Technology and Data Analysis in the Classroom- By Tom New


Take a look at the picture to the right. Remove the course name, test name, section name, even the words "Multiple Choice". What would somebody see if they just saw the data there. As you might expect, probably not a whole lot. I'm sure they could guess it was test, but the information would be useless otherwise. Now, put this data in the hands of a teacher and the possibilities open up. Beyond it being a test, the teacher can see what topics are being assessed and the level of question. Administrators could assess whether or not the teachers were targeting the schools objectives of topic and rigor. Basically this answer sheet becomes the foundation for data analysis. As you will see in the later pages, there are videos and examples of just easily the results of this test can be analyzes and visualized.

The topic data analysis comes up a lot in my district on faculty improvement days. It is usually met with the same grumbles of "ugh more work to do" or "Isn't this the same as running a bunch of scantrons". The fact of matter is it actually saves time and involves looking at how the students did compared to a set parameter, not just their score. As this chapter will point out, there are lots of great tools, some free and some with a cost, that can help educators assess, analyze, and present data to students, teachers, and administrators. Later in the chapter you will see that some of the web-based software can actually be used by students to present a topic. All in all, this chapter aims to give you a jumping off point into the many possibilities of using data and technology to serve many purposes in education.

Coupled with the right technology and the right teaching practices, the resulting data from the sheet to the right can become a great teaching tool for educators. In the Ted Video below, Profressor Hans Rosling, shows how data can be used to rationalize the outcomes of many different scenarios in much more appealing ways than you might think when you hear "Data Analysis". The data gleaned from the English Two Poetry Test and future tests could be expressed in visually similar ways to show how the students did on certain skills over any length of time.

Table of Contents

Introduction (This Page)

Pros of Data Analysis

Major Programs for Data Analysis

Supplemental Programs

Supplemental Materials