IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Pressto Uses AI to Modernize Writing Instruction

As chatbots threaten to upend English instruction, an ed-tech startup in New York launched a new platform that uses AI to generate real-time feedback, recommend educational content and create writing prompts.

A student sitting at a desk writing with a pencil.
As the potential disruption of U.S. education by essay-writing chatbots was making headlines last week, a New York-based ed-tech startup that creates digital tools for writing instruction launched a new platform to help teachers improve the way they engage with students during writing assignments.

According to a news release, the tool created by Pressto is Google Classroom-integrated, can be used in physical or virtual classrooms and incorporates AI into several capabilities, including real-time personalized feedback on writing assignments, monitoring student progress and recommending educational content and subject topics for writing assignments. It’s the latest of several tools in recent years proposing to use AI to automate feedback on student work, following in the footsteps of ASSISTments for math homework, devised by researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Google software for tutoring and advising.

The use of AI in classrooms is a hot-button issue of late, with many wondering whether the government should regulate it. Pressto founder and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Stedman said in a public statement that writing instruction is going to change, and his company wants to evolve along with it.

“We recognize the importance and value of AI presently and its growth in the future, which is why we’re incorporating it as a powerful tool in the official launch of our platform,” Stedman said. “With the integration of AI, along with the other new features, we are giving teachers and students the tools they need to learn in the most efficient way possible.”

Other teacher-focused features in the Pressto tool — which offers a student journalist program for kids in kindergarten through middle school — include modules for teaching different types of writing such as narratives, informational or news articles, and persuasive or op-ed writing; teaching structure and organizing ideas; and leaving notes, comments and other forms of feedback on a student’s work, the release said.

“Ultimately, teachers will be able to more fully assess each student’s work over the course of the year, and provide informed and quantitative guidance on their progress,” Stedman said.

The news release added that Pressto will offer the latest version of its platform throughout the current academic year, with the intent of updating it in the near future. Pressto was formed in 2021 and has raised $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round, according to Crunchbase. It announced its tool during the Future of Education Technology Conference in New Orleans last week.