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data/resources

Recently published NSF agenda “Fostering Learning in the Networked World” deserves attention for at least several reasons. First, it puts the learning sciences at the centre of the cyberlearning agenda. Second, it takes the opportunities to improve education by harnessing and using scientific and learning data seriously.

The Two Data Deluges: Opportunities and Threats

"Among the greatest benefits—and challenges— of cyberinfrastructure is the deluge of scientific data <….> Today’s highly instrumented science and engineering research is generating data at far greater rates and volumes than ever before possible. In addition, as more human communication takes place in the networked world for education, commerce, and social activity, an extensive digital trace is being created, a deluge of behavioral data. These data are extremely valuable for modeling human activity and for tailoring responses to the individual…” (24)


Will this open a door for eResearch in education and for education?

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"To design one is nothing,
To build one is easy,
To fly one is everything."

(Otto Lilienthal)

The UK PolicyGrid tries to design and implement a middleware infrastructure that supports policy-related research activities based on social science research. The project called “Semantic Grid Tools for Rural Policy Development & Appraisal” (nb. it’s not difficult to imagine similar policy grid for educational policy decision-making and research). The design of the middleware is based on the provenance architecture. It requires to provide a 'thick' description of the contextual information that allows to interpret data and resources adequately (e.g., Who, What, Where, Why, When, Which and How the resource was created). The concept of the Semantic Grid is central to the design of this project.

Challenging idea?

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The US Association for Institutional Research is quite serious about utilising their data archives and improving research in postsecondary educational institutions. This fellowship program for attending the Summer Data Policy Institute (June 8 - 15, 2008) and learning how to use their postsecondary education databases is open for researchers form all countries. (NB. The AIR's databases might be a useful resource for comparative educational research.)

Core URLs:
  • AIR's web site: URL
  • Program description: URL
  • SPIN link: URL

Other related links and thoughts are in the blog

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All right. Let’s face it: “Today’s research community must assume responsibility for building a robust data and information infrastructure for the future” (p.1). Recently the group of QUT researchers produced the report that analyses the legal aspects of research data infrastructures and provides some suggestions how to build it:

  • Fitzgerald, A. & Pappalardo, K. (2007). Building the infrastructure for data access and reuse in collaborative research: An analysis of the legal context. Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project. URL

Summary

“This Report examines the legal framework within which research data is generated, managed, disseminated and used. <…> The Report considers how these legal rules apply to define rights in research data and regulate the generation, management and sharing of data. The Report also describes and explains current practices and attitudes towards data sharing. A wide array of databases is analysed to ascertain the arrangements currently in place to manage and provide access to research data. Finally, the Report encourages researchers and research organisations to adopt proper management and legal frameworks for research data outputs…” (CreativeCommons, 12-09-2007).

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This blog complements the earlier blog Data repository for teacher education.

It's worth noticing that the need for a database for enhancing teaching and school leadership is one of the five core recommendations in the recently published Australian's Institute's for Teaching and School Leadership report “Teaching and leading for quality Australian schools” (Zammit et al., 2007, pp. 40-43).

“Much research has been conducted investigating the so-called ‘knowledge society’ in which knowledge production, knowledge transfer and knowledge networking have emerged as critical capabilities. However, as Fullan (2002) reported, historically schools have been weak at knowledge building and sharing. It is important to identify not only the data needed by classroom practitioners and school and system leaders, but also how best to engage educators and policy makers in collecting, using and sharing evidence to improve teaching practice and student outcomes. Moreover, through research the teaching profession can participate in shaping its own directions and contribute to the development of policy, practice and frameworks of excellence." (Zamitt et al., 2007, 40).

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An interesting scoping study called "Data Repository for Teacher Education" (Australian Council of Deans of Education) was funded by the Carrick Institute In the beginning of the year. This is probably one of the first signs of a ‘serious’ e-research in Australian education.

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Most of the projects and online methodological resources produced under the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Researcher Development Initiative (RDI) are a great asset for social scientists, particularly those who are interested in e-research.


One of recently made available resources includes self-learning materials for those UK researchers who want to use international databases “The Linking International Macro and Micro Data”. Some of these materials are accessible for everyone (not databases however).


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This blog is a blend of the facts, ideas and visions from two E-research Australasia presentations about scientific publishing and dissemination of research data and results. The ideas and examples come from two science domains: astronomy and computational biology. At the end there are some quick observations and thoughts about recent trends in educational dissemination.

Sources:

  • Phil Bourne: Thoughts on the future of scientific dissemination. URL
  • Alex Szalay: Science in an Exponential World. URL

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This entry is an eclectic summary of the key trends in scientific research methodologies, technologies and practices followed by some reflections about the state of the art and future of the educational research. Essentially this blog is a mashup of ideas from three unrelated in a structured world readings and some outsider's thoughts that link them in a complex world.

Sources:

  • Alex Szalay: Science in an Exponential World. Paper presented at eResearch Australasia Conference, Brisbane, 26-29 June 2007. URL
  • OECD: Evidence in Education: Linking Research and Policy, 12/06/2007. OECD, CERI. URL
  • Uri Wilensky and Michael J. Jacobson: Complex Systems in Education: Scientific and Educational Importance and Implications for the Learning Sciences. Journal of the Learning Sciences. 2006, Vol. 15, No. 1, Pages 11-34. URL

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civitas.gif
Note: Picture from the Civil Society Institute website (about the logo).
E-research is about e-rights, e-responsibilities, e-access, e-intellectual property, e-privacy, e-etc. I can’t add much to the Jane’s Anderson’s and Kathy’s Bowrey’s paper, annotated this week in AustralianPolicyOnline, but felt that it would be inappropriate to leave it unnoticed in this blog. By providing a solid review of the literature about indigenous cultural property, open access to knowledge and the gap between them in the modern society, this paper also provides a good source for thinking about other legal and moral aspects of e-research in education, social sciences and humanities.

Below is the extract from the paper and URL. Together some more links related to this topic.

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Today I found several articles about three Australian middleware development projects (ARROW, DART and ARCHER) funded under the DEST Research Information Infrastructure Initiative (RII).

Treloar A, & Groenewegen, D. (2007). ARROW, DART and ARCHER: A Quiver Full of Research Repository and Related Projects, Ariadne, 51. URL

Paterson, M., Lindsay, D., Monotti, A., Chin, A. (2007). DART: a new missile in Australia’s e-research strategy, Online Information Review, 31 (2), 16-134. DOI 10.1108/14684520710747185. URL

Are they relevant to social research?

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