Context with data or data for context? And make learning that context.

Pedagogy before technology and learning before data.

As an educator that’s always going to be my perspective, and in recent years an exciting (sometimes puzzling and frustrating) arena with data has been developing in education. Purpose and context are paramount to the effective use of big and small data in schools, and obviously centred around it’s impact on learning.

Successful intervention strategies have been guided, and learning gains demonstrated, by data in schools. Nothing new there.

The most positive digital storytelling examples with data, perhaps small data on a spreadsheet, have visualised impact on learning.  Nothing new there.

Now as teachers embrace more online tools, students create more digital learning footprints and leaders incorporate more data systems to inform their visions for learning, the big data phenomenon is reaching schools.

With the Codifying Learning project in Hull, our on-going focus is to explore learning analytics in primary and secondary school settings.  The context? A learning context supporting learners to learn and teachers to teach.  Nothing new there.

What is new are the tools and dashboards that can additionally support questioning and decision making in schools.

Big data and small data impacting on learning to support personalise pathways to success. Just an example of course.  Context with data or data for context?

That’s for school leaders to decide once they consider the needs of their students and use the data to help decide on their own questions.  Nothing new there.

Postscript: Context around spending 12 months learning to dance was research into learning analytics and taking models from outside of education which impacted on performance.  Learning. Nothing new there.

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