Zoran Popović to Address the SXSWedu® Conference & Festival

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Enlearn’s Chief Scientist Will Talk About “Rapid, Radical Changes in Student Concept Mastery” And Explain How Generative Adaptation Can Transform School Outcomes Around the World

Zoran Popović, Chief Scientist at Enlearn (http://www.enlearn.org) – a not-for-profit K-12 company that is partnering with the University of Washington’s Center for Game Science (CGS) to harness real-time classroom data to personalize learning for each unique student, teacher and classroom – will be a featured speaker at the SXSWedu® Conference & Festival.

Popović’s presentation, “Rapid, Radical Changes in Student Concept Mastery”, will explain how Generative Adaptation, a breakthrough technology, can help transform school outcomes around the world.

The talk will take place on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, from 12:00 PM-1:00 PM, at the Hilton Downtown (Salon D, 500 East 4th Street) in Austin, Texas.

Truly Personalized Learning Experiences

Based on six years of cutting-edge research at the University of Washington’s Center for Game Science (CGS), Enlearn and CGS are harnessing the power of Generative Adaptation so that existing courseware and curricula are encoded to become virtually infinite. This generates a continuous stream of new content in real time that best meets the learning needs of each individual student in every learning moment.

In recent trials, Generative Adaptation helped students reach an average mastery rate of 94.5% in solving linear equations after 1.5 hours, versus ~30% in the non-adaptive version of the content. Although the content was 7th grade, the result was achieved by all participating K-12 classrooms, including early elementary.

Students also solved 4.5 times more problems in classrooms using Generative Adaptation, and teachers were able to assist individual students three times more frequently compared to using the paper version of the same curriculum.

“We now have the ability to finally blow apart the one-size-fits-all model of content and learning, and to replace it with a truly personalized learning experience for each student, classroom and teacher,” explains Popović, who, in addition to his Enlearn responsibilities, is also a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Washington and the Director of the Center for Game Science. “If we want to help an entire generation of young people learn in the 21st century, we need to make school work for the kids who are being failed by the current model. Generative Adaptation has the potential to help solve this – to create learning pathways created for, and specialized to, each learner.”

Improving One-Size-Fits-All Texts and Courseware

Until now, no single text or courseware was able to cover the myriad learning paths and progressions best suited for every unique student, regardless of how the content was sequenced or adapted.

“If these texts existed, we wouldn’t have math wars, or battles between whole language and phonics,” says Popović, who has secured funding for the Enlearn / CGS partnership from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “Those battles occur precisely because the experts creating the curricula disagree on the subset and sequence of content to be delivered to students – and they don’t have the means to include all possible learning pathways and progressions, so they make choices based on their pedagogical beliefs and preferences. It’s their best effort at one-size-fits-all.”

Teacher-Friendly Technology

A one-size-fits-all text is no friend of the teacher. Indeed, the information available to teachers from traditional texts is limited to results on worksheets or homework or quizzes – there is little or no real-time data provided to help the teacher understand whether or not students are learning in the moment.

With Generative Adaptation, teachers now have access to continuous, real-time data. Not after grading the assignments for the day, or after the unit test, but as a window into ongoing student learning. This helps the teacher understand what he or she should do in the moment to have the greatest impact on student learning.

“Generative Adaptation recognizes and optimizes the critical role of the teacher, who happens to be the single greatest determinant of student success inside schools,” says Popović. “If you want to help struggling students succeed, then adaptivity needs to be designed to enhance teaching, not bypass it.”


Steven Gottlieb

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