Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education

Quantitative Ethnography: Human Science in the Age of Big Data

Date & Time

8 November 2017, 9am AEST/10am  AEDT. You will find other time zones for the session here.


In this talk, David Williamson Shaffer looks at the transformation of education and the social sciences in the age of Big Data. The tools of Quantitative Ethnography integrate data-mining, discourse analysis, social interactionism, cognition, learning science, statistics, and ethnography into a brand-new human science. We get numbers and meaning both, and they do not fight each other; rather they produce new ideas and innovative ways of thinking about data and data analysis. Those interested in teaching, learning, meaning-making, culture, social interaction, and human development will find here the first shot in a research methods revolution.


David Williamson Shaffer is the Vilas Distinguished Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Obel Foundation Professor of Learning Analytics at the Aalborg University in Copenhagen, and a Data Philosopher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. He began his career as a classroom teacher and teacher-trainer in mathematics, history, science, and English as a second language, in the US and with the US Peace Corps in Nepal. Professor Shaffer’s MS and Ph.D. are from the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a 2003-2005 National Academy of Education Spencer Fellow and a 2008-2009 European Union Marie Curie Fellow. He is the author of How Computer Games Help Children Learn (New York: Palsgrave MacMIllan, 2006) and Quantitative Ethnography (Madison, WI: Cathcart Press, 2017).


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