School Committee reviews new learning information system
“Someone asked about what the best student information system was,” said Dr. Andrea Schwamb Wednesday night, at Wareham’s School Committee meeting. “Well, that’s Watson Enlighten.”
Schwamb, the Director of Curriculum & Instruction at Wareham Public Schools, presented the benefits of the system alongside Office Depot Instructional Lead Consultant Bryan Bown. Watson Enlighten, which is also in use in the healthcare field, is owned by Office Depot.
Bown explained that the system will take every piece of data available from each student - including test scores, midterm grades, infractions, even tardiness - to learn about each student and recommend an individual pathway based on the assessment of the student’s data. “Watson will work with students from kindergarten to 12th grade. All of the data will be able to form their pathways,” he said.
The data collected in the system will be analyzed by Watson, which will then be able to recommend to the teacher which way the child might learn best. Educational materials from various sources will already be available in the system, so the teacher will not need to track them down.
Committee member Judy Caporiccio, speaking by phone from Florida, said she was impressed, but questioned the cost of the system.
“Do you think this might be more affordable in a few years?” she asked.
“I gave a high-level cost, but I think that in the future the cost will be affordable for everyone. Of course the true cost won’t show until we come in and see the data points,” Bown conceded.
“So the cost is determined by what you need to do to get us up and running,” Caporiccio observed. Bown agreed, adding that there would also be a yearly license fee.
Commitee member Geoff Swett remained concerned about the extra time teachers would need to input data. “As a teacher, sometimes I was in charge of 120 students at one time,” he told Bown. “Where is a teacher going to find time to sit down and input all of this data. What good is it if the teacher won’t have time to individualize?”
“Watson prescribes all of the info itself,” Bown said. “Teachers don’t need to input anything. Because Watson has a lot of teaching resources, teachers might be able to find everything they need in the system already, instead of searching for teaching materials.”