It is always astonishing to watch some of the most dedicated advocates for extraordinary education come together and collaborate. Events like last week’s NJ EdTech Summits facilitate important conversations between district administrators/directors, and a spectrum of specialists from the OnCourse team.
Hopefully, you were among the district representatives in attendance and you are reading this to reminisce about everything you learned (and maybe more importantly the decadent treats that we sent home with you). However, if you were unable to make it and are considering attending in the future, here is a rundown of what you missed!
Know – Want to Know – Learned
During each installment of this year’s New Jersey EdTech summits, co-presenters Tre Gonzalez – Educational Specialist, and Chris Contini – CEO and co-founder of OnCourse, checked in regularly with attendees to understand their goals and needs better. NJ administrators and directors were asked to share what they wanted to gain from attending, and some of the most common topics that were proposed include:
- Technology tips and tricks
- Educational technology partnerships
- Insight on learning management systems (LMS)
All attendees were armed with notepads, pens, and a full continental breakfast to get them pumped to discuss their areas of interest. Meanwhile Chris and Tre lead the group through a presentation on the NJDOE “Future Ready” initiative, and how new technologies can help!
Is Data Your Northern Star?
Less than 20% of the room felt as though data is guiding their school’s instruction, while greater than 60% of the room felt their school is not using data as effectively as possible.
Schools collect an overwhelming amount of information on every student, assignment, and test result; however, oftentimes educators find it challenging to make the information relevant to instruction. Some of the quotes heard around the room from attendees included:
“We pull data to the millionth degree, but then struggle with making it meaningful to the classroom.”
“Data has to be usable and easy for the teachers to access quickly.”
A majority of administrators in the room agreed that there has to be a better way. “[EdTech Companies] are doing a disservice to our customers by collecting all of this data and not visualizing it for them,” exclaimed Chris Contini. With this insight, the attendees were given a sneak peak into OnCourse’s new analytics program which is going to pioneer the ways in which schools can interact with student data.
Graphical (and interactive) representations were unveiled for a school district’s:
- Standardized test results
- Benchmark assessments
- And much more!
“We are launching a product that can crunch and visualize major amounts of data,” explained Contini. The catalyst for moving in the direction of supercharging New Jersey Student Information Systems is to transform data mastery from being this unattainable, complicated concept to becoming an accessible daily support to easily guide instruction.
EdCamp Style Problem-Solving
School districts across the nation are growing fonder of EdCamp style summits, and to be completely open… so are we! It is priceless to bring together the movers and shakers of the NJ education community and hear all about the roadblocks and successes that districts are facing. Administrators worked together during the EdCamp-Hour at the end of the NJ summits and crowd-sourced solutions to issues like:
- Implementing new technologies when the district isn’t 1:1
- How can E-rate help overhaul infrastructure?
- Mastering the 5-year technology plan
- Leasing VS buying hardware
- Gaining teacher buy-in to new software
- Professional development tracking/certifications
- Open education resources (OER)
- Student data privacy
Participating is Easy as [cup]Cake!
Does this type of summit sound appealing to you? We would love to see you at the next one! We are looking to host another New Jersey EdTech summit in March of 2017. If you would like to stay connected to updates and information about OnCourse and events like this, please follow us @OnCourseK12 and subscribe to our blog.