Instruction does not equate to learning. This is the fundamental fly in the ointment of instructional design, and the epistemological failing of learning management systems and most MOOC platforms. Learning, unfortunately, is something no instruction has ever quite put its finger on, and something that no methodology or approach can guarantee. Instead, pedagogical praxis creates roads along which learning may take place (along with plenty of other experiences); and assessment is merely a system of checkpoints along the way to evaluate how well the road, the vehicle, and the driver are cooperating. In other words, assessment doesn’t measure learning. Assessment measures the design of the instruction.
According to old systems of instruction, massive open online courses are no different from other forms of online learning (which are no different from correspondence courses). They are click-to-read-the-next-lesson environments that guide readers/students down a specific path where information (in the guise of learning material) has been contained so that it may be mastered. Learning is meant to happen in coordinated steps, and as long as preconceived outcomes appear to be met, it’s a supposed win-win for students and teachers.
This, though, is like putting a lion in a cage and training it to jump through burning hoops: the lion tamer may master the beast in captivity, but this will not make him master of the African savannah. We haven’t learned anything new about online learning from MOOCs (especially Courserian and Udacian MOOCs) because we keep the lion in the cage. The kind of learning we need to have happen in MOOCs can’t be contained -- not in neat and tidy discussion fora, video lectures, and standardized assessments. We must start by observing learning in its natural habitat with a hunter’s blind, good binoculars, and plenty of rations. MOOCs are anthropological opportunities, not instructional ones.
Via Hybrid Pedagogy
So yea, you know how the left brain is really realistic, analytical, practical, organized, and logical, and the right brain is so darn creative, passionate, sensual, tasteful, colorful, and poetic?
Thoughtful cognitive neuroscientists such as Rex Jung, Darya Zabelina, Andreas Fink, John Kounios, Mark Beeman, Kalina Christoff, Oshin Vartanian, Jeremy Gray, Hikaru Takeuchi and others are on the forefront of investigating what actually happens in the brain during the creative process. And their findings are overturning conventional notions surrounding the neuroscience of creativity.
The latest findings from the real neuroscience of creativity suggest that the right brain/left brain distinction is not the right one when it comes to understanding how creativity is implemented in the brain. Creativity does not involve a single brain region or single side of the brain.
Instead, the entire creative process– from the initial burst of inspiration to the final polished product– consists of many interacting cognitive processes and emotions. Depending on the stage of the creative process, and what you’re actually attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handle the task.
Networks are typically visualized with force-based or spectral layouts. These algorithms lack reproducibility and perceptual uniformity because they do not use a node coordinate system. The layouts can be difficult to interpret and are unsuitable for assessing differences in networks.
To address these issues, we introduce hive plots ( http://www.hiveplot.com ) for generating informative, quantitative and comparable network layouts. Hive plots depict network structure transparently, are simple to understand and can be easily tuned to identify patterns of interest. The method is computationally straightforward, scales well and is amenable to a plugin for existing tools.
There are 10 things that online teachers should unlearn before they take up teaching online. Online Education needs new and open thinkers for sustainability.
Online teaching embraces mobile learning. Rather than act as a distraction, mobiles can be amazing tools for interactive learning. In the future, most e-learning will take place via mobile technology, where the mobile phone is actually the computerized key to the classroom. Today, students log into virtual classrooms via mobile phone or iPad, and this technology is evolving as fast as new e-learning methodologies. Read about 50 resources and tips for mobile learning on Shelly Terrell’s blog.
With blended learning methodologies, teachers can also use mobile and iPad technology during class time to organize web quests and all kinds of exciting activities to keep students mindfully on-task, while using traditionally perceived ‘off-task’ tools.
On August 23 - 24, 2013, we will hold the inaugural worldwide Homeschool Conference. This two-day, online, and free event will provide an opportunity to share strategies, practices, and resources for those involved with homeschooling, unschooling, free schools, democratic schools, and other forms of alternative and independent education.
It goes without saying that technology is changing education. Children’s brains are being rewired, universities are being threatened with extinction, and we will be in serious trouble if we ignore the transformative power of new technologies. We live in an information/knowledge economy where we are constantly connected to networks of information, our experiences become more and more mediated. It seems that technology changes everything, including educating.
Or does it? It seems to me that so-called innovations attributed to technology in teaching and learning are mostly pedagogical strategies cloaked in digital media. Specifically, current trendy approaches that proclaim the transformative power of technology in education are really no more than misunderstandings. The term “approaches” I use liberally. Some practitioners would prefer their perspective of choice to be labeled a program, theory, or framework. This in itself is interesting, but beyond the scope of these reflections. If educational technology rhetoric is misleading, what lies beneath the language of innovation?
