Social Media Mining in R



It’s been a few years now that I’m thinking that I have to look into Machine Learning technologies more thoroughly. In 2013, I had the opportunity to teach a course on Decision-support tools, that included a part on Data mining. I repeated this course on 2014, but not anymore. This year, I had the opportunity to teach an introduction course on Big Data, including a part on Machine Learning. So I could go back to my course on data mining, and add a few things… Now I want to know and apply more!

A few weeks ago, as part of the free learning offer from Packt, I downloaded the ebook “Social Media Mining with R”. So here I am, studying how to get Twitter data into R and analysing it, so exciting! I still have to create some visualisation to add to this post…


MOOC ICT in primary education – Week 5



This week’s subject is related to implementation issues of, and how to overcome the challenges of, ICT in primary education.

It is very interesting to see that the “World of Darwin” example given dates from ~1999! One could think 2015 is still too early to know about the benefits and issues with using ICT in primary education, but this example illustrates there are more than 15 years of experience in some places. I especially note how important the rules are, but also the expectation on quality (content and format), even with young children.

In another setting, rules were defined to limit the negative aspects:

  • Have a Code of conduct signed by children + teacher
  • Have the students tell the teacher when inappropriate content shows up
  • Allow no game in class (except some free time)
  • Provide rules for Internet search: children have to know about the extension meaning (.edu, .gov), read “About”, get information in 5 words with the source (to avoid copy-paste), and check the 5 questions from

Videos about TESSA (in Sub-Saharian Africa) and for children with SEN (Special Education Needs) bring strong examples of the added-value that ICT can provide in education.

MOOC ICT in primary education – Week 4



This week’s subject is: How should we plan for integrating ICT?

Questions to think about are, for example:

Q1. Who should be involved in choosing technology or digital content for a school? I would say here that it is a collaborative decision to be taken, needing both pedagogical background and IT background, i.e. the teacher and an IT specialist knowledgeable on such tools.

Q2. What criteria do you think should be the most important to be considered when choosing new technology or new content? The idea is to use technology to solve teaching “problems”, to support teaching objectives, not just for the sake of technology. It also needs to be part of a global IT strategy at the school level, including the awareness of what exists so far (hardware, software but also teachers’ skills with IT) and what the school’s target is.

Q3. What are your plans for further extending the digital environment of your school, or your schools? What should a school be aiming at? Regarding the context of my future IT activity, the existing tools are almost non-existing: I will introduce a few desktops and laptops where there are only very old and little used desktops. So the plan is to start slowly with a group of 10 students in pairs on a laptop, then add desktops and tablets to reach a one-to-one situation. After this experience we’ll see if it is possible to extend the size of student groups and/or number of PCs.

The section about Computational thinking, etc… is directly relevant to my plans!




MOOC ICT in primary education – Week 3



Here I am with Week 3 material.

Different types of learning: it is not the first time, I hear about this; still, I now have a new acronym to remember about them: VARK, Visual, Auditory, Read and write, Kinesthetic.

This week, I have to develop a Learning Object: “a collection of content items, practice items, and assessment items that are combined based on a single learning objective” (

The idea is to ensure all learning types are covered. 2 taxonomies are proposed:

  • The one from Diana Laurillard, seen before: acquisition / discussion / investigation / practice / collaboration / production
  • Another one from Nesta: Learning from experts, Learning with others, Learning through making, Learning through exploring, Learning through inquiry, Learning through practicing, Learning through assessment, Learning in and across settings

I’ve been testing my type of intelligence: [“intrapersonal”] and my personality: [ISFJ].MultipleIntelligence_20150614

And then, this is a nice video, knowing that my son is soon a teenager… 😉

Bloom’s taxonomy is described in several resources, which I’ll have to dive into later on…

After Learning Object, another important concept is “Rubrics”: “Rubrics have become popular with teachers as a means of communicating expectations for an assignment, providing focused feedback on works in progress, and grading final products.” (from

MOOC ICT in primary education – Week 2


This second week is about “How does ICT make a difference?”.

Changes resulting from ICT integration include: more communication and collaboration between teachers, inside the school but also at national and international level; need for continuous development: additional forms of teaching; learning is more interactive, product-oriented, results in creations; instant feedback, autonomy, higher motivation for learners…

Here is a great idea heard in an interview:

  • Older children doing a world in Minecraft
  • Younger children visiting this world and writing about it

Expected changes in my context: collaboration with other teachers, increase in children motivation, collaboration and discussions between children, I hope!

The comments from the students about ICT at school and outside are very interesting!

I still have to read some chapters of the IITE reports, now.

MOOC ICT in primary education – Week 1


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I’m now starting the MOOC from Coursera “ICT in Primary Education: Transforming children’s learning across the curriculum“. Although I have not yet taught young children, I’ll try to do so after the summer, and this course comes at a right time!

So Week 1: the typical start with presentations. Nothing original here: “Hi, My name is Valerie, I’m from France; I am an IT engineer and I started teaching adults 2 years ago. I’d like to teach young children now and so am interested by this course.”

Notes from Introductory video:

  • Professional dev course, based on books with UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education
  • About (free) tools and resources available to teach
  • This is not a static body of knowledge as technology is changing all the time, and new experiences are made every days
  • In Week 1: Why using ICT? successes and failures; creating a Course journal

A couple resources:

Great example of the use of tablet(s) by young children to make a video on butterflies. Positive reaction: it lets them create a (digital) object, and get immediate feedback about what they do, thus engaging them; Negative reaction: they are not manipulating real objects but media, and may focus too much on media instead of understanding the concepts.

I think ICT should be used in primary education to prepare children to their future use of it (school and work), and because it provides additional means to teach.

Regarding the 6 learning types in relation to the coming activities to introduce ICT to young children:

Learning through: Students learning about your topic could be using:
Acquisition Teacher explaining concepts such as algorithm, program, iterations/loop, events,… Maybe watching a video also (YouTube, etc)
Discussion After an exercise, discuss on one’s solution with others (no ICT here)
Investigation Searching information about concepts in Wikipedia for ex (using browser and search engine)
Practice Computer game / exercise on concepts (using computer application, including development environment such as Scratch)
Collaboration Decide about the journal content (no ICT here)
Production Create a collective journal with information searched, images,… (using an application or word processor)

Regarding the French context, at this url, one can find the results of the recently closed study on the use of Digital at school, in France:

Supporting Teachers: some advices taken from IITE UNESCO Guide:

  • Put ICT devices in the library and access halls because it is important for everyone to see the children working on computers.
  • Give a greater role to ICT in development and assessment, as it is very motivating for learners to get immediate feedback.
  • Provide more mobile devices with wifi. Fixed equipment is expensive and their scope of use is limited, while mobile devices plus wifi allow more flexible use of ICT.
  • One-to-one access to teachers then to students.
  • Training to teachers.
  • A technician oriented towards pedagogic innovation is needed more regularly in the school. [I’d like to play this role myself! 🙂 ]
  • Give visibility to teachers to talk about their activities.

Regarding Action plans and policies, the main points I’d like to remember are:

  • ICT training not much needed anymore, but training on teaching with ICT is
  • Importance of collaboration between teachers; communities of pratice; sharing and reusing learning designs

From the padlet, I got the reference of the European Schoolnet Academy, and they have plenty of very interesting MOOCs! For use, I will check at least the “How to teach computing for primary teachers” one… And if possible, the one on games in schools.

Minecraft versions compared


As mentioned in earlier posts, i’m interesting in the use of Minecraft for educational purposes. So what better than following the MOOC called “Minecraft for Educators“?

So, here I am with an assignment: “identify the different platforms that you can play Minecraft on e.g. Console, Tablet, PC etc… and produce a comparison describing the differences and limitations of each.”.

I read a few pages and listed my findings in the following table:

Version runs on… Features
Minecraft Desktop (PC, Mac, Linux) survival mode, creative mode, creatures, environmental hazards, craft table
Minecraft Pi Raspberry Pi similar to PE, + text commands to edit the game world, ability to manipulate things in the game world through programming language; Creative Mode is the only game mode available; no mob spawning
Minecraft PE Smartphones & tablets creative building, primitive survival aspect, not all features of the PC release (lacks brewing and hunger, and lacks bosses and dimensions); chests can be placed in more orientations than the PC, or the console editions.
Minecraft Xbox 360 Xbox specific crafting system (no need to place blocks), control interface, in-game tutorials, split-screen multiplayer; world barricaded by invisible walls
MinecraftEDU server for connecting students in a multiplayer environment Student management tools to control where students can go, where they can build, and how they interact with the world and each other; Powerful building tools that allow teachers to quickly add their own content into the game

The sources are:

Virtual K-12 Education, including Khan Academy and… Minecraft!


