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

Smart Sparrow, ACT, and Arizona State University are awarded p**** for using AI and machine learning to identify skill gaps and deliver interventions for students.

New York University has announced Smart Sparrow as the w***** 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 p**** 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 i*****, 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.

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“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 i*****, 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 i*****, 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.

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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-w****** 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.”

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