Monitoring behaviour and catching cheats: Improving education with big data

Education | Sectors   |   
Published December 30, 2013   |   
Gil Allouche

Big data has got a lot of attention in the business world, but why shouldn’t it be applied to other sectors as well? The ability to integrate and analyse data sets can create useful insights in all areas of life, and several startups have taken that vision and applied it to education. Education faces many challenges, from limited funding, to managing classrooms, to improving student outcomes, but now, thanks to big data services, high-tech solutions may make dealing with these challenges a little bit easier.

Improving class behaviour

Managing students who are acting out or refusing to participate can quickly take up a good chunk of the school day, and often parents are unaware of how their child is behaving in class unless they do something big enough to warrant a phone call. Now a website and app called Class Dojo could help improve class discipline and keep parents in the loop at the same time.

The app seeks to gamify discipline by giving students points for good behaviour and taking away points for bad behaviour. The app allows students to create their own avatar, and teachers can choose to grant awards when students gain a certain number of points. It also permits parents to log on and see if their child has been gaining or losing points and why, and creates a time-stamped report indicating how an individual child or an entire class was doing throughout the day. Ultimately, the data created is useful for teachers and parents alike who are looking for patterns about their students’ behaviour.

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