Relevant information is not accessible enough.

4 min read

While the pandemic has spurred on digital transformation and a shift to online learning, Eds. notes  other key challenges that have been around since before this time. At the forefront of these issues is access to relevant information. This challenge affects both teaching and non teaching staff across Education Systems. Specifically, information is not available to those who need to access it or is kept on many separate systems. An example of this may be a teaching requiring access to certain programming documents which are kept on departmental servers not available offsite. Throughout our research we have heard that digital workflows within schooling systems are inconsistent and time consuming. These practices lead to less time teaching and more time focusing on administrative tasks. 

The similarity of experiences across these all staff and settings within Education points to a need for a new way of working. Whether it be that casual teachers cannot access online documents needed for lessons or temporary teachers unable to find relevant information on a student’s background, learning style or wellbeing. This issue is compounded during transition periods such as moving years or when a teacher leaves a school and provides little programming or resources. At a student level, information is often not shared when they transfer schools and it is left up to the principal to share academic records, wellbeing histories and student details with other schools. Fundamentally this means a lot of the time spent duplicating the effort of gathering students’ prior understanding and wellbeing details. 

Understandably schools are hesitant to share sensitive information with unknown parties, however it is important to remember that when this is done in the best interests of the students with their and their parents/carers consent it can improve the quality of their schooling experience. Therefore we consider a perfect world, where records and data are shared between responsible parties, following the data laws of whichever country the student resides in; what would it take to create the perfect student management system? and is this what we are trying to create or a more informed platform that does not merely ‘manage’ but allows the student and, or teacher to share the experiences, where they have been and what they have learnt, a ‘learning and wellbeing school passport’ if you will. 

From our research we believe a learning and wellbeing school passport would have to begin with individual champions within the industry, ready to push and collaborate in an already time poor industry. These champions would come together to identify the systems and tools teachers use to collect their own information either in handwritten form or on an Excel spreadsheet, maybe a Google doc and consider how they could come together. The next step would be overcoming the legalities of data sharing, data storage and APIs all of which would be a huge undertaking. However prior to any of this taking place we need to first consider a shift in teaching culture. 

Current hard copy files of information are still kept and physically sent between schools. Both the physical administration of uploading this information and training and supporting all teachers to go online would in itself be time consuming and challenging.  Secondly we should consider the settings and countries with limited access to technology and the internet. Is it possible to design simple and effective systems for these systems? 

Ultimately we have to consider if the benefits of singular systems outway the effort of creating them.  We believe the answer is yes. Whether an education system is funded by government or a private entity their success is measured on student output whether that be academic, holistic or another factor such as engagement in learning. When you think about measurement of success, it seems unbelievable that teachers do not have better monitoring systems in place and that no one has ever invested in designing one. It could be argued that we are setting teachers and schools up to fail. Whilst tech is flooding the education space, there is minimal tech to support teachers in completing their day-to-day jobs.

At Eds. we believe in supporting schools and teachers to succeed by designing and providing original solutions to enable educators to evidence school and student outcomes. Our work is not about creating another app or learning management system, we understand that a one size fits all does not work for everyone. We do the research to understand your unique needs and work with the systems in place to get them all speaking the same language. It is about getting teachers back to teaching and utilising time in an effective manner.

If you have a similar problem you think we can help with, get in touch.

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