Today, I had a chance to listen to a very bright guy from Gartner Research talk about how to create better metrics for the Infrastructure and Operations of our district IT department. He was on to some good things, some of my highlights:
- We tend to focus on productivity metrics (i.e. number of help desk tickets closed or bug fixes released) because the are easy to quantify, but one dimensional analysis doesn’t help the bottom line.
- We rarely look at more difficult metrics such as efficiency gains, end-user satisfaction, or IT staff satisfaction.
- IT departments need to demonstrate value by redefining metrics in business specific terms.
As my mind wondered, I couldn’t help but think about how this is the same issue with Ed Tech. When technology is introduced into the classroom the metrics are usually focused around productivity. All of my students now have blogs, all of my teachers now have a Twitter PLN, all of my administrators now have a google apps account, etc…
We aren’t doing a very good job asking the critical questions that actually justify the huge investments that schools are making in Ed Tech:
- Is this technology allow teachers to focus more of their time on what they do best, teach, inspire, and motivate?
- Does the technology being used directly effect learning outcomes?
- Can Ed Tech usage be describe and defined by something less ambiguous than giving students 21st century skills?
As more of us are getting heaps of tech to meet the needs of online testing, how are you going to define your metrics to go beyond the number of students that successfully tested online?
Excited about “Hour of Code”?
Learning to code opened doors to me personally and professionally. It also empowered me to become a more effective problem solver and thinker.
Most importantly it drew back the veil on the most fundamental “black box” in modern society.
So, I challenge anybody that reads this to not stop with an hour of code, but to push ahead. 10,000 hours might be to much for you, but 10,000 lines of code might just leave you with a cool app or two.
Get started with these resources:
Big Data is a fantastic buzz word in education right now. It is being held up as the next silver bullet that will revolutionize education with adaptive learning. I’d argue that in its current approach big data is solving the wrong problem in education.
Once again we are treating educational issues as a consumer problem. The thinking is that students don’t like what they are learning so the don’t learn and that admin/teachers are looking for data to tell them what to do. The just perpetuates the incorrect viewpoint that if could remove teachers from curriculum design then students would be happier and more engaged. This couldn’t be more wrong and is summarized well here by John Warner.
So where do I believe that data can play a powerful role in the education profession?
- Early Warning Systems – These predictive models can help teachers and administrators identify student trends early so that interventions can be taken.
- Operational Reporting – Weekly or daily reports that highlight the temperature of a classroom or school. The measures can be academic, behavioral, or attitude.
- Automating Classroom/School Management – There are still too many analog processes in schools that take up valuable time and resources. Using data systems could automate and alleviate many of these issues.
I believe that these are the low hanging fruit on the data tree. Once education professions start taping into these pieces, they can make better decisions about the rest.