With the help of our sponsors, the Futures Forum on Learning and Learning Engineering Tools Competition aims to support new tools that will improve student learning and advance the field of learning engineering.
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Authentic Math Problems & Solutions
A platform that encourages students to use multiple approaches to solve culturally relevant math problems
Authentic Math Problems and Solutions' platform will offer culturally relevant math problems that encourage students to collaborate with peers, iterate on their answers, and use multiple approaches to find one of many potential solutions. This is different from many existing platforms, which emphasize students independently and quickly finding a single solution to a contextless problem, like finding the hypotenuse of a triangle. With this shift in approach, this platform can better engage students from marginalized groups, starting with middle school students.
Jeff King, Software Engineer. Jeff taught high school chemistry and Chinese for five years in an urban school district that primarily served low income students from Camden, NJ. During that time, he learned to create engaging digital activities for students and is now a software engineer at Curriculum Associates where he builds products that help teachers differentiate their instruction. Outside of work, Jeff writes about edtech and is president of the Boston EdTech Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to help build a diverse edtech workforce.
Early Numeracy Learning Intervention
Phone-based app to support families foster early numeracy skills at home
Early Numeracy Learning Intervention is a phone-based, gamified app that promotes the learning and regular assessment of developmentally appropriate math milestones via 14 research-backed mini-games. With personalized dashboards, feedback loops, and multiple methods for presenting a single concept, the games will work to build an understanding of foundational math skills. The goal of the app is to impact 1,000 families and partner at least with 10 schools by the end of 2021.
Aashna Saraf, Co-founder & CEO. Aashna is a senior at Pomona College majoring in Developmental Psychology. She is passionate about improving educational access and social mobility in India. Aashna seeks to drive growth and impact in early learning settings by designing play-based learning solutions that meet children where they are.
Neil Vakharia, Co-founder & CTO. Neil is a senior at Northwestern University majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics. He is passionate about technology and the various ways in which it has influenced learning over the years. Deeply involved in learning science research at the Technological Innovations for Inclusive Learning and Teaching Lab, Neil brings a wealth of educational app development experience.
Using multimodal data to prepare the next generation of data scientists
The Multimodal ToolKit supports data literacy–a central skill for the next generation –with two tools: a website that allows learners to collect rich multimodal dataset, from any webcam or video recording, and a platform where students can watch instructional videos, while multimodal data is collected. In analyzing this data, students improve their data analysis skills, and teachers can better understand students’ learning.
Bertrand Schneider, Assistant Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education. Bertrand has been an assistant professor at Harvard since 2017. His interests include the development of educational interfaces (e.g., augmented reality, tangible, multitouch) for collaborative learning in formal and informal learning environments. He also researches the use of multi-modal data such as their gaze, body movement, and speech to visualize and assess students' learning trajectories.
A personalized review tool that improves recall through learning science best practices
Podsie is a free learning tool for teachers that helps their students remember what they've learned. It makes it easy for teachers and students to review in an efficient and personalized way that's backed by learning science principles, like spacing and retrieval. Since Podsie is more efficient than traditional studying techniques (e.g. cramming before tests, teachers creating monthly review assignments), students can retain more information in the long term while spending less time studying.
Joshua Ling, CEO. Josh is a Teach for America alum and former middle school math teacher who believes deeply in the ability of every student to succeed. In only his second year of teaching, Josh was recognized as his school’s Teacher of the Year. After getting a master's in Education from Stanford University, he made a career change into software engineering. In addition to building Podsie, Josh also teaches an AP Computer Science Principles class at a public school in Oakland, Calif.
Jesse Mao, CTO. Jesse is a former Airbnb and Facebook software engineer who graduated with a degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin. He became interested in education while teaching web development to high school English language learner students. Jesse now aims to use his technical skills to solve problems in education.
TeacherPrints with LearningFlow
Analyzing classroom communication patterns to promote equitable teaching & instructional engagement
TeacherPrints is a machine learning-based instructional coaching app that empowers educators around the world to turn sound recordings of their lessons–online or in-person–into useful, approachable insight about their classroom engagement patterns. TeacherPrints provides teachers with the data analysis and guidance to adjust their teaching to meet their educational goals and implement instructional practices that effectively engage all students in the learning process.
Timothy S. Slade, Data Scientist & Education Researcher, TeacherPrints & UC Berkeley. Tim is a data scientist and education researcher committed to improving the human condition. Raised in El Salvador, he has worked throughout Latin America, Africa and the eastern Mediterranean. Tim has taught and learned from students of all ages, from pre-primary through adults. He holds degrees in Data Science from the University of California, Berkeley; Early Grade Reading from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; International Studies from North Carolina State University; and French language and Exercise and Health Science from Alma College.
