Comparing data to snowflakes, David Grandison Jr. (BrainPOP), talked about the unique value of each piece of data yielded by digital learning resources. However, he said, if you don’t have a plan on what you are collecting, how you collect it, and how you analyze it, the snowflakes can turn into a blizzard. At the 2014 CIC session Who’s Your Data? What Every Content Person Must Know About Data and Product Development, the panel, led by Grandison, discussed the culture shift to a data-driven society and how publishers can help educators and themselves by thoughtfully tracking and analyzing information.
Sara Ittelson (Knewton): It’s not about the volume of data—it’s about collecting the right data, the data that lets teachers and students track progress and plot a path for next steps. Doing pre-work at the beginning of the product development process about the data you plan to collect is critically important so that you can plan what teachers will do with the information at each step. For each piece of data you want to collect, you need to be able to answer so what? What is it about this piece of data that is important? Be clear about what you are asking of the students and why.
Lori Anderson (ALEKS): Data helps put the learning back in the hands of the students. If schools had unlimited resources, there would be a one-to-one teacher-student ratio everywhere. Technology can help facilitate learning and extend the reach of the educator. The data you provide must be instructionally actionable, but it can also motivate a student. Students want to know where they are on the learning path.
Joel Gurin (Governance Lab, NYU): The data movement in education is similar to healthcare, where the trend is to give individuals control over their data and how they share it. The human role is changing from being a fourth-rate data processor to a situational expert—someone who can apply the data to specific individual needs. Providing students with continuous feedback is incredibly powerful.
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