Feb. 9, 2023

Episode 173: Revamping Education: Next-Gen Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Brandon Lambert joined the show to discuss Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its implications for educators. Fonz mentioned that he had seen some of Lambert's amazing pictures on LinkedIn and had used some of the prompts he provided to create similar results, although not as good as Lambert's. Lambert discussed how AI is more accessible than ever before and how the output can be incredible if the input is well-written and descriptive. He also talked about his work using Mid Journey and the importance of understanding the implications of AI for educators.

Brandon is a fourth-generation educator, and his passion for education runs deep in his family. His great-grandmother was a community and church educator, and his grandmother was a kindergarten teacher for over 40 years. His mother was a special education teacher and a third-grade teacher and had a career in education administration. Brandon himself is continuing the family legacy by working in education and contributing to the education of others. He is passionate about the work he does and is committed to helping the next generation of learners.

Join me as I welcome Brandon Lambert, a multi-disciplinary fourth-generation educator, and entrepreneur, as he shares his mission to accelerate the transformation of teaching and learning! With experience in K-12, higher education, and corporate training, Brandon has navigated diverse educational systems, cultures, and communities. Now he's building PartnerEd.tech to help next-gen educators and admins build remarkable experiences with automation and AI.

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[0:00:24]  Fonz: Hello, everybody, and welcome to another great episode of My Ed Tech Life. Thank you so much for joining us on this beautiful evening. Hopefully anywhere in the world that you may be. It was a beautiful day. It may be already Wednesday or maybe well into the evening, or early hours, I should say, but wherever in the world that you are, thank you so much for making My Ed Tech Life a part of your your day.

[0:00:47]  Fonz: And I am really excited to have an amazing guest today. We're definitely going to be talking about some great stuff. As you all know, AI is the conversation piece that all educators have been talking about, and not just in the education space, but definitely in the business space. And I was able to find this amazing guest just connecting on LinkedIn, seeing some of the work that he's doing, and I'm just excited to invite this evening, Mr. Brandon Lambert, to the show.

[0:01:16]  Fonz: Brandon, how are you this evening?

[0:01:18]  Brandon: Thank you so much. Fonz it's a pleasure to be here. I'm doing well. I'm out here in Mountain View, California, and really excited to be joining you and can't wait to start talking about AI and what I've been working on and why I'm working on it and all that good stuff.

[0:01:31]  Fonz: Excellent. Well, I'm excited, too, because, like I mentioned, really the reason that we connected is I mean, I'm on LinkedIn, and obviously I follow just AI a lot because that's the hot topic. And as an educator, I definitely want to make sure that I'm well equipped or at least well versed enough to be able to explain this to my teachers and, of course, seeing how this can affect our roles as educators in the future. And then all of a sudden, I'm scrolling through LinkedIn and I just see these amazing pictures that have such depth, and they just look amazing, like, really professionally done.

[0:02:07]  Fonz: And then here I see in the comments how you created these pictures. So, believe it or not, I did take some of those prompts that you used and those suggestions and kind of tweak them myself and was able to use a couple of tools to try and see if I can replicate or get some results. And of course, I didn't get results as good as yours because I wasn't using Mid Journey at the time. But some of the results that I did get, I was like, wow, this is amazing.

[0:02:37]  Fonz: The technology is amazing, but the input has to be just right, and the input has to be just very well written and very descriptive to get that. And of course, I made that connection, and here you are today. And that's the exciting part about social media and connecting and obviously loving Ed Tech like you and I do.

[0:02:57]  Brandon: Absolutely, yeah. I'm so glad that you were able to play around with that. I know that not everybody is able to play around with mid Journey right now, but the output out of mid journey is pretty incredible, and there are other models that are able to produce incredible things as well. And it's more accessible than people as you're experiencing, like, more accessible than it's ever been before and decided to talk more about that, too.

[0:03:23]  Fonz: Definitely. Yeah. Okay. So let's go ahead and dive right in, Brandon, before we get into the meat of the matter and all that great stuff, as you know, and if you're from part of the show, is definitely one of my favorites. Too, as well, and for all our guests. Because, as you know, I tell everybody, if you are a guest on the Maya Tech Life podcast, it's because I've seen your work. I love what you're doing, and you're kind of like, wow, it's like that superhero like, oh, my gosh, Brandon is here. And as we know, every superhero has an origin story.

[0:03:56]  Fonz: So I would love to hear your origin story because I know for a fact, looking at your bio, you are a fourth generation educator. So tell us a little bit about how, I guess, your passion for education came about, as we know that education runs in your family, and then just take us a little bit through your journey there.

[0:04:16]  Brandon: Sure. Well, as you pointed out, Fons, I mean, it really does start with family. For me, if we're going back to the fourth generation there. My great grandmother was sort of a community and church educator in North Texas and family educator at the time when they were running a farm and living on farms and one room school houses. And then my grandmother began teaching in a one room school house and then subsequently taught kindergarten for over 40 years, I think. And then later in her life taught taught ESL a little bit.

