EdManage manages and optimizes all the operations of a K-12 public school district. EdManage delivers an analytics platform for integrating all the devices and applications that traditionally operate independently. Calling today’s K-12 public education a system is a misnomer. It could better be described as a collection of components trying to collaborate in delivering quality education to the students. The components include everything from student handheld devices to the computer or cloud servers where the applications reside, including the network on which everything communicates. The functions/applications include literally every operation in the district, including but not limited to:
· Student information system
· Learning management system
· Business and finance
· Human resources
· Food service
· Community relations
· Facilities management
· Curriculum resources
· Local, State, and Federal reporting
Historically, by operating these domains independently, the district loses valuable opportunities for reducing costs, improving services, and better meeting the students’ learning needs.
Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld pointed out, “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.” Hidden in all their data, school districts have many unknown unknowns. A well-designed and implemented analytics platform provides alerts when an unknown unknown poses a threat or provides an opportunity.
The Emaginos EdManage platform is an analytics engine fueled by massive volumes of raw data that delivers actionable information to the end-user. The first function is to ensure data integrity across all applications. EdManage will create and manage a district data dictionary that defines what person/position in the district is authorized to change and responsible for the validity of each data element in every application. Things like marriages, divorces, adoptions, transfers, moves, and name changes frequently result in changes in the data that must be controlled, managed, and promulgated across all applications and reports.
In many districts, preparing and submitting mandated state and federal reports consume weeks of staff time – much of which is used just to validate the data that has been gathered from various applications. EdManage not only eliminates the data validity issues, but it also generates the reports automatically – flagging issues for review and approval by comparing data patterns and identifying anomalies. This process aggregates all the district data into a single relational database with appropriate security and access controls. This collected data is the primary asset used in implementing the EdManage analytics platform.
The traditional production-line model for K-12 public education has been in place for decades. It has evolved slowly in an attempt to make optimum use of new technologies as they became available. The current status is a loosely connected collection of separately conceived and implemented applications. This collection of applications will be replaced by a system that better meets the needs of each individual student.
In a traditional classroom of roughly thirty students, the class is given an assignment and then student performance is measured through quizzes, tests, oral, and written work. The administrative effort required for customizing the learning for each child in this paradigm is prohibitive. Because the most effective learning is done in a team setting, the system must measure and manage the learning progress of each individual student, while simultaneously tracking the group’s progress, identifying, and delivering the appropriate learning resources and challenges to each student, and dynamically adjusting the individual’s learning experience – constantly challenging but short of frustrating the student. EdManage will provide observational rubrics that enable the teacher to assess student performance in real time and deliver actionable information that the teacher can use to adjust the assignments, or the resources provided to each student.
EdManage is a valuable tool, but teachers are still the single most critical component in any school. Highly qualified and motivated teachers are the heart, brain, and backbone of an Emaginos Discovery and Learning System school. EdManage constantly tracks the performance of the teachers, records their skills and professional development activities, identifies opportunities for improving them, and recommends programs and resources leading to their becoming highly qualified master teachers.
State education chiefs and governors in 48 states came together to develop the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), a set of clear college- and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Today, 41 states and the District of Columbia have voluntarily adopted and are working to implement the standards, which are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to take credit bearing introductory courses in two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.”
Emaginos uses the standards to build projects and lessons that teach the students not only the academic content but also the process of learning.
There are literally hundreds of literacy standards at each grade level within the CCSS. Most districts supplement the CCSS with local culturally and geographically relevant standards. For every standard, there are countless resources available for teaching the content standard and a similar number of tools for assessing whether the student has mastered them. The resources include activities designed to accommodate individual student’s learning styles. For example, some may be designed for visual learners, some for auditory learners, and some for tactile/kinesthetic learners. A similar array of assessment tools exists.
Many steps are required to teach one student one curriculum standard. But the average class contains 18 to 26 students, each of whom will be working on multiple curriculum standards. It is extremely challenging to do this for a single student and a single curriculum standard with the currently available learning management systems. It is impossible to manage multiple students working on multiple standards. The EdManage analytics platform delivers this solution in real time for every student.
The teacher retains the role of the learning leader who selects the standards to be assigned and the context for learning, observes and evaluates the student performance, and provides ongoing motivation, support, and encouragement.
There is no better time to teach something than the moment when the student wants to learn it. EdManage takes advantage of this proven fact. For example, in early February of 2020, students everywhere were hearing alarming news about a deadly virus. They worried and they wondered. A Teachable Moment! In a case like that, EdManage will ask the students what they want to know about COVID-19. Based upon the student’s response and grade-level, the system will lead the student through a series of age-appropriate research, analysis, synthesis, and conclusions that answer the student’s questions and lead them to additional related questions, iterating this process several times until the student has satisfied her curiosity on the topic.
In the background, EdManage deliberately guides the learning to integrate, measure, and record mastery of appropriate learning standards. For example, the first standard listed above was, “Ask and answer questions about key details in a text. “ The ‘text’ mentioned does not need to be a textbook or a piece of literature. It can also be a bulletin from the CDC on COVID. Building on the interest in the pandemic, EdManage will lead the students to explore several facets of the issue, including politics, medicine, prevention, cure, biology, virology, etc.: constantly introducing and mastering additional curriculum standards.
