Remember when moving from one end of a state to another often meant changing phone numbers because the new residence would be in a different area code? And, after cell phones were born, remember when relocating across the country meant ditching a cell phone company, along with the number, because the new area of the country didn’t include the same coverage?
Chances are, if you are as old as I am, these scenarios do sound familiar. For most cell phone users, however, changing cell numbers just because you relocate is a foreign concept. A cell phone number becomes part of who we are, part of our contact identity, and, if we don’t want to, we never have to change cell numbers again.
Now, let’s apply this scenario to today’s school environment and student data. Huh? I know you’re thinking this analogy might be a stretch, but stay with me, and I promise this will all make sense.
In today’s schools, nearly all aspects of student data reside on IT systems in the K-12 ecosystem. From birthdates to medical records, from assessment scores to classroom assignments and everything in between, student data are housed on some type of electronic system. And the seamless use of that data through various technologies is paramount in ensuring a stellar educational experience for students and teachers.
When teachers and administrators need to bring in student data, protect that data, and adapt to unique needs among various stakeholders who need access to the data, often the amount of time between data entry and usage is so lengthy that end-user experiences only lead to frustration. IT staff are challenged with managing data for new enrollments, teachers, substitute teachers, and administrators, including automated tasks that span both cloud-based and on-premise systems, and the end result of the entire process often trickles down to provide a negative experience to the most important cogs in this wheel: our students.
I know I’m an idealist, but I envision a scenario in which students and employees who move between schools in the same state lose no data, lose no documents, no video projects, no graded assignments. And, they are not expected to download everything from their previous school’s cloud domain before they move to their new school. Wouldn’t that be a perfect world? Students log out of one network on Friday and safely log into a different network on Monday in their new school, and all of their records are visible and secure, immediately, without additional effort on the teacher’s part to “turn on” access to new materials.