[0:04:47]  Brandon: And then my mother was a special education teacher and then a third grade teacher after she had a career in education administration a little bit. And then I sort of have worked more in the adult space and have worked across higher ed and corporate training, but also have done a little bit, luckily, connecting with the family history a little bit with early learners as well. Really the perspective that I grew up with in terms of when we talk about that, like, home and community education perspective, where everything is a learning opportunity and everything is learning, like, learning doesn't just happen at school. I think that idea in my head was started with some of that and then with my grandmother being almost a lifetime kindergarten teacher. I really think those values and principles of early childhood education, of sort of exploration and experimentation, I think that really shaped probably how I saw learning.

[0:05:47]  Brandon: So because of that, I think I had a really experiential childhood. I actually began life with a speech delay. I didn't speak till after I was three that my family put me in sign language. They were told, my parents, I might not be able to verbalize. And then eventually, apparently, I wasn't fond of sign language, the story goes, and I began laying in my bed and practicing things and began to verbalize.

[0:06:09]  Brandon: And again, the joke goes that I haven't really stopped since I began life that way. And I think because of that, maybe, but my grandmother and my mother really facilitated just a huge amount of experimentation and exploration of the world, whether that was through I was able to spend a lot of time with them. The number of I was lots of photographs to document the amount of sort of outdoor exploration and indoor exploration of the world through museums and parks and things like that that I think really started that love of just learning everywhere.

[0:06:44]  Brandon: And then I was really lucky to have a really experiential education. So not only that experiential childhood, but then I participated in community theater and regional theater productions throughout most of my childhood. And all of that to me, was learning, but was not in a classroom and didn't have a textbook. And all of that good stuff too, that in high school did. All of those kind of between theater and the pre lost us. So I did youth court debate, all of these sort of experience.

[0:07:14]  Brandon: I was heavy into that type of life. And then through college continued that type of thing through Greek life and campus political life and things like that. And study abroad. Study abroad probably should be expanded a little bit. I mean, in terms of really cementing that experiential side of me. And then later, as I became an educator, that obviously, I think has shaped all of that previous stuff. And that study abroad experience has really shaped how I view learning.

[0:07:45]  Brandon: And then when I graduated college, of my senior year of college this is sort of a personal story, but it really affects my career trajectory. So my senior year at college, my mom, who was the third grade teacher, she was diagnosed with cancer, and I was an only child, and I wasn't sure what was going to happen. And so I was set to go to grad school, actually in physical theater. I got into grad school. It was going to pursue an arts career, came back to the US.

[0:08:10]  Brandon: And life kind of shifted for me right after a few years of exploration, dabbling a little bit like we talked about, I ended up going to graduate school and Monterey, at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. And really, that is where my teaching life sort of really began to formalize a little bit. So throughout my college career, I wasn't planning on teaching. Throughout my hazard, none of that was planned in terms of going into education, but at the end of the day, it was the most natural thing for me.

[0:08:46]  Brandon: I've been talking for a while, but, yeah, I think after that I started this career in English for specific purposes, right. So what that means is I've worked with diplomats and journalists, biomedical researchers, and one of the things that might be interesting for folks is that I almost hesitate saying this sometimes because I know that I've been so privileged. But because of the nature of the work that I did in language teaching and in the context that I worked in, I've almost always created my own learning experiences. There are very few times where I've been given resources and been told to teach that class. Most of my career I've developed almost from scratch most of the materials that I've used.

[0:09:29]  Brandon: And that has both been a very different and positive thing for my development as an educator and creator and all that kind of stuff. But I recognize that a lot of my experiences are shaped by the fact that I had that luxury as an educator. Right. And when my mother was teaching and my grandmother was teaching in primary education, a lot of control earlier, back in the day, a lot of content creation went into the work that I saw my family do. Right.

[0:09:55]  Brandon: Anyway, I'll leave it there for now, having the best. I've got into my career teaching and then later moved into some other stuff.

[0:10:03]  Fonz: Yeah, that's great. I mean, seriously, great story and great background. And I thank you so much for sharing that far back and just to know because again, one of the most important things for me here is I just definitely want to make sure that all our audience members, listeners, even people that are going to be re watching later, just make that connection with our guests. And of course that's a wonderful experience that you shared. But I do want to talk a little bit more about your experience because in the classroom, I'm not sure if I missed it, but what is it that you were teaching while you were still in the classroom?

[0:10:33]  Brandon: Yeah, when I got my graduate degree, I got my degree in Tsal, so teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. So ESL, because the context that I worked in language was the on book sort of content that I was working with and the objectives and the goals of the learners. But because of these specialized context, in reality I spent as much time counseling people through difficult communication scenarios as I did talking about grammar and maybe more on the other side. Right. When an adult is in a language course or in a language program, especially a custom one, if they're a diplomat, if they're a designer, we're solving problems.

[0:11:17]  Brandon: So much of my work was project based and then also communication problem solving. But yeah, I was a professor of ESL at Savannah College of Art and Design for two years. And so that is sort of my subject area on paper. But in the classroom, I think practically I did a lot more sort of communication skills and strategic communication and intercultural communication and things like that.

