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Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S.

(2013) Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4

PREDICTING DEVELOPMENTS IN TECHNOLOGYENHANCED LEARNING THROUGH BETTING – THE CONCEPT FOR A FACEBOOK APP
Andreas Albustin, Martin Ebner* and Sandra Schön
Affiliation

ABSTRACT
Our research article deals with a new form of future study methodology in the field of technology-enhanced learning (TEL): the approach of prediction markets, especially parimutuel betting. Therefore we start with a short introduction in future research and go on with a description on the process of prediction markets. Our focus is on a concept for a Facebook app supporting the idea of bets on future developments. The application itself is a betting application wherein a user is able to bet on a certain question, related to TEL problems and trends, with a variable amount of virtual money. The goal of the tool is to use the outcome of the bets for evaluating future trends.

Keywords: future studies, forecasts, betting, social network, Facebook app

INTRODUCTION
In recent years learning and teaching materials went through fundamental changes as never before. The Internet in general, but especially the invention of tablet computers (iPad or Android based devices) as well as e-readers (for example the Kindle device of Amazon) lead to many new ideas on how they can be used for educational purposes (Huber, 2012). Due to such rapid technological developments an end of this technological change is not forseeable. Even for researchers in the field of educational technology, it is hard to predict the “future
* Corresponding author address Email: martin.ebner@tugraz.at

Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2013) 2 Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4 classroom” or how learning and teaching will take place in future. One important question is where abouts the development of any topic in the field of e-learning is heading for in the next months or couple of years? Is it possible to make accurate predictions humanity can work with? Besides educational practitioners, companies and political establishments rely on accurate predictions for their investments and developments for educational purposes. Future research concern on exactly these issues. It is an emerging research field which is engaged to get valuable predictions about future developments or trends, even in the scope of education. Most of the methods used by future researchers making proper predictions, depend on the experience and knowledge of experts. On base of their own opinions created through different disciplines conclusions are created by exchanging and merging these opinions. Such conclusions are then taken for prediction of future trends. Therefore large e-learning communities can help in finding a pool of experts to evaluate important issues dealing with future trends. Besides finding accurate predictions by the help of future research methods, a major advantage of expert communities is the discussion and evaluation of those issues. Within this paper the concept of a facebook application for betting on e-learning developments will be described. Therefore the theoretical background for future studies’ methodologies and especially the approach of prediction markets is introduced. The Facebook application which is described in this chapter, to predict and discuss future trends of e-learning issues. The predictions are based on bets and prediction markets, which are described in the next chapter. Finally a brief overview on the application is given

BETTING AS A FUTURE STUDIES’ METHODOLOGY
Common future studies’ methodology
Many diverse methods are used within future research particularly in the field of technologyenhanced learning (TEL). In the following, two of the more common approaches, the Delphi method and scenario technique (see Schaffert & Schwalbe, 2009) are described briefly. The Delphi method is a multilevel procedure. A panel of experts from different areas of research are discussing in moderated groups about future trends and developments. After exchanging information, the summary of experts’ forecasts is the basis of the following next discussion rounds (Linstone & Turoff, 2002). The popular Horizon Report is based on the Delphi method using wiki technology to collect hundreds of technologies and dozens of possible trends for technology-enhanced learning. For the advisory board of the Horizon Report 2012 47 experts were chosen “to represent a broad spectrum of the higher education sector; key writers, thinkers, technologists, and futurists from education, business, and industry rounded out the group” (Johnson et al., 2012). The scenario technique (Steinmüller, 2002) was developed in the 1950s as a scenario planning method for military intelligence to evaluate complex scenarios and trying to find strategic orientation knowledge. Typically three possible future scenarios were analyzed: (1) the most likely and surprise-free scenario, (2) a worst-case scenario, and (3) the projection of the best possible scenario (Boon et al., 2005, 207). The scenario technique method does not only use facts and figures (quantitative approach) but also estimations and assumptions of

Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2013) 3 Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4 experts (qualitative approach). Developing e-learning scenarios is advised as a method e.g. for decision-making in using learning technology in future education (Hamburg et al., 2005). Both approaches, the Delphi and the scenario approach, deal with a group of experts in their specific field. Their opinions, as well as their communication and aggregation about it are typically seen as a base for good predictions and foresights of future developments. But there are also concerns relating to the integration of experts and their discussions. Each of them has an individual history, a specific previous knowledge, an individual approach, and also an individual character. Furthermore, the expectations of the technology-enhanced learning’s benefits are affected by individual issues such as Internet experiences (Rezaei et al., 2008, 86). Of course there are also concerns concerning the quality of future research in general. Educational institutions are relying on high quality predictions about future developments. Boon et al. (2005, 210) have created a concept on evaluating the quality of e-learning trend reports. They defined 22 criteria and divided them into four dimensions: (1) author and authority, (2) accuracy of research and data collection, (3) accuracy of the document, and (4) objectivity of the presented content. In fact, there are several future studies about technologyenhanced learning that do not live up to the criteria Boon et al. (2005) defined. Boon et al. (2005) looked into articles which were written between 2000 and 2002 and noticed that just a few of them were based on compelling methods, as it is still today, e.g. if predictions are based on ideas of just a single author.

Betting and Prediction Markets
In our research work we deal with a particular and new approach in the field of TEL, so called “prediction markets” (Alexander, 2009). This approach observes and analyses the behaviour of betting markets. Surprisingly, there is a long tradition on it: Due to the lack of poll results, odds and betting behaviours were already analysed after the civil war in the USA. The results were successfully used in election forecasts to predict the winner of presidential elections (cf. Wolfers & Zitzewitz, 2004, 1-2; Armstrong & Green, 2006, 3; Zhao et al., 2008). In addition to political psephology, Wolfers and Zitzewitz (2004) also mention the worthiness of such data for other issues, e.g. economic interest in future sells for figures or for product development. Prediction markets are markets, which are trading with predictions respectively bets on future developments. On the basis of the trading activity predictions are made on future developments on specific issues. This method is also known as “Betting Markets”, “Information Markets”, “Event Futures”, “Decision Markets”, “Idea Futures”, “Iowa Electronic Markets” or “Future Markets”. Figure 1 gives an overview of a prediction market: Typically shares are offered with a fixed price within the first phase. Such shares are on statements such as “Roger Federer wins the US Open 2012”, or “Barack Obama wins the next presidential election”. By starting the free trade, participants are allowed to trade their shares among each other (cf. stock-trading) or also to set new amounts of money (cf. horse bets). After closing the session, sometimes the process is continued by a waiting period until the target event, e.g. the official election result is finally reached. At the end, the shareholders get their profit according to previously specified rules.

Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2013) 4 Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4

Figure 1: Prototypical process of a prediction market As already mentioned, there are two market structures (Christiansen, 2007). A distinction is drawn between a continuous auction and mutual betting. The first model is similar to stock trading and is described as “continuous double auction”. The second model is “pari-mutuel betting” which is similar to horse betting. Each of the participants sets a certain amount on a horse (a certain share or statement). After the race (when the effective date is arrived) the total bet budget is divided into a commission and profit for those who set on the winning horse (a certain share or statement). Geifman, Raban and Sheifaz (2011) created a classification framework to illustrate, describe, and compare additional different characteristics of prediction markets. In addition to the type of shares and market models, the classification framework describes all significant processes (e.g. type of currency), incentives (e.g. rewards), and who is participating and which objectives they are aiming for. How is it possible to derive the occurrence probability of a future event from the prediction market models? The chances can be calculated straight out of the performance or after closing the market value. The variances or standard deviations deliver an insight into the estimation of uncertainty of the market. Look at the example of tennis player Roger Federer: If 80% of the participants vote for the case that Federer will win the US Open 2012, it can be assumed that the bigger group will be probably right (80%). The uncertainty in a market can be described and specified by offering shares to very similar statements, e.g. “Obama gets more than 30% of the votes”, “…more than 32%...” etc. (q.v. Wolfers & Zitzewitz, 2004). The betting or prediction market approach is especially interesting to cover measurable, short-time developments. Additionally, “objective” data is easily available as the approach needs a valuation of the betting and/or trading behaviour. Whereas the prediction market approach was, at least to our investigations, never used for technology-enhanced learning issues, there is already a long list of applications, systems, projects, and publications available dealing on this. The pari-mutuel betting is basically what will be used in our application.

Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2013) 5 Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4

FIRST APPLICATION FOR TEL TOPICS AND RESULTS Our first usage of prediction markets to gain more information about future TEL developments was settled and arranged in June 2012. More than 30 experts on learning and teaching materials from German speaking European countries were participating on the betting sequence. It was an integrated part of a three days long workshop on the future of textbooks and learning materials called “L3T’s work”. For this, twelve statements were formulated. The experts had to decide in which way to set their gambling chips: Will a statement come true within the next 6, 12, or 18 months, or later/never? The experts discussed and re-arranged their chips during the event and were also allowed to spread their chips between different field: They had 20 chips for 12 statements and were allowed to place up to 3 chips per statement, also on diverse fields (“”within 6 months”, “7 to 12 months”, “13 to 18 months” or “later/never”). So the participants were able to spread risk if they were ensure on the concrete time. For example, if they think a certain development will occur within one year they could for example place one chip on “within 6 months” and one on “7 to 12 months”. Additionally, they could accumulate chips (up to three) on one field if they felt confident of a certain development, for example, three chips on “never/later”. After two hours, the experts were asked to find a final guess. Starting with December 2012, a jury of (external) experts will decide whether the statements have come true within the first phase of six months or not. According to their choices the bet champion of this first period will be nominated. In the following we show some of the results and estimated probability according to the betting behavior and chips distribution to give an impression of concrete statements. Please be aware that the statements and its predictions are drawn for the D-A-CH region, which is Germany (D), Austria (A), and Swiss (CH), the German speaking countries in Western Europe (see Figure 2).

Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2013) 6 Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4

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#A#blackboard#is#replaces#by#Surface#Compu@ng#for#the#first#@me#in# DGAGCH#(Statement#12)#

Germany,#Austria#and#Swiss#counts#at#least#5#tablet#computer# classes#each#(Statement#7)#

by#2012G12G01# The#first#school#class#in#DGAGCH#plans#to#use#solely#digital#materials# within#a#whole#year.#(Statement#8)# 2012G12G01#to#2013G06G01# 2013G06G01#to#2013G12G01# later#(or#never)#

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Figure 2: Exemplary results of statements and its probability concerning selected statements on the future of learning and teaching materials in Germany, Austria, and Swiss (D-A-CH) from June 2012 (see Schön & Ebner, 2012) Besides the concrete results of that event, which are described in details in Schön and Ebner (2012), future evaluation will show the validity of this approach. Thitherto, our first trial illustrates that the event and activity itself produced a fruitful communication amongst the expert and a vivid, joyful action. Both aspects are not necessary for future studies, but gives as a validation to go on with our work on a inspiring a new approach: the development of a Facebook app to bet on TEL developments.

CONCEPT OF A FACEBOOK APP
Dealing with the idea of a time-to-time evaluation of certain trends and issues within TEL the use of a Web based system for our bets on TEL future arise. The following careful research and evaluation work shows a long list of running Web based systems for prediction markets. In fact, they are not always developed and supported for research issues. For example, the derivate trade within the financial sector is comparable to a prediction market and is supported by diverse Internet based systems. Nevertheless, there is still a variety of researchdriven, also adaptable and Open Source systems available, e.g. stackoverflow1 or zocalo2.
1

http://stackoverflow.com (2012-08-31)

Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2013) 7 Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4 Based on personal experiences and trials with test accounts for some of the systems it can be stated, that they are, as they are based on double auction models, not fitting our purposes to collect assumptions on a easily, vivid and regularly base without the motivation to take care on building and fostering an own community. Bearing in mind that an existing fan page at Facebook with more than 700 users, which are interested in the project shortly called L3T, exists, programming a Facebook app seems to be appropriate. The following chapter describes the strategically decisions and concept of the implementation.

