“Education” for the 2020–2021 school year (PART V)

The Value of Data

Data is straightforward and can provide logical ways to visualize, digest, and act on information.

As mentioned previously, bandwidth data is collected by PRTG to show how and when specific adjustments should be made to improve network performance or address bottlenecks.

Zendesk’s data insights provide essential information to communicate easily with team members. The data can explain an increase in requests year over year or during specific times of the year. It is used to check on tickets, which technicians are taking and solving requests, and how long requests are open before being solved. The data system within Zendesk is customizable and flexible, providing valuable information for the community.

A COVID dashboard was requested for the school in the fall. The purpose was to provide visibility for the community into New York City and school data to see how things “looked” and may be trending.

The combination of Google Data Studio, APIs, and Google Sheets provided datasets to create and display specific information for people to review.

Google’s BigQuery platform provides connections to several public datasets to start reviewing and understanding data. A number are related to COVID from the New York Times and John’s Hopkins University. These datasets are updated regularly and allow trends relating to information for a particular location to be visualized. Here is a demo COVID dashboard recently created.

Leveraging Google Sheets, data is downloaded from other systems (that did not have APIs) and imported into a refreshed sheet within Google Data Studio. Pre-screening data was displayed from our AUXS app as part of the dataset. We showed how many forms a day were submitted, which form was used, and if it was denied. Using all this data, we could see global numbers, city numbers, and school numbers. The dashboard provided a basic overview of the “health” of the school and the city.

Another area data was helpful, and relatable was pulling data from Zoom into a second dashboard.

Zoom provides access to their API, and with some simple adjustments, data could be pulled on a schedule to show meeting information, the number of attendees, and if a meeting was recorded.

The combination of Google Sheet and the API Connector from Mixed Analytics was an enormous help. Using the Mixed Analytics plugin, API data was requested live from Zoom and filtered into the sheet for use. Each API “get” call would write to a specific worksheet, and each worksheet was connected to a chart in Google Data Studio. Once the API ran, the Data Studio report was updated, and the information was current.

The Zoom dataset created showed total meeting minutes, meetings with the most attendees, and what percentage of sessions were being recorded. The dashboard allowed administrators to review if communication needed to be shared about recording more meetings or scanning for situations where meeting capacity may need to be adjusted.

Data Takeaway. Employing data provides clear and detailed information that can be used to review situations, address areas of concern, or build a case for changes that may be necessary. It is difficult to argue with data.

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