In the past few weeks I’ve read at least three articles on ‘big data’. We are moving rapidly from knowledge capture to data generated insight and innovation. I think that the questions being posed for business in the age of data can be equally applied to education.
How can we ‘create value for our students/teachers using data and analytics? And if data is helping companies like Google and Amazon to develop new models of delivery, providing the customers with personalised and targeted information on likes and dislikes and information and opportunities which they may previously not known about, can this sort of data help education develop new models of personalised delivery? The answer for me has to be yes, or we risk irrelevancy in the schooling space.
Schooling will benefit from looking at the innovative businesses who are capitalising on the opportunities being powered by the Internet. Companies who are learning from and transforming what they do and how they do it through the data and tools available. Imagine if schools had access to student data from pre-kindergarten or if primary schools shared student data with high schools? We wouldn’t have to re-invent the wheel time or start from square one because a student changed schools. Critical information would be available for teachers who could then pick up the ball so to speak and identify new learning challenges. Imaging capturing data on career progression 10 years plus from exiting school and using that data to inform planning and learning opportunities for current students.
There is a great article in this month’s Harvard Business Review about using data to drive growth. It’s well worth a read. The authors pose five key questions for businesses. These are questions that deserve our immediate attention.
1. What data do we have?
2. What data can we access that we are not capturing?
3. What data could we create from our operations?
4. What helpful data could we get from others?
5. What data do others have that we could use in a joint initiative?
Good data helps us frame good questions and good questions will help us find new ways of individualising content and personalising learning. We need to be working smarter not harder in a connected online world.