This is a blog about the use of paradata in Australian Education, set up by the project team of the National Paradata Exchange, within the Supporting the Australian Curriculum Online activity of Education Services Australia.

If you’re on the inner with the project, you’ll already know what all those terms mean. Assuming you’re not, here are some definitions, which will help you make sense of what we are discussing here.


Paradata is usage data about learning resources; it is distinguished from metadata, which is provided by experts. Paradata captures information from how users interact with resources.

Paradata includes the normal quantitative metrics, such as number of views or clickthroughs. It also captures the paedagogic context around learning resources, as inferred through user actions. For example:

  • Where was this resource taught?
  • How was this resource aligned with the curriculum?
  • What kinds of teachers used the resource?

Paradata statements about a resource can be granular, about an invidual interaction with a resource; or they can present an aggregation of multiple interactions with a resource, over a defined period:

  • A teacher from Victoria used this resource in a Year 3 Geography class last Tuesday
  • 347 teachers accessed this resource last month

National Paradata Exchange

Under the Supporting the Australian Curriculum Online activity, Education Services Australia has been funded to explore setting up a National Paradata Exchange. The National Paradata Exchange will be an online service where education providers (jurisdictions and ESA, in the first instance) can contribute paradata about their learning resources, and can obtain paradata about learning resources from other providers.

The National Paradata Exchange will be an instance of a Learning Registry node, and paradata contributed to the Exchange will be expressed in the Learning Registry Paradata Schema (see the Learning Registry’s Paradata in 20 minutes or less).

National Paradata Exchange Project

The National Paradata Exchange project will

  • Demonstrate the value of gathering and exchanging paradata—including the use of paradata in Scootle, ESA’s resource portal, and in a demonstrator widget, the Paraportal
  • Establish the business requirements for jurisdictions’ usage of paradata
  • Develop a National Paradata Exchange, which supports those business requirments
  • Provide guidance for jurisdictions to integrate with the Paradata Exchange, as consumers and providers

The project started in April 2012, and will run through to June 2013.

Supporting the Australian Curriculum Online

SACOL is a package of work funded by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), to support integrating digital resources into the classroom, and to enhance the pool of national, state and territory digital curriculum resources to support all teachers. The focus of the actvity is to ensure that all schools have access to digital resources which support the Australian Curriculum.

The National Paradata Exchange project contributes to SACOL, by

  • making it easier for teachers and students to discover resources related to the Curriculum
  • helping education authorities make informed decisions about which resources to procure—to improve coverage of the Curriculum, and to respond to what teachers and students prefer to use

Education Services Australia

ESA is a national, not-for-profit company owned by all Australian education ministers. The company was established to support delivery of national priorities and initiatives, primarily in the school sector;. ESA has been engaged by DEEWR to provide the SACOL package of work, working closely with government and non-government schools authorities, as well as the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) and teacher professional bodies, to maximise the benefits of the initiative.

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