The continuous race for incorporating new technology in the education tends to generate a great hope for change. It is well known that digital infrastructure produce expectations that teachers could teach better and students will learn faster.
However, the growing volume of data that education and technology generates, if well exploited, can lead to evidence-based knowledge to better understand how people learn and how they behave online.
Plan Ceibal in Uruguay, the first country in the world to achieve one laptop per child initiative (1:1) has a remarkable landscape of information to use large scale data to produce learning analytics studies. Here we offer a working paper co-written by a multidisciplinary team(*) with diverse expertise. This study was recently presented by Matías Mateu at “The Fourth International Conference on Data Analytics: Data Analytics 2015” (July 19 – 24, 2015 – Nice, France).
The paper “How can Plan Ceibal Land into the Age of Big Data?” analysed a universe of more than 700 schools** with 219,800 students from 4th to 6th level. The study explored the influence of five independent variables [availability of High Performance Network (HPN); Presence of MAC (Effective Deployment of Teaching Assistants) professor in schools; Geographical emplacement of school (urban interior vs. Montevideo) and Socio-cultural context of schools] in the use of the Adaptive Platform of Mathematic [number of exercises per student in a given period].
The results identified that in schools with MAC support; favorable context and urban interior (bivariate analysis: Average Exercises in PAM and HPN) identified a significant difference. That is to say that given favorable conditions, HPN is something students can benefit from.
In order to better land in the Big Data landscape it will be required to continue creating institutional capabilities to design and implement stronger data libraries and data-warehouse. This effort will demand to continue generating technical skills to measure, analyze and evaluate this wealth of data, all of which can help to better support decision making process in education. On the horizon this initiative aims to implement real-time tools to support and enhance teaching and learning practices.
(*) This work was developed by the so called “bigdaters” team, whose names are: Martina Bailón, Mauro Carballo, Cristóbal Cobo, Soledad Magnone, Cecilia Marconi, Matías Mateu and Hernán Susunday.
** Schools improved with fiber-optic connectivity