Invited talk, INSIGHT Centre for Data Analytics, Univ. Galway, 2 Oct 2013, http://www.insight-centre.org
Data and analytics are transforming how organisations work in all sectors. While there are clearly ethical issues around big data and privacy, there may also be an argument that educational institutions have a moral obligation to use all the information they have to maximize the learner's progress. So, assuming education can't (arguably shouldn't) resist this revolution, the question is how to harness this new capability intelligently. Learning Analytics is an exploding research field and startup market: do leaders know what to ask when the vendors roll up with dazzling dashboards? In this talk I'll provide an overview of developments, and consider some of the key questions we should be asking. Like any modelling technology and accounting system, analytics are not neutral, and do not passively describe sociotechnical reality: they begin to shape it. Moreover, they start with the things that are easiest to count, which doesn't necessarily equate to the things we value in learning. Given the crisis in education at many levels, what realities do we want analytics to perpetuate, or bring into being?
Simon Buckingham Shum is Professor of Learning Informatics at the UK Open University's Knowledge Media Institute. He researches, teaches and consults on Learning Analytics, Collective Intelligence and Argument Visualization. His background is B.Sc. Psychology, M.Sc. Ergonomics and Ph.D. Human-Computer Interaction. He co-edited Visualizing Argumentation (Springer 2003), the standard reference in the field, followed by Knowledge Cartography (2008). In the field of Learning Analytics, he served as Program Co-Chair of the 2nd International Learning Analytics LAK12 conference, chaired the LAK13 Discourse-Centric Learning Analytics workshop, and the LASI13 Dispositional Learning Analytics workshop. He is a co-founder of the Society for Learning Analytics Research, Compendium Institute, LearningEmergence.net, and was Co-Founder and General Editor of the Journal of Interactive Media in Education. He serves on the Advisory Groups for a variety of learning analytics initiatives in education and enterprise, and is a Visiting Fellow at University of Bristol Graduate School of Education. Contact him via http://simon.buckinghamshum.net