Podcast: All Things Data with Guests Dr. KP Thai and Dr. Liz Owen – Newsroom

Sara G. Norris

In the ever-evolving technology landscape, data analytics and data strategy continue to play a larger role in economics and business models. Director of the Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence at the University of St. Thomas, Dr. Manjeet Rege, co-hosts the “All Things Data” podcast with adjunct professor and Innovation Fellow Dan Yarmoluk. The podcast provides insight into the significance of data science as it relates to business models, business economics and delivery systems. Through informative conversation with leading data scientists, business model experts, technologists and futurists, Rege and Yarmoluk discuss how to utilize, harness, and deploy data science, data-driven strategies, and enable digital transformations.

Rege and Yarmoluk spoke with Dr. KP Thai and Dr. Liz Owen on engagement, game-based learning and gamification. Dr. Liz Owens is the Founder and Chief Data Scientist of Learning Data Discovery where she focuses on optimizing data-driven design through immersive learning systems. Dr. KP Thai is Director of Learning Science and Learning Analytics at Age of Learning, a company best known for its program, ABC Mouse.

Here are some highlights from their conversation.

Q. What is the significance of engagement in learning in today’s world?

A. The reason why these things are relevant is because especially now in the distance learning climate, engagement is more important than ever because there literally aren’t teachers who are able to be present in a class full of kids. We are looking at a lot of informal learning environments. In the classroom it needs to be this much more interesting than the textbook , but when you are home there are a lot of distractions. 

Q. Why is engagement important to learning?

A. I think an important concept to bring up is learning variability. Kids are inherently different, every learner is different, there is no such thing as an average student. So when you engage children, it really depends on what prior knowledge and interests the child has. So we need to think about how to reach every learner in every classroom to reach their potential.

Q. What would your message to skeptics of game-based learning be?

A. I think just a reminder that play is a natural way to learn. And I think that games are a medium and a medium can be used for good or bad. We see it in movies and books. No form of media is going to be a silver bullet. Conscious development of positive experience is important which is why I feel good about game-based learning. And I think that creating positive content and reminding people that play is a natural way to do this. Having tools where parents and students can visual their progress makes it a transparent process. That kind of visibility is very important. 

Listen to the full conversation here:

Podcast: All Things Data with Guests Dr. KP Thai and Dr. Liz Owen

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