Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Big Data - not only for the rich

The BBC features a really nice 5 minute video on the topic of Big Data.
Data is increasingly defining us - from the information we share on the web, to that collected by the numerous companies with whom we interact. Intrigued by the sheer scales involved, photojournalist Rick Smolan wanted to see how data was transforming the world.

Here, as part of the BBC News - What If? season, take a look at his global snapshots - compiled in his book The Human Face of Big Data.
This is also a topic that we are thinking for education, too! But for the moment, finding such appealing examples of what good big data can do for education is still limited. That said, it does not mean that they are not worth investigating for! Learning Analytics is one application area of Big Data in the field of education. I'm just writing a book chapter with Professor Bettina Berendt on the topic - more about that in another post.    

Monday, February 25, 2013

Call for Papers on Advanced Learning Technologies, Open Educational Content, and Standards

I have a pleasure to be part of the Programme Committee of this sub-conference taking place in November 2013.
Advanced Learning Technologies, Open Educational Content, and Standards as part of International Conference on Computers in Education 2013 focuses on recent directions for the alignment of learning technologies, open contents, standards and their rising impact for research, growth and societal change. To accelerate this growth, it is important to realize there will always be more than one approach. From a general perspective, two complementary approaches exist. One is ‘top-down’, in which technologies are identified and implemented from the educational and business needs for effectiveness and quality; the other is ‘bottom-up’, in which emerging technologies are utilized in design and implementation of novel learning methodologies...read the whole call

The paper submission is due on May 6 2013, see the link for the entire call.

The scope of the conference will cover but not be limited to the following topics:
  • Open platforms, open educational resources (OERs), Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs),and open learning methods
  • International alliance for open source, open standards, and federated
  • Repository and Network systems 
  • Technology standards for content, portfolios, learner information, and   competencies
  • Life cycle management of technical learning objects
  • New generations of educational technologies
  • Learning Analytics / Big Data
  • Web 2.0 and social computing for learning
  • Personalized educational and learning systems
  • Learning systems platforms and architectures
  • Advanced applications
  • E-learning, knowledge management and their organizational management
  • E-testing and new test theories
  • Automated assessments
  • Recommender systems
  • Learning content retrieval
  • New directions for standards development in the field of ICT and learning

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Open Book Project announced by H.Clinton - STEM material in Arabic

An interesting announcement was just made between the United States and the Arab League:
Through the Open Book Project, we will work to expand access to free, high-quality, open education materials in Arabic, with a focus on science and technology. Our hope is to lower geographic, economic, and even gender-based barriers to learning. Anyone with access to the internet will be able to read, download, and print these open materials for free or adapt a copy that meets the local needs of their classrooms or education systems.

So interesting! In the beginning of 2000, I also worked on an initiative to share learning resources across Europe. At the time, the MoE of Israel was also part of the project called European Treasury Browser. Before the second intifada broke off, there were talk of sharing resources with them, including the Arabic speaking people.

The European Treasury Browser Thesaurus, which was used to facilitate the multilingual search, had been translated into Hebrew and people were looking into translating it into Arabic too. Unfortunately, no one could decide into which Arabic, as there are so many varieties of Arabic spoken in a wide range of territory across the Middle East and North Africa. Apparently, even the modern standard Arabic has many different variations... In any case, the translation was stalled and due to circumstances, I assume it was not only because of linguistics...

I truly hope that the language will be a non-issue for this great initiative! I understand that search keywords are a complex issue as they are out of context. The content of learning material is (probably) different. In any case, I'll be interested in seeing what's coming out.

Last, a great list of people behind this initiative :) I'm so glad that I've had a chance to work with many of them!
I’m proud that so many trailblazers in open education come from the United States, including Creative Commons, the Hewlett Foundation, ISKME, Meedan, MIT OpenCourseWare, the OpenCourseWare Consortium, and Rice University OpenStax College. Your work is already proving that it has the potential to transform the way students learn across the world. 
See the video of the announcement here: http://bcove.me/qh6ebr2q 
and the press release here: http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2013/01/203382.htm