Last Tuesday, I was honored not only to attend, but also speak at the White House’s Education Datapalooza. This was a follow-up to the summer’s Education Data Jam, where I presented how eScholar integrates with the MyData Initative. The Education Datapalooza was an inspiring event organized by the Head of the Education Data Initiative Marina Martin, and hosted by U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park. Many education leaders spoke at the event, such as Jim Shelton, Assistant Deputy Director of the USED, and Karen Cator, Director of the USED Office of Educational Technology. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan led off the morning with some thought-provoking words about how open education data can be a game changer. I completely agree with him.
Making education data available to students and education stakeholders is essential. However, it does not stop there. It’s not just about making data available, but providing students and stakeholders with the right tools so that data is used to personalize education for each individual student. I had a great time at the Datapalooza, and I learned a lot from others, too. After presenting eScholar myTrack at the Education Datapalooza, listening to other innovators present their solutions, and looking at the product demos at the post-presentation showcase, it looks like we are all on the same page. Here are some of my takeaways from the event:
- Students need personalized pathways to be successful, as no two students are alike, even if they are trying to reach the same goal.
- Educators are already working hard. Leveraging data should not require them to work harder, but actually enable them to work smarter.
- Students want access to their own data, especially when it comes to transferring schools and applying to college.
- Education data must be open and available, with appropriate security, for all education entities: companies, districts, state agencies, nonprofits. This is the only way interoperability can be achieved.
So where does eScholar fit into this? I believe that we are a game changer here. For the past 15 years, we’ve been collecting student data from all sorts of sources: assessments, program, enrollment, attendance, and more. The next step that we are taking is to empower students and educators with this information through eScholar myTrack so that they can reach their goals.
What do you think? How do you think open data will change education?