The Knewton Blog

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How We Make Platform Technology That Works for Teachers and Students

Posted in Adaptive Learning on November 18, 2014 by

Teachers are crucial to student learning, and at Knewton, we aim to create tools that support them.

Educators are always evolving their teaching methods — trying out tech, assigning a new book, experimenting with different lecture styles. The hope is that these new methods will result in improved student outcomes, deeper learning, and higher levels of engagement.

At Knewton, we invest heavily in our technology. Our engineers and data scientists spend their days developing and refining innovative, scaled algorithms and mathematical models.

But innovation and technical integrity mean nothing if our tools don’t ultimately work for teachers and students. Knewton has three specialized teams to ensure our technology supports teachers’ efforts to help students succeed.

The Learning team provides pedagogical expertise to ensure that our products make sense to teachers and students.

This team is made up of former classroom teachers with substantial expertise in content development, learning science, and the day-to-day practice of teaching. The team consults on pedagogical applications for education content and Knewton adaptive learning, and also serves as an important internal barometer when conceiving new product features. Our algorithms may generate technically sound results, but would those algorithms actually be useful in the learning process? What content works best for adaptive learning when used in and out of the classroom? The Learning team uses their first-hand knowledge to help us explore and answer these questions on a daily basis.

The Implementations team provides integration support so partners can build the best products for teachers and students.

The Implementations team helps our partners optimize the use of Knewton technology to meet the needs of the students and teachers using their products. This team is made up of product specialists who understand the goals of our partners’ products and businesses. The team comprises product design experts, partnership managers, and technologists who consult with partners on how best to utilize Knewton technology within their pedagogy, content, and user interface design.

The Adaptive Quality Assurance team makes sure that Knewton recommends the best possible material for each student.  

The Adaptive QA team conducts thorough user testing before any Knewton-powered product launches. The team makes sure that the product workflows — i.e., how the product presents personalized recommendations to students and displays analytics to teachers — are effective for students in a real classroom. Testing provides partners with meaningful feedback and allows them to tweak their product before it goes live. The team also gathers feedback from real teachers and students using the product after launch. Partners can then make changes that directly and immediately impact the experience of teachers and students using Knewton-powered products.