by Justin Mann, Geddit.com
Teachers have always had their bag of tricks when it comes to understanding how students are doing in class.
Good teachers can spot the clues that point to a struggling student, or one who isn’t challenged. Great teachers keep track of each student’s needs, and know exactly when to push harder or lend a helping hand. With data in the classroom, teachers can go one step further and see the patterns hiding just out of sight!
Pieces Of The Puzzle
Teachers have had to rely on limited tools to get their insights. Every teacher knows the limits of what a pop quiz can tell them about a student’s understanding. There’s a lot that can change between one test and the next. There’s a divide in every classroom between the students who raise their hand every time, and the ones who are afraid to ever speak up.
Keeping track of a mountain of information from many different sources is an almost impossible task. Teachers must rely on experience and intuition to piece everything together and get a clear picture. But there often isn’t enough time to reflect on everything that might lead to a flash of insight. While grading exit tickets informs teaching, it’s time not spent directly engaging students.
The Subtle Power Of Data
There’s no doubt that digital learning tools give teachers access to an incredible array of content. But there’s also a more subtle benefit that can go overlooked. Digital tools record everything, and give teachers unprecedented access to data.
Dashboards and graphs help teachers keep track of everything. There’s no paper shuffling, grading is automatic and all the pieces are brought together in one place. Teachers can spend less time digging through paperwork, and more on responding to the needs of every student as they arise.
The Future Of Data In The Classroom
Curricula like the Common Core place renewed emphasis on evidence-based teaching. Data from digital tools help teachers apply 21st century skills. What’s more, data can be tailor made to help teachers meet new reporting requirements without taking up any extra time.
As digital learning tools get smarter, the data they produce will become ever more useful for teachers. Tools will be able to spot patterns in learning and bring them to the teacher’s attention. They will be able to suggest the best content for every student, no matter the learning environment. They’ll be able to make predictions about where a student might start to struggle.
No piece of software can ever replace a teacher. But the right tools tools can give inspired teachers the right information at the right time to help every student achieve.
5 Innovative Tools For Data-Based Teaching
I have long believed that formative assessment data goes beyond quizzing, and when I got tired of grading exit tickets I started to build my own tool called Geddit. It encourages students to do a mini self-assessment called a ‘check-in’ at several points throughout my lesson. If you are not in a 1-to-1 environment, but you’re after similar formative assessment data I highly recommend Plickers. Each student holds up a “paper clicker” and you can use your smartphone to scan the class. Like Geddit, it allows you to do instant checks-for-understanding, exit tickets, and mini quizzing. Both tools also let you save student data to quickly and easily inform differentiation.
If you’re after a tool to assist you with summative assessment check out Flubaroo. It’s a Google Doc script that lets you create online tests and quizzes. Grading them involves just a single click and all data can be converted into a report and then sent to students. Reports like this are important, they can help reveal patterns and trends hidden inside your data. LearnSprout recognize this, they specialize in turning raw, abstract data into actionable information for schools.
On a larger scale again, Panorama Education has assisted hundreds of districts to conduct surveys of students, teachers, staff and parents. Panorama supports school systems through the entire survey process, from survey design to administration to reporting and analysis to follow-through. Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, invested in the company as he believes that Panorama Education “is an exciting example of the way technology can help teachers, parents and students.”
Are you using data in your classroom to inform your teaching? Has it helped you find out something about your students that surprised you? I would love to hear about it!
5 Innovative Tools For Data-Based Teaching