[0:11:41]  Fonz: Wow, well, that's great. Thank you for sharing that. Because as we know now that we hop on into this next piece that we're going to be talking about today, which is next gen automation and artificial intelligence, definitely communication is key and I talked that or come from the perspective of just playing experimenting with the AI and obviously communication as far as prompts and being very clear in your prompts. And that's a skill that means hearing every day when I see glass door or jobs that are posted up like prompt, engineers, companies that are, hey, we're building AI, but we need somebody that can come and tell it exactly what we need for it to have as far as output and so on. So we're seeing jobs that never existed be created right now. And of course I want to talk a little bit there because it's a nice segue from you going into what you were doing from teaching and now being an entrepreneur in this space, of course. So tell us a little bit about that story in that transition, how you went from being a professor and then of course, being in the classroom and now being an entrepreneur and having your own company partner at Tech. So tell us a little bit about that journey too as well.

[0:12:56]  Brandon: Yeah, so there's one kind of step in between there. So when I moved back from California, after I was teaching in Savannah and I did some consulting, I did some language coaching in Silicon Valley, and then I ended up finding a job at VIP Kid, which is a global language company that at the time was facilitating teaching between teachers in the United States and learners in China. Primarily young learners.

[0:13:26]  Brandon: And I got a job as a curriculum developer there. And for two years while I was living in Silicon Valley, after I had been doing some some of of this coaching stuff, it really just sort of jumped into the edtech sort of scene a little bit with this curriculum development role and then eventually ended up doing some research and helping them work on a white paper. And so when regulations changed and the world shifted in China and the industry moved around a little bit, for lack of a better way to say it, I was sort of left thinking about what to do next and my mother is dealing with some health problems now, so I'm handling that. And it was an opportunity to also explore some of these entrepreneurial signs of myself and think about how to apply what I had seen in these sort of seemingly maybe random or disconnected worlds. But ultimately I had been seeing some patterns and some things that I wanted to bring out to the world. So it's been a year of exploration and I initially sort of really wanted to bring technology to partnership teams. And I fully believe that we're at a consolidation moment and it's very important that we find ways of bringing people together so that we avoid redundant work and redundant competition and unhelpful competition, ultimately, in some ways, I think, and bring people together. So partnership is really important to me.

[0:14:50]  Brandon: Moved around, saw that maybe some opportunities. I worked with a CEO for a short period of time to explore his ecosystem strategy at a slightly higher level. So not just sort of technology by him, but then sort of at the strategy level, and then Chat GPT dropped. And I've been dabbling with all of these things for a long time, and the moment shifted so dramatically and the attention shifted so dramatically in that area.

[0:15:14]  Brandon: And one of the things about being an entrepreneur is being able to shift very quickly, right? So I was able to say, okay, I actually see a greater opportunity here, and I've been dabbling with these things for a long time. And I think we're now at this moment where, yeah, in many cases we've been able to do some of these things for six months or even a year, or or some things we've been able to do for a number of years now. But all of the pieces are coming together, right? When we think about, like, modalities, it's not just the text based stuff, it's the audio stuff and the visual stuff and the text based stuff are all good enough now.

[0:15:49]  Brandon: Maybe one of them was good enough six months ago, one of them was good enough, and now we're meeting this moment where things are coming together. So I just felt very compelled to pivot again and really just try and say, okay, hey, I've been dabbling with these things for a long time. I worked across a lot of these contexts, and I feel like there are some tools that people may not feel like they're one thing I wanted to talk about was Chat GP is great. You talked about, you talked about Chat GP on GPT on the show.

[0:16:21]  Brandon: And what's so interesting to me is that it is only one product, right? When I first tried it, I was like, it was amazing. I knew exactly how I could use it for the simple tasks that I knew I could use it for. But funny enough, prior to that, I'd been playing around in Python with the models as well, right? With the DA Vinci models and being able to just use the API to call it with Python with code that I was able to generate with Chat GPT and then throw into Python and make it happen without a lot of coding experience myself.

[0:16:50]  Brandon: And so one of the things I'm so excited about bringing to people is like building the application layer instead of buying the application layer, right? So I think one of the huge opportunities for teachers and for educators and for administrators and for learners is, again, like, yeah, there are going to be some products that we're not going to be able to compete with. Duolingo has been investing in AI technology around language learning for long enough.

[0:17:16]  Brandon: That's fine, right. We don't need to build our own language learning platform per se. Right, that's not what I'm saying. It's more that a lot of these smaller, like, I saw a lot of lesson plan generators pop up. Right, that's great. And it's really cool that people are finding ways to apply that. I want to encourage everybody. You can go into Bubble and connect to the OpenAI API and within an hour to build something with a prompt that is custom to your context. Right. So in many ways, some of those things, especially the ones that first popped up, they're growing and they're developing their products for sure. But some of the first ones were literally something that someone could have built and I'm not calling anybody, I was one of people to like it is so cool that we're so conditioned to have to go to somebody for this product. We're so conditioned as educators. We need to go to publishers, we need to go to the book fair, we need to go to the conference so we can talk to these vendors, so we can find the right resources for our learners. Right?

[0:18:14]  Brandon: And the gap in Ed Tech for so long has been how do we connect the vendors and the product developers and the teachers? Well, for some things we will have to and we will continue to do that, we should, but there are some things where we don't need, I don't think, to go there anymore. If we're encouraging teachers to learn how to build no code apps on Bubble, as we're encouraging business professionals to build no code automations and no code apps in these other contexts, I think we could see some real, I mean, that's where it's really exciting for me because that's where the agency begins.

