Downscaling information systems for education


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Invited talk given during a meeting of the LinkedUp project, in Amsterdam on February 19.

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Downscaling information systems for education

  1. 1. Data Archiving and Networked Services Downscaling information systems for education Christophe Guéret (@cgueret)DANS is een instituut van KNAW en NWO
  2. 2. What do you mean "Downscaling" ?● Alternative to up/out scaling platforms when the cost of doing it becomes too high● "Cost" in the wide sense ○ Loss of expressivity via harmonization ○ Loss of privacy ○ Loss of consistency / incompatible semantics ○ Hardware costs ○ Infrastructural costs ○ Cultural incompatibility ○ ...
  3. 3. Up / out scaling● Get more and more data into one system● Scale vertically (up) or horizontally (out)
  4. 4. Down scaling● Instead of one big (cluster) system, use a swarm of smaller systems● Aim at highest meaningful granularity
  5. 5. 2 downscaled systems for education● Information system for researchers willing to study Worldwide academic activity● ~2M young learners willing to go social with digital media, but without Internet
  6. 6. Diversity aware publication ofactivity of research institutions
  7. 7. Context● Millions of researchers active Worldwide● Represents lot of information about ○ Positions ○ Teaching activities ○ Equipment ○ Discoveries ○ ...● Potential high value in sharing all that data and mining it
  8. 8. Problems● Lots of name-centric, thus highly ambiguous, data sets● Different conceptual spaces● Different positions that not always correspond ○ "Maître de conférences" ~ "Universitair Docent" ~ "Assistant professor" ?
  9. 9. Towards THE information system (?)● Try to be the "Facebook for researchers"● Eventual focus on sub-parts of the data
  10. 10. or THE ontology (?)● Focus on the terminology, allow for different data stack (including non Web based)
  11. 11. Users end-up with a tough choice● Do you prefer too specific or too generic ?● Workaround: formats roundtripping
  12. 12. But data does not travel well...● Publications from Frank van Harmelen● Decreasing number from system to system 148 38 13
  13. 13. Downscaling RIS● Some of the harmonization high costs ○ Large ontologies are hard to design ○ Tradeoff coverage VS expressivity ○ Large amount of data ○ Lack of incentives to update one platform + branding and reporting issues playing against● Alternative ○ Rely on a data ecosystem ○ Use several, layered ontologies
  14. 14. A research information ecosystem
  15. 15. Core ontology + national extensions● Global scale insights and low level details● Take advantage of reasoning
  16. 16. Cloud-less social interaction
  17. 17. Context● XO laptop given to 2M kids aged 6-12● Low-end hardware (~ old smartphone)● Educational software based on constructivism● Communication via Mesh-networking
  18. 18. The environment "Sugar"
  19. 19. Activities in Sugar● A Sugar activity combines the concepts of “document” and “application” into a single object● Activities can be easily shared between neighbouring computers● Activity instances are associated with the document they let the user work on
  20. 20. Sharing activities
  21. 21. Journal of activity usage
  22. 22. Limitations of current data stack● Data sharing limited to synchronous interaction● Data isolated in silos● No remote access to data created within a Sugar instance● Social activity bounded by the classroom
  23. 23. Lets improve this, Web 2.0 way !● Create a central server on the Cloud and define an API● Create activities interacting via the API● Add a Web frontend for authentication and adjust ACLs for the API + + =
  24. 24. Wont work because...● Lack of stable, cheap, connection to Internet● Lack of relevant content on the Web to justify getting a connection● Issues with having kids on social networks● (Besides, potentially hard to find a business model for sharing kids work)
  25. 25. Downscaled alternative● Turn every XO into a self-contained data publisher/consumer● Apply Linked Data principles to achieve decentralised data integration
  26. 26. More information● Collection of presentation about this and other topics ○● Blog about making data sharing a reality for everyone ○●