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On Monday, IBM, as part of its annual 5 in 5 extravaganza, predicted that cloud-based cognitive technology would personalize education for students within five years. Fast forward three days, and voila! IBM unveiled a research project to bring machine learning, predictive modeling and deep content analytics to deliver on that promise. Talk about gaming the system.
IBM is working with Georgia’s Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) system to test out the technology and its thesis that the application of big data analytics and deep learning — which looks at connections and context in different types of data — can help students learn better. The 12-month project kicked off in September and focuses on 5th and 6th grade math students, said an IBM spokesman. The use of cognitive systems, deep learning and machine data in education, healthcare and other venues will undoubtedly come up at our Structure Data show in March.
The project, dubbed Personalized Education Through Analytics on Learning Systems or PETALS, will use all the fancy aforementioned technology to analyze students’ strengths and weaknesses and come up with a personal plan for each. The goal is to minimize drop out rates — IBM said 8,300 high school students drop out every day — and maximize actual education. The Gwinnett County system encompasses 170,000 students in 132 schools and is the 14th largest public school district in the country.
The idea for PETALS grew out of an existing relationship between IBM and GCPS in which IBM is digitizing the county’s class rooms.