Teachers and parents are aware that every classroom is comprised by a very heterogeneous group in which the degree of maturity of the students, their personalities, abilities and interests all diverge greatly. It is unrealistic to think that everyone is going to advance at the same speed, but yet, the teacher will try to make it happen at all costs. “Overall, the teacher will try to adapt the class to the group average,” the young Innovator Eduardo Bontempo explains. “Many will keep up to speed, but some will be left behind and others will remain ahead of the rest, leading to a vicious cycle and learning disabilities” he adds.
This entrepreneur, a graduate in Business Administration from the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (Brazil) and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, USA), is the inventor of an adaptive learning platform known as Geekie Lab, already utilized by 2.4 million students from more than 17,000 schools across Brazil.
Geekie Lab identifies the educational needs of each student and creates a personalized study plan according to the student’s natural learning pace, weaknesses and strengths in certain subjects. To personalize education, Bontempo and his team have built a platform of algorithms based on artificial intelligence, mathematical models such as the Theory of Item Response (ITR) and Probabilistic Graphical Models (PGM), and phenomena like the effects of internet.
Bontempo, along with his partner Claudio Sassaki, founded their company Geekie in 2011. The first product created by Geekie was the diagnostic tool named Geekie Test, a screening test that can be used to determine a student´s performance in different areas: elementary school, higher education, government entrance exams and language tests, amongst others. So far the main application of this tool has been oriented to ENEM, a standardized college admission test performed by high school students in Brazil.
But besides making a diagnosis, Geekie offers students and teachers the opportunity to go a step further thanks to another product created by their company: the adaptive learning platform Geekie Lab. In 2013 Bontempo’s company created the Geekie Games, an event at which more than two million students from Brazilian public schools were tested in and evaluated in four areas by the ENEM and received, free of charge, adiagnostic evaluation of their own performance in each knowledge category. “They could compare their scores with other students around the country,” Bontempo recalls.
Until now Bontempo has marketed the Geekie Teste tool to assess student competencies, especially in higher education institutions and centers, in all subjects established by the official curriculum. However this young man states that they are beginning to target new markets, such as K-8 students (primary school through eighth grade); students with the advantage of being digital natives, so that they grow “even more accustomed to technology than their elders”.