Data has hit the classroom! I repeat… the classroom has been struck by data!
OK, maybe I’m being a little dramatic. Data is no stranger to the classroom. How else would teachers dish out those highly anticipated report cards at the end of the semester? As the system goes: students complete assignments, teachers grade them, the results are logged in some sort of database, and your lovely scorecard is generated every five or so months (Of course, if it’s not so lovely, you quickly proceed to stash it under your mattress before your parents can get their hands on it).
This is a fine method to track student performance. A system that has been around for decades. But is there a better way? One that allows teachers to not only track performance but actively improve it? One that could result in fewer students playing the dreadful game of cat and mouse with their parents?
Waggle—an online learning platform for students grades 2 through 8—believes there is. The award-winning platform continues to gain recognition for its progressive approach to solving this issue, using embedded analytics and new inputs of data to fuel the charge.
However, Waggle’s path to success wasn’t without its challenges. In the early stages of development, Waggle recognized an obstacle to its mission: How do you create a product that revolves around data for users who don’t have the skills or time to be data analysts? It didn’t take long to realize that the application’s success would be contingent on making the data accessible and actionable to its non-analyst end users. To address this issue, Waggle doubled down on a few key areas:
1. Creating an intuitive and interactive user experience
2. Finding an embeddable reporting and analytics solution that could handle serious demands without detracting from the user experience
Raj Chary, VP of Technology and Architecture at Waggle, led the evaluation of technologies to support these critical requirements. After weighing several options, TIBCO Jaspersoft was selected as the right embeddable analytics platform for the job. According to Chary, “Jaspersoft was the only product we found in the market that had this capability of fusing analytics into a user interface without actually having to build a whole different application around it.”
Once launched, it didn’t take long for the platform to gain attention, earning a Literacy Challenge Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shortly after its release.
Waggle’s success can largely be attributed to the execution against the goals it stressed during development. The application delivers on its vision to arm teachers with the ability to make decisions based on data. A teacher-friendly interface allows instructors to quickly identify students who are struggling and assign the right coursework to each student based on his unique area of strain—all without leaving the context of the application.
Equally as important, Waggle gives students a fun, gamified learning environment that feeds data back into the teacher dashboard. And the platform looks at more than whether or not the student answered a question correctly; it collects associated metadata too, such as the number of hints accessed, quantity of responses submitted before answering correctly, the overall difficulty of the question, and much more.
Earlier this month, Waggle was recognized yet again for its innovations in data access placing as a finalist for “Best Use of Data in a Product or Service Offering” in Gartner’s Data & Analytics Excellence Awards.