First Big Data, How About Little Data?

Innovation December 2, 2016

Little Data as it relates to learning, that is. What is Little Data? Truth be told, the answer to that question will depend on who you ask as well as the context. Nevertheless, one shortcut to understanding Little Data is to equate it with traditional performance metrics.

Which is exactly what this article will highlight, a school by the name of The Innovation Academy found just outside the city of Phoenix. Understand that The Innovation Academy is not at all like the traditional teacher in front of the room lecturing to bored or disengaged students. Not at all. In fact, the learning methodology at The Innovation Academy is more about self-paced computerized lessons.

That is where the Little Data shows up. You see, each and every student’s progress or lack thereof is closely monitored by a team of 4 veteran teachers. More to the point, each and every interaction the student has with his/her lesson generates bits of Little Data. This Little Data is examined by the teaching team and utilized to develop small group activities that can help bring the material to life. At the same time, by looking at this Little Data in detail, the teaching team can quickly pinpoint students who are not quite mastering the current material and set them up for additional tutoring on that subject matter.

To get a sense of the local enthusiasm for this education innovation, take a look at comment from the the school zone’s superintendent. Gail Pietnick referred to the collection and utilization of this Little Data by The Innovation Academy as the “future of education”. In other words, a more personalized to the student learning experience where the student is the one in charge of what, when and how they learn with the teaching staff serving as guides along the way.

Take a look at a quick example to understand just how powerful Little Data can be in the education field. Little Data for an individual student will help that student better understand his/her reading habits. As in answering questions such as: are more pages read in the morning or later in the day, which words were highlighted to look up in the dictionary, how many times was the same material reread and that sort of thing. Once the teaching staff looks at this Little Data, a customized learning plan can be put in place to better assist the student.

As you can plainly see from the above, the use of Little Data, or more personal information can and is being used to provide a superior learning experience.


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