82 Future Forwards: Exploring Frontiers in Education
Thirty minutes later many students were up and traveling out of their seats, laptops in hand to show
their peers astounding or hilarious things they were finding out, while other students were bent over
their laptops clicking through the interactive visualization. One student wearing a soccer jersey shared
that the students in the class were happier when they exercised more.
A few minutes later, Martin brought the class together in front of the large screen and facilitated sharing
and a discussion about the data, capturing some questions that arose during the conversation.
Given the definition of Learning Analytics as the
measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of
data about learners and their contexts, for purposes
of understanding and optimizing learning and the
environments in which it occurs (Wikipedia, 2014), it
seems that the horizon for learners using learning
analytics may be closer than we think. But how will
teachers begin to think about, use and gain skill in
using learning analytics to optimize learning? As
Martin has demonstrated, experimenting and
exploring data visualizations may be the best place to
start. Below are highlights from an interview with Mr.
Reinsmoen about his explorations with data and
where those might lead.
An Interview with Martin Reinsmoen
How did the data project start?
Martin: Last year during ASB Un-Plugged, Scott Klososky talked about wearable technology and he asked
a few questions during his presentations about how we could start to notice relationships between how
kids slept and how they took tests. It made me start to think, “Well I could do a quick survey and find
out a lot of information and start to look at it.” Prior to that I sort of kept data on myself, on how I sleep.
I have that piece of data and thought “What can I do with my kids?” Also we moved our data unit from
the end of the year to the beginning of this year, which was great because I was able to introduce this at
the beginning of the year.
Where did your questions come from?
Martin: They came really from the kids. I wanted them to record how much they read. I wanted them to
record how much they sleep. But when we were talking about looking at data over a long amount of
time, the record in what is your favorite sport does not change. So they decided that writing down what
is your favorite sport would not be something that would continue to change and would not be worth
putting in this (We had started out with questions like ‘What is your favorite sport?’, ‘What is your
favorite color?’, ‘What color are your eyes?’). We started to ask if we are answering the same questions
multiple times, what questions are going to give us interesting data.
Some questions that arose from the data