Wallingford Public Schools using “Watson” technology

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Starting this next school year, the Wallingford Public School district is using a new system to help teachers track students’ progress. Teachers at Moran Middle School and Dag Hammarskjold Middle School are going to be using it.

You may remember Watson as the computer that beat a human contestant on Jeopardy in 2011. Now, Watson will be moving into the classroom. The Wallingford Public School District is one of just five in the country that’s been working with Office Depot and IBM on the Watson roll out.

Superintendent Sal Menzo says it will help teachers keep track of their students’ progress and how they learn.

“It will then allow teachers to look at the standards as they go to teach a unit to determine whether or not a child is truly ready to move on to those next concepts,” he said.

Teachers will be using Watson for math, English and Language Arts. More features will be rolled out throughout the year, and teachers have been an active part of the planning process.

“They really looked at the needs of our teachers and interviewed many of our teachers in this process,” said Menzo.

“It’s wonderful. We feel very special,” said Carrie LaTorre, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. “We’re thrilled and we’ve been able to provide input along the way.”

The idea is that Watson will save teachers time when planning lessons, since the resources they need will all be in one place. However, Menzo says when it comes to the teachers themselves, Watson is no substitute.

“They ultimately are the professional,” he said. “Watson is a computer and we always have to remember that a computer only has so much capacity.”

The hope is that eventually student and parents will be able to use Watson.

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