MINERS' GUIDE: It's boom time for data--but what are we really digging for? The Department of Ed., in conjunction with SRI International, released a brief on educational data mining and learning analytics (PDF) that could help. Based on interviews with academics and techies like Peter Norvig (Google), Ken Rudin (Zynga), and a host of data luminaries, the report summarizes current research in these two fields and highlights the different questions that each seek to answer, along with how they can be leveraged for (buzzward warning!) "adaptive" learning systems. Those new to the edu-data space will find useful nuggets of info throughout, beginning with the distinction between mining and analytics: "educational data mining looks for new patterns in data and develops new algorithms and/or new models, while learning analytics applies known predictive models in instructional systems." There. We feel smarter already.