"We're all data analysts now," has become a common refrain in the data analytics world as organizations increasingly rely on data to provide 360 degree views of their businesses and customers and to aid their decision-making. In many ways, this has been true all along — employees have always had to make decisions based on the information at their disposal, often incomplete, analog or anecdotal in nature.
Teachers are an excellent example. They've always been data workers — assessing students' understanding of the material based on test scores, classroom engagement, quality of homework, etc., with the goal of improving that understanding.
Knowing that individual students learn in different ways, many schools today have adopted the idea of personalized learning as their pedagogical approach: They assess each student on their learning needs, interests, aspirations and cultural backgrounds to create a personalized education program designed to maximize education outcomes.
Teachers Have Always Been Data Analysts, Analytics Can Help
Adding analytics and data visualizations to the mix won't suddenly make teachers into data analysts. Rather, the promise is that access to more and better data, and the capability to visualize it in more meaningful ways, will make teachers better able to perform the data analysis they've been doing all along.
"Currently, if you look at the way teachers work in the day, they not only teach, they are being asked to sift through miles and miles of data and see what it actually means for them and what it actually means for the student," says Raj Chary, vice president of technology and architecture at education content provider Triumph Learning.
On Thursday, Triumph Learning will go live with GET Waggle, an online learning platform with Common Core and state standards-aligned content in English language arts and math, built with embedded analytics at the core.
Waggle is built for grades 3-8 and available in both Math and English Language Arts (ELA). Teachers can use Waggle in the classroom or assign it as homework. Waggle uses games, review sections, progress indicators, and other fun features to engage students in the learning process.
The platform, winner of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Literacy Courseware Challenge grant, is powered by adaptive learning technology from Knewton. Knewton's adaptive engine analyzes what students know and how they learn best, providing learning recommendations, instructions and hints customized to each student.
Analytics Can Make It Easier to Personalize Education
"Today's classrooms are filled with students who have different needs, come from different backgrounds, and have different interests," says Jess Nepom, implementation architect at Knewton.
"Within Waggle, Knewton technology figures out what each student knows and recommends which concepts to work on next — helping all students meet course goals, master material and get ahead. Teachers can assign specific assignments to their students, and Knewton will recommend the right practice items to help students complete the assignment successfully. Productive struggle is encouraged within Waggle: Students can explore lessons and accelerate learning when appropriate."
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