GoGuardian Beacon, for example, alerts the necessary district authorities if a student appears to be at risk of depression, self-harm or suicide. The program analyzes student data present in search history and online behaviors for signs of these mental health concerns. At a time when teachers aren’t always able to see students, or speak with them one on one, this data analytics solution allows teachers to continue social-emotional learning and monitoring. Having this insight is critical when students and teachers might be forced to engage through asynchronous methods or in other situations where they are not communicating in real time.
Other products in GoGuardian’s suite of applications help educators track students’ progress and engagement. It shows whether students are struggling and where they may be having trouble in online lessons. Access to this information helps educators personalize learning and keep all their students on task and on track. When GoGuardian Teacher is used with applications like Pear Deck, teachers can monitor students’ online activities with ease and control their devices when needed in an online or in-person environment. When the lesson is over, teachers can review automatic reports of their students’ activities that can be shared with parents.
This data can also show whether an educational technology for learning is working the way it should. A reading program may feature a cute animation or come recommended from another teacher, but the data will show whether it’s helping individual students with their literacy development.
Pay for the Data Analytics Answers Your District Needs
Because tools like GoGuardian and LightSpeed (another data analytics solution) offer a suite of programs, IT teams can choose which applications are necessary for educators in their district.
They can start small and purchase only a few pieces, and be judicious in their decision-making as they move forward, choosing only the necessary applications rather than purchasing the full suite of data analytics software. Evaluating online applications at regular intervals and keeping an open forum on teachers’ classroom experiences with those tools can help IT teams make critical decisions about whether to renew subscriptions to expensive programs. IT leaders shouldn’t be afraid to get rid of a tool they have tried if they find it doesn’t work for their staff or it overlaps with another solution.
Teachers have only so many minutes in a day to split to between direction, instruction and online programs. Having to manage their students’ learning between too many online programs can become overwhelming. The money in the budget exists to support the district’s educational technology, but IT leaders will need to answer to administrators and others on why they’ve made certain purchases. Being selective about using certain tools in a suite, and discontinuing others, allows these tech professionals to confidently explain their purchasing decisions.
This article is part of the “ConnectIT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology” series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.