The New School of Educational Technology

October 12, 2014

Pop quiz! You know school is back in session when…

  1. A) You must zig-zag through pencils, pens and protractors before navigating to the aisle you need at most convenience stores
  2. B) You no longer get a seat on your morning bus commute
  3. C) There’s a panic-inducing number of head lice prevention ads hanging in your child’s pediatrician’s office
  4. D) All of the above

Answer: D, All of the above.

School is in Session

Jokes aside, I look forward to school season every fall. It brings me back to several of my own memories: getting selected to write “words of the day” on the blackboard, mastering the multiplication flashcards and bringing home that first aced test of the year to stick on the fridge.

It’s strange to think that while current students may one day share my sentiments, their memories will differ dramatically from mine. Their “words of the day” don’t require chalk and erasers because they’re most likely written on a Smartboard. Flashcards have probably been replaced with mathematically-focused computer games. And most parents can now celebrate their child’s tests scores before ever seeing the evidence through online grade books via learning management systems. As a market research analyst, I especially appreciate one educational technology advancement in particular: Adaptive Learning Systems (ALSs).

ALSs: Your EdTech “Word of the Day”

Broadly speaking, ALSs, such as Knewton and Grockit, are tools or platforms that personalize educational content by using real-time analysis of student performance data. Many adaptive learning platforms track and gather student data and use those analytics to measure student proficiencies, student engagement and content efficacy to make custom recommendations based on students’ current needs. What’s great about some ALS systems is that they not only zero in on specific gaps in student learning but can also provide a big picture perspective (e.g., the prerequisites or basic skills that should be required before students take Class X). Designing activities to target at-risk youth, creating optimal peer groupings and allocating the appropriate amount of time for module completion are just a few of the benefits that some ALSs boast.

What do ALSs and Market Research Have in Common?

ALS platforms do for educational achievement what we strive to do for our clients: Enable confident decisions based on reliable data. What advancement in educational technology would get an “A” in your grade book? Where do you see room for growth? Share your thoughts with me here or send us a note.

Send Us A Note

Elizabeth Baiocchi-Wagner, Ph.D.
Director, Health Insurance & Systems

Elizabeth (Liz) is a Director of Research and Consulting in Health Insurance & Systems at Escalent. She brings 15 years of quantitative and qualitative research experience to the table, along with solid industry knowledge in technology and telecommunications (after years of lead analyst work in that space). Liz is a former Communications professor (University of Missouri, University of Portland) teaching everything from Advanced Research Methods, to Gerontology, to Communicating in Romantic Relationships. Originally from Detroit, Liz joined the Escalent team in the summer of 2011 and moved to the Pacific NW. When she’s not working or teaching, she is leading marketing and outreach efforts for the nonprofit organization, GiGi’s Playhouse Portland, biking around her VERY hilly neighborhood, or playing DJ for a family dance party.