Mar 01 2017

3 Ways to Use Data You Are Already Collecting

Administrators and educators alike have access to data that can improve business practices and learning outcomes.

Big Data is not just for businesses anymore. The education sector is turning to data analytics as a tool for facilitating student and teacher success. In 2017, experts have predicted that schools will be looking to connect student and educator data to track return on investment. EdTech also identified data analytics as one of the top issues of 2017.

But analytics usage doesn’t have to be just for districts that have invested in a pricey data dashboard. Data that is easily accessed can be quite useful for teachers, administrators and students. Here are some examples:

1. Track Usage and Successful Tool Implementation

Earlier this year, Google Classroom added a tool for administrators to track usage trends such as active users, active classes and the number of posts created by individual students and teachers.

“With these reports, as well as new ones to be added in the future, we hope administrators will have the insights they need to provide the best support possible to their teachers and students,” writes Andrew Garrett, a software engineer for Google Classroom, in a blog announcing the update.

These types of usage reports are also available for all G Suite for Education apps, and a report from Gaggle indicates that this kind of data can be helpful in allocating resources and providing support to educators who might be struggling in using new tools.

Gaggle suggests districts create posters that remind teachers how to use the tools and give accolades to educators who are using them effectively.

“Teachers with lower usage will see other people or other schools taking new technology to new levels and will want to join in the success.”

2. Test Result Data Can Help Students Improve

All teachers give their students tests and quizzes, but it’s likely that not all of them use that data to its fullest.

Tools like Google Forms provide educators a way to give, grade and analyze tests and quizzes. In a guide created by educator Eric Curts, it was a suggested that teachers use Google Forms with an add-on called Flubaroo to facilitate quick grading of assessments and creation of grade reports.

Educator Stephanie Shaw told EdTech that she has her students track their quiz scores in Google Sheets as a way to give them a visual reminder of their progress.

“We are really just trying to help kids take responsibility for their own learning by knowing what it is they need to work on,” says Shaw.

In his review of Google Forms, Matt Miller blogged that the tool was great as a way to help students keep track of their own data.

3. Common Demographics Can Help with Digital Equity

Enrollment statistics, demographics and data on educational funding are publically available and can be helpful in the fight for digital equity.

The Future of Privacy Forum reported that an independent advocate used such easily accessible data in Pennsylvania to reveal that schools there that had less racial diversity were receiving more educational funding.

“Prompted by these findings, a new Basic Education Funding Commission found that the existing system created an unbalanced funding distribution that does not match the cost of providing for students’ needs based on the specific district, given programs offered and populations served,” the FPF noted.

Thanks to the data, the commission could recommend “a more proportionate and equitable formula-based funding.”


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