Because the Discovery Learning System does not follow or rely upon a textbook, there is no limit to the context that students can select for their learning – anything from becoming a famous musician to building a house. Wherever the student’s curiosity takes them, EdManage can build a lesson around it that enables the student to master some valuable content. At the same time, instead of being passively taught the information, the student actively learns how to learn it on his own. These learning skills constitute another set of educational standards that EdManage measures and manages; ensuring the student becomes a confident independent life-long learner.
Students are not the only learners in a school. Teachers must be constantly learning in multiple domains.
· They need to keep current in the latest developments in their academic field of specialization.
· They need to stay qualified in using the latest technology for learning, (They need to use it and to teach their students how to use it.)
· The recent pandemic made us aware that teachers and students need to be prepared to learn in different modalities. (in-person, online/virtual, self-directed, etc.)
This learning can be delivered as a part of formal college graduate courses, Professional Development continuing professional education credits, or through self-directed activities. What is usually missing in this scenario is a means of determining the individual and faculty-wide learning needs, and a process for designing and delivering a comprehensive solution. EdManage constantly measures, monitors, and manages teacher performance and competencies to understand where to use their strengths and how to fortify their weaknesses. For master teachers to maintain their certification, they must mentor less-qualified teachers. If there is an abundance of highly-qualified and a shortage of less-qualified teachers in a school, EdManage will manage master teachers mentoring less qualified teachers from disadvantaged schools.
EdManage takes the concept of ‘anytime/anywhere learning’ to a whole new level. When the term was born, it referred to portable or hand-held devices making it possible for students to access their lessons anywhere they could access the Web. In today’s world of W-Fi and smart phones and the Internet-of-things (IOT) the universe of learning is boundless. Students, teachers, parents, administrators, and anyone connected to the system is engaged in an EdManage boundless learning program. In a traditional school, if you are a student with an avid interest in a somewhat esoteric topic, you were an isolated learner. In the EdManage learningverse.
In addition to enabling all these exciting new learning pedagogies, EdManage supports the design and delivery of traditional classroom lessons.
· students are continuously engaged in learning and mastering the curriculum standards.
· Teachers are continuously getting better.
In the Emaginos Discovery Learning System schools, the teachers literally run the school. The make all the decisions regarding curriculum, staffing, budget, policies, facilities, etc. while still being responsible for their classroom teaching role. EdManage makes this burden achievable by aggregating, analyzing, and synthesizing the vast volume of district data, automating the mandatory reports, and delivering actionable information that drives reasoned management decisions.
Size matters. Large school districts have an economic pricing advantage when it comes to purchasing supplies and resources. Education vendors justifiably pass on the savings inherent in volume sales to their customers. The obvious benefit is cost savings, but the hidden cost is availability. The cost/benefit analysis of selling to smaller districts means that many education vendors do not target their sales efforts to smaller districts.
There are countless digital-based K-12 education resources that provide excellent results, but are cost-prohibitive for smaller districts that may have only a few students who want or need them. Currently available pricing and packaging options continue to favor larger districts. EdManage will serve as a sales and marketing channel, making the products available to every subscriber at the same price. The analytics platform will provide a metering function that supports a “you only pay for what you use” approach. The Emaginos subscription includes access to a vast array of free learning resources on the web. It also includes a set-aside fund for purchasing commercial resources. As the district uses the commercial products, EdManage tracks their usage and debits the fund. It provides real-time financial reports to the district curriculum director (or anyone the district designates) showing what has been spent and what is left in the fund. If the fund is getting low, the district can add to it at no risk. Any money left in the fund at the end of the year will roll over to next year’s fund. Based on the district’s usage, EdManage will provide a recommendation to the district for the estimated demand for next year.
· Students and Teachers – Every district, large or small, urban or rural, will be aware of and have access to the best available learning resources.
· Districts – The financial officer will have better control of spending on learning resources, and access to better information for budget planning.
· Vendors – EdManage opens up access to small market customers. We make them available, handle their billing, and provide efficacy data for marketing messaging and product improvement.
· Emaginos – Vendors will pay Emaginos a channel sales commission.
Historically, smaller school districts combined their needs in a consortium for better pricing on school supplies. All districts need essentially the same supplies like paper, cleaning supplies, athletic equipment, etc. EdManage will aggregate its subscriber’s needs and negotiate volume discounts. The analytics feature will assist the CFO in predicting the needs and budgeting the correct amount.
School Safety and Security (SS&S) have always been important issues in K-12 school districts. The issues include active shooters, bomb scares, pandemics, data privacy, bullying, ransomware, and hacking of school data. Solutions include active shooter drills, coordination with first-responders, providing students and teachers equitable home access to learning resources, implementing secure access controls, monitoring cameras for spotting and intervening in bullying behaviors, maintaining a secure computer or cloud computing infrastructure, and generally promulgating and practicing secure access to the network. By constantly monitoring the entire digital infrastructure, EdManage prevents, detects, and mitigates most of these issues.