Learning's Clarion Call: Teaming to Improve US Education with Big Data Science

Sponsored Sessions Ballroom H
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This panel will share insights on how K-16 education can benefit from developments in Big Data ecosystems. As learning and teaching goes “deeply digital” with platforms like Khan Academy and expands broadly into new postsecondary online MOOC environments that straddle the high school to college boundaries, students and teachers have greater opportunities for high-quality content and data-driven learning progress than ever before. How can we convert early momentum to make a lasting contribution to the nation’s approach to education? Panelists from MIT, Khan Academy and Gooru will survey notable hurdles, unique challenges and critical issues in education for making effective use of big data and frame how the Strata community could profitably contribute. We seek the Strata community’s collaboration in building the interdisciplinary field of Learning Analytics in the year ahead: come and hear how!

This session is sponsored by inBloom

Photo of Marie Bienkowski

Marie Bienkowski

SRI International

Marie Bienkowski is the Deputy Director of the Center for Technology in Learning, at the nonprofit research organization, SRI International. She works with educational researchers to develop and evaluate technology in K-12 education, and to contribute research data to education policy discussions. Many of her projects involve efforts to interest underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers with a focus on computer science. She leads software projects in the areas of learning resource analytics and intelligent information management. Dr. Bienkowski co-authored the report “Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics” for the U.S. Department of Education (released in October 2012). She is the co-PI of an NSF-funded grant on assessing computational thinking for high school students and is leading SRI’s contributions to the core infrastructure of the open-source learning-resource analytics project called the Learning Registry. She received her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Connecticut.

Photo of Jace Kohlmeier

Jace Kohlmeier

Khan Academy

Jace Kohlmeier is the Dean of Analytics at Khan Academy. He earned degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science as a Kansas State Wildcat, and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Princeton. He spent six years at Citadel Investment Group, where he cofounded the High Frequency Trading group and oversaw its trading in fixed income, currency, commodities and futures. He is also the cofounder of Teza Technologies, where he served as President and Head of Quantitative Research. After volunteering in 2010, he joined Khan Academy full-time on a mission to apply state-of-the-art data science toward optimized learning.

Photo of Zachary Pardos

Zachary Pardos

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Zach Pardos is a researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology exploring data driven methodologies to aid learners and educators using virtual learning environments. He earned his PhD in Computer Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the Tutor Research Group in 2012. During his PhD he spent extensive time on the front lines of K-12 education working with teachers and students to integrate educational technology into the curriculum as an assessment tool to be used formatively. He is an emerging leader in the field of Educational Data Mining and has received numerous academic awards and honors for components of his thesis work on “Predictive Models of Learning” including a top prize applying his educational analytics in the 2010 KDD Cup, an international big data competition on predicting student performance within an intelligent tutoring system.

Photo of Sharren  Bates

Sharren Bates


As Chief Product Officer, Sharren Bates is responsible for the vision, strategy, design and development of inBloom products and services.

Prior to joining inBloom in February 2013, Sharren’s excitement about the power of personalized learning and deep understanding of barriers to entry and innovation in the sector led her to her previous role as Senior Program Officer on the Next Generation Models team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. There she was one of the Foundation’s lead representatives on the Shared Learning Collaborative, and spearheaded the development of the inBloom technology services.

Prior to the Gates Foundation, Sharren worked on education policy at the federal level as an education analyst working on the National Broadband Plan at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Previously, she led the New York City Department of Education’s Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) team, launching an integrated data reporting and collaboration system for the city’s 90,000 teachers and approximately 800,000 parents.

Sharren has been working at the intersection of education policy, classroom practice, and technology for the past eight years, and draws on fifteen years cross-industry experience delivering high-quality large-scale technology projects on time and on budget. She lives in Bucks County PA with her husband.


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