The influence of computers and our understanding of human perception, cognition, and memory, is easy to see in our language. We speak of needing to reset our brains, of our memories being full, our inability to process information or see the connections. Cognitive Science and the related discipline of Artificial Intelligence assures us that we will one day be able to create computers that are able to mimic our own brains. Regardless of the feasibility or ethical questions raised along such a trajectory, the metaphor of computer networking has been integrated into the language of teaching and learning. Kids are already wired and they are already online. We speak of linking to previous learning. While these phrases might already be part of our vernacular, the discourse and rhetoric surrounding, describing, explaining, and analyzing education and technology, to say the least, lacks clarity and precision.
Say farewell to Powerpoint, Flash or whatever tool you are currently using to create presentation slides, banner ads, infographics or product demos.
Presenter is a free tool allowing for the professional creation of animated presentations and banner-ads. It does not rely on proprietary technology and runs inside any modern browser. You will definitely save time if you decide to leave your Powerpoint/Keynote aside. Presenter is one of the most user-friendly and capable cloud-apps I have ever happened to have the chance to get my hands on
My friend Tom Carey and David Trick have complied an excellent summary report on costs and benefits of online education, with context and recommendations for the Ontraio public higher education system in mind.
The report was described by Tom as ” 1/3 research report, 1/3 a teachable moment for faculty and academic leaders, and 1/3 a call to collective action” I think it strikes near the bull’s eye on all three targets.
Covers the recent reviews and meta analysis on both costs and effectiveness of online teaching and online assessment. As expected, it continued the persistent whine for more empirical data. We really don’t have even a fraction of the research funding enjoyed by medical and drug communities and thus educational studies are too limited, too few and often flawed. But nonetheless the data continues to show the “no significant difference” results overall. The report highlights that online learning does not work equally well with all types of content and learners (what mode does?) and notes that it is especially useful for highly motivated students. Those with educational disadvantages and heavy extra time and family commitments may well do better in teacher paced and supported F2F contexts.
n a traditional classroom, the teacher is the center of attention, the owner of knowledge and information. Teachers often ask questions of their students to gauge comprehension, but it’s a passive model that relies on students to absorb information they need to reproduce on tests.
What would happen if the roles were flipped and students asked the questions?
That’s the premise of the Right Question Institute and a new book by its co-directors Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana. The book, Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions, documents a step-by-step process to help students formulate and prioritize questions about nearly everything.
Coming up with the right question involves vigorously thinking through the problem, investigating it from various angles, turning closed questions into open-ended ones and prioritizing which are the most important questions to get at the heart of the matter.
“We’ve been underestimating how well our kids can think.” Rothstein said in a recent discussion on the talk show Forum. “We see consistently that there are three outcomes. One is that students are more engaged. Second, they take more ownership, which for teachers, this is a huge thing. And the third outcome is they learn more – we see better quality work.”
On the teacher’s part, the role becomes more a facilitator than an instructor.
“What happens is the teacher plays a different role,” Santana said. “They lead students into thinking. The process of teaching students to ask their own questions allows teachers to communicate what they need to around curriculum. The difference is that the students are thinking and doing more, rather than the teacher.”
Rothstein and Santana call their method the Question Formulation Technique. The idea is that if students are engaged in deciding what question to answer they will also be invested in discoveringthe answer. Both teachers and students say the method has been both empowering and difficult. Kids who had long been struggling in school said they felt smart, the authors said.
It’s a bit like the Socratic method flipped on its head. Socrates wandered around Athens asking questions to get at a deeper truth. Since then philosophy and law teachers have used questions as a way to get students to think more deeply, rather than giving them the information directly. The Question Formulation Technique turns that dynamic around and asks the students to come up with the questions that speak to the core of a topic.
Stanford researchers, working with Google and NVIDIA, have created a new neural network system for machine learning that is six times the size of the unit built last year that taught itself how to recognize cats on the internet.
"Technology is what is now being blamed for multitasking overload. In some situations, that is certainly the case. In other situations, the issue might be too much work, an inefficient office, or just boredom with the job or school work. We can change some of those conditions and not others—but we cannot even sort out what is causing our frustration, exhaustion, or sense of failure until we understand what multitasking is. Once we realize that multitasking itself is the human condition—not an outcome only of too much email or social networking—then we can find practical ways to address the real problem, not the mythical one."
Is there "a difference between a 'student' and a 'learner,' between a 'teacher' and an 'educator.'
Teachers want their students to be responsible and curious. They expect their students to follow class rules and do their homework. But what about the reverse? What do students want from their teachers?"
If we gave students a choice about which classes to attend each day, would they choose our subject? Would they view our pedagogical approach as worthwhile and interesting? A teacher’s job is not to be an entertainer, obviously. Gail Godwin’s quote, that “Teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater,” holds true only on a certain level. But the role of the teacher is undoubtedly to engage each child and inspire interest.
