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Pioneering Leaders in Adaptive and Personalized Learning Win $500,000 in New York University AI Competition

The following release has been reprinted with permission from Smart Sparrow.

SAN FRANCISCO, July 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- New York University has announced Smart Sparrow as the winner of its first-ever Algorithm for Change competition, designed to surface new applications for artificial intelligence and machine learning in education. In partnership with ACTNext by ACT and Arizona State University, Smart Sparrow was awarded the top prize for Foundations of Science, a set of instructor-facing courseware tools that will leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to support students struggling in college-level science courses.

NYU's Center for Social Entrepreneurship solicited submissions for artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and augmented reality (AR) solutions that help low income, underrepresented minority, and first-generation students get to and through college. Smart Sparrow was selected from a group 70 submissions, and then joined nine finalists to pitch their ideas before a panel of judges at New York University.

"We're honored to have won the competition. Using Smart Sparrow's learning design platform, instructors and designers have already seen great success improving student outcomes in science courses — for all students, but especially for low income, underrepresented minority, and first-generation students," said Jacqui Hayes, Director of Studio Innovation at Smart Sparrow. "We believe that we can go further still, powering additional scaffolding and adaptivity through machine learning and artificial intelligence."

Only 11% of low income, underrepresented minority, or first-generation students meet the ACT Benchmark in Science, putting them at risk of not succeeding in introductory college courses. Foundations of Science will be a series of introductory science courseware products that focus on teaching science through interesting narratives and case studies, while providing the necessary scaffolding and support so underprepared students to get the remediation they need in the earliest possible phase of their postsecondary education. The products will incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect when students are struggling with foundation concepts or skills and recommend just-in-time interventions.

Leveraging over a decade of industry and edtech innovation, the Smart Sparrow Learning Design Studio teamed up with AI and ML experts from ACTNext by ACT, the learning innovation arm of the nonprofit organization known chiefly for its college readiness exam, and award-winning science educators from the Center through Education for Exploration at Arizona State University.

"Smart courses, which adapt in response to student behavior and provide instructors with valuable, real-time insights on skill gaps and engagement drop-offs, have an incredible potential to help more student graduate faster," said Dr. Saad M. Khan, Director of AI and Machine Learning at ACTNext. "Foundations of Science is designed to leverage AI and machine learning to help more at-risk learners successfully complete their academic journeys."

About Smart Sparrow

Smart Sparrow is a learning design platform for next-generation courseware. It allows any educator to create amazingly engaging and adaptive learning experiences and then continuously improve them using learner analytics. Students are better supported and more motivated to succeed. Smart Sparrow believes in designing tools that support great teaching and put faculty first to unlock the potential of adaptive learning. Learn more:

About ACTNext

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Founded in 2016, ACTNext is a multidisciplinary innovation unit established by ACT CEO Martin Roorda and led by Senior Vice President Alina von Davier. The group comprises experts in fields ranging from psychometrics and learning sciences to software development, AI & Machine Learning, and data visualization. They operate at the forefront of Computational Psychometrics, a theory and data driven methodology blending the analytical tools of the new millennium with cutting edge work in psychometric research. This unique approach allows them to not only develop innovative solutions to challenging problems and change the very ways in which assessment is traditionally thought of. Together, ACTNext and ACT are working to provide learners with tools and experiences that are more than integrated, personalized, and adaptive; they're working to make them transformational. Learn more:

About ASU Center for Education Through Exploration

Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American Research University, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. The ETX Center at ASU aim to change the practice of teaching and learning by articulating and advancing a new philosophy: teaching through exploration of the unknown rather than through mastery of what is known. We call this philosophy "Education Through eXploration" – or ETX. To promote ETX, they develop and deploy digital learning products and platforms that are engaging, adaptive, and transdisciplinary, to educate-through-exploration effectively and at scale. Learn more: