Teachers, Administrators or Students? What Sector Should Data Focus On?

Zoe Mackay | IBL News

“Data” is the buzzword we hear in every field and in every tech conference. Especially in online education, data is everything. A panel at the IMS Global Learning Consortium offered valuable insight into the steps we need to take in order to make data work for teachers and students. The panel was moderated by Mike Sharkey, and featured Steve Liffick, Sean DeMonner, Dwayne Alton, Joel Hames and Phil Miller.

There is disagreement on what sectors of the education community should be focused on first when it comes to data. Is it the teachers, administrators, students? While Miller says the focus needs to be on administrators, as they are the key stakeholder for making faculty and students successful, Alton stresses that with the transition to digital learning, “the teachers are challenged to know [at what level] their students are” and require data support.

Within academia, there are many levels that necessitate varying types of support, said Johnston. Specifically, with students, there needs to be a focus on the efficacy of allowing access to data and how it changes student relationships with the instructor.

Hames, who focuses on younger academic populations, finds parents to be a key element of the community that supports and fosters growth with their children, where data has a role to play. “Turning the data into something that guides and supports, redirects and creates those small changes in behavior and actions that can produce the positive outcomes that we expect.

The core principle we talk about at Microsoft,” says Liffick, “is data dignity. We hope to provide an incentive, through a little bit of extra insight, that helps the people who are the educators, educate.” There may never be enough data for everyone that wants it, but those in the community who are trying to make the data work for educators and students, as Liffick claims, must never forget their role.

To watch the full panel discussion, please click on the video below.