Education data site launched for school officials

The National School Boards Association has launched a website that trains educators on how to effectively use education data when giving public presentations. The site also provides national K-12 statistics from a wealth of different sources.

At Data First, users can access online training videos to help presenters make their data flashier and easier to understand. The tutorials include how to color code data, and use pie charts and stacked columns so that audiences can easily wrap their heads around the presenter's point.

The site also offers information to help put local or statewide school data in context. Featured are numerous national statistics on K-12 schools, such as the percentage of low income students in the U.S., and the average class size.

The facts are all sourced with links to the original study or survey, and some contain links to available reports on a given subject.

The statistics come from many sources but are largely lifted from the U.S. Department of Education. The site was created with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In other online education news, State Superintendent Jack O'Connell is promoting Lessonopoly, a free online lesson plan library that draws on popular events like the 2010 Olympics, the BP Oil Spill, and NFL football to provide engaging lessons in science and math.

Lessonopoly's latest offering is the Science of NFL football, a 10-part video series that lets students learn about topics like the Pythagorean Theorem by charting the paths of two NFL players running for the goal line.

"I recommend that you take advantage of the Science of NFL Football series and lesson plans during the remainder of the NFL season by incorporating the materials into your curriculum," said O'Connell in a letter to superintendents this week.

Lessonopoly also provides online classroom planners and teacher networking services. The site is funded by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.

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