MyData Initiative – Education Datapalooza

Hi everyone I’m Marina Martin. I’m the Head of the Education Data Initiative here at the
Department of Education and I want to talk about one of the projects that we’re working
on called the MyDataInitiative. And the basic premise of this is that you as learners of
any age, or as parents of learners, should always have machine readable and human readable
access to your own academic data. So we’re following the footsteps of two other really
successful similar data initiatives in other areas.
The Blue Button over at the VA where over a million veterans have downloaded their own
healthcare records. They’ve printed them out, they’ve shared them with caregivers, they’ve
corrected medical errors, they’ve stopped potential prescription contraintradications,
and they’ve been able to fill out paperwork faster, and just simply had access to their
own data in a way they didn’t before. And over at the Department of Energy we have
the Green Button where a number of utilities like tens of millions of residential and commercial
customers download their utility data, hopefully make better energy usage decisions.
So the MyDataInitiative has three parts. The first is again that you as a learner or you
as a parent of a learner should have access to your own data, wherever that data may be.
So we want to create and encourage an ecosystem where everywhere that you’re accessing your
data, everywhere that someone is storing academic data about you, you have access to it.
Attendance records, IEPs, report cards, common core learning progressions, anywhere that
someone is recording academic data about you; you should be able to access it. I want to
be clear though that this is about getting data where it is. It’s not about moving data
into a central database it’s about creating a behavior like you’re used to going to a
Web site, log in, log out, you should also be just as use to downloading your own data.
So once you have your data that’s okay you can print it out, you can share it, you can
email it to grandma, maybe you can share it with a tutor. But when you have desperate
data from maybe 20 different sources it becomes a problem. It’s like you have all these puzzle
pieces that don’t fit together. So one big focus of the MyDataInitiative is
working with data templates that help all the data interact to fuel a gigantic ecosystem
of apps where your data can move and you can choose to securely share it from one app to
the next, to the next, to really see a big picture.
Let me give you an example of why this is important. I went to a high school where we
graded on a 6.0 scale. So if you saw my physics grade of 4.0 and I input that into an online
textbook you’d be like wow Marina it’s awesome at Vectors, but actually I really had a B-
and I needed help. And if you didn’t have a template or a data standard to understand
that about MyData you wouldn’t know what to do with me there.
So if we have templates and we have an increasing number the Department of Ed recently released
a data template for financial aid shopping sheets and a number of you in the audience
are part of organizations that support academic transcript data standards. And we are hoping
that we can encourage more and more data standards to match more and more academic data that
your apps are releasing. So it’s important to have machine readable
data so that you can take your data from one place and you can put it into another app,
but machine readable data is not very affective as a human. Imagine if you were in your car
and it just gave you a printout every minute of how much gasoline you used? That’s not
going to help you realize when you’re on E. So a third part of the MyDataInitative, and
a challenge that’s going to be kind of new to those of you that have been following along,
is that we think your data should also be human readable in a dashboard. So it could
look actionable and you can immediately gain insights. Again don’t give a long printout
of grades you have an 86% or your red, yellow, green in a particular common course standard.
Give people actionable insights. So that’s MyData. Here at the Department of
Education we actually don’t store a lot of your individual data but we are working on
some programs for the data that we do have. For example, NSLDS is working on a MyData
button to access your own federal student loan history. And next year you’ll be able
to download and reuse your own facet data, and there’s some really pretty cool examples
of how to do that in the upcoming presentations. So now it’s your turn, if you have an app
that lets learners or teachers or parents interact let them have their own data. Let
them have it in a machine readable format and let them have it in a beautiful human
readable format too. A lot of you have these amazing dashboards and the more I’ve been
talking to you the more excited I get about seeing them. So let people print them out
as PDFs. And this might be Greek to you but some XLM and some XSLT or little JSON HTML
will get you there fairly easily. If you’re a school district and you’re using
vendors and you have parent portals or teacher portals encourage your vendors to offer MyData
downloads and encourage your schools just to turn them on if you’re a parent. And then
finally if you are working with data that does not currently have a data template make
your own and release it. That’s going to make your app more competitive if everybody can
play in the ecosystem together. So thanks. MARINA MARTIN HEAD OF EDUCATION DATA INITIATIVE

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