By Lawrence Karanja,
Moringa School Student
What is Big Data?/Brief Intro To Big Data
Big data refers to the large amounts of data(Data sets) that are generated which cannot be analyzed using traditional methods. This data is mostly unstructured and is usually of unknown value. This data is collected and analyzed using computing so as to make sense of it.
Big data is emphasized by three Vs: volume, velocity, and variety. Volume refers to the amount of data, depending on the organization this can range from terabytes to petabytes. Velocity refers to the fast rate at which data is received and processed, for most big data applications the data is usually store in memory first rather than on hard disks due to their slow read/write nature. Variety is the final V of big data and it refers to the variety of data that is now available. Unlike in the times before where data was structured and could be stored in relational databases, data generated nowadays is highly unstructured.
In order to understand big data, we need to understand how much data there currently is. According to a study done by University of Southern Carolina (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/02/09/science.1200970.abstract), as at 2007 there was an estimated 295 billion gigabytes of data (295 exabytes). This can be eclipsed in the near future given the amount of data generated daily stands at 2.5 Quintillion bytes(https://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=WRL12345USEN) and given that the number of internet users as at the of 2017 stood at 3.2 Billion, this number can change dramatically.
How Does Education Fit In With Big Data?
Given the amounts of data generated one would expect that some significant progress can be made in the world in different sectors. The education sector also stands to gain a lot by harnessing the power of Big Data. By using these vast amounts of data, institutions can initiate programmes whose success would be virtually assured.
Before this data can be used, these institutions need to collect it first. The systems for such collection is already widely available since institutions keep a lot of data regarding students from performance to financials. By optimizing this data collection and expanding the collection into other areas, it can be easy to create a picture of a student that will help the institution understand how to offer the best service.
Institutions can use big data to tailor learning experiences to individual students instead of using a blanket approach to teaching which leaves some students disadvantaged. A student can have their own study of the curriculum customized to fit their own understanding thereby ensuring that every students get the value of understanding.
Effects on the workforce, of using big data in education
Understanding how different students learn, can help an institution set up systems that optimize on their resources eliminating what is essentially blind investments into education experiences.This type of optimization can lead to more investments into areas such as Research.
Tailored education experiences can also help produce a workforce that is ready for the market once they finish their studies since students can be taught in order to be ready for a sector that they feel they’ll best best into. Companies in the US for example used about $164.2 Billion for training and development in 2012 (http://www.astd.org/Professional-Resources/State-Of-The-Industry-Report?_ga=2.49638438.1206958595.1526541678-1963358284.1526541678), this number can be reduced greatly by having graduates that are already prepared for the market by using big data.