[0:18:50]  Brandon: Teachers will love building that. Learners will love building that. We'll see creativity. I mean, anyway, I could go on, but yeah, that's what I'm really excited about bringing to folks.

[0:18:57]  Fonz: No, and you hit on some many great points and especially that last piece. The creativity for myself is just the potential of really creating and like you said, taking that ownership, being in a classroom and teachers not being afraid of the Ed Tech tool. But as a matter of fact, just sometimes myself working in my district, there are certain platforms that we use. There are some teachers that say, no, I really don't like this one, I like this one better, and so on. But in my mind, I'm thinking, wow, if a teacher can say, hey, you know what? With no code, this is kind of what I need, and this is the type of platform that I need, or this is what I need for it to do, then wow, I can go ahead and build it and I can go ahead and use it in my classroom.

[0:19:42]  Fonz: And to me that just blows my mind that now we have that agency, we can do it ourselves. And then not only that, but even with our students to be able to experiment. And I know for at least for a lot of districts, all of this is something that is very scary because just like yesterday I was talking to, I had a wonderful guest, Lena Marie, she was on and she said a lot of the fear is that the AI now is front facing. In other words, teachers, people, we never saw the AI.

[0:20:11]  Fonz: We didn't think that this was happening when several of our education platforms give a student a quiz, kind of set them on a pathway and then just kind of move the student back and forth as needed to fix those skills. But now the AI is like right here, right in front of our faces and it was just that instant fear that we saw. But like you said, ways of leveraging this are amazing and the potential is there. And right now I know currently you said you do a lot of work through your company too and making those connections. So tell us a little bit about partner at Tech and the unique way that it works to help next gen educators and admins.

[0:20:51]  Brandon: Yeah, one of the things that I'm working on and I forgot to check with you ahead, but I want to offer a few of the viewers an opportunity to work with me a little bit for free because I'm really excited about bringing some of this stuff to folks and we can talk about that at the end. But basically what I want to do is I'm offering folks the opportunity to not only sort of skip a little bit through services that allow you to tell me a little bit about what you want and avoid a little bit of that learning curve first to build some custom low code apps for your classroom.

[0:21:30]  Brandon: When I talk about your classroom again, when I step back to the beginning of our conversation, for me a classroom is everywhere. So you'll see on my site, most folks would say it's crazy to have all of these, what do I call them, all of these solution areas, right? So saying that I can help primary educators, secondary educators, program administrators, families, adult educators, speech language pathologists, where do I get off saying that? Right? Well, one of the amazing things about these tools and technologies is that they're about processes which, as I've worked across all of these different fields of education and levels of education, I firmly believe that specialization has kind of allowed us to get some blinders on about the similarity between the way that we operate in teaching and learning across levels and across contexts. I mean, there is no doubt that there's a variety of ways to operate. But I firmly believe, having worked across a good range of contexts, that the differences we make between teaching kindergarten and freshmen in college is perhaps overblown to me.

[0:22:39]  Brandon: I've supported content for Kindergartners and I've taught college freshmen. And the principles and the processes at play in designing learning for those two groups, if you take an experiential approach especially, is not that different for me. And so for me, I want to bring that process. So one thing I offer is that skipping the steps of the services so you want to build something? Come to me. Let's talk about it. Let's see if you've heard some things.

[0:23:09]  Brandon: You have an idea. Let's build it. You've heard that you can automate maybe they've heard the Zapier thing. Okay, let's talk about it, right? The other thing is to coach folks through the process of building these things themselves. So let's say you want to be able to maybe get a sense of what you could build. I'll help you build it and then you say you really want to build this yourself, right? It's not that hard. I'll show you it's not that hard. My goal is to not have to do this. I don't want this business to last a long time, right?

[0:23:38]  Brandon: It's one of those moment businesses as far as I'm concerned. I want to help get people to the point where they're comfortable enough using these technologies to build things themselves. There will be other things that I will be interested in helping and moving forward later. Right now I feel like there's this moment where, like you mentioned, there's this little bit of fear. And I've talked to a couple of folks where it's like if we build it ourselves, this is where we can eliminate some of that existential fear.

[0:24:07]  Brandon: We can calm ourselves because we are in much more control. I think we've lost so much and loss is maybe the right word. It just is what it is to an extent. But there is this moment where we can do a little bit more. So anyway, I might have gone a little bit off there in terms of the business look. Yeah, providing the services directly in terms of doing some simple new code app development and then also offering the Zapier Automation services.

[0:24:38]  Brandon: So for example, I built the other day, I have a spreadsheet and air table and you throw in some columns for word and definition and sample sentence and whatever. You build the automation in Zapier with the OpenAI API and you type the word in the spreadsheet and the app runs every 15 minutes or however you set it and it will autocomplete in that spreadsheet. So for example, in a tutoring context, this is something I did all the time. In one on one context, I would be googling looking stuff up, finding content for learners as we're going through stuff right now. You automate a little bit of that. So you can just type the word in and this content almost, you can even send it to an app called Banner Bear where you put it into a PDF, right. And so directly in Air table, you'll be able to type the word and then get all of that in text and then the actual PDF of a document that a learner could walk away with. Right.

