Friday, December 17, 2010

Bringing the school report into the 21st century

A medical record folder being pulled from the ...Image via WikipediaHow do you monitor your child's educational progress at school? For most of us touch points are few and far between - a parents evening coupled with a report once a term.

There are digital means by which kids get their progress regularly encouraged and monitored - things such as Mathletics for example.

But I think there are greater possibilities to be accessed if we take a more holistic approach.
I'm thinking of your child's school progress updated live and recorded in a personal url shared between you, the child and your teachers.

This borrows heavily from ideas such as the personal url for health records - a place where your healthcare data is recorded and shared with the patient and their doctors; a place where the patients can give rapid and direct feedback to their doctors about what treatment is working, what isn't - and where the anonymised data in aggregate can be used to inform the wider medical community leading to improvements in effectiveness for all.

It is an approach being seriously considered by the UK's national health service, according to Macrowikinomics, for example.

Applied to education, parents could get more direct involvement with the child's progress - be able to identify slow-downs, strenghts and weaknesses and where their input could help most.

And again, in aggregate the data could help inform the wider education community in what works and what doesn't and how to be more effective for all kids - in much closer to real time than we have been used to.

The approach makes data live, useful and change enabling - rather than silo'd and gathering dust on a shelf.

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?