Our Data Expert Weighs in on New MDR Data Attributes

MDR already has a robust database with lists of districts, schools, personnel, and educators across the US, but now, the data team is happy to announce the release of two new sets of data attributes: Classroom Technology Data Selects, and District Influencers.

What our customers can look forward to with these new attributes is saving time by not canvassing every public school and district to find their target audience. They can now choose the ones that use specific technology applications and programs.

For the Classroom Technology Data Selects, this includes:

Student Information Systems (SIS) and Learning Management Systems (LMS) – we know which providers thousands of districts and schools are using.

Student Information Systems are web-based applications that consolidate student performance and personal data which can be accessed by students, teachers, parents and school administrators.

Learning Management Systems are web-based applications that help educators create and distribute lessons and other content in their classrooms. LMS’s have measurement and tracking components, as well as the capability to be shared with parents, other educators, and school administrators.

Bring your Own Device (BYOD) and 1:1 Programs – We know what programs are in place in thousands of districts and schools as well.

BYOD programs allow students to bring their own personal laptops, tablets, Chromebooks or other Smart devices from home and use them in school to access lessons, research and other educational material via the school’s wireless internet access.

Schools with 1:1 programs (or 1:1 computing) provide each student with a portable device such as a laptop or a tablet for their individual school-related use for the entire school year.

District Influences – We know who has decision making influence in schools

MDR has historically made available over 150,000 K-12 district level contacts who are key decision makers in over 100 defined areas.  As we all know, although the final decisions might fall in the Chief or Directors hands, that there are others who work in the District Office who influence those final decisions.

MDR is now introducing this additional group who work at the district level – District Influencers.  This group of 140,000 specialists work day-to-day with the decision-makers, often influencing the decisions of what issues need to be addressed and what products to purchase.

Here is what Anne Goto, MDR’s Data Project Manager, has to say about these new attributes and what went into making them available:

These new attributes have just become available, why did the Data Team pursue this project?

Our customers expressed interest in these metrics, and a lot of what drives our process is customer feedback. We also have real, tangible information on SIS and LMS information – we have the real meat an potatoes in terms of the value of our data in the industry.

What efforts went into acquiring this data about who the influencers are, and which platforms (like SIS, and LMS) schools use?

We have a team of data experts on staff, knowledgeable of the structure of Educational institutions and how they’re formed. Most schools have some information on their websites. But you have to quality-qualify that data. Our quality team was able to acquire this data via downloads, sometimes via phone call, and from the information the schools make available on their websites.

And what about maintaining that data?

It’s important to mention that data is never stagnant: it is always changing and always moving. Our team updates this data as best we can, but this effort never stops. We conduct year-round data updates, and there are certain times of the year that are the best times to update the data. Some of our customers want to understand what our process is – and the answer is that it is always a multi-channel process. What’s typically more important to customers is having the confidence in our data, versus understanding the verification process.

Which was the most challenging data asset to find?

Each piece of data had different challenges. BYOD and 1:1 required us to ask knowledgeable staff at the district level. LMS and SIS was somewhat easier in that we had to look at websites and sometimes simply look for logos and signage of what platforms are in use. Technology data is the most challenging kind of data to get up-to-date figures on however – its always changing, and if you need deep info, you need to talk to someone who really understands at the school or district level.

How are these attributes updated if the roles or products change?

When acquiring this data for the first time, a lot of normalization was required– we had to figure out what the meaningful categories were, and what the role names meant. Once that process was complete, we automated the process better that way. We will likely refresh the influences and platforms once or twice a year or as needed.

To wrap up, here is how MDR’s new Data Attributes will help our customers’ better target their efforts:

  • They provide valuable mapping for companies selling LMS and SIS applications, laptops and smart devices, enabling strategic intelligence for core and supplemental content developers.
  • They provide critical insight for new market research and R&D, and serve as a blueprint for sales territory management and opportunity development for educational hardware and technology sales.

MDR Customers have access to all this data and more, reach out to us at mdrinfo@dnb.com for more information on how this data can help your efforts.

Interested in learning more about teachers use of technology in the classroom?

Get MDR’s Latest State of the K-12 Market Report for 2018: Teachers Talk Technology. Read our post about the report, or order yours today.


About Anne Goto

Anne Goto is the Data Products Manager at MDR. Anne has been at MDR for almost 30 years. She has experience in a variety of roles all revolving around data, including leading the development of our comprehensive education database of over 7 million educators. Her long-time passion for helping customers see the value in high quality data makes her current role a perfect fit for her.

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