[0:25:35]  Brandon: And so that's the zapier kind of automation side of things where you're automating the content creation. Let's say you're a program administrator with announcements about particular programs or course descriptions or whatever that might be, or you're an early child or SLPs, I think speech language pathologists. I've respected a speech language pathologist in terms of the amount of tools and resources that they tend to leverage and their training. And so I think this is they create so much already, right. It's, it's for those, you know, there, it's unfortunate there are not as many teachers who have had the ability to do this for a while, right. I mean, in the K Twelve system, I remember toward the end of my mom's time in the classroom, content creation of individual educators wasn't encouraged a ton. Right.

[0:26:24]  Brandon: Of course I haven't been in the K Twelve classroom a lot, but certainly it sounds like anecdotally that's still the case. And so now this moment where we can move a little forward. So what I'm trying to help over here.

[0:26:42]  Fonz: Yeah, and I absolutely love that. Like the, the automation piece, I can see so many tasks being able to take care, being taken care of. And that was one of the comments that Amanda here. Thank you so much for joining us, Amanda. Messias, as always says, a lot of road administrative tasks can be eliminated with AI technology saving time, so they can be more intentional with their learners learning time.

[0:27:03]  Fonz: So obviously one of the biggest things has always been time teacher time. We never have enough time. And so a lot of these tools now automating certain tasks, like you mentioned, can definitely save those teachers time. And even in the last six years working for the district and the platforms that we get, I'm trying to always find ways to really even use it or maximize that platform. And my goal is to always give teachers back that time. And I say this time that I want to give you back is not necessarily for you to be able to do more work. It's just that time for you to just decompress and take a sigh of relief and just be good at the end of the day saying, hey, I'm ready to go. But now, like what you're speaking about, these automations, that's definitely something that is worth so much in the education space. But like you said, it's that fear.

[0:27:56]  Fonz: And we can lose that fear by showing how much we can control as we build things. For us to automate certain tasks and give. US back that time. So that's definitely something that is exciting. So Brandon, let me ask you, what does the future of teaching and learning look like to you, especially in light of all that we're seeing with AI right now?

[0:28:22]  Brandon: Yeah, I think I wrote a couple. I'm just looking at my notes here real quick. I guess I have a hopeful version and I have a slightly more pessimistic version of things, or maybe not pessimistic, but a different version of things. So my hopeful version is that, as I said, we see a generation. And I think that platforms, like a lot of the online teaching platforms where we're seeing online teachers become develop their own culture and develop their own patterns.

[0:28:59]  Brandon: I'm hopeful that we begin to see this creator era of teaching again. I told you that I'm a little biased. I grew up with early childhood educators that did a lot of creating. And for me, in my life and my experience, I found that educators, professors who are involved in the creation of their content tend to be more excited about the little delivery of their content and be more engaged in the delivery of their content.

[0:29:24]  Brandon: And learners tend to respond to that. Right? And so I hope that there's this creator era of education where we begin to see a little bit of emancipation from maybe some of the things that maybe were implemented for good reason or not. But seeing some of this trend toward creator on top of what you mentioned with TikTok, we were chatting anecdotally like with all of these social platforms and the creator culture developing on its own, I hope that some of that rubs off on the system of teaching and learning.

[0:30:00]  Brandon: I really think that when it comes to AI, the relationship between data awareness and action, this is why data is so important for what we do, and why building your own applications to be able to collect data. And of course, we need to do all of this within the context. So if you're a k twelve educator and you need to make sure that these sorts of things are legal within the context of privacy and all those sorts of things. But when we're able to collect some of that more data and see some of that. Even companies like Teach FX, who provide a platform that analyzes classroom content and identifies talk time per student and all this type of stuff, that data, powered by an AI tool, is what is going to allow that creator thing to come back.

[0:30:59]  Brandon: Because in the past, even the role of summative assessments in general in a lot of programs means that we haven't had the data that we really need all the time. Right. And we can talk about assessment for a long time, I'm sure, but I mean, really, in order to create, you need data. So one of the things I mentioned is I went to a grad school that encouraged research and classroom research. So I always conducted and because we talked about my context were always these customized, specialized contexts. I always did research as part of my teaching practice. There was never a time that I didn't sort of ask questions or conduct surveys or do that because in order to create content, I have to ask those questions.

[0:31:44]  Brandon: Like in order to develop a unit like myself, I have to get information, right? And the more data that we have, again, teachers aren't given in many contexts, whether it's higher end or K twelve, we aren't given a lot of tools or technology to this point actionable data about what a student said in class. I mean, TeachFx is an incredible platform and other platforms that are allowing teachers to leverage data, not in an assessment way, not in a way to sort of put a numerical on anything, but really just to inform what we do, right?

[0:32:23]  Brandon: And so I hope that to answer your question, so my hopeful version is that creator plus more data for the one supporting learning right directly in the moment and ownership of that to an extent or at least visibility of that data of what we're doing in the classroom. I think that's my hopeful version.