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I just finished the Coursera MOOC on “Emerging Trends & Technologies in Virtual K12 Education” and now have several resources to explore and use.
First, I had to understand what K-12 refers to: that’s the American name for “Kindergarten to 12th grade”, that is education between 3-4 and 18-19 years old. In France: maternelle, primaire, collège, lycée…
Then, I listened through all videos and made a first visit to the links in the resource sheets.
Several sites and concepts I noted:
* list of criteria to evaluate a technology for educative use – that’s very useful!
* gamification: use of badges (Mozilla Open Badges?), points, levels, leaderboards, and… Minecraft? but also Scratch, and SimCity for education
* online assessment: not only quizzes, but also project portfolio (wiki,…), participation in forums or synchronous activities (Chat,…)
* many resources, related to OERs (Open Educational Resources) and MOOCs

open class

Now it’s time for me to use this! So I have to:
* check which resources are in French, to use with my children
I’m already using Duolingo and Scratch (see other posts), and I now see that the French translation of Khan Academy has made enough progress to start using it. Both with my 6 year old daughter (maths) and my 11 year old son (programming), it has some success!
* check how to use Minecraft in a educative way, as my son is already a player…
* see how to use the gamification aspect (badges, levels,…) in the courses I give to adults
I’ve started to use the Moodle platform, including quizzes, so I have to explore the ideas of levels, adaptive learning, badges (Mozilla Open Badges can be used in Moodle apparently). Not sure about shared leaderboards with rankings?
* widen the types of online assessments in the courses I give to adults
So far, I’m mainly using quizzes, and some assignments where one or several files have to be uploaded. Maybe the next one to explore would be a wiki-based project portfolio (I created a Wikispaces classroom to explore its features).

A high ROL (Rate-Of-Learning)



When I read this article Rate-of-learning: the most valuable startup compensation, I thought it expressed the feeling I have for a few months now! Since I left the status of employee, and set up “on my own”, there has been that feeling of…, yes many things to do, but exciting ones, and most of all, this ongoing learning on very diverse subjects, continuously.

Now I have a name for it: a high rate-of-learning, and I realise it is linked to the startup context!


My introduction to Open Access in Europe / France


I’m back from the PASTEUR4OA Kick-Off Meeting in Guimarães (close to Porto), a project in which euroCRIS participates, related to aligning Open Access policies in Europe.
So, after diving into the Open Data world these last months, for the ENGAGE project, I’m now going through a self-taught “crash course” about OA policies in France to update myself!
Here are my readings…

I started with the guidelines issued by MedOAnet (Guidelines for implementing open access policies for research performing and research funding organizations), the “parent project” of PASTEUR4OA:

From this document, I mainly understood 2 points:
* an important step is having the self-archiving step become “business-as-usual” for the researchers, while having the infrastructure (the repository software) deal with the embargo period that may be imposed by a publisher [Green OA]; benefits for Researchers, RFOs (Research Funding Organisations) and RPOs (Research Performing Organisations) are related to the early visibility of work, and the availability of output management information provided by the publication-related metadata entered in the repository, that can be harvested at once even if the full-text is still under embargo (the publication can thus be cited already, and copies can be requested by readers to the authors). This requires clear mandates from RPOs and RFOs to Researchers, and incentives such as the use of the Researcher’s publications data for his/her evaluation (RPOs) or as a requisite to obtain further funding (RFOs).
Edit on 10/04/2014: this is clearly explained using the UK case in this article from Alma Swan:

* the other “OA route”, the Gold OA, is not in opposition to the Green OA. Here, the point is to have a policy but also financial provision for the APCs (Article-Processing Charges).

So, what do we have in France?
A first few queries returned the following links, which I’ll try to describe / summarize: