Will big data jobs go unfilled?
Students at both the K-12 and university levels should learn how to handle and interpret big data, but to do this, educators at both levels must be comfortable using and teaching about big data.
Big data is quickly becoming one of the most important fields, and workers who are able to handle, analyze, and interpret data will be in high demand in the workforce. And this need is critical in education, from students who must know how to use data as part of learning, to educators who should be able to interpret student data.
“At the university level, [professors] see this huge need for people who have the training to work with big data, so they’re creating training programs, certifications, graduate programs, and even whole new departments,” said Ruth Krumhansl, director of the Education Development Center's Oceans of Data Institute (ODI). “What they’re saying is that this is a whole new field requiring knowledge from many different disciplines.”
ODI helps students and educators learn about big data, from its potential, to its importance, to the need for professionals to have data skills.
Krumhansl said there is a “huge amount” of data analytics training at the community college level, but not a lot at the K-12 level. Because these skills are lacking at the K-12 level, many students often are not interested in pursuing data-heavy fields of study when they enter higher education.
“Basic skills in working with data, which every person should have, are not being taught in K-12 school, so they’re lacking at high levels in data-driven professions,” Krumhansl said. “Teachers and administrators need the same skills they have to be teaching to their students.”
ODI recently created a job profile for a “big data specialist” to help students, educators, and policymakers understand the skills needed, on both the student and educator side, to produce workers with high levels of data know-how.
The organization gathered a panel of big data experts from businesses, government agencies, and universities to create the profile, and panelists agreed that a big data specialist should:
Identify problems and questions necessary to solve those problems
Develop deep knowledge of data sources
Manage data resources
Be able to critically evaluate the results of analyses to determine the level of confidence
Have strong soft skills such as analytical and critical thinking
Cogent Education wins 2015 FETC Goldfish Tank Innovators Competition
Cogent Education: Interactive Cases is the winner of the Goldfish Tank Innovators Competition during the 2015 Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando, Florida.
The Education Technology Industry Network (ETIN) of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry, and 1105 Media, Inc., which provides integrated business-to-business information and media to qualified professionals in the public, academic and private sectors focusing on technology, made the announcement during the conference.
“This year’s Goldfish Tank competition was the closest ever,” said Karen Billings, vice president and managing director for ETIN-SIIA. “The educators in the audience had a really tough decision because all of these innovators are really harnessing technology in new and engaging ways. Cogent Education has the potential to engage students for years to come.”
A panel of ed-tech experts selected Cogent Education: Interactive Cases as a finalist for the Goldfish Tank Innovators Program, and conference attendees voted it most innovative and likely to be used in the classroom.
(Next page: Additional winners in the education competition)
“The Goldfish Tank competition is one of the highlights of the Incubator Pavilion at FETC,” said Patrick Gallagher, event director, education events at 1105 Media. “The Incubator Pavilion, co-sponsored by ETIN-SIIA, FETC and the National Science Foundation, provides attendees the opportunity to explore emerging K-12 technologies and ed tech companies. Cogent Education is a great example of the innovative work that is being done in the industry.”
More than 20 applicants were assessed for the Goldfish Tank Innovators Completion on a broad range of criteria by both industry leaders and educators around the globe. Five participants were selected as finalists for the program, and educators at FETC chose the winner.
The full list of finalists includes:
Cogent Education:Interactive Cases
Teachley: Teachley Analytics
The Education Technology Industry Network (ETIN) of SIIA serves and represents more than 200 member companies that provide educational software applications, digital content, online learning services, and related technologies across the K-20 sector. The Division shapes and supports the industry by providing leadership, advocacy, business development opportunities, and critical market information. For more information on ETIN at SIIA, visit siia.net/etin.
How a GoPro got my students excited to learn
I had not planned to purchase a GoPro while out shopping. However, it was on sale, I had a coupon, two gift cards, and two weeks in the Florida Keys was just a moon phase away. Needless to say the summer spent fishing, snorkeling, and kayaking in the Keys yielded very few incredible pictures. I had purchased the Digital Hero 3, the first GoPro with sound. After that experience my GoPro stayed packed up with all my kayak gear and did not see the light of day too often.
Fast forward to August 2013 . . .
