If you attended the recent ed tech extravaganza, aka Bett, you will know how easy it is to become carried away when you see a new product. You may well be tempted to take advantage of any special Bett prices, but it’s worth taking a step back. The key questions should always be:
- What are you (or your school, MAT or LA) trying to achieve?
- How will this product help you achieve it?
- Does the cost of implementing it outweigh the potential benefits?
The second and third questions are not necessarily easy to answer. Ideally, if there’s a product you liked the look of you will have had, or will have, a chance to see a demonstration of it. It may even be possible to arrange for a free trial. While neither of those options will yield the true picture — you won’t know that until you fully adopt the product — it will at least give you a pretty good idea of what’s involved.
I saw a few products at the show which sounded ok-ish while the salesperson was giving me the details, but which on reflection left me very doubtful. Some of the products were pointless, others were good but nothing new, and others were good and seemed to me to be a major undertaking for very little return.
Fortunately, there were also some excellent products, not the least of which were Groupcall’s new data analytics program and its GDPR compliance suite. I’ll be reviewing these more fully in due course, but I thought a heads-up now would be useful in this post-Bett period. If you are looking around for a way to ease your way through GDPR, or wondering how you can make more sense of all the data your pupils (and teachers) generate every day, then these two products are definitely worth a look.
Having data is all very well, but what we really need is information. Groupcall’s new data application, from Coscole, takes whatever data you wish to consider and presents it in the form of dashboards. This makes it easy to see at a glance where your strengths and weaknesses lie in terms of key metrics such as attendance, punctuality, assessment and behaviour. As you would expect from a product like this, you can drill down in order to go from a bird’s-eye view to a granular level.
You can also combine different sets of data to see if that yields any insights. The nearest thing conceptually from my point of view is Excel’s pivot table functionality — but a whole lot easier to use.
Having that wealth of information at your fingertips enables you to make adjustments. For example, if you can ascertain where good practice is going on, you can take steps to spread it more widely.
On my computer at home I have a GDPR spreadsheet which is, in effect a to-do list. It’s useful, because I can set deadlines, and filter the data such that I can see only one type of action at a time. Even so, it’s hard going. For a larger organisation with hundreds or even thousands of data subjects it would be a nightmare.
Enter Groupcall’s GDPR compliance program. This provides you with a logical step-by-step, checklist-driven interface that makes it much easier to see what needs to be done by whom in order to comply with GDPR requirements.
As I say, I’ll review this product much more fully, but from my first introduction to it I was impressed. Let’s put it this way: it made me feel that this, GDPR, is doable, as opposed to an impossible imposition.
Find out more about Groupcall’s assistance with GDPR by going here: Groupcall GDPR compliance.
If you already use Groupcall products such as Emerge, Messenger or Xporter, that’s another good reason for considering these. All Groupcall products are designed to work together, which makes implementation much less of a hassle.
And, of course, the two products support each other. If you collect data on, say, pupils’ shoe size, that may well give you a lovely pie chart in Coscole. Whether you can justify it in the light of the GDPR is, of course, another matter entirely.
Terry Freedman is an independent consultant and freelance writer. He publishes the ICT & Computing in Education website.