Data Backpacks: Portable Records & Learner Profiles

Data Backpacks: Portable Records & Learner Profiles
Originally published October 2012, updated and re-released Summer 2015
Authored by: John Bailey, Samuel Casey Carter, Carri Schneider, Tom Vander Ark
Download the full paper

Download the executive summary

Getting Smart, in partnership with: Digital Learning Now, Foundation for Excellence in Education

This paper is one of nine in the DLN Smart Series – a collection of interactive papers that provides specific guidance regarding the adoption of higher standards and quality assessments focusing on the shift to personal digital learning.

The current way student records and transcripts are managed is insufficient to meet the evolving needs of teachers, students, and parents. Only the most basic of information follows students into the classrooms they enter each year. Teachers have little visibility into the past performance of their students, what other teachers noted, or each learner’s strengths, weaknesses, and individual needs. New personalization technologies and the demand for differentiated instruction as a common strategy will only further place further strains the ecosystem of data systems and paper based records that form the patchwork of our current student records.

What if students instead came to each course or classroom with a digital backpack of data about their learning levels, preferences, motivations, and personal accomplishments? How would this improve each teacher’s ability to tailor learning to meet the needs of individual students? What if parents and students could easily access their child’s records to share the information with after school providers? How would all of the personalization this affords add up to deeper learning and improved college and career readiness?

“Data Backpacks: Portable Records & Learner Profiles” asks these questions and reveals some key problems with the current system:

  1. The current official transcript does not provide enough information for teachers to personalize learning from the first day of school.
  2. Customized learning requires an enhanced and expanded Learner Profile.
  3. Parents and teachers should have the ability to protect privacy and empower multiple providers to use and contribute to a Learner Profile.

In addition to the white paper, we’ve also released the 6 page executive summary overview “Data Backpacks to Power Personalization and Protect Privacy” that shares current problems, future opportunities, recommendations and resources.”

Download “Data Backpacks: Portable Records & Learner Profiles


Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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