Talk about a touchy subject. Mention data and its use in education and be ready for some long conversations: Student privacy! Teaching is an art, not a science! Kids are people, not numbers!
The topic can get complicated, too. An essay summarizing the recent EdTech Efficacy Research Symposium puts it as succinctly as possible. The symposium was a gathering of 275 researchers, teachers, entrepreneurs, professors, administrators, and philanthropists, who discussed the role efficacy research should play in guiding the development and implementation of education technologies: “Data can provide strong, real-time signals that advance productivity through, for example, predictive analytics, personalized learning, curriculum curating and delivery, and enabling the direct investigation into educational practices that work in specific contexts. The challenge is how to control and channel the deluge of bytes and information streaming from the estimated $25.4 billion K-16 education technology industry.” (For the full essay, go to http://bit.ly/2xtxr7b).
Ellen Ullman does a superb job of breaking down data’s role in schools even further. Want to find a way to manage student feedback? Read how Spring (TX) Independent School District does it. How about finding ways to boost attendance? Check out the successful strategies employed by Oakland High School in Oregon. North Branch (MN) Area Public Schools can even show you how to pass a referendum.
Data in schools doesn’t have to be a controversial or complicated subject. How do you handle it? Send me a note and we’ll add to you to the chorus of early adopters!
— Kevin Hogan