Blog Archives

For personalized education big data is a must


By Nuria Oliver, scientific director at Telefónica R&D.

According to computer scientist Nuria Oliver, there are three main key elements regarding big data in education, being the first one the so promised personalization, so that teachers could get precise information of how students are doing and thus adapt their methodology to specific needs. Secondly, large scale data could also be extremely useful for official statistics: e.g., how a city, a specific region or even a whole country is doing in terms of education. And, finally, we also need to make sure students’ data is securely stored and kept under high privacy standards. We would like to thank the TEDxBarcelona Education event for this contribution.

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Big Data, Learning Analytics and Distance Education


By Terry Anderson, professor in Distance Education, Athabasca University.

As an educational technologist, I seem always infatuated with the latest tools, even as I grow increasingly alert to what is lost as well as what is gained from their use.

Learning analytics joins the family of mostly commercial applications based on “big data”. These tools promises — perhaps too optimistically — to replace metaphors of information overload, info glut and obesity with the more optimistic sense that, although “big” we can effectively gather and interpret the torrent of digital information traces left by distance teachers and learners.

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Personalised learning and the new role of teachers

Aape Pohjavirta

By Aape Pohjavirta, chief evangelist and founder at Funzi.

What advantages entail the use of big data in education? Are there issues against it? How the big data and analytics revolution will transform learning in the following years? And what will be the role of the teachers in this new scenario? Aape Pohjavirta is a passionate of new ways of learning — and a big Asimov fan — who gives us his point of view on these questions in the short video below. This contribution would not have been possible without the kind collaboration of the TEDxBarcelona Education event.

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About the Question
Are Big Data & Analytics shaping a smarter society?

Every day we generate a huge amount of big data, but we need to resort to analytics to make abstract information meaningful and get valuable knowledge from it. In education, learning platforms let us easily gather an immense quantity of data regarding students’ behaviour, interactions, preferences and opinions. When properly analysed — through learning analytics — all these data might provide useful insight on how to make learning processes more adaptive, attractive and efficient.

Are these techniques allowing us to provide better support to our students? Are we taking advantage of big data and analytics to help shape the citizens of the future?

Big Data and Simheuristics