Big Data (Preview)

Explanation

If you have read the book Money Ball  (video option here) by Michael Lewis, then you have an understanding of the financial and emotional power that comes with Big Data.

However, you might also feel that if Paul Revere was riding his horse again in Boston, he would change his cry from “The British are coming” to “Big Data is coming.”   Privacy is over, big brother is here and individual freedoms are soon to be taken away!

This is a typical reaction from people when they first start to understand what all this big data means, or when they read about what the National Security Agency (NSA) in the USA is doing. In addition, commercial companies such as IBM, Apple and bunch of companies you have never heard of, are rapidly gathering data, running analytics and applying algorithms to Big Data and selling it.

On the other side, Big Data is doing fantastic things in the healthcare industry, education, transportation safety, sports and more! For example, Sal Khan and his Khan Academy program is able to generate zillions of data points to better understand how students learn. We can now, if we choose, customize learning like never before.

And what about “The Google?”

This lesson is designed to help you understand what Big Data is all about, and at the same time, how awesome and scary it is.

Assignment

  1. Watch this very basic, yet entertaining, video as it explains what Big Data is all about.
  2. Watch, read and reflect upon three or more resources found in the resource section below. There is SO much great information there you may find yourself getting lost in all the options.
  3. In the comments section below, leave a brief response to “Imagine and/or describe a way in which big data can be benefit to you either in the classroom, or in some other way.”  For example, if I was teaching a class of struggling students, all I know at the beginning of the year, is that I have a bunch of struggling math students. Big Data would help me to understand in what areas each of these students individually struggle. How great would that be?
    1. If you have done so already, consider getting your own Gravatar. This will enable a picture of some sort to be next to any comment you make on this website and many, many others around the web.  Interested?  Try it out here.
  4. In 250 words or more, reflect on the current and future impact of Big Data in our world. Here are some suggested topics:
    1. How can Big Data improve our teaching practices?
    2. How can Big Data improve our lives in general?
    3. Is Big Data so scary that we should abandon it?
    4. Does privacy have any hope?

Frustration Alert

The more  I learn about Big Data, the harder it is for me to have an opinion on if it, on the whole, is a good thing for us. Clearly there are some fantastical benefits from what we can glean from millions of data points and how it can save and improve our lives.  However, as with anything, it is also used for nefarious purposes and has, pretty much, ended any expectation of a right to privacy.

Then again, do I/we have a choice? Big Data is not going away anytime soon.  Our best hope is to rally together collectively as needed to demand various limits to how it can be used.  When will that day come?

Resources

 

This picture was taken where I live in .... CHINA! Right now, that camera just goes to a video recorder and people watch it, after the fact, if something bad happened. But what about the future? When face recognition and analytic software becomes so cheap that attaching an algorithm that can predict behavior of the people who pass in front of the camera, is easily possible? How will they use it then?

This picture was taken where I used to live in …. CHINA!

Right now, that camera just goes to a video recorder and people watch it, after the fact, if something bad happens.

But what about the future?

When facial recognition and analytic software becomes so cheap that attaching an algorithm that can predict behavior of the people who pass in front of the camera, is easily possible? How will they use it then?

upload-smallUpload Your Work

The communication revolution your classroom and you

First Name
You will receive an email confirmation at this email address
Just copy and paste from lesson title above.
Drop a file here or click to upload Choose File
Maximum upload size: 134.22MB
Sending

heritageIf you registered for this course via the THI website, please submit your assignments via the THI portal here.  Questions?  Email Michael right away.

Back to: The Digital Revolution, Your Classroom and You