Big Data in education. Calendizer open data for youth. rel8edto-analytics
May 5, 2016 6:20 pm Published by

Big+Open Data Revolution: Students Will Change The World

Big Data in Education. It is all about connecting passionate educators with tomorrow’s technical tools. This is why individuals from the education field organize events like the Connect Conference, happening here in Niagara!  The Scotiabank Convention Center was packed, and the excitement about new technologies and projects, palpable. found its way to this conference all about big data in education, with a keen interest in supporting a team we have been mentoring for the past six weeks. Our other goal is promoting our brand new survey, aimed specifically at encouraging the use of Big+Open Data for Grade 6 to 12.

Our simple solution offers real-world applications to students, adding relevance to what is taught, and is paired with training and support from our own data analysts.

The Calendizing Team: Young Minds Using Data To Bring About Positive Change

If you think it is too soon to be introducing such a concept, you will be amazed at this Calendizing team, a group of astonishing students mentored by the founder of Bob Lytle.  They are presenting their own product at Connect, demonstrating how young minds can use data to bring about positive changes.  Believe it or not, the Big Data Revolution has started and students are ready for it!

These impressive DSBN Academy 9 and 10th graders, profiled on the 6 Social site, aim at decreasing student stress by creating an online platform on which teachers can effectively exchange important term assignments and exam dates, resulting in a better repartition of the work load during the school year.

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Teachers Are The Key To Students’ Success

The idea bloomed last March as the students were attending the 6 Social event in Niagara, which promoted idea generation and entrepreneurship in young students to drive youth involvement in social causes.  The girls’ previous week had been filled with exams and assignment due dates, and although their hearts yearned to participate, they felt exhausted.

When the principal instigator of the event, Hanna Cree, showed the teams techniques to foster creativity and asked which problems really needed addressing, they did not hesitate.  Student stress was their key issue and the cause seemed crystal clear: teachers did not communicate enough.

The genius in their idea is its simplicity.

Students do not choose when their assignments or their exams are due.  However, teachers have the power to make it easier for their students, and they can be the key to their success.

Better communication between teachers would avoid the accumulation of due dates on the same day or the same week.  In turn, this would reduce student stress and foster confidence in their capacity to achieve their academic goals.   How to manage this data turned their idea into a viable product: Calendizing.

Calendizing Proves That Access To Big+Open Data Is Powerful For Youth

The four girls met their business sponsor,’s Founder Bob Lytle, at the event.   He helped them create a business plan and explained the features for minimum viable product (e.g. what would be the simplest way of making their project tangible?) They started from an existing tool, Google Calendar, and improved it to create a platform making it possible to manage different schedules simultaneously, and where features could easily be added further down the road.

Girls mentored by Bob Lytle. Analytics. big data in education.

It turned out to be an effective way to work with a substantial dataset and to make it accessible, understandable and easy to use.  This approach follows the same guidelines as education solution, and proves that data comes in many forms.

We can make it relevant for students and we can gain their interest and engagement by empowering them with tools that will allow them to make a difference.

Leading up to the conference, the Calendizing team was supported throughout their initiative by a trio of mentors.  Bob helped the team form their moving elevator pitch and gave them the courage to present their ideas for the conference.  Could you imagine being in Grade 9 or 10 and presenting a business idea to adults?

Jill Russel, Technology Program Lead at the DSBN Academy, made sure they were sticking to the plan and helped to organize a series of tests at their school and with other teacher associations to test their product.

Hannah Cree, 6 Social Strategist & Community Connector ,who provided them with a forum on the 6 Social site and showed them how to create a survey to reach more teachers and improve their products with feedbacks.

Calendizing: Less Stress = More Success

All those efforts came together as the team presented their idea to the Connect crowd.  Their presentation was powerful and evocative, and their message reached the ears of hundreds of teachers.  Jill Russel commented: “The reaction to their idea at the Connect Conference was overwhelmingly positive. Principals, teachers and administrators all felt that Calendizing could help students’ achievement.”  Who wouldn’t want to drive student success in their classroom?

Caledizing with analytics. Open Data.

Their genuinely eloquent elevator pitch melted the heart of those at the conference, which allowed them to gather ideas for future interesting features, such as Calendizing with parents or adding a “feeling” stream where students could share their mood of the day, making it easier for teachers to adapt their lectures to the students’ level of motivation.

The team’s next step will be to gather partners to support them in their initiative as well as devising new tools for teachers and a support platform where help and training can be provided.  In the long run, this may well bloom into its own stand-alone project!  Their idea is already changing lives around them, and proves that young minds can trigger change.

How Can You, As A Teacher, Help Foster Success In Your Students?

If you are a teacher, you too can help foster accomplishments from your students.  We can provide you with the right tools to empower your students and help them leave their mark on our world.

Fuel the data revolution; ignite passions and power student success with data.  

We would love to get you involved: take our Teacher Survey!


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This post was written by Valérie Plante-Brisebois

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