How do you communicate a phenomenon without a name? You see it, you feel it, you experience it, but how do you communicate it? What do you do if you know something is happening, you see it and experience it, but you find it difficult to substantiate? How do you share your enthusiasm, passion, and excitement, when you don’t have the right words? What’s the danger in only being able to share a part of the story or painting an incomplete picture for your audience?
We’ve all been there when we’ve had a story we’ve wanted to share and we just couldn’t - because we didn’t have the right words, we didn’t have the right tools, or we didn’t have the right evidence. So too, we have found the case to be especially true in education when you know something is happening in your classroom or school, you see it and experience it, but you find it difficult to substantiate when telling a targeted audience about it.
When I was teaching, I knew my students so well. I was with them all day, working with them, grading their papers, observing behaviors, etc. How could I take this powerful understanding of my students and communicate that succinctly to others, whether it be my principal, parents at conferences, or reading specialists who worked with my students? I wanted to tell a complete and compelling story, give something a name, make it real, but how? Sounding familiar, isn’t it?
When listening to our clients, and in recalling our own experience as educators, we have found data helps put a name to a phenomenon. It is the raw material we can use to create a shared understanding with our audience, whether learnings from data are communicated as part of a parent-teacher conference or in a team meeting. Learning data and analytics can help educators explain a phenomenon to outside parties, create a space for a conversation-a seat at the table from which stakeholders can start a discussion.
The right data to back up what you are saying is so important. You don’t want to tell a one-dimensional story- data provides a multi-faceted way of communicating events and occurrences. One school we have been working with told us that they have “been able to use their data in a way that is meaningful to them AND as a way for outside sources to see them in a certain way.”
*Behavior infographic designed to show your data in a clear and organized way.
Learnmetrics provides a customized data platform for schools and districts so they can do precisely this. Through listening to our clients and learning from them, telling a story and having education data and reliability to help frame and explain a phenomenon has been essential. Getting insight from your data is not always easy-having a partner in data helps you clarify this process. Another educator said “The customization and flexibility that Learmetrics provides is helpful as we figure out how to communicate our effectiveness with others.” As educators, we don’t want others telling our story or misinterpreting it. We want a tool and partner that helps us clarify our data needs and support our mission.
Have you had luck telling your story to others in education? Tell me below in the comments. We are always listening and learning.