Andreas Schleicher talks about the PISA test. This is a global measurement that ranks countries against one another and uses the data to help schools improve.
“Measuring how much time people spend in school or what degree they’ve got is not always a good way of seeing what they can actually do”
PISA tests whether students can extrapolate what they’ve learned and apply their knowledge in novel situations. Apparently we’re so, so in the rankings of the readiness of our young people for today’s economy.
Most relevant to this algorithmic cultures block “Data can be more powerful than administrative control or financial subsidy through which we usually run education”
A rather telling quote from the opening of this blogged article reads “The good news for advertisers is that [the Adchoices] icon is fairly small and unobtrusive; most consumers don’t even notice it.” However, the closing remarks are more positive from both a consumer and advertiser perspective. “I’d love to see Google go the extra mile and offer additional information to advertisers. Sharing information gleaned from muted ads could be a game changer for PPC advertisers. […] Analyzing the results from this would allow advertisers to understand whether their ads simply aren’t resonating with their audience, or if they are too repetitive. Armed with this information, they will know when they need to create fresh ads or adjust their ad delivery settings.” This feels like a good example of how analytics can be used to drive improvements, although it appears in this case that the data isn’t being made available to those who could make the best use of it.
Incidentally, in a moment of pure serendipity, while tweeting the above I noticed a link to follow my nephew’s partner on Twitter – algorithms in action!
This appears to be yet another example of playfulness resulting in a technological breakthrough. The author of this article “remembers the scientists getting so frustrated by the expense and limitations of conventional computing technology that they started kidding about sci-fi alternatives. We thought, ‘What’s to stop us using DNA to store information? Then the laughter stopped. It was a light bulb moment”.
My first laptop computer had an forty megabytes of hard hard drive storage that held all of the operating system, application and my user files (other than those I chose to save onto a 1.44MB floppy disk. Today the Windows 10 wallpaper options alone would take up more than that amount of disk space.
I’ve found it fascinating the way that the data capacity of hard disk drives and now solid state storage has increased exponentially over the years. I can now buy a tiny high density SD card that stores sixty-four gigabytes of data, that costs just a few pounds and would enable me to carry around vast amounts of data.
For the average technology user I guess there’s a limit to the amount of data we storage we could usefully use in a lifetime but the idea of being able to store it in an organic medium brings with it some intriguing prospects. How long before we can directly insert data into our brains for instance? Could Neo’s instant learning of piloting or Kung Fu skills ever become a reality?
Despite sensational headlines early last year about research conducted by California research facility, HRL Laboratories, we would appear to be a way off from developing such technology just yet.
Meanwhile, back in the current world, I believe the limitations for the average technology user, including our students, appear to be not in data capacity, but in our ability to curate data in a way that enables us to access again when we need it. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, some of that still relies on the mushy stuff in our heads…and maybe Google.
Let the intellect alone, it has its usefulness in its proper sphere, but let it not interfere with the flowing of the life-stream. Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki