amount of translation.”
And in India and Asia, both major edtech markets, learning to read and write in English is considered a high priority for students, which has led to prospective customers actually asking Pressto to offer a completely un-translated version of the platform.
Last year, Pressto raised a $1.5 million round of pre-seed funding led by Halifax’s Tidal Venture Partners, with New York edtech fund Copper Wire Ventures and a handful of angel investors also signing on.
Now, Stedman is in the process of raising a $3 million to $4 million seed round, with plans to add more developers to his currently 10-person team.
“We have a unique opportunity to globally scale a writing product,” said Stedman