Betting Application: Features and Processes
Beforehand it was decided that the developed application is using Facebook as a platform. Therefore it is mandatory having a Facebook account for using the application. Basically the administrator or users with an administrator account of the betting application are able to define questions and statements along with answers. Furthermore a fixed final date must be defined to ensure the closure of the betting session. For the user the process is similar to the prediction market illustrated in Figure 1. The only difference is that a bet starts directly with the free trading. In the very first beginning each user gets a starting amount of the virtual money used within this application and is immediately able to set on on-going bets. The form of bets is a pari-mutuel bet comparable to usual horse bets. The payout rules are described below. Figure 3 shows an example of the way the betting process on a single question in this application works. An administrator defines a question. After that the free trading stage starts immediately. Users are now allowed to set a certain amount of their virtual money on any answer related to this question. This procedure can be repeated as often as a user likes. But the application only allows just one bet of a user on each question. With every change of a stake on an answer of a particular question, the previous bet of the user on the same question is cleared. As a consequence, every change of stakes affects the profit shares and will be displayed immediately. The current profit shares are always visible to everyone. The betting session of a question closes on a particular date, it’s the end date the administrator has defined during the creation of the question. Users are no longer able to set. The question is now open to the administrator to select the right answer. According to the type of the question, the right answer is basically determined by an event, whether it occurred or not, or follows after an evaluation. Subsequently, the application calculates the payout and distributes it to the users, who won the bet, according to their stakes.

2

http://zocalo.sourceforge.net/ (2012-08-31)

Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2013) 8 Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4

Figure 3: Prototypical process of betting on a question The application provides users an overview on on-going bets. Details are shown when users click on a question. Furthermore, they are able to choose an answer and enter an amount of virtual money to set a bet. If they have already bet on this particular question or statement, the chosen answer is highlighted and their betting stake is displayed. Moreover, the application provides a profile page with information about each user. Besides their current amount of virtual money, they are able to see their betting history. Users are encouraged to send a Facebook message to the administrator, i.e. to give suggestions for future questions or statements. All provided and already finished bets – after the payout was done - are visible on a history page. The results and any evaluation, in case the bet concerns a future question, are shown. Furthermore, if the application identifies a user as an administrator, an additional page can be used to manage the bets and to create new questions or statements. The admin area is the only part that is not visible for non-administrators.

Betting Application: Payout Rules and Probability Values
The shares are calculated from the total of the stakes each user has set. For example, the stakes on the winning answer are 1.600 “taler” (former silver coin used throughout Europe) and the total stakes (so called “gross pool”) are 4.000 taler. The profit share is calculated by dividing the gross pool by the winning answer’s stake, i.e. 4.000/1.600 is 2.50. Consequently, if a user has set 100 taler on the winning answer, he would get back 100 multiplied by 2.50 = 250 taler. As mentioned before, this calculation is done by the application after the administrator has selected the winning answer. Users, who have chosen the right answer, will get their profit shares immediately after the calculation.

Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2013) 9 Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4 To achieve one of our research goals, making proper predictions on future e-learning questions, probability values must be calculated. In order to do that, the basic idea of future research is used: If lots of experts think that a certain event will occur in the future, they are most likely right in their estimation. This indicates that the answer of future trend questions with most of the stakes is most likely the winning answer. The amount of stakes is directly proportional to the probability values.

Social Challenge: Community and Activation
One of the main motivations to develop a Facebook app was that we have already people connected and committed to our topic where we can probably build on: The “L3T” community on Facebook3 is such a group of people strongly dealing with e-learning every day. This community is a result of a social media marketing process of the “L3T” book edited by Ebner and Schön (2011) addressing many different issues about new media and technology in education. The book is one of the biggest open educational resources in the German speaking area; each chapter can be downloaded for free4. These days the download rate exceed the number 150,000 after 1.5 year. In order to increase the popularity and accessibility of the book as well as to build up a social e-learning community, the Facebook fan page was introduced in 2010. Numerous posts about the book and different events helped to address many different people (key researchers, teachers, students). Currently, the page has more than 750 friends with a relatively high engagement rate of approximately 20%. L3T’s Facebook fan page has already many fans particularly belonging to the TEL community in German speaking countries. The betting application should encourage these experts to participate the game to find future trends with well chosen questions: Users will get certain amount of virtual money when they decide to start using the betting application and set on a winning answer. In order to achieve more activation, also the advantages of social networks must be addressed. Therefore, users can also earn further money by some social challenges. Users get a bonus e.g. for liking L3T’s fan page or for publishing to their own Facebook stream via the application etc. A good example for the way this idea can be realized to promote a product on the one hand along with a donation for a charity on the other hand was the watertank game of Levi’s (Calderón, 2011): By liking the page, tweeting about the game, answering questions, or sharing posts users provided certain amounts of water to a virtual watertank. After reaching a predefined number of litres, the company assured to donate money to the Water.org5 organisation.

