Technology & Teaching | News

Gwinnett County, IBM Partner for Personalized Learning Experiment

Gwinnett County Public Schools is partnering with IBM in what the two are characterizing as "a first-of-a-kind research and development relationship that leverages big data, deep analytics, and cognitive technologies to generate actionable insights for personalized education and learning pathways for students."

The project called Personalized Education Through Analytics on Learning Systems (PETALS), will tap a range of technologies to enable personalized learning, including predictive modeling, analytics, machine learning, and case management, with the aim of improving:

  • Retention and graduation rates;
  • College readiness;
  • Student academic performance;
  • Student "engagement"; and
  • Teacher effectiveness.

"As the biggest school district in Georgia, and largest employer in Gwinnett County, we want to lead by example," said J. Alvin Wilbanks, Gwinnett County Public Schools CEO and superintendent, in a prepared statement. "The level of personalized education that the IBM PETALS research project is meant to create will not only make our students more successful within our system, but give them the tools needed to succeed outside our walls, helping to better link curricula with employers' needs, a true measure of economic development."

"The use of big data and deep content analytics holds the promise of enabling truly personalized educational content and targeted learning, which has the potential to transform the entire education industry," said Chalapathy Neti, director, education transformation, at IBM Research. "Education is a human right, and our research project with Gwinnett County Public Schools underscores the investment we are making, and need to make, for education to become more personal, effective, and efficient."

Gwinnett County Public Schools serves more than 169,000 students in 77 elementary schools, 26 middle schools, 19 high schools, four charter schools and six other schools.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

THE News Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.