Oct 02, 2017 2017-10-02
IBM’s famous Watson computing system is helping to power a searchable database of mathematics open educational resources (OERs) designed for K–5 teachers. The new tool, called Teacher Advisor With Watson 1.0, is open to the public after a lengthy beta-testing period that sought input from state education commissioners, teachers’ unions, school board associations, and more than 1,000 teachers. This smart search engine uses IBM Watson’s ability to parse natural language and make recommendations, with the aim of accurately matching what teachers are really looking for. Populating the search engine is a collection of more than 1,000 OERs—from sources such as Achieve, UnboundED, and statewide organizations—hand-selected by math experts assisting the program. When searching a particular concept, such as fractions or place value, teachers get a targeted lesson, curriculum standard, recommended activity, and strategy. They can then adjust the variables, such as grade level, while keeping the search terms the same. The OER content bank also includes print materials, as well as diagrams and even a video player, which takes advantage of IBM Watson’s tech to pinpoint the specific parts of any given video relevant to the search query and cue up just that part. With Watson’s continuously evolving AI, the search tool should improve and refine itself based on data from users, potentially providing more relevant results over time.