We rolled out our mobile information system called Sigma Connect in 5 elementary schools in Marietta City School District this week. Funded by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, this project is designed to facilitate communication and learning among students who might be susceptible to academic difficulties. We are using a “grassroots informatics” approach. That is, we are building an information system from the ground up rather than using a conventional top down approach. Our goal is to digitally empower underserved families; to increase their capacity to receive and transmit information that will help their child succeed. Marietta City School administrators, teachers, and parents took the lead and got us off to a great start! In just the first week we provided almost 500 families with mobile technology and training.[2jslideshow 144]
Unlike most technology driven projects, we did not prescribe or force an information system on these families. Instead, this project is driven by the philosophy that data systems should be derived from the people being served not just the service providers. People are more than just common data elements, cases, or units of analyses. Common data elements yield virtually no information on the uncommon characteristics of marginalized population.