by Stephen Downes
Feb 24, 2015
So, you need to understand language data? Open-source NLP software can help!
There is almost no end to the sorts of analyses you can do with text. This diagram and article offer a fascinating exploration of the choices you can make, and of the many applications (often open source!) than can be used in text analysis. The lesson to be drawn from this is that it's possible for almost anyone - and not just IBM or Google - to do basic text analytics. Approaching text from the perspective of standard frameworks makes it possible to link them together. "One advantage of using toolkits is that they make it easy to pass the output from one NLP component to another. However, sometimes, you need to combine components from different libraries. UIMA and GATE both mitigate this problem by offering frameworks, which can combine components from different authors, some of which can be open-source and others commercial, into a single systems."
Looking Up Symptoms Online? These Companies Are Tracking You
At a certain point, people will lose patience withy ther spying and treacking that goes on online. Maybe stuff like this, when it comes home to roost in a bad credit rating, will tip the scales. "According to the Pew Internet Project, 72 percent of US internet users look up health-related information online. But an astonishing number of the pages we visit to learn about private health concerns—confidentially, we assume—are tracking our queries, sending the sensitive data to third party corporations, even shipping the information directly to the same brokers who monitor our credit scores."
Now This Is An Example Of Truly Educational Radio
NPR | Goats, Soda,
We've heard a lot about the ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, but less about how the education system is adapting. This article fills that gap a by by describing the educational radio service that has been put into place there. It strikes me as absurd that only 25 percent of the population owns a radio (listenership is much higher, suggesting many radios are shared, but still, access to a radio should not be an issue in 2015). We are told: "That's where organizations like BRAC, one of the world's largest education organizations, have stepped in." But this to me also points to the weakness of depending on charity to provide basic social services. We need mechanisms that enlist nation-sized commitments of funds, not the dribs and drabs charities can pull in.
Trends in Distance Education Research: A Content Analysis of Journals 2009-2013
Aras Bozkurt, et.al.,
The International Review of Research in Open, Distributed Learning,
Some interesting nuggets in this article. It focuses entirely on research in a set of the seven most influential academic journals in the field of distance education, which would not count as my favourite data set in the world, but creates a listing based on academic journals of record. Aras Bozkurt tweets one of the findings: "#Connectivism is a rising theoretical background. @gsiemens and @Downes are among the most cited authors." In fact George Siemens has one more citation than me, making him 11th in the list, and myself 12th (the top four are Anderson, Garrison and Archer, who were my colleagues at the University of Alberta in 2000, and of course MG Moore). It's also interesting connectivism was the fourth most commonly cited theory, which I guess officially makes it a theory.
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