All to often big data and algorithms fall into the same sentence as austerity, economy and time and money savings. I want to hear someone say wow we have this new technology to try, let’s look at how it can help more people learn, how it can improve learning. NOT oh how much can it save us.
This week is about algorithms, and although I confess to knowing the term, I didn’t feel I understood it well enough to really appreciate this week’s readings, so I was hunting online for a very simple explanation of what an algorithm is. In my head, I was thinking some sort of command that tells a computer to do something – a bit like the IF statement we are all using to populate our blogs.
This really simple little explanation from the BBC bitesized education program was exactly what I needed, very simple and clear to understand. It’s probably a bit too simplistic but since I’m studying education and not informatics, I figured this was ok. It hit the nail on the head though, as someone who has worked as an instructional designer, the BBC explanation made so much sense.
An algorithm isn’t quite an IF statement, it’s the process of instructions before you write your statement or code. So a bit like before I create any kind of eLearning (or classroom learning plan), I write out exactly what needs to happen when and what the learner should do.