Edline | Improving the interactivity of education

Creating a good public education system is a challenge that thousands of politicians and companies have tackled in the past. One of the tried-and-true factors in a good education, though, has always been involvement – involvement of the teachers with all their students, of the students with the teachers, of the parents with the teachers and students. It’s a trifecta that can sometimes be difficult to maintain, but educational services company Edline is making inroads into fixing that problem. Edline provides technology solutions for schools that help keep the entire learning community engaged, but the high expense is making some schools ask the government for money now to use the Edline system.

Edline manages communication

It can be very easy for students, especially in overcrowded or underfunded schools, to fall between the cracks. Edline strives to help keep parents and teachers connected to every student’s progress by offering a full “LCMS” – Learning Community Management System.

Using this system, every piece of information about a student’s progress – such as grades, attendance, homework and more – is posted online. That information is then accessible to parents, students and the student’s other teachers. The entire system is available online, meaning teachers can use internet-connected PalmPilots to enter data. As reported in the Hearald-Dispatch, parents can get access to all of a student’s data from any internet-connected computer.

Edline drives education with data

In an extensive Wall Street Journal report, the usefulness of this explosion of data and access is outlined. When teachers have the ability to record and access extensive data about each student, they are able to tailor their instruction to help each student improve. When parents are more connected to how their students are doing, they can discuss dropping grades or push high-achieving students into more challenging classes.

This individual attention, overall, has been shown time and time again to improve students’ performance. With the U.S. ranking as low as 11th in the world in some subjects, according to the New York Times, this focus on individualized attention and data-driven education is the focus of much of the new education funding coming from the federal government.

Edline system is not without challenges

Of course, as with any educational system, Edline has its challenges. While the company’s solutions are embraced by many school districts – some that must use a small loan to pay for it – it presents more challenges to already-cash-strapped districts. Many school districts in the United States simply do not have the money to provide the school-wide internet access or hand-held devices that are used in Edline “example schools.”

In many low-income schools, the students and parents do not have internet access at home. This “digital divide” is only made worse when schools begin to rely on internet-based systems to improve education. What good is e-mailing progress reports to parents when they may not even check their e-mail more than once a week at the library? The Edline system also requires teachers to input a large amount of data about each student – which, as the North Harford High School newspaper pointed out, can be difficult for already underpaid and overworked teachers.

Is Edline worth it?

In the end, the real question that many people are asking is whether paying for the Edline system, or other educational management tools, is really worth the money that districts spend on it. The short answer is yes; keeping parents, teachers and students connected and informed is a large part of the educational puzzle. However, a system such as Edline must also be a part of a more comprehensive solution. Parents need to be engaged, the digital divide must be addressed and teachers need the time and training to use systems like Edline. Education is a multi-faceted problem, and it must be answered with a multi-faceted solution.

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