[0:32:46]  Fonz: I love it just creativity is something that's so big and I'm all about amplifying creativity. And you're absolutely right. I have seen education go from more of that creative approach to teachers. And don't get me wrong, there are some teachers out there that are great at creating, but for the most part it's always just give me what the curriculum is and I'm just going to go straight through it and not thinking about creating anything else. And it could be definitely lack of time or maybe lack of resources and so on. Or sometimes it's just like, hey, you got to go, go. Because you got to be done with this curriculum by the time the state test comes because then we've got reviews and then we've got all of this stuff and then there's no time to do that because that's the main focus. But being able to provide that creative space not only for the teacher and the student, that's something that to me is something very important and I highly, highly advocate for that. And so I think that's one of the biggest challenges too is just really see are we updating our standards, our curriculum, to the change that we're seeing now? Now that we're seeing all of this, there definitely needs to be a talk and say, hey, what else can we do to change along with the changing times. Because if we get stuck doing what we continue to do, it's going to be very hard to keep up. And more than anything, help our students be aware of these tools, be able to navigate these tools, because they're definitely going to be seeing it as the years come and when they go into higher ed. And, of course, in the workforce. Let's not deny that as we speak, jobs are being created because of the AI. So it's not like it's going to take away some jobs, it's going to take away some tasks, but then there's going to be some new jobs that are going to be created too, as well, to be able to manage or to be able to, again, write prompts for specific outputs and so on. So that's definitely something that we're going to be seeing.

[0:34:45]  Fonz: So as far as your company, I know you mentioned what it is that you're willing to do and of course, maybe even providing some educators with just some resources to be able to get started. So tell us a little bit about maybe that idea and that plan as far as helping out the educators. I know you touched on it a little bit, but at least maybe I can get in contact with you.

[0:35:08]  Brandon: Yeah, for sure. Let's do this. I planned on the first five folks to reach out to me or just send me an email and say you're interested in working with me and Fonza extends to you. Absolutely, yeah, for sure. Let's do it. I wanted to try and do it before the shows so we could talk about it, but that's all right. We can do it after. Basically, let's talk. I think my plan was to I have this sort of like, credit system a little bit to try and help us understand how much effort and that sort of thing. So let's say that 500 credits.

[0:35:49]  Brandon: So we can work on either an app, work on a simple no code app, get you something like that, set up an automation or maybe a couple of small automations, and I'm willing to help out with that for five folks. So send an email to me and let me know what you're interested in working on and I'll get in touch and we'll get started.

[0:36:08]  Fonz: Awesome. Well, Amanda amanda is here. I know Amanda. Please make sure you jump on it and make sure that you get the info from the show notes and everything and whoever else will definitely make sure that we extend it to those five people. But I really appreciate that. What I would love to do too, Brandon, is right now at this time, because I do have your website open and just as people will go and visit your website, I definitely do want to share here and you can kind of give us a walk through. I'll kind of just control it here, but just let us know. So here's your website, and I know you've got to learn more, but the services here is something also that I liked here as I went down to the description of who it's for and of course, who can use this to create.

[0:36:53]  Fonz: And this is, I believe, what you were talking about, right? As far as the credit services.

[0:36:58]  Brandon: Yeah, I'll touch on if we scroll back a little bit up there, I'll touch on sort of the who it's for things. Like I said, I'm sure nine out of ten business consultants would argue that I should pick one of these audiences and they may very well be right for me. Again, as I said, I really want this to help people see that the processes and the tools that we use are transferable, right? So the idea that we can build something for a tutor and can build something for a K twelve or a higher ed factor, because these are about processes, you will inform the content through your prompt engineering, through the prompt engineering that we do. Right?

[0:37:45]  Brandon: That's how we build the content piece of it. But the process itself is what I hope that folks will see that if you feel really strongly about needing an expert in daycare I've worked with early child, but I'm not, I've never ran a daycare. But I would argue that I would be so happy if somebody watching who ran a daycare would reach out to me and try to help them solve some of these problems and build some of these systems. I can imagine custom stories for every student every week, like things like that. Custom songs, custom poems every week as a reward or as a family, something to do with family or siblings. There's so many things I think that I'm not the expert in, but the processes and technology I've managed to spend some time building some competency in. And that's what I'm excited about sharing.

[0:38:40]  Brandon: That's why when it comes to what we can help with on the content side of things, it's building those automations that we talked about where you're able to just sort of plug stuff in and get stuff out in a much quicker way than having to go through and google for stuff. Or we're talking about actually building some of these tools for learners to use, actually building a grammar helper that's focused on your curriculum, your way of approaching learning.

[0:39:11]  Brandon: These are just some of the examples, right, that you're sharing now of some of the types of content that lots of folks are talking about. And there's so many education prompt engineering guides now for chat TPT that can also be used for just the OpenAI API in general. And so it's really kind of unlimited when it comes to what we can do. And then one thing if you scroll down to the past the services a little bit, if we stop there on the fine tuned. So one thing I didn't mention was one of the really cool things and I'd love for somebody to be interested who has a context where they have ownership or control over the data that they use for learning and teaching.

