"In five years, we're not even going to be looking at reports or dashboards. We'll be watching videos about our kids and their schools on their phones."
So said an expert, speaking at a recent CCSSO convening of state data officers.
To which we say: Five years? How about...tomorrow?
Yes, we're impatient. We think it's time to move past any technology that leaves us wondering: Did that parent -- or teacher, or principal -- get it? (Like literally, did they get the report? But also, did they understand it? Take action based on accurate conclusions?)
Why just hope so? Why not virtually guarantee that a report is found, understood, and acted upon by sending out an army of native-speaking data counselors who can sit with each user, explaining the data to them?
After all, for a good-sized school district, that would only cost, say...seven million dollars. (Seriously: send two reports out per year, explaining a child's performance across classes and assessments; accompany that report with a one-hour session with a counselor who make $50/hour explaining the report the student's home language. You get $7 million.
Or just deliver each report as a video that speaks to the parent, and that walks her through the most important takeaways -- that calls her attention to what she most needs to know, and to what every parent deserves to know: How her child is performing; where he needs help; where to go for that help; what his future prospects are.
Five years? We're pretty sure you'll see it sooner than that. Watch this space.