Imagine a world where instead of analyzing what students have learnt from textbooks, educators can interpret the way each student in the class learns, what interests them and receive critical feedback to allow them to create tailor-made approaches and content to suit individual needs and unlock a child's full potential. With the use of what is known as "big data", this is now possible!
Lot of articles on the Internet and presentations by educationalists world-wide vouch for the above statement. The question is now, how can you make it happen and what are the stages necessary to reach this point? Can a single tool, or a combination of tools and technologies, get us there?
Lots of innovative tools have moved towards this in recent years, but a concerted action plan from all stakeholders of the education system is required to reach the level where we can reap the potential benefits of big data in Education. Although it's eagerly embraced there are still a lot of obstacles to overcome. All are familiar with Amazon's suggesting algorithm that helps us choose books based on our previous purchases and I'm sure most would agree that it makes our search much easier as a result. Learning management tools for students can use the same machine learning algorithms to pick content for individual students, and filters can be added depending on age or criteria defined by the class and subject teachers.
With the computerized student information system, online learning tools and tablets in the classroom, data collection easier than ever. Analytics and visualization on the collected data can bring insights for improvement in every process of the education. For example, a pattern of bad grades is no longer an individual student or a particular teacher's problem. Each and every pattern can provide clues to improve teaching methods by schools or to revise the chapters which are not working by the publishe .
Integrated systems on cloud platforms help the comparison and studying of data globally and locally at the same time. Privacy and security standards such as Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) are evolving to address possible vulnerability and to keep stakeholders well informed about what information is being used for which purpose. Finally, this evolution helps itself by providing educators with necessary tools for collaboration, allowing issues to be addressed together. Especially in the education sector, only by working together we can explore and witness the benefits of this digital revolution.