[0:39:58]  Brandon: If someone falls into that kind of context, I'd love to help you work on fine tuning some of these models so Riku is a tool that allows you to very quickly build training sets that allow you to really guide the AI model toward more specific outputs. So if you know exactly what you want and you have 50 examples of it, right, you throw in those 50 examples with the paired sort of like prompt, and we can then use this tool to create the file that you would then use to train the fine tune. What they got the AI model, right? And so just the power of that. And again, all of these other companies that are building Ed tech products, you got to give them credit for doing all of this on their own products, right? There are math tutoring platforms and dualing. I mean, everybody's doing this on their Edtech side in terms of fine tuning their models to provide what they and building their own models in some cases to provide the output that they need. But it's pretty cool, right, that we can do this ourselves and there are legal and ethical issues that will be resolved and we can chat more, but we will get there. And so knowing that this and being prepared for understanding how this works, I think I hope that a lot of people get as excited as I get about it.

[0:41:23]  Fonz: No, absolutely. So I thank you so much for extending that offer. And I'm pretty sure we're definitely going to get people that will be contacting me or put them in contact with you via your information that will be there on the show notes and everything. But I mean, it's just really exciting and I'm just really thankful that we were able to chat tonight and just to hear about the work that you're doing. And really, just like you said, it's just that world of automation, using AI for our benefit and creating. And right now, just the ideas in my head being an instructional technologist, what are the things that I can do or build to help automate things in such a way that a teacher can go ahead and just go up to a platform, pick what they need and say, hey, here's all these resources that you can use. Or just something. So right now, it's like my creative Jesus are flowing and I'm just really excited. So thank you so much, Brandon, for sharing your work and your passion of what you're doing to help educators, and again, or giving more time to that creative component, not only for our teachers, but hopefully that our teachers see that for our students as well, because that's huge.

[0:42:34]  Brandon: Yeah, we didn't chat about that, but the agency piece for learners actually for me is as we've been telling students to have agency over their learning for decades and not really giving them agency. Right. I'm not saying in all cases, but I feel, generally speaking, we put a lot of demands on learners for agency, at least in the context that I've worked in and that I've experienced. And I feel like now it's like, yeah, now they can now we can tell them when you need to prepare for an exam.

[0:43:07]  Brandon: You can do this in a way that actually meets your needs the way you expect them to be met. Right. There's no gap between your ability to create the resources you need anymore. So we can put more on them now because they can actually create something cool. They're not just going to copy and paste from Google anymore. Right. They're actually going to design and create their own learning, which is pretty cool too.

[0:43:28]  Fonz: That is amazing. That's really exciting. That's definitely going to be a great sound bite there for sure, after the show. But man, Brandon, thank you so much for joining us this evening. I really appreciate this conversation and I mean, this could definitely be a part too. So later on as you continue to grow and what we do and maybe what we'll do actually, hear me out, this is what we'll do. So because you are extending the credits to five listeners, including myself, what we'll do is maybe once we get that group together, it'll be kind of like a little cohort. And then what we can do is have a follow up show and demonstrate what we've built. Talked about these skills, talked about not only how it's helped us, but how it can actually help us in the classroom with our students to help prepare them.

[0:44:12]  Fonz: So I think that that would be something that would be amazing. And just, again, I know Amanda here says great insight. Thank you. So, Amanda, please make sure you reach out to me. I'll make sure I put you in contact too with Brandon. And then that way we can get that going and we can have that follow up show because I can definitely.

[0:44:27]  Brandon: See that being yeah, that would be amazing. I am down for that, for sure. So let's get that rolling. So send me an email and let's get started, guys. Thank you so much fons for having me. It was a great pleasure to talk to you and I look forward to our follow up when we see what people are working on.

[0:44:43]  Fonz: Excellent, for sure. But before we go, Brandon, if you are a fan of the show or you have seen the show and obviously I do put it in the calendar invites and say, hey, these are the last three questions that I always love to end the show with. And so question number one, brandon would be or is in the current state of education, what would you say is your current kryptonite?

[0:45:09]  Brandon: Yeah. So you mentioned you added on there, I think in the show, like what makes weighs heavy on me, right. So I would say that for me, it's the pace. So the pace and the duration of the moment, the uncertainty about how long the moment will last. This period of transition and the pace of that, it's very overwhelming. The things that we can see possible in a short period of time are so intense to me that I sometimes have to remind myself to go with the flow a little bit because the pace is so fast and there are so many folks who have been thinking about this for a very long time. I'm outside of education that aren't even that are just bringing this to education as a market, right.

[0:46:02]  Brandon: As educators who may or may not have been thinking about this, I think for me, the pace is something that weighs on me a little bit.

[0:46:09]  Fonz: Excellent. Okay. Great answer. Thank you so much for sharing. All right, question number two is, if you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it be and why?

[0:46:21]  Brandon: So kind of an abstract answer, which is that I think they should be like, knowledge billboards. I think billboards are such an incredible there's a reason why companies still pay for a billboard, right? It seems like an antiquated technology, but it's absolutely not in so many ways because of the way that that type of marketing works and just sort of that passive repetition and because knowledge can work and be shared in that way as well. That's what marketing is in so many cases. So whether it's a list of the size of the geographic size of nations around the world or the longest rivers or whatever you want to throw on, there some kind of learning knowledge content for me.

