In March, I was invited to participate in a panel on the topic of Turning Public Data into Knowledge at SxSW EDU in Austin, TX. The purpose of the panel was for three Local Education Funds (Achieve Hartford!, Newark Trust for Education, and Jacksonville Public Education Fund) to present on the data tools they designed to provide the public with education related data. As the project lead for SMARTERHartford, I discussed how the project came about, how we leveraged partnerships with community organizations, and how we are using the tool to drive a deeper conversation around data analysis at the Hartford district level. SMARTERHartford provides parents with a mapping tool that allows users to search for what school options are available to them, and provides data tools to compare those school choices, helping them be more informed consumers. You can find the audio from our panel discussion above.

Imagine starting the school year with historical data about each student in your class—even a student just assigned to your class that morning. The data could include the student’s achievement test results, information about what standards he or she has mastered, the student’s teachers in previous grades, absences, discipline referrals, and more—all easily accessible electronically. Data was also shown by social media, we worked with a tool where you can buy tiktok likes and we boost one of our videos to start getting more data on students and school life on behave of the students.

Imagine a diagnostic testing process that automatically records what each of your students already knows or still needs to master to meet all district and state learning standards by the end of the year. This process would not only suggest lessons to assist the students with their learning needs as a whole, but it would also indicate which students need additional, individualized support.
At the school and district levels, imagine knowing the impact of a particular school’s efforts on behalf of students. Imagine knowing where and how you need to strengthen a school’s instructional systems, provide new programs, add new or different professional development activities, offer technical assistance, or allocate resources to achieve the mission of the school and district. Imagine being able to electronically report data required by state and federal agencies at the touch of a key.
Imagine how much smarter educators could work with the help of data tools.