Are schools ready for the power and problems of big data?

[Big Data at AltSchools is creating an environment for personalized learning. Discover in this eSchoolNews article how data can provide the necessary insights on a massive scale for meeting the needs of all learners. For years I struggled with how to combine an a academic program aligned to individual talents and interests with collaborative projects that provide real-world connections. The Manchester Academic Charter School (MACS ) in Pittsburgh is trying to make this happen. Other schools, like South Fayette, are also looking at Big Data as a tool to better meet the needs of their students.)

Imagine classrooms outfitted with cameras that run constantly, capturing each child’s every facial expression, fidget, and social interaction, every day, all year long.

Then imagine on the ceilings of those rooms infrared cameras, documenting the objects that every student touches throughout the day, and microphones, recording every word that each person utters.

Picture now the children themselves wearing Fitbit-like devices that track everything from their heart rates to their time between meals. For about a quarter of the day, the students use Chromebooks and learning software that track their every click and keystroke.

What you’re seeing is the future of K-12 education through the eyes of Max Ventilla, the CEO of AltSchool, a Bay Area startup that represents the most aggressive, far-reaching foray into the world of big data and analytics that the K-12 education sector has seen to date.

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