Today Speak Agent, Inc. was named a winner of the Futures Forum on Learning: Tools Competition, a global competition aimed at addressing student learning recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Speak Agent is among 18 winning teams out of roughly 900 competitors from 55 countries. The competition was convened and sponsored by Schmidt Futures and Citadel Founder & CEO Ken Griffin to support effective COVID-related learning recovery and to advance the field of learning engineering.
Speak Agent's Math+Language program currently helps students to accelerate their learning of middle-grades math vocabulary, reasoning, and math communication skills. The Tools Competition will fund a new learning engineering toolkit that will enhance student outcomes through a process of continuous improvement. Working with the research team at LEANLAB Education, Speak Agent will analyze progress data; modify the learning strategies, courses, and/or activities; measure outcomes; and repeat, repeat, repeat!
A truly exciting element of this project is the potential to be able to quantify the impact of specific research-based strategies on student learning. Such findings would open up a whole new set of opportunities for better serving marginalized learners because we could see which strategies work best for which students! The project data set will also be open to academic researchers who wish to use our anonymized, aggregate data to gain learning sciences insights.
Here's what Kumar Garg, Managing Director and Head of Partnerships at Schmidt Futures, had to share about the vision:
"The Tools Competition is built on three big ideas. We must address the global learning loss from the pandemic now, or risk the consequences lasting for years. We must develop new solutions. And we can’t just chase after silver bullets—we have to actually invest in tools that use the best learning science and have the infrastructure for continuous improvement. That’s the value of learning engineering, and that’s what all of these winners exemplify."
The following one-minute video summarizes Speak Agent's plans for its $67K Tools Competition grant award:
Ben is CEO and Co-Founder of Speak Agent, Inc. An ESL teacher who became a leading educational app creator, Ben led the launch of PBS KIDS Mobile, where his apps resulted in significant gains in language acquisition for millions of young learners. He co-created Speak Agent to address the achievement gap for historically marginalized learners, pioneering a unique Content+Language integration approach based on current Learning Sciences research. Ben has served as Principal Investigator for impact studies sponsored by IES, NSF, and NIH.