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IBM Watson Helps Teachers Teach Common Core Math

The new common core math standards appear to be the answer to increasing math literacy amongst students. But at the moment the standards are under attack as the popular Internet meme below indicates:

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One of the problems with Common Core--or so the experts say--is that very few of the teachers now called upon to teach with it were taught in that fashion themselves.  Add to that another problem: the difficulty most parents have helping their children at home with the new common core standards (few of them are familiar with the new methodology) and an uproar has been created that calls for the repeal of the Common Core standards.

But no worries! Hope is on the horizon – – at least for those teachers who are willing to try the new methodology. The IBM Foundation, with the help of the American Federation of Teachers, is developing a program for its Watson computer that will assist third-grade teachers with math instruction by developing detailed lesson plans. How will that help?  Who or what is Watson? Well, if you haven't heard of IBM’s Watson computer, you've been living somewhere outside the Internet universe. Watson is the very computer that defeated Ken Jennings at jeopardy. And even now assists medical students and doctors with cancer therapy at the prestigious Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

The name of this program is Teacher Adviser. And it doesn't sound like this is a one-solution-fits-all problem-solver either (which is a common complaint against Common Core).Teacher Advisor will be able to deal with classrooms in all parts of the country, both urban and rural. Apparently it will develop a plan for each classroom based on an analysis of that individual classroom’s point of proficiency in the Common Core.  One example given in a New York Times’ article on the subject is an urban school classroom with 60% of the third-grade students working at second grade Common Core math level. Teachers Advisor will draw up a lesson plan listing goals for the classroom and incorporate them into daily lessons. And Teachers Advisor will also make specific recommendations that will help the teacher meet those goals.

Teacher Advisor has a long term goal of helping every individual student within the individual classrooms. Third grade is just the beginning! But IBM and the American Federation of Teachers are quick to point out that the goal is not to replace the teacher but simply clear up some of the problems they are now experiencing with Common Core.

Who knows, maybe someday Watson can even help the parents at home with the homework.



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  • Oct 11, 2016 11:27:41 AM

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