Positive Potential Side Effect: Activation of L3T Fan Page Activity
Besides research interests, the implementation of the Facebook app could serve as an activation measure for the fan page itself. The usage of the app for example re-activates the stream of Facebook posts on the fan page. This sounds a little bit crazy, as non-expert one should think a “like” for a certain page is like a subscription for every post made on a certain
3 4

http://www.facebook.com/l3t.eu/ (2012-08-30) http://l3t.eu (2012-08-30) 5 http://water.org/ (2012-08-30)

Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2013) 10 Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4 page. In fact, Facebook’s algorithms only shows content of fan pages if it is paid or an interaction is given. The usage of a Facebook app re-activates the system; more posting should be in our fans’ streams. Additionally, the social interactivity on the fan page’s wall should be increased by encouraging them to discuss and analyze the bets they set in the betting game.

Architecture as Facebook App
Building an application on Facebook gives developers many opportunities to use the advantages of that social network. Facebook delivers Application Programming Interfaces (API) in many Web-related programming languages. In order to tap the full potential of Facebook’s social networking and communication users always has to be asked first for their permission. The following part describes the technical part of the application. A Facebook application is not physically running on the Facebook platform. It is placed on an external web server. Basically, it´s software architecture is a common and simple web application. The only extension to a basic web application is shown in Figure 4. The Facebook API on the Facebook platform layer is handling the identification process and all social activities initiated on Facebook. This layer is an interface between client and server. Consequently, a Facebook account is mandatory using the application.

Figure 4: Architecture of Facebook applications (cf. Soomro, 2011) The betting application is basically implemented with the server-side script language PHP. Along with basic HTML and CSS, JavaScript is used on the client-side, particularly for the verification of forms and for sending POST request to the web server. In this context especially the JQuery library is used for client-side scripting. The persistent data on the server-side is stored in a MySQL database. The most relevant data is the description of the questions where users are able to bet on the corresponding answers. The actual bets set by the user and of course information about the users themselves is also stored in the database. Applications running on the Facebook platform must have a unique identification number and an application secret. Both are required to connect the web application that runs on an external server to Facebook. They are generated during the application creation process6 to getting it up and running on the Facebook platform. The developer has to configure the app
6

http://developers.facebook.com/docs/appsonfacebook/tutorial/ (2012-08-30)

Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2013) 11 Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4 on Facebook by specifying the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that contains the actual sources of the application. Facebook loads the sources and embeds them in a canvas. It is a blank section on Facebook wherein the application runs. Facebook provide Software Development Kits (SDK) for four platforms: JavaScript, PHP, iOS and Android. The betting application uses Facebook’s PHP SDK to integrate the common Facebook platform features. The library contains functionality for adding authentication and using the Graph API for gaining user information. Facebook’s core is its social graph, where every Facebook user, group, organisation etc. is connected via relationships. The Graph API7 provides an interface to access the information of every object within the social graph by its unique identification number. Some data of the social graph is publicly available, e.g. id, first name, last name, username and gender8. For example, Mark Zuckerberg’s public information on Facebook is accessed by his id 49:
{ "id": "4", "name": "Mark Zuckerberg", "first_name": "Mark", "last_name": "Zuckerberg", "link": "http://www.facebook.com/zuck", "username": "zuck", "gender": "male", "locale": "en_US" }

