Can a service-oriented architecture approach save our educational system?

Can a service-oriented architecture approach save our educational system?

Summary: Our educational system is similar to a siloed, rigid corporate IT system. Breaking it up into flexible, deliverable services under a governance umbrella may be just what is needed.

TOPICS: Education, Big Data

The principles that have been built and tested around service oriented architecture over the past decade may provide the tools needed to rescue our floundering educational system, particularly as knowledge transfer becomes more reliant on data mining and analytics.

Classroom-Earth Science Classroom-Photo from NASA MY NASA DATA site
Photo credit: NASA, from MyNASA Data site

That's the view of Paul S. Prueitt, a principal investigator with the National Science Foundation and formerly affiliated with Georgetown University. Writing in Service Technology, he urges that service-oriented governance principles be applied to data mining applications to deliver educational data. IBM, for one, is already studying the ways SOA can enable more effective development of models for data mining, he says.

Within educational settings, models can be developed around the best ways to deliver curriculum materials to students -- particularly the crucial STEM (science, technology, engineering math) disciplines. These models will support "services" that make up the learning modules, that can be configured as educators see fit. "Using governance principles basic to stratified service architecture, learning tasks may be supported and assessed within unified enterprise architecture," Prueitt says. "Governance, along with service definition and model definition, could create a national assessment strategy that moves K-12 and higher education towards specific goals."

SOA governance, service design principles, and uniformity in the development of models may help smooth the processes for enabling better targeted, more flexible and more responsive education programs. "The community of all students is like a corporation that has no sound underlying governance infrastructure," says Prueitt. "The use of well-known [artificial intelligence] algorithms within a real-time learning assessment system could provide students with coherent governance that is directed at opening their access to higher mathematics and science.... Service-oriented architecture will play a role in every aspect of the transformation of data into experienced human knowledge. The promise is that both data mining and knowledge discovery in database methods might be normalized as transparent computable services."

That's a pretty good tribute to all the hard work that's been done around SOA over the past decade.

Topics: Education, Big Data

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  • Sevice oriented

    To save our school system we need one thing, committed parents that demand their children learn. Anything else is just dross. Service oriented systems can help at the edges, but cannot replace committed parents.
    • Privatize education

      There is a reason why U.S. universities are among the best in the world, and there is a reason why our public education system is an embarrassment compared to the rest of the world. It is because the first is largely privatized, while the second is a public bureaucracy. The U.S. needs to contract out the running of public schools to private companies, while also supporting private schools with public funds.

      When you go to countries with socialist governments, you keep seeing similar debates to the one we have about our education system. If only we had more dedicated bureaucrats who try harder to make the system work; if only we employed the latest system, etc. Unless you have competition within the education system, nothing is really going to change. You need private companies running schools which are regulated, who will innovate in order survive - instead of bureaucrats who toss in a few computers, to keep parents off their backs.

      The U.S. public education system is antiquated and it needs to change. If private U.S. companies are worried about the work force of tomorrow, they need to pressure government officials to push for the contracting out of public schools to private companies. Start with suburbs and easy districts, and work their way into urban areas.
      P. Douglas
      • Ummm, no

        Pretty much *all* of the school systems in other countries that perform better than ours are also public schools. We just don't run them as well, budget-wise and education-wise.
  • Google is already a service.

    "he urges that service-oriented governance principles be applied to data mining applications to deliver educational data."

    Last I checked, Google is already a service.

    Did you really have to write an article so thick with buzzwords?
  • Some of these methods may help

    Especially the fringe children. However, nothing will ever replace good parenting, the school system can only do so much. If parents aren't smart enough to encourage (and to a certain extent demand) their children to learn nothing else will solve the problem. When it comes to learning STEM fields it's hard to learn what repetition and problem solving will teach you, no matter what methods are employed. You can never become great in any field without spending a great deal of time spent mastering the fundamentals of basic math and science (at a minimum the basics of calculus through chemistry and physics).

    I'm all for new methods of encouraging students from perusing stem fields, but as my PhD professor always told me "there's no free lunch." They're difficult fields and can't be learned or mastered without good old fashioned hard work and persistence.
    Sam Wagner
  • Education is only going to change when people actually care about it

    By that I mean, first the little buggers and their parents, then the local community on to the top end of society.

    Everybody wants things from education, but sadly few want to be educated. It's all about appearance, getting that A*-C. An all pressure cooking, no resulting rice/veg/whatever situation. Basically what's happening now is pretty much all bollocks. It's got to the stage where your average antipodeans are more likely to be educated than Errrmurriccans or even your average Brit. Life is indeed grim when communication is reduced to going through something akin to the McD's standard script; and that when talking to a "software engineer."
  • I Feel Certain That...

    ... the phrase "Using governance principles basic to stratified service architecture, learning tasks may be supported and assessed within unified enterprise architecture," was generated by a random tech speak generator as it is completely devoid of meaning. "Education Professionals" are full of the same kind of meaningless drivel.

    In most US school districts, the only thing that concerns administrators is contact hours that generate funds from states and the federal government.
  • SOA governance approach can save the educational system

    Well education will definitely change when people care about it. But, educational systems can do more than that. Reusing proven processes within the system and creating tailor made governance strategies can heighten the effectiveness.