I received a message today from someone who had gotten the impression that social technology (and especially that to be developed on http://SoftwareDevelopment.SocialTechnology.ca/ is basically IT (Information Technology), something based on Internet software. That is partially true, but some important aspects of the software must run on a user’s machine. In particular, it must be able to provide all the functionality that a schoolteacher needs for dealing with test answers and total scores – most especially with raw data.
Raw data should include the date and time given, identifiers for the school and teacher, plus the test answers for each student in the group or class which took the test. Students who took the test early or late must be identified.
Where copyright standard tests are used, the test questions may not be available. In that case all the above data except the test questions must be collected.
Part of this project will be in fact the collection of large number of test questions and answers, useful in the education of students at all levels.
This educational branch of the software must include the capability to create an increasingly large database of questions with their response sets and correct answers.
This database must be arranged so that it will grow as teachers add test questions and results to it. As it does grow, it will be a resource useful for the creation of tests, including those which mimic standardized tests and those which are specific to certain populations of students.
As well as test answers, scores and grades from educational surveys must be collected and included, so that the mining of desired data from the whole mass of collected data will be possible.
Educational information will be extremely important. Here is one technological fantasy which might be considered: highschool students are tested, from about Grade 10 to Grade 12. Perhaps Grade 9 should be included.
As testing proceeds, various social suggestions are made. It would be best if these were made within the school first, then nationally or internationally, but this might be viewed by parents as excessive interference, and especially frowned upon as it may lead to the formation of sexual relationships. It could be made optional, with suggestions only made to students whose parents approve, but this might create additional difficulties.
Whether or not students receive local suggestions, they should receive distant ones, over the whole nation or nations. These suggestions may lead to communication using video or audio connections. Over time, some long distance relationships will probably be established.
Despite the parents preference for particular post-secondary schools, many of the students will have developed long-distance relationships by this time and will choose colleges or universities where they can develop those relationships as they pursue their studies.
In this fantasy, their would be a great stirring up of the people graduating from highschool and entering college. It would be less common to get post-secondary education at nearby schools, or simply the best schools each student could get into.
Instead, students would be drawn to other students, and together with them would make these decisions, which might take them to entirely different schools.
As discussed elsewhere, there are different kinds of error-covariance to be minimized.
Good solutions to the problem of minimizing it will be hard to find. But the very same students who pose those problems can help to solve them.