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Using Open Data for education

June 4th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

I am excited by the possibility of using linked data to provide new services in education. The new UK government appears to be continuing the previous policy of releasing more government data through the excellent Unlocking Innovation web site, resulting from consultancy by Tim Berners Lee and Nick Shabolt (interestingly today the governement COINS database was opened up providing information on all central and local government spending – see Guardian newspaper web tool for exploring the data).

I have been looking at the possibility of using linked data for providing labour market information for careers advice and guidance. We are considering developing a demonstrator of this for use on a mobile device as part of the European funded Mature-IP project. This is a possible use case I have written for the project.

“Sarah is a Careers Personal Advisor. As part of her bob she visits schools to provide personalised careers guidance for young people. One young person she meets is interested in becoming an occupational therapist..

Sarah checks out in the Connexions knowledge database but discovers there is no relevant and up to date information on becoming an occupational therapist. She uses her mobile phone Careers application to seek information.

Sarah inputs the occupation and the post code of the client.

She is able to access an information sheet from the Jobs4You database about occupational therapy.

She can also see the average wage of occupational therapists both nationally and regionally through an API to the ASHE data available through the UK open government data site.

From  the LMS database she can find out the total number of occupational therapists employed in the UK and the trend in employment over the last ten years and can view the job vacancies as an occupational therapist reported to job centres in Kent over the past ten years. She also has access to a video about the job of an occupational therapist searching the iCould database.

The application tells her possible careers routes to be becoming an occupational therapist from information in the Jobs4U information sheets as well as local courses for occupational therapists using an API to the xcri course information standard.
Sarah is also aware that the national Health Service Careers web site also has information about associated careers and qualification routes. She uses her phone web browser to view that information.

Sarah reviews all the information she has accessed. She provides a short audio report on what she has found out and what she considers is the importance of the information for her client. She reviews the information once more and decides that it is ready to share. She checks with her online diary looking at possible times for a video meeting with her client. She presses share which formats the information in the form of a multi media package, including visualisations of the data, which is sent to her clients mobile phone and offers her client times for a meeting.

Finally Sarah adds key words to her report and uploads it an organisational knowledge based of information about different careers.”

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2 Responses to “Using Open Data for education”

  1. Kevin Tavares says:

    Hi Graham,

    I just read this article and was wondering if you did end up developing the tool that uses government linked open data to help individuals make career decisions and gives career advice. If so can you send me the link where I can find further information about this?

    Thanks,
    Kevin Tavares

  2. Graham Attwell says:

    Hi Kevin. We produced a prototype as part of a feasibility study. The API can be found at http://lmi4all.careersdata.org/doc/ . UKCES are currently tendering for a second phase development.

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    This looks interesting - shame it is behind a paywall :( twitter.com/Helen_Amass/st…

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