In education, data definitely plays a role in decision making. Understanding what types of data are out there and available is extremely important as there is so much that can be gleaned from looking at data. Decisions as to what types of curriculum should be taught, where a student is struggling conceptually, and how best to assess what a student knows and has learned can be made much more precisely after looking at and analyzing data. There seems to be a lot of data available these days as technological advances make that possible, but not everyone knows what to do with that data. I would definitely say that that is an area where I could use some growth. I get data sent to me in terms of test scores, etc., but I don't always know what to make of that information. I know intuitively that embedded in that data is information that should inform my teaching and creating of learning experiences. Sometimes that is obvious and sometimes it isn't. I simply need more training and experience in looking at data. I'm really good at looking at an individual, as a person, and looking at his or her work samples, talking with him or her, and assessing what skills he or she needs to work on. But when the human aspect is removed, when I can't have a conversation with the individual, and instead have to look at a column of numbers, I don't always know what to do with that. What I think is most powerful about data is summed up in this sentence taken from the Wikipedia definition of data architecture: "The Data Architect is typically responsible for defining the target state, aligning during development and then following up to ensure enhancements are done in the spirit of the original blueprint." As teachers, if we work with each student to define the target state (our goals), then proper coaching can ensue where students are assessed and encouraged to keep pursuing that target- ultimately leading to success and personal victory. Big Data definitely has its place in education. I truly believe it can serve our students well in terms of helping them to achieve, as long as all stakeholders receive training so that they understand what they are looking at when they look at this data, and they know what it means in terms of instruction and learning.
www2.ed.gov,. (2015). Retrieved 2 March 2015, from http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/implementation-support-unit/tech-assist/education-architecture-guidebook.pdf