Korah J. Wiley, Learning Scientist, Digital Promise. Korah has a passion for developing and investigating education technology that can provide insight into teaching and learning. She has designed professional development for STEM educators and developed numerous STEM pathway programs for under-served and first-generation college-bound students. Korah earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University; a master’s degree in Molecular Cancer Biology from Duke University; and a Ph.D. in Science and Math Education from the University of California, Berkeley.
Automated Readability Tool
Open-source tool to automatically assess English texts' readability
The Automated Readability Tool for English (ARTE) is a free, easy-to-use tool that automatically measures text readability. This team plans to adapt the currently available tool into an interactive web application to make it more accessible to teachers, administrators, researchers, and material developers. Working with an industrial partner, they will scale the app, adding new functions such as a more friendly interface, data visualization, support for REST API, and expand the number of readability formulas supported by the app.
Joon Suh Choi, Ph.D. Student in Applied Linguistics & ESL, Georgia State University. Joon’s research focuses on using natural language processing tools to match students with appropriate textual materials.
Scott A. Crossley, Professor of Applied Linguistics & ESL, Georgia State University. Sott’s interests include computational linguistics, corpus linguistics, cognitive science, discourse processing, and discourse analysis. His primary research focuses on the development and application of computational tools for understanding language learning and text comprehensibility.
Math with +Meaning
Mobile app that provides families ideas for culturally responsive math instruction at home
Math with +Meaning mobile app helps educators connect math learning with family and daily life. It brings math to life with thousands of easy-to-achieve, short and fun activities, designed for parents to carry out with their children. Each at-home activity offers with step-by-step guidance, introduces math lessons, and can be connected to the curricular content in class, which provides a greater, longer-lasting, and more meaningful learning experience for the students.
Macarena Paz Santana Sepúlveda, Founder, +Meaning & Postdoctoral Researcher in Education, Escuela de Gobierno UC, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Macarena leads research teams at EMELab and has led research projects focusing on parental engagement and socio-emotional skills. She also helped create the scope and sequence of the middle school curriculum at Texts4Teens. +Meaning is a Chilean organization that develops digital solutions for parents so they can support student learning.
Victoria Alejandra Guentulle Saavedra, Founder & CFO, +Meaning & a Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Victoria founded +Meaning in Chile to support parents in their children's learning through digital solutions. For four years beginning in 2015, Victoria was a classroom math teacher through the program Enseña Chile (from the Teach for All global network).
Peer Assisted Learning Systems
Peer collaboration app for middle school students
Peers Assisted Learning Systems (PALS), a moderated online chat tool, will allow disadvantaged students in middle-school to help each other in learning concepts and solving problems. It seeks to restore the peer-to-peer network in the post-pandemic online schooling world and, thereby, help maintain learning outcomes for students who lack academic support at home, as they are typically the only literate and/or school-going members in the family.
Mohuna Dutt, Head of Open Shelters, Education & Child Development Programs, the Calcutta Social Project in Calcutta, India. Mohuna joined the Calcutta Social Project in 2015 as a teacher. She now serves as the Head of Shelter overseeing education and ensuring child development. Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, Mohuna has led the online education program for urban poor children. Mohuna studied at K.C.College, Mumbai and the Event Business Academy in Oxford, England.
Dhruva, Co-founder, ProjectSet: Dhruva helped found ProjectSet, an online platform for work-based learning programs that connects students, employers and educators to collaborate virtually on internships, hackathons and course-based projects. Previously, Dhruva was a strategy consultant with Monitor Company, FOR and Index Partners. Dhruva holds a PhD in Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering.
A learning tool to increase peer collaboration and deepen reflection in Computer Science
RecapCS is a learning platform built to empower students and teachers in project-based computer science classes. On the student-facing side, RecapCS is a web dashboard with real-time Q&A from peers and instructors, a learning journey map which tracks students’ subgoals and milestones, and a resource repository to support self-teaching. RecapCS also has a Virtual Community of Practice (VCoP), where teachers are supported by their colleagues across the computing education profession.
Ember Liu & Neil Thawani, Carnegie Mellon University. Ember is a Product Designer and Neil is Software Engineer. They are both alumni of Carnegie Mellon’s METALS program, which trains graduates to apply science of learning principles, evidence-based research, and data-driven methods to design, create, and improve educational resources and technologies that enable students and instructors to succeed. They are working with John Stamper, an Assistant Professor whose research focus is using "Big Data" from educational systems to improve learning.