Ramping Up for MassCUE Datapalooza ’19

As part of its grown roster of conferences and events, MassCUE held its inaugural Datapalooza event in January 2018. Building upon what was a clear success, the next Datapalooza is scheduled for January 8, 2019 at Worcester State University. If you might be interested in presenting at or attending this signature event for data use and integration, read on! Datapalooza graphic

Serving All Educational Data Users

Datapalooza is intended to serve educational data users and data professionals at all levels. Last year’s participants included classroom teachers, school and district-level administrators, and representatives from various corporate entities that serve the educational data marketplace. Central to the Datapalooza experience is the 50 minute concurrent session facilitated by school and district staff typical of the MassCUE membership. Datapalooza 2018 featured presentations on using data systems and data warehouses to inform instruction, improve student achievement, and to support at-risk students. Among the most well-received sessions were those where district administrators and classroom teachers came together to talk about practical data-based solutions to teaching and learning issues. This year’s Datapalooza will also feature district presentations. If you have a perspective on how data can be leveraged using particular tools and/or targeted at particular program areas you should consider sharing your work at Datapalooza 2019.

This year’s event will be organized much the same as last year with four sets of concurrent sessions plus a keynote (more about that in a moment) and a mid-day “data slam”. The data slam is a unique opportunity for participants to share quick tips and perspectives on their experiences with data use. Also, during the day participants will have opportunities to interact with the Datapalooza corporate sponsors. These sponsors help support MassCUE’s hosting and bring a wealth of experience on data solutions from not only Massachusetts districts, but those in school settings around the nation.

Benefits to Student Learning

Last year’s keynote – by Boston College’s Dr. Damian Bebel – focused on how schools around the world are using simple data analytic tools to collect, process, and utilize data on a wide number of facets of the student experience. Moving beyond the warehousing of major assessment data, Damian talked about the use of simple classroom data collection tools that enable the creation of multiple new datasets and therefore windows into a wide range of student needs, understandings, and concerns. Dr. Bebel’s examples helped Datapalooza participants envision what a truly data-informed environment could look like and the benefits it could bring to student learning.

This year’s keynote will be from a team of educators from Newton North High School. This presentation will highlight how this high school – much in the same ways that the schools discussed in Dr. Bebel’s keynote –has expanded its understanding of what data is, and how new datasets can help expand and enrich their school’s vision for student success. This promises to be an enlightening and thought-provoking session.

Share Your Data Story

So what can you bring to Datapalooza 2019? MassCUE would love to hear your perspectives on data through a concurrent session, and you can propose a session using this form. Or if you would rather just attend and share your ideas as a participant in sessions and at the data slam, that works as well. Come alone or bring a team from your school, either way you will leave Datapalooza with new ideas and a new perspective on how your school can use data to inform teaching and learning.

Jeff Sun is an independent educational evaluator who has worked with many Massachusetts school districts around issues of digital learning evaluation, assessment, and professional development.

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