College Hosts First National Data Visualization Summit for Education

July 11, 2014

The College of Education’s Institute for Public School Initiatives (IPSI) and UT Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) recently hosted the first-ever education-focused national summit on big data and data visualization.

The Invitational Summit on Education Data Visualization drew tech gurus, educators, policy makers, and community leaders to Austin to discuss how big data can help education solve problems to the same degree that it’s benefited areas like medicine, transportation, and law enforcement.

Attendees learned about

-       issues of privacy, security, ethics

-       how data visualization can affect policy making

-       tools that are particularly helpful when using data visualization in education

-       global trends

-       selling leadership on the importance of gathering and analyzing data

-       how data visualization can help the learning process and educational research

“Over the past 20 years there’s been explosive growth in learning that happens or is tracked in a computer-mediated environment,” said Paul Resta, who holds the Ruth Knight Milliken Centennial Professorship in Learning Technology in the College of Education. “As a result, educators and scholars have large amounts of data that could significantly improve teaching and learning. Data visualization, which has long been used in the sciences and business, offers a variety of powerful tools that can enhance research and make communication of education reform proposals to the public easier.”

Speakers included:

Paul Resta, University of Texas at Austin

George Siemens (keynote), University of Texas at Arlington

Kathleen Styles, U.S. Department of Education

Eric Newburger, U.S. Census Bureau

Larry Johnson, New Media Consortia

Mark Milliron, Civitas Learning

Richard Rhodes, Austin Community College

Peter Winograd, Center for Education Policy Research

JoAnne Wendelberger, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Ben Glazer, Eduvant

Chris Dede, Harvard University

Experts explained the best uses for big data, how to organize and share the data, and the limitations of data as a silver bullet for all education problems. Several applicable case studies also were presented not only from the field of education but also from areas like the oil industry, the military, and wildlife preservation.

“Regarding big data, it’s both complicated and simple,” said Charles Thornburgh, founder, CEO, and director of Civitas Learning. “You have to provide the correct infrastructure with the right data to the right people in the right way.”

- Kay Randall,


Last updated on August 11, 2014