Flashing data

by Isabelle Grégoire, president and founder of Classo

How can meteorologists predict the weather? How does Facebook choose the ads that will be displayed on your news feed? How can we better understand certain diseases and find treatments? Why does Google put some websites forward rather than others? Thanks to the data, of course.

incandescent light

It's no longer a secret, the data is used for many purposes. Because it is risky to step forward in the dark, data can be particularly useful for informing decision-making.

From a scientific or medical research perspective, "evidence" is used. This approach then inspired the education community, hence the emergence of "Evidence-based education". This article focuses on the use of data to facilitate the management of digital resources.

A growing number of educational resources and digital tools are now available. The accessibility of digital technologies and the emergence of new teaching practices are leading teachers to use traditional textbooks less and less. The process of "supply" of materials and educational resources is turned upside down. How to reconcile the specific needs of each teacher, their professional autonomy to be able to choose the resources that suit them with an optimal allocation of budgets? That's a challenge! The data, the principles of so-called factual management as well as business intelligence are some of the solutions that we have worked on at Classo.

While doing some research, I came across a paper written by Jean Archambault, Ph.D., professor and director of research as well as France Dumais, MA (Ps.), Published by the Department of Administration and Foundations of the Education of the University of Montreal:
Data to lead: use or produce data and make decisions - a reference framework for principals in disadvantaged areas. Although this document was originally produced to guide decision-making by principals in disadvantaged areas, it does provide a more general framework for using data to guide decision-making.

Between the methodology presented in this frame of reference and the factual management practices, the process remains substantially the same.Decision-making processes based on dataIt is of course possible to conduct internal surveys, conduct discussions, gather meetings to collect data about the needs of teachers in terms of digital resources. But if data was available in real time, at any time and in a few clicks?



When we conducted the pilot projects of our digital resource platform during the 2019 winter, we of course wanted to collect the feedback and feedback from the teachers in order to improve it, but we also wanted to explore the potential of the data that can be collected and compiled using the Classo platform. To do this, we were able to count on the expertise of the Montreal Computer Research Center (CRIM).

How could this facilitate the management of digital resources? This brainstorming work led us to develop a dashboard for principals, ICT managers and school administrators to visualize, in real time, the interests and needs of their teachers in terms of resources. two ways.

Scoreboard, Alpha Elementary School

First, on the left, we can see the list, anonymous, of resources that have been saved as favorites by teachers in a school, school or school. It is possible to consult them by subject and by skills, including digital skills, as defined in the terms of reference of the Ministry of Education.

Then, the chart on the right shows the statistics of the most consulted resources. Once again, it is possible to visualize by subject, level, subjects and skills, but also by device, for school environments where fleets of available devices would be diversified. You can see the number of hits on the resource page, the number of times a resource has been compared to others, and the number of clicks to a resource's external website.Classo in the decision process based on dataThis is a first version of this tool developed for the attention of directorates, ICT managers and school administrators. As we did for the resource directory on our platform, we look forward to receiving feedback and suggestions from our partner schools and school boards to improve this dashboard so that it can meet the needs and provide all relevant information to inform decision-making, not only for the acquisition of resources, but also for their implementation, training needs or device choices.

Use of data: warnings

The use of data is also not to be taken lightly. Perhaps you have recently read the article of Le Devoir entitled Education system: simplistic analyzes, abusive conclusions? The authors, professors from the Department of Economics, ESG UQAM, and members of the Human Capital Research Group highlight the weakness of a report published by the school movement together that "portrays Quebec's education system as a dunce in the fight against 'inequalities' ". They note, among other things, that "the weaknesses of the report fall into three areas: data processing, methodology and interpretation of results. In their opinion, to be able to draw conclusions from evidence, a rigorous approach must be "based on several cycles of surveys, when available and comparable. "

The data should not be used as projectors whose color or orientation is changed to achieve the desired light effect. To stay in the metaphor, the data should rather be seen as lights that need to be decoded to make good decisions.

We can not mention the use of data without taking into account the legal aspects and the importance of the protection of personal information. The theft of Desjardins Group member data is a recent worrying example. Should we declare haro on the use of data so far? Not only would this deprive us of essential tools, but it would be impossible to stop the flow of data that is collected, transmitted and used by our electronic devices. Our approach, for Classo, is to focus on safety, of course, but also on transparency. That's why we've put in place a detailed and clear privacy policy and terms of use that specify exactly what data we collect and how it can be used. And is not it better to learn more about the implications of living in this hyperconnected world?

Is this not the right way to act as an ethical citizen in the digital age, the one at the very heart of the digital skills we need to develop?

* Photo of Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

For more information:

About Evidence-Based Education


About factual management
To move data to decisions: the five steps of factual management
by the order of the CPA

A little history of data science

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