The phrase big data has a somewhat intimidating presence in educational settings. Teachers and school leaders feel increasingly pressured to take up data analytic practices without being entirely equipped for this new facet of education. To confront this issue, a recent event in the Smith Learning Theater, the Education Leadership Data Analytics (ELDA) Summit 2018, brought together educational professionals and data scientists to help school leaders understand how they can use data more effectively without feeling a loss of control or accountability.

Alex Bowers, Associate Professor of Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University, directs the ELDA Research Group and organized this year’s summit. His scholarly research focuses on how education leaders can use data practices to make their schools more effective. Bowers, along with the other members of the ELDA Research Group, help school leaders make sense of data, included both traditional sources (e.g., grades, test scores) and new sources (e.g., intelligent tutoring systems, multimodal instructional spaces).

Whether it’s old-fashioned or cutting-edge data, Bowers and other leaders of the ELDA Summit hope participants left the event feeling more confident analyzing information, using it to develop more effective educational practices, and collaborating with others to evolve new data practice methods.

Music: Far Apart by Airglow