Optika Solutions brings CEWA data to life

‘Data migration…it’s not the most exciting subject,’ says Dr James Meneghello, Software Development Manager with Optika Solutions. But it is absolutely critical to how intelligent organisations function.

Optika has been working with CEWA since February on the LEADing Lights data analytics project, “Insight”. This is the project that is collecting student data in one place.

James’ team has been responsible for painstakingly moving all of that data from their old storage systems throughout 163 schools across the state and four CEWA offices, and centralising it inside one system.

“For a project of this scale which moves this fast, we’ve had to find a lot of ways to work a lot smarter than would generally be required. We’ve got these AI algorithms running throughout the migration process, doing work that would generally require people doing manual work to sort through.”

A team of 20 data migration specialists would generally be required to manually extract and translate data between the old and new systems – but James’ has managed with just four.

James is excited about what data can do for education.

‘You get situations where, say, you’ll have a new learning program that gets introduced, and for seven out of ten students, it doesn’t help. So that’s deemed a failure, because it didn’t help the whole group. But maybe those other three, they’ve had some great results, they were really benefiting from this program. So the question is at that point becomes, is that program a failure? What is it about those three kids that made the program so effective for them?,’ he said.

Through centralising school data, it becomes easier for Insight’s analytic programs to detect and track trends across schools and between students with a much more rich and varied data pool than would be available within one school. But getting there is no easy feat.

‘So we get this data and start to organise it and figure it all out – In terms of academics, you have sets of data like, say, your NAPLAN results, your WACE results, your ATAR, then your in-class tests and assignments. Instead of looking at each set of data separately, through analytics you can look at it all together as one set, you can identify trends, what works and what doesn’t. And that’s just the academic side, because then you have things like enrolment, attendance, discipline, classroom management, which can all have an impact.’

‘From there…It becomes a bit of social science at this point. To an extent, it’s making archetypes, seeing where students apply – so after a lesson, we can figure out if a student learns better when reading and writing information, or maybe it might seem like they’re not learning anything at all, because they’re a practical learner,’ he said.

The Insight project promises to deliver some amazing results as LEADing Lights systems continue to develop and grow – results which will be at the fingertips of our teachers, leaders, parents and even students themselves, as fast as the data can be entered.