What’s your [Data] point?

Audrey Watters describes “data” as one of the top trends of 2011 and predicts that it will be even more important in 2012.  Big data has been a hot topic in the corporate world for about a year and half.  Corporations realized that with the explosion of social media and willingness of the public to volunteer their private information when it comes to cyberspace, they have a massive amount of data collected.  Not just any data, but specific data about potential customers and their preferences.  As the line between education and business draws closer, our politicians (often times former business leaders) are realizing that if there is a formula to predict consumer spending habits, why can’t we predict student progress and/or success?   Or the even scarier question, “why can’t we correlate students success with teacher performance?”

The problem with “big data” as an education data warehouse is that it cannot be easily used as a prediction engine.  There are too many dynamic variables in the life of a student.  For example, a model student in which the big data analytics formula would normally predict as a successful student could be experiencing a divorce situation at home which would affect his study habits.  In essence the problem is not in mining the data that is available.  The problem is what information is needed to determine student success?  This following quote sums up this issue…

”It would be nice if all of the data which sociologists require could be enumerated because then we could run them through IBM machines and draw charts as the economists do. However, not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – William Bruce Cameron (1963)

Watters points to an article on her blog about a study that was conducted on the virtual classroom.  The study concluded that the virtual classroom students did not perform as well as their traditional school counterparts.  Perhaps this can be attributed to the presence of a traditional school environment and instructor?  In my opinion this is also a topic that is up for debate because the study does not disclose the prior history of the subjects academic performance.  We don’t know if they have failed out of the traditional schools and enrolled in the virtual classrooms while this study was conducted.  This proves the point that big data has its place in education for some analysis but it is certainly not ready to be used as a tool for predicting student success or teacher evaluation.

Big data

 

The Politics of Ed- Tech

 

This article is based on Education being political. Government role is not the only reason for Education to be political. According to the article, Audrey Watters states,”it is political because of the Polis– the connections between education and community. Education is political because learning is at once personal (and, of course, “The personal is political”) and social; is it both private and public.” If education can be political so can Ed-Tech.When people think about Ed-Tech- a lots of other words to comes to mind. Such as, Technology, education, Politics, Communication, Learning, connection and a lot more.Ed-Tech has all sorts of meanings to it.

 

 “Ed-tech” is often used too as a shorthand for brands: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Pearson, Intel, HP SMART, LEGO, Discovery.”

 

I Believe this trend was chosen to allow us to be able to understand what exactly is the Politics of Ed-Tech and how it has our lives involved into it.  We can for sure say, 2012 was the year of technology. The influence of technology in our life has been increasing dramatically.  The article mentions about the business of ed-tech and its top ed-tech trends- Ipads, Khan academy, online learning, social media and much more. All of these top notable ed-tech has a connection to learning through technology. Technology has changed the way of teaching and learning. Through the usage so much technology, it is starting a business of its own. Now there is a business of education through technology.Its a win win situation on both side. A child gets his/her education and the business company makes money off of their tech.

— we witnessed in 2012 the (education) technology sector discovering, seizing, wielding its power and influence.

 

 The companies listed on the image above contains all sorts of different age and social related learning corporations. They all deliberate to meet the expectation of parents and teachers.Many of us are probably familiar with quite a few of them.

 

An example of political influence on education is that the government wants more educated people in fields like the army and air force. The video gives a small introduction to a program called the key influencer program, which gets people excited for fields like army and air force. The program trains individuals so that they can be interested in such fields. Overall goal for such programs are, as Dr. Filippenko stated at the end of the video “we need to keep the US strong in science, technology, innovations, leadership, team work, creativity and individual pursuit of this high ideals”.