Kickboard: Big Data for Teachers

I’m enthusiastic about the potential for data to improve global learning outcomes.  Predictive analytics have transformed every consumer activity and, as more learners engaged in digital experiences with embedded measurement, they will transform learning.

Jen Medbery, founder of Kickboard, understands the implications.  “But by itself, this “any thing/place/time” learning won’t lead to the revolution we seek,” said Jen in a Fast Coexist blog. “We also have the responsibility of unlocking the potential of every student because the world needs more leaders, problem-finders, and rule-breakers. Teachers are perfectly positioned to take on this challenge.”

A member of Matt Candler’s kitchen cabinet, Jen hangs out at 4.0 Schools events in NOLA. With her writing, speaking, and coaching, she’s encouraged many women in education to see their own potential as entrepreneurs.

Jen’s got some good help these days.  She hired Brian Sharp from Apex.  “The Kickboard vision mirrors that of ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative,” said Sharp, “an effort to change the culture in schools from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement to one that promotes the long-term development and success of children.” (See my recap of #ASCD13 conference held in Chicago last week.)

Sharp said Kickboard can help states and school districts with three big emerging challenges:

  • Shift to Standards-Based Grading: Kickboard’s teacher friendly  classroom analytics tool enables real-time visibility into class-wide and individual student comprehension to allow teachers to make timely shifts in instruction or provide intervention.

  • School Safety: It’s more than about guns.  Kickboard tightly integrates with PBIS, Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports to give schools capacity-building information and technical assistance for identifying, adapting, and sustaining effective school-wide disciplinary practices.

  • Early Warning System: using longitudinal data associated including attendance, behavior and course performance, Kickboard can help states and school districts in developing an early warning system.

Kickboard is in more than 200 schools and is interested in working with school districts to help teachers make better use of big data.  See the Kickboard Field Guide for more.


Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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