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IBM today announced a strategic partnership with Scholastic and Edmodo that will integrate the two companies’ technologies with IBM’s Watson Education platform.

Scholastic said that it’ll make available media, articles, and nonfiction content from its Scholastic Go and ScienceFlix libraries in IBM’s Watson Education, which will use machine learning to cater recommendations to individual students’ abilities and curricular needs.

Edmodo, for its part, will contribute to the development of a tool that’ll use its AskMo search engine and IBM Watson Classroom’s Cognitive Library — a collection of textbooks, test questions, and lesson plans hosted in the cloud — to recommend educational content and resources aligned with students’ grade levels, ages, and interests.

Above: Content from Scholastic’s catalog with metadata and teacher ratings.

“It [will] help teachers to know where students are in their learning progression,” Chalapathy Neti, vice president of IBM Watson Education, told VentureBeat, “and recommend a piece of learning content that is suited to different learning styles … and preferences. It answers the question, ‘How do I optimize a piece of learning content that teaches a learning objective?'”


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IBM says it’ll leverage the Cognitive Library to improve content tagging. And in the coming weeks, teachers who use Edmodo will be able to tap Watson Tutor — a system that uses natural language processing to guide students through review sessions — to assign topic-specific quiz questions.

“Our goal is to create augmented intelligence that’s of value to teachers,” Neti said. “[That’s] why we’re going to places where partners had an existing footprint to make it simpler for teachers to adopt.”

IBM Watson Scholastic

Above: Scholastic Go and ScienceFlix content in Watson Classroom’s Cognitive Library.

Image Credit: IBM

Watson Education comprises two products: IBM Watson Element and IBM Watson Enlight. The former consolidates academic, social, demographic, and behavior data about students in one place and provides insights to teachers about how to best support individual students in the classroom. The latter, Watson Enlight, shows students’ academic strengths and weaknesses, lets teachers plan lessons with activities that align with classes’ needs, and offers learning progressions created by the National Academy of Sciences, Student Achievement Partners, and others.

IBM’s Watson Education reaches more than 200,000 students in states including Texas, California, Florida, Connecticut, and Ohio. IBM says that in an A/B experiment involving more than 800 community college students, Watson Tutor improved academic performance by as much as 40 percent.

Scholastic and Edmodo are only the latest additions to Watson Education’s stable of partners. In June 2017, through a collaboration with Sesame Workshop, IBM built a vocabulary app and a platform — the Sesame Workshop Intelligent Play and Learning Platform — to create a series of cognitive apps, games, and toys. And in 2016, IBM signed a deal with Pearson and Blackboard to bring IBM’s education ecosystem to colleges and universities.

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