Support for High-Quality Instruction

There is no end to the innovative technology solutions available to teachers and school districts these days. Few of these tools, however, are designed by teachers for teachers, and fewer still offer vetted high-quality content, lesson plans and teaching strategies along with annotated videos—and certainly none offer all these elements integrated together and easily searchable, with a focus on mathematics. Teacher Advisor With Watson, an innovative professional development resource aims to change all that.

Teacher Advisor provides lesson plans and instructional materials, accessible through a search that is powered by IBM’s pioneering Watson technology. With the support of the AFT, this innovative tool was built by some of the world’s best technologists who worked in close collaboration with more than 1,000 teachers across over a dozen states, over more than two years. Following its mid-September launch classroom teachers are flocking to Teacher Advisor, spurred on by the encouragement of education leaders and organizations across the US. Teachers in North Carolina, New York, Virginia and Texas are leading in the number of registrations, but users can be found across the U.S.

On Teacher Advisor, teachers can search a broad range of elementary math terms and concepts, and get immediate, targeted results featuring highest quality lesson plans and teaching strategies, better and faster than anywhere else online. In addition, Teacher Advisor offers instructional context and support to help teachers understand grade-level math content for grades K through 5, in-depth—so they can feel confident that classroom implementation will go smoothly, and work to meet the needs of their students. "When my students are not grasping a concept, and need more instruction or more activities, I turn to Teacher Advisor," said Regan Lonien, a fourth-grade teacher in Stewartville, Minnesota.

The tool, which will always be 100 percent free, was funded by the IBM International Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Carnegie Foundation. but the collaboration did not stop there, an advisory board consisting of key education leaders also helped inform its development. Partners include AFT, ACHIEVE, COUNCIL OF CHIEF STATE SCHOOL OFFICERS, THE EDUCATION COMMISSION OF THE STATES, EDUCATION TRUST, THE NATIONAL BOARD FOR PROFESSIONAL TEACHING STANDARDS, STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT PARTNERS, and many many others. “Instead of teachers being an afterthought when innovative technology tools are available, as is often the case,” said Stanley Litow of the IBM International Foundation, “we’ve placed teachers at the front of the line and even more importantly, engaged them fully in the development process.”

Teacher Advisor provides teachers with faster and more personalized access to the best materials for their classrooms at any time they need it, 24/7. “We also have a good number of coaches, curriculum supervisors, district math leads, and assistant superintendents using the tool to coach their teachers on elementary math content and good pedagogy,” Litow said.

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