A few weeks ago, a friend was asked to present about datafication in performance analysis. This set me off thinking about the processes I had heard about and seen.
I started off revisiting Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier’s 2013 book Big data: A revolution that will transform how we live, work, and think (link). In it they discussed at length Matthew Maury‘s career in the U.S. Navy’s Depot of Charts and Instruments. In their words “He saw patterns everywhere”. They added (2013:75) “He had a number of ‘computers’ – the job title of those who calculated data. He aggregated data. He looked for patterns and more efficient routes and sea-lanes.”
I liked their consideration of data in the light of Matthew’s journey all those years ago. They noted:
He was among the first to realise that “there is a special value in a huge corpus of data that is lacking in smaller amounts – a core tenet of big data”.
Astounding that it was done with pencil and paper and highlights “the degree to which the use of data predates digitization”.
Data refers to “a description of something that allows it to be recorded, analyzed, and reorganized”.
To datafy a phenomenon is “to put it in a quantified format so that it can be tabulated and analyzed”.
We built the building blocks for datafication many centuries before the dawn of the digital age.
I thought this account resonated powerfully with Simon Eaves’ accounts (2015, link; 2017a, link; 2017b, link) of Henry Chadwick (link) and baseball. Both are stories of digital pioneers. Simon notes that perhaps as early as 1858, Henry tried to record and analyse as “a first step towards a sport performance analysis to assess relative merits”.
I do think reading these authors about Matthew and Henry together gives real feel for what was occurring in the nineteenth century in the United States of America … at the dawn of what has been a remarkable process.
I hope to write more about this process and provide more background to datafication as the centuries pass by.
Back in June 2008, I started writing this WordPress blog (link). I had written on other blogs before and had first dipped my toes with Geocities in the late 1990s.
In 2008, I was emboldened by CCK08 (link) to explore thoughts openly about learning in a digital world. I had not considered that what I wrote would be of interest to any other reader. It was framed by the delight of thinking out loud.
This delight in thinking out loud led me to explore many ways to share openly through emerging cloud resources. Many of these accounts remain and include wikis, talks, slides, documents and data. I was even naive enough to start Facebook pages for some of my units.
Another preoccupation of mine has been the linking of ideas about learning, coaching and performing enriched by my formative experiences of social sciences, teacher education, human movement studies, performance analysis and analytics. This has led me to think deeply about how ideas are formed in social contexts. Many of my posts are about how performance analysts and their collaborators emerged at particular times and particular places and constructed knowledge.
My blog at Clyde Street continues to be my platform for this sharing. I hope to add many more posts to the 1800 produced already. My new guide is the R community that is providing exciting ways to share openly and my old guide, the ever inspiring, Stephen Downes (link).
It has been fascinating how this project has emerged and changed.
I have been watching Britain’s Great Art Walks (link). Each week, Gus Casely-Hayford has walked with a companion to explore the work of an artist. Last week he walked with Harriet Walter to discuss Walter Sickert (link).
I was particularly interested in Gus and Harriet’s conversation as they explored Walter’s interest in and observations of performance. One of the triggers (and conclusion) was Walter’s 1915 painting, The Brighton Pierrots (link).
The Walks are a great introduction to art, art history and artists. I have been wondering how conversations about coaching, coaching history and coaches might flourish in this format.
The Walks are profoundly well researched and the choice of companion for each walk is inspired. Each week I gain a sense of place and space. The triggers for conversations are art works.
Now that we do have more artefacts about coaching and coaches, I wondered whom we might research and with whom we might talk about coaching, coach history and coaches.
My first choice would be to visit the Ukraine and explore the life and times Valerij Lobanovs’kyj (link). I wondered if Lisa Alexander might walk with me on this visit (link).