The Designing Teacher

As teachers, we’re too often flying blind with the data systems provided for us. It’s not our administrators’ fault because so much of the education technology industry has gotten by releasing shoddy software. You know what I’m talking about. A Student Information System that can only easily allow a teacher to enter attendance and grades. There is NO data presented from that system that at a GLANCE allows a teacher to take action. The teacher must ALWAYS invest interpretation before execution. That applies to a student’s demographics, their academic mastery, etc. 

Additionally, this lack of tools has KEPT if not REPRESSED teachers from becoming the data hawks that they should be. We don’t know how to visualize data at a professional level. I believe that is going to be a prerequisite of Teacher 2.0. So, stats and probability, advanced spreadsheet construction (functions and formulas), and a general wherewithal on the RIGHT side of the brain about the color/shape/composition basics of a visual designer. Knowing what tools to use to achieve these results as it applies to pedagogy is an entirely different beast, but a requirement.
David McCandless’s work is such a great example of this. The Wired Magazine and GOOD magazine design departments as well. 

You can even see the writing on the wall with the shift to WHOLE MINDED software development. As you well know, you need designers who can code and coders who understand Design Thinking.
In spite of the controversial move from the Gates Foundation to invest $100M in the inBloom project, we teachers are still at a loss. I’m grateful for companies like  who recognize this deficit and are working diligently to own the data visualization layer and give teachers the critical vitals they need in order to assess their own data as professionals and make changes to their instruction that meet kids where their needs are greatest.

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