Posts tagged data
Last week I was at the annual conference for the Association for Learning Technology (ALT-C) and, while I’ll write a more detailed summary of the event (including my two presentations) soon, there was a keynote by Natasa Milic-Frayling from Microsoft Research, Cambridge that showed a very interesting Open Source add-on to Excel that is worth having its own post.
Network graphs are a method of showing the links between things (a.k.a. Nodes), typically people or computers, which can be analysed to extract data about relationships between Nodes that may not be explicitly visible elsewhere. Earlier in the summer I posted about a tool that can automatically create network graphs from Moodle discussions, and at ALT-C we heard a keynote presentation about an Open Source template for Excel which can help automate the creation of network graphs, NodeXL.
By filling out the spreadsheet, it is possible to create many different types of network graph automatically, but the big selling point is that NodeXL supports automatically importing data from Social Networks, such as Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, which can then be graphed and analysed. This is could be a very useful tool for staff and students in Mathematics (the tool has been used to help teach students about graph theory) and for staff and students conducting research into online Social Networks. If you are interested in these topics then I would recommend taking a look at NodeXL (and the SNAPP tool from my earlier post).
I was recently at the JISC-supported Dev8D conference for software/web developers working in UK Higher Education. It was a very useful experience for me because it was an opportunity find out what is happening on the ‘Bleeding Edge’ of Learning Technology and its related fields. Much of the work that I do is necessarily operational (e.g. supporting Moodle, looking into issues, assisting people with Learning Technology questions) and when it isn’t operational it tends to be tied to specific needs, so it was good to go and see what people at other institutions are doing.
The sessions were a mix of introductions and in-depth hands-on sessions and the main theme that came out was Open Linked Data. This is the idea that open data sets can be made available for people to use in innovative ways beyond those conceived by the original author. It is what makes it possible More >