Data Science

Data Science for Social Impact in Education with Dr. John Harnisher

Dr. John Harnisher, who leads the education practice at DataKind joins host Mike Palmer in a conversation about how data science can drive social impact in education. Having known each other for over 10 years, we have an engaging conversation reflecting on John’s journey in the learning field.

John gives us an inside look at DataKind’s mission of bringing data science and AI capabilities to social impact organizations. He shares a case study from their work with John Jay College in New York, where they built machine learning models to predict which students were at risk of not graduating. By providing this data to academic advisors, John Jay was able to improve graduation rates by 30%.

We discuss the importance of keeping humans involved when implementing AI, rather than just optimizing for the technology. We also cover topics including trust in data, the hype cycle around AI, and how to measure impact. John emphasizes that we should focus AI on core problems facing education organizations, not just chase the latest “new hotness.”

Don’t miss this chance to learn more about how data science and AI can make a social impact in education and beyond.

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Episode References

Barron, J. (2023, September 20). How A.I. Increased the Graduation Rate at John Jay College by 32 Points. The New York Times.