7 Benefits of Using Small Data

[In this article from the Center for Digital Education “small data” is compared to “Big Data.” Small data is more personalized and less about major trends than about individual learning.]

While big data is a huge deal in today’s business world, small data can make a real and timely impact on the education field. Here’s how.

Computer science in schools


A student takes a class on Raspberry Pi, a credit card-sized single-board computer developed to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools.

The current obsession with big data has buried the fact that K-12 educators and administrators are more likely to gain useful information from small data sets.

Big data’s overwhelmingly large data sets can be analyzed to reveal patterns, trends and associations, especially in human behavior. Small data, on the other hand, is focused and fact-based, revealing the current state of something and providing context and opportunity for change.

While big data is a huge deal in today’s business world, small data can make a real and timely impact on the education field. It drives your knowledge of your fiscal reality and cost measurement opportunities. It enables the smarter use of funds toward improving learning outcomes, student performance and budgetary health in changing economic times.

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Teens, Technology and Social Media

[The Pew Research Center has been a leader tracking the use of Internet tools. Here’s a 2015 report looking at teen usage of social media tools. There are some fascinating patterns, especially when the study looks at minorities and gender.]

PI_2015-04-09_teensandtech_0124% of teens go online “almost constantly,” facilitated by the widespread availability of smartphones.

Aided by the convenience and constant access provided by mobile devices, especially smartphones, 92% of teens report going online daily — including 24% who say they go online “almost constantly,” according to a new study from Pew Research Center. More than half (56%) of teens — defined in this report as those ages 13 to 17 — go online several times a day, and 12% report once-a-day use. Just 6% of teens report going online weekly, and 2% go online less often.

Much of this frenzy of access is facilitated by mobile devices. Nearly three-quarters of teens have or have access1 to a smartphone and 30% have a basic phone, while just 12% of teens 13 to 17 say they have no cell phone of any type. African-American teens are the most likely of any group of teens to have a smartphone, with 85% having access to one, compared with 71% of both white and Hispanic teens. These phones and other mobile devices have become a primary driver of teen internet use: Fully 91% of teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally. Among these “mobile teens,” 94% go online daily or more often. By comparison, teens who don’t access the internet via mobile devices tend to go online less frequently. Some 68% go online at least daily.

African-American and Hispanic youth report more frequent internet use than white teens. Among African-American teens, 34% report going online “almost constantly” as do 32% of Hispanic teens, while 19% of white teens go online that often.

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The Ed tech Trends on the Cusp of Mainstream

By Stephen Noonoo, eSchoolNewsEditor, @stephenoonoo
May 11th, 2015

Here’s a preview of K-12 Horizon Report notes big ed tech shifts from eSchoolNews. The final Horizon Report will be released at the ISTE Conference at the end of June.

This year, BYOD and makerspaces have their stars on the rise—they could be in 20 percent of classrooms by year’s end. And over the next few years, 3D printing, adaptive software, and even wearable technologies in schools could do the same, according to an advanced preview of this year’s K-12 Horizon Report, an annual trendsetting look at the current state of technology and learning produced by the New Media Consortium. Each year, the report confers with a panel of education experts and takes a close look at the trends, challenges, and underlying developments driving today’s education technology adoption and implementation.

The final product whittles dozens of emerging and established ed tech topics into just 18, arranged by category—the trends, challenges, and developments referenced above—and time to adoption (or, in the case of challenges, complexity of the problem and how close we are to solving it).

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