Kira Learning, the company building an AI-powered platform that allows anyone to teach and learn computer science (CS), announced late last month that it has closed a $15M Series A round from existing investors NEA and the AI Fund.
The company also announced a partnership with the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN), managed by Battelle Education, following a competitive RFP process, to provide all public high schools and middle schools in the state with an introductory CS curriculum and an unparalleled, integrated teaching-learning platform. TSIN, the Tennessee Department of Education, and Battelle will leverage the curriculum and platform to implement the state’s new computer science requirement in high schools.
With more states mandating CS courses, the U.S. will face a massive demand for technical teaching expertise. However, the barrier to teaching computer science is high. Co-Founder and CEO Andrea Pasinetti anticipated these needs when he launched Kira Learning in 2021.
In partnership with Dr. Andrew Ng, a pioneer in the machine learning space, adjunct professor of CS at Stanford University and co-founder of Coursera, the two assembled a team of notable educators, scientists, and engineers, including former NASA Jet Propulsion Lab AI Data Scientist and Co-Founder Jagriti Agrawal, to develop the product and curriculum. The resulting solution empowers teachers and learners through cutting edge curricular solutions, a collaborative browser-based coding environment, and AI powered tools for auto-grading and student assistance. Kira Learning’s solution emphasizes engaging students in a helpful way, ensuring that they are comfortable, continuously motivated and engaged. The curriculum covers multiple programming languages and technologies and includes several course pathways covering AI, Cybersecurity, Web Development, and more.
States across the U.S. are rolling out computer science requirements in phases. Tennessee has taken a proactive approach and is among the first states making CS education a high school requirement. The TSIN will make Kira Learning’s computer science courses available to all public middle and high schools in the state, at no cost to schools. Starting this Fall, every public school student preparing to graduate high school in Tennessee will be able to satisfy their computer science requirement through Kira Learning’s Introduction to Computer Science course.
“We’re seeing the most significant shift in K-12 education in half a century, as computer science becomes an important third pillar in K-12 education along with language and math, and we’re thrilled to join with the State of Tennessee and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) as our first partner out of the gate in ensuring all students benefit from early exposure to computer science,” said Kira Learning Co-Founder and CEO Andrea Pasinetti. “We fundamentally believe this subject needs to be an equal pillar in K-12 education, alongside literacy and math skills. With the rigor that went into designing our curriculum and platform, we can take anyone from never having written a single line of code to being able to train a neural network, in just three weeks. We are excited to bring it nationwide.”
TSIN Network Director Brandi Stroecker said, “We performed an extensive search to identify a partner that offers tools sophisticated enough to empower teachers of all experience levels while also providing state-of-the-art course content that is compelling for learners of any age.” Stroecker added, “By providing Kira Learning’s coursework at no cost to all middle and high school institutions through our partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education, we’re helping Tennessee educators and students build a strong foundation to thrive in today’s digital world.”
The trend is growing nationwide. Today four more states in the U.S. – Georgia, Nebraska, Nevada and South Carolina – also require students to complete a computer science course to graduate high school, and 23 more states are requiring that high schools offer at least one CS course as an elective.
Source: PR Newswire