Issues and challenges in a Learning Analytics approach for Nancy-Metz school district

The DANE Nancy-Metz, the Digital Academic Delegation for Education, is participating in the third annual Learning and Student Analytics Conference which is taking place at the University of Lorraine on 22-23 October 2019.

Purpose of Learning Analytics implementation and LA in education

The French Ministry of National Education leads an ambitious strategy to bring French schools into the digital age. New resources and new media induce new pedagogical approaches which guarantee data protection in schools.

In our pilot regional education authority, the public service of educational digital sets a trust framework thanks to the Resource Access Manager, or GAR, and the new Digital Work Environment called “Mon Bureau Numérique” to facilitate an individualised management of pupils' educational backgrounds while respecting the confidentiality of their personal data. As part of the implementation of the GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation, the Delegation participates in the steering committees with the work environment provider and works closely with the Academic Data Protection Officer.

Pedagogical differentiation, individualisation, the fight against school dropouts are priorities that digital technology contributes to implement. The objective is to adapt the digital tool to individualise teaching in compliance with all security and confidentiality requirements. Besides, pupil data and learning traces are a common theme of the research work of which the academy, via the DANE department, is a partner.

Design

To meet the objectives, the Delegation and its partners develop “think tanks” collaborations by fostering the emergence of innovative digital projects. Technical developments, the legal framework and the changes induced in the teaching professions accelerate the challenges of educational digital and actions are undertaken to incubate and highlight digital projects. Field teams accompany innovative projects, identify the brakes and levers and evaluate the approaches so that the Delegation can generalise the processes, working with local authorities and with the research to lead to changes in classrooms and enable the impulse of national plans.

The academic incubator : its role and its missions

  • The academic incubator, founded under the e-FRAN call for projects, aims to encourage experimentations to build a forward-looking vision of innovative projects related to e-education. The Delegation ensures the implementation of three e-FRAN projects -METAL, LINUMEN, e-TAC- and three NUMERI’LAB projects -B4MATIVE, PEACE, UN&LEM- alongside the project leaders, from nursery to secondary school.  
  • The incubator creates synergies with our educational digital partners which are local authorities, Canopé operators, universities and various associations.Relying on a network of experts from the University of Lorraine, its research laboratories, ESPE, the Maison pour la Science, INRIA and other universities, and on the commitment of its teams and institutions, the incubator creates the conditions for common initiatives in the field of research in e-education, coordinates them and identifies potential transfers. All this stimulates links between projects, supports new experimental practices, innovation communities and the implementation of research in schools, seeking future collaborations and providing financial, organizational and legal expertise.
  • Support from the French Ministry of EducationWorking groups are organised, involving ministerial experts, to develop a reflection and a common approach about issues of data collection and processing in e-education research projects. Valuing data in education aims to help teachers better identify the specific difficulties of their students in order to refine their teaching strategies and to provide content adapted to their audience. The use of AI allows for prediction and prescription, but the data collection framework must be ethical and secure, hence the creation of an ethics commission in the Ministry of Education.

Results

In the course of data collection and processing, the consent of the user and the authorisation of the person in charge of the data must be obtained and the university is responsible for the use of these data by researchers. The steps for securing data and information must be followed and the collection and processing perimeters must be precisely defined. 

It seems essential to establish a network of contacts -Data Protection Officers- to comply with the law on personal data while collecting and managing the future of data in research projects.

Implications

By highlighting problems, the Delegation contributes to ministerial thinking, helps resolve issues and build a research model for education.
Experimental teachers discover new technologies and pedagogical complements. Schools, valued through social sites, benefit from the installation of equipment and become a resource institution for spin-offs.

The Delegation participates in meetings and seminars and acts in close proximity to researchers and practitioners. Researchers participate in working groups, give lectures or facilitate workshops around their project during academic events or departmental forums which are genuine moments of exchange between research and pedagogy, each nourishing itself with the needs and contributions of the other.