4 Big Ways Big Data Is Impacting The Education System

Student evaluations and international recruiting are just the beginning.


Big data is offering unprecedented opportunities for educators to evaluate the state of the education system and students’ education experiences, as well as reach and instruct students in new ways. Education professionals should leverage new ways to improve education, and technology offers plenty of opportunities. Here are four groundbreaking ways big data is impacting the education system.

Adoption of Artificial Intelligence

Computer systems can learn through artificial intelligence (AI), so maybe they can also help teach. Technology companies are brainstorming more ways that AI could help improve education. It has the ability to make us more intelligent, and educators are beginning to take advantage.

AI could help analyze some of the data educational institutions collect and then offer suggestions on how to improve strategies and initiatives. Perhaps AI will one day be able to create lesson plan ideas based on data.

One Georgia Tech professor recently used a virtual teaching assistant to chat with students. Some of the students didn’t even notice a difference. Others are suggesting taking it a step further, suggesting that each student have a virtual AI mentor that tracks their progress, gives them advice based on data and connects them to resources.

AI could also be used to write textbooks. A professor could input the syllabus, and then the computer system could collect the proper information from various resources to create a custom textbook.

Evaluation of Student Performance

As more and more students complete their work online, it’s becoming easier to collect data on students’ academic performance. The data can be used to evaluate and improve student performance.

The growing popularity of dashboarding is a trend that allows education professionals to quickly and easily access real-time, accurate data. Dashboarding and similar trends are revolutionizing the world of education.

Educators can track the success of initiatives — such as improving test scores, boosting attendance or reducing teacher turnover — with up-to-the-minute data. The data allows education professionals to easily see what’s working, what isn’t and what areas might need improvement.

Technology can also provide data on individual students, allowing educators to more effectively individualize a student’s education and provide assistance to them in the right areas before a problem becomes serious.

Educational institutions around the world use technology and data to improve students’ and schools’ performance.

More Flexibility and Nontraditional Credentials

Technology is creating greater opportunities for flexibility in education and allowing educational institutions to cater to more diverse needs, as opposed to offering only traditional one-size-fits-all programs.

More companies are providing opportunities for online students to earn nontraditional credentials, such as certifications and digital badges, as opposed to degrees. The programs are usually shorter and less involved than degree programs but allow people to learn new skills or update current ones regardless of where they are in their career, their education or the world.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have become especially popular. MOOCs allow participants to complete part of a university-sponsored graduate degree online, and then apply to finish the program on campus at a lower total cost than a traditional program.

The U.S. Department of Education is working on financial aid for MOOCs — a signal that they’re becoming more legitimate.

Targeted International Recruiting

The rising amount of data available to educational institutions has the capacity to transform almost everything about education, including the recruiting of international students.

Big data allows schools to more accurately predict applicants and help them analyze possible factors that affect the application process. Better knowledge about who will likely apply to a school and why allows institutions to better allocate funding and adjust their recruitment strategies accordingly, saving them money and improving their results.

The influx of data can assist students in discerning what schools best fit their needs. Technology can analyze information about schools around the world, increasing the accuracy and speed of the search and application process for students, including international ones.

Big data is altering virtually every aspect of our lives, including education. It has the potential to offer numerous benefits to students and educational institutions, and it will likely change the way we manage education in significant ways.

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