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Datapalooza at the U. S. Department of Education

by Susan Ohanian

I torture myself by subscribing to the e-mail Daily Digest Bulletin from the U. S. Department of Education. At 6:12 p.m.. on Jan. 11, 2013, someone there sent a hot link to
Datapalooza: Unleashing the Power of Open Data to Help Students, Parents, and Teachers
, the brainchild of Homeroom, the official blog of the U. S. Department of Education.

This Datapalooza took place at the White House, and look at who attended: 150 of America's entrepreneurs, software developers, education experts, and policy makers. They came together to show off their wares.

According to the blogger, The gathering was a chance to celebrate new products, services, and apps--all built with freely available data from the government and other sources--that have the potential to help American students succeed and that empower students and their families to make informed educational decisions.

You can watch the Data-philes' YouTube 'sells' here.

Arne Duncan kicks the party off with his canned spiel: The quality of education so many of our children are receiving is desperately under par. . . .We need a game change. . . . Using data in a very different way may be the game-changer we need. . . .

Data as game-changer turned out to be the theme of his remarks. He closed with "Can this be the game-changer? Can this be the game-changer?"

Jonathan Harber, CEO, Pearson K-12 Technology spoke about data allowing schools to go from textbook learning to personalized learning. . . "dynamic, engaging content showing up in(a child's) pocket. . . "

And so on and so on.

Harber pointed out that "Pearson is the largest trustee of student data." (Pearson PowerSchool Student Information System)

Are you reassured?

Or scared out of your mind.

Some of the open data material IS interesting and even useful. But consider why datapalooza is probably a good term for the whole deal:

Urban Dictionary


1. an all-out crazy party; partying at one place with a ton of people like there's no tomorrow

2. The art of throwing a very drunken extravagant party with a plethora of friends. Whoever is throwing the palooza usually adds their name as a prefix to the word. Paloozas are usually held on Wednesday.

3. A crazy f_ _ _in party whose purpose is to re-release an individual back into the world of dating when their significant other dumps them, ending a long term relationship.

It turns out this U. S. Department of Education was following in the footsteps of a White House-sponsored Health Datapalooza and Energy Datapalooza. I'm waiting for the White House extravagant party where a plethora of concerned citizens talk about the dangers of the overweening government worship of data.

Complete list of speakers at the White House Education Datapalooza:

Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer

Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

Ross Santy, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

Brandon Busteed, Executive Director, Gallup Education

Curt Allen and Mark Luetzelschwab, CEO and SVP, Agilix

Adam Wenchel, Chief Technology Officer, EverFi

Marina Martin, Head, Education Data Initiative, U.S. Department of Education

Robert Swiggum, Chief Information Officer, Georgia Department of Education

Shawn Bay, CEO, eScholar

Shane Green and Jenny Abramson, CEO and SVP, Personal

Richard Culatta, Deputy Director, Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education

Katie Garrett, Utah Education Network

Jonathan Harber, CEO, Pearson K-12 Technology

Eric William, Superintendent of York County Schools, Virginia

Sue Khim, CEO, Alltuition

Craig Carroll, CEO, Rezolve Group

Christina McIntyre, CEO, BecomeAlum.com

Jim Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

Jose Ferreira, CEO, Knewton

Zac Katz, Chief of Staff, Federal Communications Commission

Anthony Swei, COO, Education Superhighway

Sunny Lee, Mozilla Foundation

Jacey Wilkins, Manufacturing Institute

Karen Cator, Director, Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education

— Susan Ohanian




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