How Data and Performance Analytics Can Transform Education

(Image Credit: pixabay.com)

(Image Credit: pixabay.com)

Can the inclusion of performance analytics in schools help teachers and parents to identify problem areas and tackle them early? Or is it just another fad perpetuated by the advent of digital media technologies? For us at Team Zap Zap, we feel that performance analytics can be very useful in determining the success of a child’s educational prowess, and helping them along the way. Here’s our take on why it matters, and how our app includes features related to this.

Understanding Performance Analytics

First off, it’s important to understand what Performance Analytics is all about. Performance Analytics usually refers to a set of tools used to gather and track data about a specific subject, in order to identify potential and exisiting problems and manage them to gain a more positive outcome. While these tools are commonly utilized in large corporations, the benefits of utilizing them have been noted across many industries, and now even the education sphere seems quite taken by this idea. The existence of tangible data derived from such tools can be studied to determine where any issues are, which means they can be eliminated early on as well. Most corporations would identify these as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), but one tool that is gaining momentum is referred to as a dashboard. Dashboards break information down into simple and visual data in the form of charts and graphs so that the final data is easy to digest, no matter who is reading it.

How It Helps

A glimpse of Zap Zap Math’s Teacher’s Dashboard, which shows profiles of various students who use the app.

Taking the above factors into consideration, let’s now see how performance analytics can help students, teachers and parents. For us at Zap Zap Math, we prioritized two dashboards in particular, one for parents and one for teachers. This means that parents and teachers can co-monitor a child’s progress with the app itself. Each time a child plays a game, a report will be automatically sent to the dashboard and parents/teachers may access each level or topic to see whether there has been any progress. All parents and teachers have to do once their kid is on the app is to go online and click this link and provide some details to sign up for the dashboard.

While our performance analytics tool is still fairly new and we will definitely improve it based on user feedback, we believe that it will be an asset to parents and teachers who have previously struggled to understand where their children have difficulties with math. Success stories from others within the same industry spur us on, like Mobile County Public Schools who used data and analytics manufactured by IBM to raise the graduation rates of the student body by three percent, and also identify students who were at risk of dropping out to remedy this problem. Where our tool is concerned, we hope to see benefits in three areas specifically.

1) Engagement

Reports can be downloaded for further checking.

Reports can be downloaded for further checking.

Parents and teachers will be able to be more involved in their kid’s education, and be involved in a collaborative relationship of sorts. This will help reassure the parents that transparency is being respected, and also ensure teachers are able to engage with parents so they have a greater awareness. It can be challenging for teachers to monitor their many students without the aid of tools, so having one in place can keep them on track in spite of their busy schedules.

The teacher-parent relationship is one that is usually relegated to PTA meetings or when report cards are a topic of discussion. Having a tool like our dashboard in place can help both parties to gain a better understanding on how they can both collaborate to ensure their kids improve in math, by downloading reports to analyze what may be the issue. The lines of communication will be open, and it is up to either party to follow through and seek counsel with one another, which will ultimately be in the kid’s best interests.

2) Targeting Issues

This feature shows progress per game.

This feature shows progress per game.

It would also be beneficial on a school-wide level, as teachers can band together to see which areas need more work, and focus on these specifically to conduct additional classes or tutoring, if needed. Since the app shows specific topical areas where the child may be struggling, it will be easier to pin-point the area that needs work as well. If classes are smaller, one-to-one tutoring can even be considered to help with mathematical improvements.

So while the app itself may seem purely like a game to kids (especially the younger ones), it is in fact going to serve as a form of assessment outside of the school environment that helps all parties to track and eliminate issues pertaining to math. And at Zap Zap Math, we really take pride in ensuring that our app is both educational and entertaining. How’s that for funtastic?

3) Unobtrusive

Kids may not feel as comfortable sharing their misadventures with math openly — particularly if they are having difficulties, and the dashboard gives parents and teachers the opportunity to keep an eye on them without having to watch over them like hawks. The dashboard offers adults a simple way of monitoring their kids. For working parents, this will be an asset as they will be able to keep tabs on their kid’s progress wherever they are.

Zap Zap Math offers kids a safe environment to hone their skills, and the dashboard is an extension of this where parents and teachers can also have a sense of perspective about their kid’s progress in a way that is not too obtrusive or stressful. It is really up to the parents and teachers how they plan to approach their kid following a visit to the dashboard, and hopefully it will result in a positive outcome for everyone.

The Latin term “scientia potentia est”, meaning “knowledge is power” come to mind at this point. And performance analytics certainly are powerful. First, with the focus on collecting information to improve awareness on potential issues that will then lead to an increase in knowledge on the part of the students. We definitely stand by the inclusion of tools that help educators and parents alike to gather sufficient data, and we believe that performance analytics will ultimately rise to become a key feature as far as education is concerned. It is natural to assume that a new technology would be just another fad, but the results thus far seem to work in the favour of performance analytics being a powerful way to create a generation of well-equipped students.

If you would like to give an app with purpose a shot, download Zap Zap Math today and see how our dashboard can provide additional support for parents and teachers.

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