CU Denver STEM Education Professor Geeta Verma has been empowering women and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields through her National Science Foundation grant and other research activities. Verma has embarked on a new journey and founded a new online platform called LivedXTM. The platform leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to accelerate opportunities for minoritized and marginalized youth. LivedX was recently included in Forbes Next 1000 List.
Growing up in India, Verma recognized the glaring educational and economic disparities in the society. This and her STEM education work became her motivation to develop LivedX, an aspirational tool used to reduce some of these disparities by valuing the lived experiences of all youth, especially the minoritized and marginalized, into formal academic credentials.
“I envisioned LivedX after talking to students, educators, and administrators who are working hard to get high school and college students to graduate,” said Verma.
Identifying the Problem in Achievement Gaps
Achievement gaps continue to persist between historically disadvantaged students in Colorado and throughout the nation. The latest K-12 CMAS data available (prior to the pandemic) showed that in all grades, Black and Hispanic students lagged behind their white peers in math and English achievement data.
From 2019 through 2020, college graduation rates in Colorado averaged 66.7% for Native American students, 72.8% for Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander students, 75.4% for Hispanic or Latino students, 76.6% percent for Black students, 86.7% for White students, and 91.2% for Asian students. Across the state, there are not only racial/ethnic attainment gaps, but also attainment gaps for students from low-income families and first-generation students.
What is LivedX? How Does it Help?
LivedX is designed to minimize the impact of the unequal backgrounds of minoritized students’ lives. The platform helps individuals create a data-driven profile of essential life skills guided by their life experiences. By leveraging machine learning, these skills are turned into micro-credentials categories such as collaboration, communication, and global citizenship skills. Students can also earn college credits by stacking their LivedX micro-credentials through the University of Colorado Denver.
According to Verma, she is attempting to solve two problems: getting these students to the graduation finish line by helping them earn extra credits, and capturing their stories— stories of perseverance, creativity, and other skills to broaden the notion of achievement beyond academic credits.
Verma stated, “I felt compelled to change the status quo by creating a socially-just AI tool that supports, motivates, and empowers diverse students and women to document and convey their important life-skills in ways that will help them overcome achievement opportunity gaps.”
Measurable results for LivedX, to date, include 2000 + student user profiles and high user satisfaction rates. Participant responses have included: “I feel my life matters” and “the technology is really easy to use.” Many plan to mention the skills they have documented in LivedX in job and higher education applications.
“Moving forward, this tool will also connect students to adult and peer mentors and learning opportunities to create an ecosystem that enables students to succeed in every aspect of their lives,” said Verma.
Currently, LivedX is partnering with multiple high schools as well as universities in the United States. Students are notified by their school/university that they are eligible to engage with the platform at no individual cost. Through a partnership with CU Denver and its School of Education & Human Development, individual students may obtain transcripted CU Denver credits for their completion of activities in LivedX at the cost of $74 per credit for US high school students and $119 per credit for US college students.
In 2022, Verma plans to expand the use of the LivedX platform to youth living around the globe.