Thursday, October 1, 2015

In the Mind of a Student

Imagine if schoolteachers and college professors were immediately able to identify how each of their students learns, what learning style works best for each child and what new topics he or she is struggling with. Research faculty members at the University of Wisconsin at Madison are hoping that this can be the future of education. Their research uses a combination of psychology and computer science to determine how best to optimize teaching for individual students. This means teachers and professors will be able to immediately know what subjects students are struggling with and be able to address those needs, instead of teaching an entire class of students with ranging difficulties. Jerry Zhu, an associate professor of computer science at Wisconsin, has dubbed this technique “machine teaching,” a flip of machine learning, or when computers recognize patterns during data analysis in computer science or statistics. Instead of the computers recognizing a pattern, an equation that represents a student’s mind would be punched into the computer, which in turn would tell the teacher the student’s specific learning style and needs in the classroom. But Zhu said that those equations have yet to be developed, and it will be years before they will be created, an effort he says researchers in both computer science and psychology are working toward achieving. Read more...

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