Basically that’s how the betting application uses the Facebook’s Graph API to gain users’ information. To get any additional data about users, applications first have to get permission. The Facebook platform uses the OAuth 2.010 Protocol for authentication. The result of a successfully executed authentication process11 is a user access token that can be used to make requests to Facebook API’s such as requests to the Graph API. This access token can only be used for basic information about the user. To read additional data or write data to Facebook, the application must request additional permissions12, e.g. user and friends permissions for advanced user information and extended permissions e.g. for reading and publishing to a user’s stream. The betting application requests the user to allow access to their likes, friends list, reading and publishing features. This is done when the user connects to the application via Facebook for the first time. Users of the application have to grant the requested permissions otherwise they won’t be able to use the application. It’s important to be able to use the requested
7 8

http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/api/ (2012-08-30) https://graph.facebook.com/ID (2012-08-30) 9 https://graph.facebook.com/4 (2012-08-30) 10 http://tools.ietf.org/pdf/draft-ietf-oauth-v2-12.pdf (2012-08-30) 11 http://developers.facebook.com/docs/authentication/ (2012-08-30) 12 http://developers.facebook.com/docs/authentication/permissions/ (2012-08-30)

Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2013) 12 Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4 additional features because of the main idea behind the project: using a social Facebook community to find, evaluate, and develop future trends as well as increasing social interaction on a Facebook page. Having the appropriate permission e.g. to see what a user has liked, to see user’s friend lists, and to publish on user’s stream the betting application can initiate some social activities on the Facebook platform. The PHP SDK provides methods to simplify authentication and requesting permissions. The methods Facebook::getUser(), Facebook::getLoginUrl() and Facebook::getLogoutUrl() provide this functionality.

Figure 5: Screenshot of the entry page of the application A first sight of the prototype of the betting application is shown in Figure 5. It illustrates the entry page where all current bets are shown. By clicking on the question, details are loaded and the user is able to set a bet. Beyond the menu, user information is shown: Facebook profile picture, first name and current amount of virtual money.

FIRST EVALUATION OF THE APP CONCEPT: CHALLENGES AND OPEN TASKS
After the first tests and concept description, we tried to evaluate this first draft. When ideas turned concrete, the focus went from possible impact and opportunities to concrete challenges and possible barriers. The following issues, concerns, and challenges were mentioned:

Basically, bearing in mind the main purpose of this application it must be stated that it was not the game character we were interested in. It’s an instrument we use to achieve our goals. According to the competition among the users, the question occurred if providing a ranking might lead the purpose of the application too much towards a competition as the original motivation was.   In this context it must be mentioned, that a user can’t have no virtual money at all. There will always be a minimum amount to use, although someone has lost all his virtual money.   A crucial issue is to provide interesting questions and statements. On the one hand to get an interesting outcome, and on the other hand to satisfy the community of being part of this project. The possibility for users to make suggestions on future questions should support this request.   Another point of lowering users’ satisfaction may be the long-term character of future trend questions. The time period between free trading and getting the actual result, whether a statement occurs or not, may sometimes take half a year

Draft version – originally published in: Albustin, A., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2013) 13 Predicting Developments in Technology-enhanced Learning through Betting – The Concept for a Facebook App, In: E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. Hamada, M. (Ed.), Nova Science Publishers. NY. P. 207 – 220, ISBN: 978-1-62618-961-4 or more. This would lead to a decrease of interactivity and maybe even to forget the application at all. To avoid a long idle-time of the betting application, another type of questions is introduced: Additionally, the administrator is able to define a question with fixed odds that ends due to an event in the near future.  

It might be a problem to make accurate predictions, if someone sets a huge amount of virtual money compared to the other betting stakes. As a result, the outcome can be affected negatively. In that respect, the applications let the administrator, who defines a question, determine, if an upper bound of the amount of a betting stake is defined or not.  

SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK This article features a relatively new future study approach in the field of technologyenhanced learning: prediction markets respectively pari-mutuel betting. First trials showed a high engagement and joy amongst participant, but the evaluation of the results is still open as the first betting phase ends in December 2012. To go on, we sketched a concept for a Facebook app and give additional hints to future challenges. Our personal next steps are relatively clear: to develop and test a running app and to deliver first results. According to research issues, the approach and investigations need a careful on-going evaluation. Especially, future studies should try to compare our betting approach with existing other approaches such as the mentioned Delphi method or scenario approach to verify the validity of the approach in relation to established and more common methods. Nevertheless, it has to be highlighted, that prediction markets makes only sense for relatively short-time predictions and concrete, measurable statements. Besides technological implementation an important aspect will be to create such meaningful, measurable, and also interesting (engaging) statements. What is your guess on bets on the future of TEL? Will there be more within the next six months? REFERENCES
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