Transforming primary and secondary education through the power of cloud, mobile and cognitive technology

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Global Client Reference Manager, IBM

You’ve likely heard the statistics. The state of the US education system isn’t good. According to the Pew Research Center, student math skills in the US rank 35 out of 65 nations across the globe, which is far lower than many of its industrialized counterparts. And a shortage of teachers continues, with more than 25.3 million new teachers needed by the year 2030, according to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Despite the fact that the US spends more than $11,000 per student on primary education, according to a CBS News report, many US classrooms are not reaping the efficiencies and benefits of advanced technologies that many of us enjoy as consumers and in the workplace.

Bolstering individualized instruction

Tabtor Math, an innovative startup, has developed an iPad and Android tablet–based app for providing individualized math programs for elementary students. It offers digital worksheets and video tutorials, backed by experienced virtual math tutors and educators who monitor each student’s progress and adjust the program based on each student’s needs. Tabtor Math is available as a direct-to-consumer offering and as an in-classroom solution that is sold to public and private schools.

Tabtor’s solution aims to understand the student thought process to determine not just what students got wrong, but why they got it wrong. Using innovative digital-paper technology and cognitive patent-pending Active Replay Technology (ART), every scribble and every step of students’ work is captured; teachers and tutors can see where students are challenged and give them personalized feedback and lesson plans. This degree of detail helps educators increase their efficiency by quickly pinpointing each child’s proficiency level and individual needs.

Based on the vast amount of data that the Tabtor Math app collects across its global user base, the scalability and performance of the application and its data layer are critical. After developing its learning platform based on an open source Apache CouchDB foundation, when the time came to put the solution into production, Tabtor Math selected the IBM Cloudant database-as-a-service (DBaaS) platform.

Tabtor captures numerous layers of information on each student through its digital-paper technology and machine learning techniques. To produce intelligence about each student from this information, Tabtor Math needs to disaggregate and re-aggregate data at massive scale. Cloudant makes this approach possible. In addition, Tabtor has integrated with IBM Watson technology to apply cognitive learnings that help educators recommend targeted study materials for each student. Best of all, as a rapidly growing company, IBM Cloudant enables Tabtor to access enterprise-class database technology at a fraction of the cost of building it in-house and provides capacity on demand to support the company’s growth.

Illustrating notable improvement

Students using Tabtor Math in one school district reported more than a 90 percent improvement in student math skills after using Tabtor Math for just three months. And Tabtor received the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval for 2015.

“We believe that what we’re doing is beginning to revolutionize the education space and improve US students’ competitiveness in the math discipline,” says Raj Valli, founder and CEO, Tabtor Math. “Supported by IBM Cloudant, Tabtor Math is changing the face of math education for the better. Tabtor Math is actively used in school districts across the US, as well as in homes across the country, bringing math teaching into the 21st century. We are highly confident that our collaboration with IBM Watson will only improve the program and help more children get ahead in math.”

Learn more about Tabtor Math and its partnership with IBM by accessing the case study and video now available on In addition, access the webcast Paths to Disruption: Capitalizing on Cloud and Mobile Technology to Change the Game in Your Industry to learn more from an IBM panel of entrepreneurs and industry visionaries from the education, healthcare, hospitality and retail sectors. Discover how they are leveraging mobile and cloud-based technologies to fundamentally change the way they serve their markets with innovative impact.