[0:47:03]  Fonz: Nice. Excellent. All right. And the last question, brandon, let's say that this was your podcast today and I was your guest. What would be one question you'd like to ask me?

[0:47:13]  Brandon: Yeah. So this connects to hopefully I was working together on this automation thing, but what would you build? You said there were so many ideas running around in your head right now thinking about all of this. Like, if there was one thing that you could build tomorrow and take into your teachers or your learners or your school sites, what would you build?

[0:47:38]  Fonz: Actually, it's funny that you mentioned well, not funny that you mentioned it, but I'm glad that you mentioned it, because today I was working with our content specialist, and I assist with the math. Not so much the demonstrating portion, but it's really the translation portion of it. But he does create a lot of content and videos and so on. So what happens is, okay, so he creates these videos, and we want to make sure we get them out to the parents because we're having these parent meetings. So in my mind, I'm trying to see, what other way can we make this as easy as possible and the lowest barrier of entry to get his video library and be able to have a parent say, hey, my student is in third grade at this school, and just say, okay, and immediately from that school. It's like, here's the unit, here's what they need, or this is what you're looking for in that way, rather than going through our website or either, just other barriers. I know that there are tools like, okay, you can scan the QR code, do this, but if they can just go to that where they just type in third grade fractions, boom, all the resources that he has created will pop up for that specific lesson.

[0:49:00]  Fonz: Rather than going out to YouTube or some other maybe Khan Academy. Not that there's anything wrong with those, but because it will keep the math consistent within our district. So that right there is what I'm thinking about right now.

[0:49:14]  Brandon: That's a great use case for one of the other AI technologies that has over the last number of years become so much more accessible is the Chatbot builders. So that sounds like a great I mean, there are chatbot we can talk about that. Maybe it's not working, but where a parent can just you can set it, where they can type in just like you said, or more natural language or both, and be able to just get that content be presented. I mean, there are a few ways you can go about that, but yeah, that's awesome.

[0:49:45]  Brandon: That would be awesome. I mean, that's what we need, right? And it's crazy. It's crazy. We put so many barriers. I mean, just one last thing. I talked about accelerating education and bringing all this technology. I don't often talk a lot about the why, because I guess for me it's obvious and I forget how important it is to talk about it. But like, breaking down barriers for access to knowledge and access to experience, not just knowledge, because knowledge is one thing, academic paywalls are a problem, but it's the access to the experience, that opportunity to engage with something and learn through engagement with something.

[0:50:25]  Brandon: Breaking down that barrier is what we need to be like, that's what we're doing. That's what we should be doing. That's what we need to be doing, right?

[0:50:32]  Fonz: Absolutely. I am with you 100%, Brandon, and thank you so much, because it's educators like yourself, the vision that you have that sometimes it's ten X and people are like, oh, no, that's way too far. But that's what we need. We need people out there that have these great ideas and putting them out there and showing what they can do, and also because it helps encourage us that we're looking for people that are at that pace and like minded folks at House like, oh, they get it. They understand what we're trying to do. So it's great. And that's what I love about doing this podcast and making those connections, connecting educators, practitioners, creators, one show at a time. So thank you, Brandon, so much for being here this evening. And we are definitely going to be setting up that second show when we do a follow through, kind of like showing off our creations and what we're able to do and our experiences. That would definitely be a great show there. So thank you as always, and again to all our listeners, followers, watchers, thank you so much for all the likes, subscribes and follows. I really appreciate you making my ed tech life what it is today, and we do what we do for you and for these moments of connecting educators, creators, practitioners, one show at a time. So thank you for your support.

[0:51:50]  Fonz: Please make sure that you visit our website at MyEdtech Life, MyEdtech Life, where you can check out this episode and the other 172 amazing episodes with educator, leaders, creators, practitioners that you can learn from. Take those little nuggets of knowledge, sprinkle them onto what you are already doing great. And if you'd love to support our mission, please make sure you go to our website and there is a tab there that says Become awesome.

[0:52:16]  Fonz: You can go ahead and subscribe to our podcast or just buy us a cup of coffee just to keep the creativity flowing. We definitely appreciate that. And we also have some great merch that you can go ahead and buy. We know conference season is around or is here already, so if you're looking for some comfy sweaters, some comfy threads, and you want to support our show, feel free to stop by our store. We really appreciate it as all of it goes back to this show, to continue doing the work that we do in opening up this platform to amazing educators, entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs too, like Brandon, who bring their passion and excitement items and to make those changes in the education landscape. So thank you so much and my friends, as always, until next time, don't forget, Stay Techie!

Brandon LambertProfile Photo

Brandon Lambert

Founder & CEO, PartnerEd.tech

Brandon is a multi-disciplinary, fourth-generation educator-turned-entrepreneur on a mission to accelerate the transformation of teaching and learning. His career spans K-12, higher education, and corporate training, with experience across instruction, curriculum development, and research. He spent this time navigating diverse educational and industry systems, cultures and communities, and specialized in helping others do the same. Now, he is building PartnerEd.tech to help next-gen educators and admins build better experiences with automation and AI.