Giving Compass' Take:

• Suzy Brooks, Director of Instructional Technology for Mashpee Public Schools, explains how data analytics helps her decipher school district tech use.

• How can donors and education administrators utilize school data to help develop funding strategies and prioritize needs for districts? 

• Technology in schools is becoming ubiquitous, but not all communities have access to digital learning.

For Suzy Brooks, Director of Instructional Technology for Mashpee Public Schools, data analytics is like a secret decoder tool. It reveals the mystery behind which technology is used (or not used) in her district for teaching and learning.

“With the right data, we can make informed decisions about technology and get the most effective tools into the hands of our teachers so it can affect students in their classrooms,” explains Brooks.

We talked with Brooks about an analytics tool that helps her understand tech use, make purchasing decisions and save her district money.

EdSurge: What compelled you to adopt a data analytics tool for your district?

Suzy Brooks: We had just wrapped up the third year of our one-to-one Chromebooks initiative when we brought on CatchOn. We didn't have a good handle on what digital resources we had (and were using) at the district level. We didn't know who was in charge of the dashboards at each school or what budgets they were all coming out of. If there was a program at the elementary school, and the high school had the same thing, it wasn't always clear to us. In a one-to-one district, you need those details, especially when you're trying to make purchasing decisions or asking for program funding.

What changed when you started gathering data about technology use?

Now, we can track what students and teachers are doing on their computers—every website visited and every app used across the district. We can see that information in one dashboard, for both the tools we pay for and the ones that we don't pay for.

What’s the direct impact of gathering all this data?

It's helping us make financial and instructional decisions because it’s giving us a much clearer idea of what's happening on our devices.

Read the full article about data analytics for school districts tech use by Wendy McMahon at EdSurge.