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5 Tips for Meaningful Data Collection this School Year

May 6, 2021

What type of data do you really want to collect this school year? Whether you are approaching the last few weeks of school or planning for the upcoming school year, data collection is part of our everyday work as educators. You might monitor information on student participation during live video instruction or review formative assessment data and how frequently students submit responses in a discussion forum.

In this blog post, I’ll share five tips for meaningful data collection this school year and introduce you to a tool called Bitsio that is new on the EdTech scene. Although there are many things to consider when collecting data, here are five tips for making the most of data!

Tips for Making the Most of Data

Set an intention

If you’ve ever opened up a spreadsheet or reviewed a dynamic dashboard, you might have felt the data overwhelm. Sometimes the first thing that comes to mind is the question, Where do I start? Instead of trying to tackle an analysis of all of the information on your screen, focus on just one area to start. You might even want to jot down your intention on a sticky note and stick it on the corner of your monitor or display screen, so you stay focused.

Find a partner

Any time I’m diving into a big task, I like to have a partner. Sometimes a partner is someone sitting by my side at a table or jumping into a video call together. Other times a partner is more for accountability or to act as a sounding board. Finding a partner to review data or to give feedback on your data collection routine is helpful for lots of reasons. They might be able to help you brainstorm an action item based on what you observe, or they might be able to help you think about what the data is actually telling you about a topic.

View multiple sources

Most likely, you’re gathering information from multiple sources during the school year. If you want to reference a few data sources simultaneously, you might decide to do a split-screen or add another screen into your rotation. A split-screen might simply be two side-by-side web browsers, each logged into a different data source. Alternatively, you might have another screen, like a tablet nearby, and log in to one of the data sources there. This way, you can glance between two data sources on two different screens.

 Meaningful Data Collection this School Year

Establish a schedule

Jumping into a data review might feel like an arduous task if it isn’t part of your regular routine. Suppose you know that you are collecting formative assessment data from students on a daily basis or sending out interest surveys to your school community each month. In that case, you can establish a schedule for reviewing data. You might decide to set up a reminder on your calendar or an appointment at a repeating time each week.

Share what you’ve learned

The data you collect over the course of the school year doesn’t have to be for “your eyes only.” You can share information you have collected with other stakeholders in your school community. This data might include sharing data you collect with a student’s family to help them understand how to support their child or scheduling a meeting with a service provider who works with a student to review information with them.

Real-Time Analytics for School Data from Bitsio

Do you gather data from a range of sources during the school year? If you’re looking to pull data from different platforms and review it all in one place, there is a new platform called Bitsio. They are new to the EdTech scene and looking for partner schools. Bitsio can work with many different data sources like Google Classroom, Canvas, Skyward, Zoom, Webex, and more.

This platform lets you combine data to give you a more holistic picture of what is going on in a classroom, school, or district. How does this work? With Bitsio, you can combine data from more than one source to get a bigger picture of what is happening in digital spaces. For example, you might combine Google Calendar data with a video conferencing tool like Zoom. This way, you can tell if students are signing in for class meetings or notice times when students aren’t participating as frequently. With Bitsio, you can set up custom alerts so both teachers and administrators can get analytics delivered to their email.

You can use this link to learn more about Bitsio and get in touch with their team. If you click on the “Contact Us” button on their homepage, you’ll find a space to share your data needs and connect with their team. Right now, the team at Bitsio is looking for schools to pilot their platform. Use the “Contact Us” button on their website to let them know if you’re interested.

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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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