IBM wants to put Watson in hands of every teacher

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IBM wants to put Watson in hands of every teacher

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The city’s Department of Education did not respond for comment on the Watson app, but IBM was clear that city officials expressed interest in taking part when the company presented an early-stage demo of the app to educators at an event in September.

IBM wants to put Watson in hands of every teacher

Are you a public-school teacher in need of a lesson plan but faced with the crushing ennui of having to find something fresh in your dreary curriculum?

There’s an app for that! Well, almost.

IBM’s Watson team is in the early stages of developing a mobile app that will leverage “thinking computer” technology to put a digital teacher’s assistant in the palms of educators everywhere. Watson’s artificial intelligence is designed to synthesize volumes of data when asked a question like “Watson, can you help me with a lesson plan on the Civil War?” IBM is working with educators to collect and collate vetted content.

“Most technology in education up to now has been directed at either administrators or students,” said Stanley Litow, president of the IBM International Foundation and a former deputy chancellor of New York City’s public schools. “Our plan is to put this exciting and innovative technology directly at the service of teachers.”

The first real-world step in getting the app into the hands of teachers is a pilot program that IBM is planning to roll out in early 2016. In addition to Mr. Litow’s background and connections in the city school system, New York City is also home to IBM’s brand-new $100 million Watson headquarters on Astor Place, making city schools a prime target of IBM’s pilot plans.

“New York will definitely be one of the locations of the pilot,” said an IBM spokeswoman.

The city’s Department of Education did not respond for comment on the Watson app, but IBM was clear that city officials expressed interest in taking part when the company presented an early-stage demo of the app to educators at an event in September.

“If we are successful, we can help New York City teachers improve, and if that happens, ultimately our students will achieve and do so at much higher levels,” said Mr. Litow. “That is real transformation.”
Correction: IBM is in the early stages of developing a mobile app for teachers. The app will not include search-engine data reflecting wisdom from educators.This fact was misstated in a previous version of this article, published online Feb. 12, 2015.

 

Source:

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150212/TECHNOLOGY/150219948/ibm-wants-to-put-watson-in-the-hands-of-every-teacher

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