How big data is changing the way we learn
By Carly Yuk
It’s no secret that big data is becoming more critical for businesses, and it will be even more vital in years to come — especially big data in education.
The education sector is making its mark to ensure it is at the forefront of big data, by putting the foundations of big data knowledge in place first.
We’ve summarized the most-recent impacts of big data and education.
Big universities embracing big data network analytics to gain a tighter grip on the end user experience
Educause, a fast-developing innovator of a new generation of network analytics software technology, announced that its big data cloud service has been selected and set up within some of the top higher education institutions in the US.
Arizona State University, the University of St. Thomas, and the University of Virginia are the newest schools to leverage Nyansa’s cloud-based network. To address the rising challenge of safeguarding the user network experience in the midst of persistent mobility, implementation of public clouds applications and IoT device proliferate access networks.
Tom Kilmek, IT director at the University of Notre Dame says: “New network analytics solutions that make use of big data techniques and scalable cloud technologies are proving immensely useful in quickly quantifying the end user experience. Until now, understanding the actual user experience at any given time for thousands of users has been next to impossible”.
Want to know more on how Voyance will help assist university IT staff know what, where and why users are experiencing poor network performance, without the need to capture and analyse vast volumes of data from numerous network elements? Take a look here.
Arts and science meet through big data
When you think of literature, the most common association is with books. But literary critic Franco Moretti is urging his colleagues to stop reading books.
The majority of literary criticism is grounded in close reading, with academics scouring passages of text to tease out elusive meanings.
However, Moretti has claimed in a series of arguments that fully understanding the laws of literature requires distant reading; a process that relies heavily on the computer-assisted crunching of thousands of texts at one time.
Moretti states that academics need to think about the tens of thousands of books that are forgotten, a task that, thanks to computer algorithms and large digital databases, can now be made possible.
The digital age is still growing and if you want to know more about how big data has affected literature, read more here.
How big data has changed the education system
Despite being a wealthy country, the United States’ education system has never fulfilled its potential and lags behind many other countries.
Reasons for this vary from lack of funding, to poor teaching, to inadequate teaching training. A large number of females abandoning the teaching profession because of better equality in corporate opportunities has also been a problem.
Interestingly, another important reason is the failure to keep pace with the needs of the increasing complexity of advancing technology.
However, this is now changing as schools embrace analytics by using machine learning and robust algorithms in the classroom to help refine teaching methods.
To some degree, data has always been used in the classroom. Teachers can use data from educational software to see how well students understand specific ideas or topics and how they can adapt their lessons plans.
Many of these programs even use machine learning to understand where a pupil needs extra attention, what style of learning most suits them, and what needs to be done to help them progress their understanding.
Is this just the beginning of big data use in the classroom or will we see it utilised more educations continues to progress?
Big data isn’t always best
The use of big data in education is growing at an exponential rate. Vast amounts of student data and learning analytics are now available in comprehensive datasets; every metric you could want and even some you don’t.
However, small data is now beginning to make an impact through the use of auto-marking, and real-time feedback is becoming a favorite tool in schools, allowing students to complete a quiz or exercise using software (either online or offline), and results will automatically appear when they submit their answers.
Although this might not seem groundbreaking, it is. Real-time feedback is changing how classrooms operate, influencing teaching and learning much more than we could have ever expected.
It is a common human desire to want to know “how did I do?” on completion of an activity, and students have the same need when it comes to exams and tests.
Naturally, you expect immediate answers from Google, real-time updates from Twitter, and FaceTime conversations anytime and anywhere.
The implementation of auto-marking software provides this much craved, individual, real-time response, as students are still engaged with the exam content so they can recollect how they answered questions.
Bill Gates to add more money to education
Microsoft founder Bill Gates announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation plans to spend more than $1.7 billion over the next five years to pay for new initiatives in public education. 15% of the money will go to traditional public school districts with the rest going to charter schools.
Approximately 60% of the money will be used to develop new curriculums and develop a network of schools that work together to recognise local problems and provide solutions, using data solutions to drive continuous improvement.
Gates, an advocate of utilising big data to solve problems, states that data would drive the foundation grants given to schools as part of this new effort; “A team of education experts will back each school network skilled with constant development, coaching and data collection, and analysis.”
Discover more about how will these new initiatives protect student data here.
Big data skills gap creates demand for analytics learning
Though data and analytics are significantly impacting every industry, the demand for people with these skills is even higher.
Business schools are creating more programs to prepare graduates with the skills they need to succeed with big data. One of the most-recent schools to launch a program is Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Lasting nine months, it provides college students with advanced data management, analytical and communication skills.
The program was developed following consultation with analytical professionals, trains students in the use of predictive and prescriptive analytics tools, to solve decision-making problems.
And with the demand for data-savvy managerial talent, how many more specialist big data programs will we see to close the ever-growing skills gap?
How else do you believe big data will impact on the education sector? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to sign up the Churchill Frank blog.