Gotta start somewhere, so might as well be with something bleeding edge. New York City based Knewton is developing an adaptive learning platform that will utilize the same types of technology that’s been used by Amazon, Google and Netflix for years. Using student input, it will constantly be analyzing their progress and customizing the material they are given to cater to their individualized strengths and weaknesses as well as their specific learning styles. Sounds like a no-brainer, I know, but it’s been a long time in coming. There’s been major breakthroughs in technology in terms of speed, memory, processing power and, especially price over the last few years and education seems to be the one industry that’s not taking advantage of it (if we only had the brains behind Wallstreet’s computerized micro-trading in education we wouldn’t be aspiring to be Finland). It reminds me a lot of when the Xbox 360 and PS3 first came out. I was producing video games at the time and was incredibly excited to see how developers would use the power of these new platforms to create new styles of gameplay that we’d never seen or even imagined. But alas, instead of innovation, what we got was the same old games with slicker graphics and cooler cut scenes. Then finally the Wii arrived and completely altered the way people thought about and played video games.
This is how I feel about the Knewton adaptive learning platform. Adaptive learning has the potential to completely disrupt our educational system. Instead of using technology to enhance drill and skills, adaptive learning platforms like Knewton’s engages students in completely new ways, adding relevancy and immediacy and empowering them to take control of their own learning. How cool is that! Check out this video that describes what their platform does: