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Can data analytics make teachers better educators?

Thor Olavsrud | July 29, 2014
"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.

"For instructors, Waggle features a robust, easy-to-use interface that provides actionable information about their students, along with suggestions of ways to use that data to inform instruction and intervene when necessary," Nepom adds. "Educators can identify students who are struggling or excelling in certain content areas, and take immediate steps to remediate or accelerate as necessary."

When students get something wrong in their work, Waggle doesn't just determine that they reached an incorrect answer. It's able to determine how and why they were wrong — maybe they guessed quickly or needed a hint or two before getting to the right place. Paired with historical data about how they fared in previous experiences, Waggle's interactive skills are designed to create a snapshot of student progress.

The data is exposed to teachers and school administrators through embedded analytics that help educators identify where students are excelling or struggling. Teachers can then use that data to accelerate lessons or provide remediation in those areas tailored to the student's individual needs.

Data Visualizations Must Be Delightful

Waggle's visualizations and reports are powered by Visualize.js, a JavaScript framework included in the newly released TIBCO Jaspersoft 5.6 platform and available as a cloud service. It combines the capabilities of the full Jaspersoft analytic server with the control of JavaScript, giving developers the capability to leverage REST APIs to embed the features of the Jaspersoft analytic server directly into their applications with just a few lines of code.

"GET Waggle makes it simple for teachers and school administrators to track and measure students' progress and growth on skills and standards," Chary says. "Data visualizations and analytics are a key component of our product platform, and the ability to take immediate actions on key metrics makes it a very powerful tool for our users. We needed visualizations in our product to be delightful, not a daunting experience."

"We want this platform to be very simple for teachers and to surface data that is meaningful," Chary adds. "We want it to actually tell a story to teachers: 'Hey, out of 30 students, these five students are really struggling with these skills. They're actually putting in effort, but they're still struggling.' Then the teacher can just focus on what they really love, which is teaching, not trying to be a data scientist."


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