FIGURE 1: Geolocation map of user tweets using the hash tag #lasi14 (As of 2014-06-29 19:00:00 EST)
The second annual Learning Analytics Summer Institutes (LASI) begin tomorrow. I am delighted to have been selected as one of the participants for this year’s event, and look forward to coming away at the end of the three days with new skills and insights that I can put immediately into practice, and share with others in my local community in Atlanta, GA. The Society for Learning Analytic Research and the International Educational Data Mining Society together form a vibrant, diverse, and welcoming community of scholars and practitioners. Professional conferences and related events are, generally speaking, terrible. The Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference, which I has the great pleasure of attending this year, was a rare exception, and I expect LASI to be just as exceptional.
Unlike an academic conference, the summer institutes are meant to function as an intensive ‘summer camp’ for educational data scientists. This year, in addition to keynote lectures by Pierre Dillenbourg (“What Does Eye Tracking Tell Us On MOOCs”), Phil Winne (“Learning Analytics for Learning Science When N = me”), and Tiffany Barnes (“Making a meaningful difference: Leveraging data to improve learning for most of people most of the time”), the event also gives participants the opportunity to participate in several hands-on workshops. Of course, the most valuable aspect of LASI is the chance to connect with experts in the field of learning analytics, to share ideas, mutually inspire, and generate opportunities for future collaboration.
In addition to the live event at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Boston, MA, there are also several international satellite events taking place at the same time. Activity from all these events will be tagged #lasi2014, and I will do my best to summarize this activity at the end of each day.
Upping my ‘creepiness factor,’ I have also borrowed my wife’s narrative clip, which I will wear periodically over the next few days. My wife, Elisa Wallace, is an elite equestrian who has recently started working with Narrative to look at device applications in the sport of three day eventing. From the perspective of analytics, wearing the clip will give me an ongoing photo record of this year’s LASI, but also GPS and accelerometer data, which I look forward to reviewing as well.