The IBM Innovation Center - Dallas hosts annual programming camps for local area high school students, showing how to develop applications for both the desktop and Android Java environments, as well as web applications. This year, in addition to the programming camp, the team was issued a challenge by Dr. Thomas Fomby, the director of the Richard B. Johnson Center for Economic Studies at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Fomby wanted to teach high school AP Statistics students about predictive analytics using IBM SPSS Modeler, using the same summer camp format.
The staff at the IBM Innovation Center - Dallas, lead by Kevin Gilhooly, created a three-day workshop for students from the Dallas Independent School District's Townview Magnet Center. Twenty students received a two-day intensive introduction to IBM SPSS Modeler as well as presentations from SMU professors who are working with analytics and Big Data in their research.
After an overview of SPSS Modeler, the students broke into teams and each team was assigned a "real world" problem using data provided by SMU. The high school students found themselves acting as mortgage bankers, bond rating officers, direct marketing managers, insurance fraud specialists or used car salesmen, working on industry-specific questions using predictive modeling.
After discussing the camp curricula with Dr. Fomby and the teachers from Townview, the development team added an additional challenge for the students. On the final day of the camp, each of the teams presented their results to an audience of experts from the IBM Innovation Center - Dallas and the IBM Global Solutions Center - Dallas, other local IBMers and SMU faculty and staff. The presentations reviewed the problem statement posed to the team, explained how they had used predictive analytics and SPSS Modeler to reach their conclusions, and finally presented their conclusions.
The students now have an idea of how predictive analytics could be used to answer real-world problems, and understand how analytics can be used to help businesses predict their futures. They also understand how IBM SPSS Modeler can help answer those questions.
Update: SMU has also published an article on the camp. We thank them again for all their support.