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Cignition at ISTE: A Conversation with Jeff Bradbury from TeacherCast

A couple of weeks ago, Cignition had the pleasure of attending the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) 2024 conference in Denver, Colorado. It was an incredible event, with over 15,000 educators coming together to discuss and share innovative ways to support students and raise achievement levels.

During the conference, Dr. Michael Cohen, CEO of Cignition, sat down with Jeff Bradbury from the TeacherCast Educational Network to discuss the exciting advancements at Cignition.

Jeff (TeacherCast): You’ve got some interesting things going these days at Cignition. Talk to us a little bit about it.

Mike Cohen (Cignition): "Cignition is a very research-oriented organization, and we’ve had the really good luck of having a lot of grant funding: Gates Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg, Overdeck Foundation, and so on. And everything we do is based on research. What we do is high-intensity tutoring, meaning tutoring that happens two, three, or four times a week for each group of kids, and it’s a collaborative learning approach. So it’s not just a matter of putting a few kids together. It’s a matter of getting them to collaborate. So, for example, for math, they’re collaborating with each other to solve problems."

Jeff (TeacherCast): Now, with all of that collaboration, I’m sure there’s feedback. Talk to us a little bit about some of the things that the schools have told you to help with your tutoring.

Mike Cohen (Cignition): "When we work with a school district, a school, a class in a school, we do a lot of measurement and reporting to the teacher and the administrators at the school. So, just as an example, there are some unique things that we report. You know, some things we report, there’ll be a test question at the end, and we’ll know how well the students understood what was taught at that time. This is based on standards, but we also report on other things like student engagement. How well did each student at each session participate in the discussion, participate with their fellow students, and things like that are of great interest to the teachers, and you have to keep in mind that these are students that struggled with mathematics or with English language arts. Initially they may be a little hesitant to speak up, but it’s been really gratifying that what we’re finding is within a few weeks into the school year, the kids have gained a lot of trust in their tutor, of their fellow students, and they’re much more willing to speak up. And we’ve even had teachers, many teachers tell us, hey, even my shy kids are starting to speak up in class, which is wonderful because this is in a subject in which they felt like they were struggling."

Jeff (TeacherCast):’s pretty amazing to see the results that are happening in the classrooms with the tutoring sessions. I wanted to ask, are they solo tutoring sessions, or is it tutor on group?

Mike Cohen (Cignition): "In general, most of our sessions are collaborative learning, meaning it’s a group of students. Now...they may not be in exactly the same place, but..everything we do is virtual. It’s typically with a group of students that are actively working on problems, explaining their reasoning to their peers, and basically brainstorming, in some sense, with their peers about problem-solving."

Jeff (TeacherCast): Where do you see the future of all this going?

Mike Cohen (Cignition): "Well, you know, research continues, and we see doing more and more of it. We see possibly integrating certain technologies that can help, but we care very deeply about the human relationship in learning. So, although aspects of AI may come and aid us in certain ways at certain times, we’ll never throw away the tutors. We really believe in the importance of that human-human reaction."

To watch the full interview and learn more about Cignition's innovative education approach, click the video below or visit the following link: