Tag Archives: Data

Codifying Learning Project: Learning analytics in a primary & secondary setting


We’ve been exploring data with a learning focus for a couple of years now, through examples of hack activities with data collection and visualisations as well as joining up the Internet of Things (IOT) with physical computing. Our programme of CPD (continued professional development) in Hull continues to support teachers and learners to provide an engaging and inspiring computing curriculum.

However, an emerging area of discussion and support for our schools to deliver their learning visions has been around harnessing big (and small) data in education.

From this we’ve looked to the area of learning analytics as a mechanism to support the impact of data on learning. Moreover, by asking big learning questions.

Learning Analytics in a school context

There are many definitions of learning analytics but we’ve used this one as a starting point for planning with our schools in Hull:

the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs

Whilst there are a plethora of studies and examples from higher education, our requirements to use learning analytics in a primary and secondary school setting started from within our own classrooms and school leadership approaches.

The notion of using data in a school environment concentrated our thoughts about some of the biggest, most important questions, which underpin education:

  • What is great teaching and how do we measure it?
  • What is knowledge?
  • What is learning?
  • How do we measure learning?
  • What is pupil progress and how do we measure it?

Thinking critically about what school data is currently measuring, and what it’s trying to measure, has been fundamental to the project. How can big (and small) data provide teachers and learners with the insights they really need?


We’re using a design-based research methodology, collaborating with teachers and school leaders, to explore how data can help teachers teach and learners learn. This initial stage, with a secondary and a primary school in Hull, revolves around asking the aforementioned big learning questions at school level, at the same time as exploring big data considerations on a wider educational level.

Working with SLT teams to understand the high-level vision and strategies for their school, focus groups and interviews are in the initial phases.

To gain the holistic insight which big data principles demand, it’s also been vital to include perceptions directly from children. We’ve already worked with work with a sample of children from Y3 – Y8 to explore their views on teaching and learning within their schools.

Next steps

As collaborations with teachers and leaders continue, the students involved in the project also have plans to join together through a learning project.

The older students, as ‘Learning Innovators’ will use digital technologies to capture their learning reflections over time. Of course this will generate insights for discussion, alongside initiating even more data through the online tools utilised.

Their reflections and knowledge will also be incorporated into their design of a learning activity for the younger children.

A workshop during National Careers Week, in March, is planned at the primary school. As a peer to peer learning activity, children from the primary school focus group will work with the older students to collaborate and create a piece of wearable technology.

They have risen to a challenge set by the Hull 2017 City of Culture team and will use their creativity, knowledge and skills gained from computing, design and enterprise curriculum areas to share their ‘Made in Hull’ algorithms using Codebug.

Get in touch if you have any questions.

Data Visualisation: Projects, thoughts & review

Big data and visualisation techniques?   In education?  For student projects?  

With students’ own data?   How and why?

Supporting teachers with creative and innovative projects and enrichment activities continues to be a common theme through CPD plans, particularly developing activities with the new Computing curriculum.

One such area has been with data, and often to understand the opportunities that big data, open data and visualisation techniques can offer in an educational setting.  Moreover, to consider how data from real world situations can be used in a stimulating and creative way.

From the Computing programme of study for key stages 3 and 4:

  • undertake creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications, preferably across a range of devices, to achieve challenging goals, including collecting and analysing data and meeting the needs of known users

Over the coming months we’ll be posting updates of individual projects, but for now here are some examples of what’s being planned and evaluated:

  • The use of online tools to create infographics to visualise data and consider ‘visualisation literacy’. Evaluating what makes an effective visualisation and how data can be presented for a particular purpose.  Either students’ own data or accessed from another source.
CPD in Hull 2013-2014 V1A

Infographic example

  • How sonification tools can be utilised for a collaborative project looking to link music with Computing.  Sonic Pi using a Raspberry Pi is just one example of how sonification can be used as a creative visualisation technique with data.
  • The use of new technologies to collect data, particularly wearable tech to collect health data by students themselves, and consider the best tools to visualise what’s collected.

More examples of tools, appropriate hardware, inputs and outputs on the document link below, which will need to be magnified.   What started out as a planning document has helped to map out available resources and creative examples, and will be refined as more projects are completed:

Visualisation Tools

Click on the image for the Popplet