From data chaos to data-driven: How dedicated data teams can help EdTechs influence the future of education
Education data can inform strategy, enhance both teaching and learning, and help us better understand customer needs. But that data is only as useful as an organization’s ability to access, analyze, and act upon it. Education Technology (EdTech) companies with a strong data warehouse management policy can help to make the most of educational data at all levels.
Creating a data team
When an EdTech doesn’t have a dedicated data team, databases will likely be poorly maintained and data can be hard to find, it can lack critical security, or fail to meet a customer’s specific requirements. A dedicated data team can prevent this and better support an organization’s data needs. There’s a correlation between the maturity of a data team and the success of an organization’s data utilization. When considering the three primary components of team, outlook, and results, we can better understand an organization’s maturity. By using this matrix from Looker’s Analytical Maturity Playbook, you can assess the maturity of your organization’s data team. Most would agree, the goal is for your operation to move from data chaos to data-driven. But, how can you do that? Think about your data this way: the intelligence you gain from your data is not only an asset...it’s a product. When your data team views your business intelligence as a product—one that’s just as important as the services you offer—they can set the stage for creating a successful data-driven company. Mature data organizations:
- Report functionality regularly
- Constantly assess potential improvements to existing systems
- Manage content rollout to internal employees
Redivis: Making data accessible, connected & secure
Redivis is a platform that connects academic researchers with data and the tools to understand education intelligence. Their customers, who are researchers, expressed how difficult it is to find new datasets for their studies. Once they found a dataset, they often had to access and work with it before they could tell if the information would be useful for their studies. Redivis Data administrators were also concerned about data security. Redivis built their platform on top of Google Cloud’s security infrastructure, making it a highly scalable data processing environment.
Redivis developed a transparent, tiered access system for datasets that allows researchers to request separate access to a dataset’s documentation to determine whether they can use the dataset. Detailed audit logs (supported by Google Cloud Logging) and robust application-level security controls tighten data access. To offer more insights for their researchers, they securely connected their private datasets with public datasets hosted in BigQuery allowing researchers to run queries on billions of records in seconds, not hours.
With a data team in place, it’s time to visualize where to store and organize your data. Data is an asset. You want to invest in collecting, operationalizing, and storing it properly. “Inadequate data aggregation, harmonization, and processing impedes teams from making the right data-driven decisions and pivoting when needed,” according to Jesus Trujillo Gomez, a strategic business executive at Google Cloud. You can determine how mature your warehouse is by using this matrix to help you identify where your organization falls on the spectrum (least mature on the left, most mature on the right). A company’s data warehouse can be assessed in four areas: Technology, Pipeline, Quality, and Performance. Here are some suggested steps to bring your EdTech company one step closer to a data powerhouse.
Classcraft: Using a data-driven approach to make learning funLaunched in 2014, learning company Classcraft is reimagining the classroom, creating better learning environments with gamification. To support their mission, their team has created a complete data platform that uses data analytics to find new ways to engage students in the classroom. Classcraft became a Google for Education Build Partner to keep up with rising demand. They expanded their footprint to reach 6 million students and educators in 165 countries.
They also migrated to Google Cloud, building on several integrations with Google Workspace for Education, Google Classroom, and Chrome for Education, allowing them to support customers ranging from individual teachers to entire school districts. Classcraft migrated its database and analytics infrastructure to BigQuery and Cloud Storage. “We capture about 10 million new data points every month related to school culture and student performance,” says Chief Technology Officer and VP of Product Stéphane Guillemette. “With BigQuery and other Google Cloud tools, we can quickly deliver valuable insights to educators.”