It was the start of a new school year and I found myself teaching six classes of eighth grade technology and one class of TV Production. I was intimidated to be teaching TV Production and having to produce a daily news show for the school. I was not a stranger to project-based video projects, but a daily TV show was a different monster.
The first thing I did was dust off my old GoPro, purchase a remote control car, and a bag of adhesive mounts. The TV production students started using the remote control car and my old GoPro to drive around school and film different events. I am not sure what was more exciting for the students, to see themselves on the morning announcements or to have them jump in front of a remote control car running down the hallway during class change.
This setup worked for a while, but as with any type of older technology, there were limits. I had to find a way to get a new GoPro that had Wi-Fi capabilities, so the entire production would be simplified. Significant time was spent looking for ways to upgrade our equipment and I had my eyes set on a GoPro Hero 3 Black+ camera. After meeting a sales rep for GoPro at FETC 2014 and entering an education contest, I won a GoPro Hero 3 Black+ with accessories for my classroom. In a matter of days the GoPro started to reshape my technology classroom in many positive ways.
DCPS implements Follett’s Aspen SIS
The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) system has selected Follett and its Aspen solution to help the 47,000-student district capture, report, manage and analyze its student data, support enrollment, scheduling and behavior, and help track student attendance and prevent truancy.
DCPS officials said the district was seeking a more robust, flexible and customizable student information system (SIS).
Comprised of 111 elementary and secondary schools and learning centers located in Washington, D.C., DCPS introduced Aspen into its elementary schools this year and plans to implement the solution districtwide this summer.
Weighed down by an aging, cumbersome SIS, district officials embarked on a search for a new system more than a year ago. Key factors in selecting a new SIS included how it performed out of the box, its customizability to meet the district’s ever-evolving policies, and the system’s flexibility.
“The district identified the many pain points with its previous SIS and we’re confident Aspen will help meet and exceed DCPS’ overall desire to measure and advance its student learning and student/classroom management,” said Tom Schenck, president, Follett School Solutions. “We are honored to partner with a district that so passionately believes a strong school system with high achieving students is the backbone of the city.”
The adoption of Aspen extends the long-term relationship between DCPS and Follett. The district has used Follett’s Destiny Library Manager for more than eight years.
Now in 15 states and Canada, Follett’s Aspen SIS serves more than 1.5 million students.
For more information on Follett’s PreK-12 business, visit FollettLearning.com. For more information on District of Columbia Public Schools, visit www.dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/.
eSchool Media effort will address education’s challenges
eSchool Media (eSM), is thrilled to announce the launch of its eSchool Experience and Exchange Regional Assembly Series (E3).
The vision behind the E3 series is to shed light on and provide a venue for collaboration between school, district and industry leaders to openly discuss and address the challenges facing education today and those of tomorrow while fostering conversations that lead to real, actionable solutions for our kids.
The first E3 Assembly in the series is slated for early-Q2 2015 in California.
In partnership with GreyED Solutions and Net4EdAccess, eSM will convene both National and Regional Advisory Boards, comprised of educators and administrators, for the E3 Series to ensure each assembly touches far-reaching national issues like the Common Core or Blended Learning as well as local challenges teachers face in their classrooms daily.
(Next page: What industry experts are saying about the effort to shed light on education's challenges)
"It has become increasingly important to ensure that there is more room at the decision making table within school districts, once implemented, any ed-tech solution or change to instructional approach can touch all corners of a school or district," said eSchool Media Group Publisher Wendy LaDuke.
Over the course of the two-day E3 Assembly, educators, administrators, and vendors alike will have the chance to attend breakout sessions, panels and round table discussions hosted by their peers that will highlight collaborative solutions applied to some of the biggest challenges facing education today.
These sessions will showcase district teams who crossed organizational silos to collaborate, communicate and leverage technology for impacting student success. Vendors will hear directly from school leaders on their challenges and successes and will have the opportunity for direct feedback on how their products or services resonates with the goals schools are focused on.
"The E3 Assemblies will provide a forum for interaction and collaboration between stakeholders, engaging the entire ‘village’ to ensure successful implementations and increased student achievement," said GreyED CEO Dr. Julie Carter.
For more information about the E3 Assembly Series and how your organization or district can participate, please visit http://eschoolmedia.com/e3-assembly-series/.