CatchOn today introduced a new report, Best Practices in the Use of Data Analytics, which tracks seven districts from Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools through a pilot during which they used CatchOn’s learning analytics solution. The goal of the pilot was to better understand how students and teachers were engaging with the digital tools and resources available to them, and how that data could transform pedagogy, technology purchases, and digital strategy.
Last year, K-12 districts in the U.S. spent $35.8 billion in 2020 on hardware, software, curriculum resources and networks; now, more than ever, districts are trying to fully understand both the return on—and impact of—that investment.
“Assessing the true efficacy of edtech has long been a challenge for most districts, because they often don’t have the complete picture of what tools and resources are actually being used, by whom, and for what purpose,” said Monica Cougan, CatchOn’s manager of strategic relationships and initiatives. “The data that most districts have on edtech usage and efficacy is siloed, and it’s difficult to see the whole data story. CatchOn provides the tools and learning analytics that make it easy to convert that data into an accelerant to change.”
All seven participating districts are members of the League of Innovative Schools, a national network of forward-thinking education leaders who work together to improve outcomes for students and solve the challenges facing K-12 schools through powerful and smart use of learning technologies by partnering with entrepreneurs, researchers, and leading education thinkers.
The pilot districts featured in the report are geographically and demographically diverse—Baldwin County Public Schools (Bay Minette, AL), Chesapeake City Public Schools (Chesapeake, VA), Lexington County School District One (Lexington, SC), Lincoln Public Schools, (Lincoln, NE), Morris School District (Morristown, NJ), Piedmont City Schools (Piedmont, AL), and Portland Public Schools (Portland, OR)—which created a fascinating testbed for exploring best practices that could be replicated in districts across the country.
“Through the strategic and effective use of data, school leaders can make informed decisions regarding budgets, curricula, resources, staffing, and other supports for students,” said Dewayne McClary, Digital Promise’s director of the League of Innovative Schools. “Data disaggregation is a powerful tool that allows school leaders to be more intentional about their decision-making and address educational inequities that have plagued student achievement and opportunity for far too long.”
CatchOn contracted Project Tomorrow to conduct an external analysis and evaluation of the aggregated data collected through the pilot. They found that 100% of the leaders from the pilot school districts said that their CatchOn data is valuable for informing ROI analysis on technology investments, supporting their district’s online learning initiatives, and helping them identify gaps in student engagement that can indicate inequity.
“We are evolving into an enterprise K-12 school district, meaning that we are centralizing the purchasing process for apps,” said Homer Coffman, chief technology officer at Baldwin County Public Schools. “In order to make intelligent and informed decisions about the professional development and support we can provide regarding these tools, we have to know what the teachers and students are using…. I would like to remove a lot of duplications and inefficiencies. We also want to identify potential software risks and create a vetting process for our teachers that gives them enough flexibility to be innovative but does not compromise student data.”