So what might sports teach higher education about data mining?In academe the stakes are higher than in baseball, but progress toward making good use of data has been uneven. Nonetheless, colleges are busymining students’ data trailsto build software that does things like suggest what mathematics problems they should work on or even what classes they should take.
During a panel on Wednesday about the cautionary side of Big Data, colleges got some insight from Steve Hirdt, a 45-year sports-data veteran who is executive vice president at theElias Sports Bureau,the official statistician to the major North American professional sports leagues. Elias records game statistics—hits in baseball, yards gained in football, points scored in basketball, etc.—and supplies data to teams and news-media clients. When you watch Monday Night Football, Mr. Hirdt is the guy off camera feeding the announcer facts like “Seattle 135 yards: fewest for a winning team in the NFL in the last three years."
First off, what you initially find in a given data set may turn out to be flat-out wrong upon closer scrutiny.
“A wrong conclusion from a cursory look—to me that’s the real cautionary side of Big Data,” Mr. Hirdt said. “If Big Data is going to amplify the possibilities for misapplication, as well as the possibilities for application, we might be in for a little bit of a rocky road.”
1. Lesson Plan
2. Prepare before going into the classroom
Seriously, if you are planning your lecture while doing it, you're doing a huge disservice to your students. That's not to say that open discourse and exploratory learning aren't good in the classroom, this can be great - let the discussion go where the students take it. But on the technology/course material side, I would be very concerned with adding material to my class at the last minute. What happens if that image/movie/website that you were counting on weren't there? What if your connectivity tanks when you wanted it? What if you get that huge phallus instead of the ICBM that you were looking for? I download anything that I want to use ahead of time.
If you are doing this last minute, to me that demonstrates that you are not taking your planning/prep seriously (or that you are lazy), and that you are putting your laziness ahead of the learning of your students. They (the students) deserve better than that.
Now that I've nibbled at the troll-bait, I think this is seriously off course - search by sketch, search by term, they all have the same possibilities to return content that someone out there may find offensive. So I fail to see how this is any different. That's the glory & risk of the Internet - use at your own risk.