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Teacher and Coach Rodriguez Invited to Sports Analytics Conference

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CHS teacher Kristen Rodriguez had the great opportunity to attend an event in Boston, Massachusetts at the Boston Convention Center. The center hosted the MIT SLOAN Sports Analytics Conference. There were about 1,000 to 3,000 people at this conference which consisted of undergraduates, students, individuals applying for jobs, news media such as ESPN, and influential speakers such as former president Barack Obama.
Rodriguez signed up for this event so she could enhance the learning of her students learning in her IB Biology, Anatomy, and Physiology classes. The entire conference was focused on sports science which gravitates more to her prior knowledge of exercise science as well as her involvement with coaching the CHS Boys’ Water Polo team. Rodriguez’s love for science and sports brought an interesting connection between the two and led her to discover more about both topics, which helped her to better her own learning and teaching.
Through this conference, Rodriguez gained access to many resources, such as 18 Harvard graduate papers. She is currently trying to convert them into a stable usable format for her IB Biology and Anatomy classes. Rodriguez believes that these essays are good for her students to observe because of their imperfections. Rodriguez hopes that these papers will advance her current IB Biology students’ understanding and ability to write an Internal Assessment (IA). The IA is a 14-page essay IB students write on a topic of their choice. The IA is a large portion of the grade in the IB Biology class as well as the diploma, so Rodriguez believes these papers may be a good example for her students.
“By sharing these papers with my students, they can see that having a perfect paper is hard to achieve,” Rodriguez said. “Many graduates have worked on these papers for over two years and still, during the conference, were being told what they could have done better. Even at that level of schooling, mistakes are made and that is okay.”
She believes that this conference gave her a helping hand because she was unfamiliar on how to approach students with analyzing pre-existing data and their conclusions. By attending this conference, she gained new knowledge on how to improve her students’ learning by outlining a way to guide them through the difficult process they may face within her classes.
“This conference gave me some insight on what could be done, both in and out of sports,” Rodriguez said. “It was a real eye-opener.”
Rodriguez also had the great opportunity to hear former president Obama speak at this conference as well. She had no knowledge of his appearance at the conference and could not believe his attendance. Obama’s main focus during his discussion was to answer questions about his usage of data in politics, the general value of a poll for the public, and how to understand what exactly statistics are saying. He used polls to help him throughout his political career, such as debating sending troops to war. Throughout his discussion, he talked about the importance of having multiple voices in every conversation whether they agreed with him or not. The importance of data is to guide one’s decision by making and/or collecting data to make a better advised decision. He believes that we can never lose the understanding of human intuition. Rodriguez was extremely astonished and grateful for having the opportunity to sit and listen in on his discussion.
Overall, the MIT SLOAN Sports Analytics Conference was a great experience for Rodriguez and contributed to her own personal and professional growth. She believes that this conference opened her eyes to discovering new ways to enhance the learning experience for herself and her students here at CHS.

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Teacher and Coach Rodriguez Invited to Sports Analytics Conference