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How teachers are using data

Data represented by dots Photo courtesy of dirkcuys

Data from educational technology is shaping the future of classroom instruction. As part of the Teachers Know Best initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation surveyed over 4,600 K-12 teachers across America to understand how teachers use data and how technology can better meet their needs. The study finds all teachers rely on data for evaluation, analysis, and adaptation and outlines ways technology meet these needs.


Teachers want the ability to see how their students are performing in real time. Unfortunately, many teachers are facing a barrier in accomplishing this due to the lack of integration between academic data sets and other relevant information. Increasing integration between education technologies will provide teachers with more accessible and holistic assessments of both entire classes and individual students.


The sooner teachers are able to identify where students are struggling the sooner they can help them. Digital technology helps teachers accomplish this by analyzing data after a single lesson to immediately clear up confusion, or even aggregating data over time to anticipate subject areas where students often encounter difficulty and dedicate more time to them.


Students in the same grade level do not share the same skills. Education technology allows teachers to provide more personalized learning so individual students may learn key concepts at their own pace. The ability to identify struggling students and provide immediate support is the most valuable aspect of education technology for many teachers.

The results from this study will have a positive impact on the development of future education technology. Improving the user experience for teachers will improve the education of our students.

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About the Author: Dustin is a senior account manager with DesignedUX, providing communications and marketing strategy to organizations in education and technology. Dustin is also a part-time faculty member at Centennial College and serves on the board of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

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