The partnership between student and teacher relies on expectations. When these needs are met, they create decades of learning and admiration. When unmet, however, they foment years of delay and resentment.
Lucidchart is an online diagramming program that gives away free licenses to educators and students. I’d like to share some of the feedback I’ve received from educators at every level. They’ve said that we are filling a need for online visual communication, whether that’s Venn diagrams, flowcharts, graphic organizers, or mind maps.
Older chocoholics may have a new excuse to indulge their cravings: The dark stuff not only soothes the soul, but might also sharpen the mind.
In a study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, researchers reported that chocolate may help improve brain health and thinking skills in the elderly. The Boston-based team found that older people who initially performed poorly on a memory and reasoning test and also had reduced blood flow to their brains showed improvement after drinking two cups of cocoa every day for a month.
The researchers had set out to test whether chocolate could increase blood flow to the brain during problem solving, boosting performance, after finding in earlier studies that consuming chocolate high in the antioxidant flavanol was associated with better brain and blood vessel functioning. They recruited 60 elderly subjects for the new study. Since they suspected that flavanol would improve the subjects’ thinking skills and blood flow, they randomly assigned subjects to drink either flavanol-rich or flavanol-poor hot chocolate.
The participants drank two cups of hot chocolate every day for 30 days. Before and after the study period, they completed a memory and reasoning test, which assessed their ability to recognize patterns in a series of letters on a computer screen. Additionally, the researchers used ultrasound to indirectly measure the blood flow to subjects’ brains, as well as magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, to examine subjects’ white matter — the nerve fibers that connect different parts of the brain.
People who performed poorly on the initial cognitive test — about a third of the participants — also had reduced blood flow to their brains and widespread white matter damage. Those who scored high on the test had signficantly better blood flow and more intact white matter, indicating that blood flow, cognitive functioning and brain structure were linked.
At the end of the 30 days, the team found that drinking hot chocolate benefited only the subjects who had poor cognitive and neurovascular function to begin with. After the hot cocoa regimen, those individuals showed an 8% improvement in blood flow and a roughly 1 minute faster reaction time on the cognitive task. There was barely any improvement among those who had started out with normal blood flow and cognitive skills.
This new report, “Learning in the 21st Century: Digital Experiences and Expectations of Tomorrow’s Teachers,” is the latest in the series and provides new insights that will inform college and university based teacher preparation programs as well as the induction and professional development processes within K-12 schools and districts. Tomorrow’s teachers may have the keys to finally unlock the potential of technology to transform teaching and learning, but much depends upon their experiences in their preparation program and how well future school leadership can support their expectations for essential technology tools and resources.
Уsing Scoop.it will meet multiple standards (Common Core and NETS-S) across the curriculum. Students use critical thinking skills to collect, evaluate and analyze content; they may identify trends from discourse; they develop writing skills in original expression; and they interact, communicate and publish to a global audience. But perhaps more importantly, students practice digital citizenship and personal responsibility to lifelong learning.
Curation is a valuable skill for today’s learner. In a culture of content overload, members that provide great content to their audience will be recognized leaders in network communities. Optimally, we equip students to differentiate good content from bad in preparation for their further education and careers. Curating an online topic (and allowing comments) also increases self-awareness and provides additional insight from others. The nuances of sharing content and writing to an audience become much better understood through interactivity between the curator and participating audience.
Why Students Like Scoop.it
1. Inclusion of visual elements
2. Community networking
3. Immediate tap-in to a broad range of social media
4. Autonomy and expression in a collaborative environment
5. Ongoing, succinct conversation through commenting
6. Ownership of personal learning
7. Mobile Learning Potential
Why Educators like Scoop.it
1. It provides personal learning and deeper understanding of topics
2. Individual or cooperative work
3. Research using filters
4. Understanding of how keywords attract online readers
5. Activity similar to discussion boards, a necessary skill for online LMS environments
6. All levels of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, the low-order to high-order cognitives educators consider when choosing technology tools
Blended Learning is not so much an innovation as it is a natural by-product of the digital domain creeping into physical boundaries. As digital and social media become more and more prevalent in the life of learners, it was only a matter of time before learning became “blended” by necessity.
That said, there’s a bit more to Blended and “Hybrid” Learning than throwing in a little digital learning.
6 Types of Blended Learning
1. Face-to-face Driver
4. Online Lab
6. Online Driver
The following infographic takes a different approach to the concept, labeling it “Disruptive,” and even offering an interesting matrix. One interesting prediction? By 2014, 50% of all post-secondary learners will take a class online.
"You don't have to be a neuroscientist to promote brain-based learning in your classroom. In fact, it's really quite simple."
If we want to empower students, we must show them how they can control their own cognitive and emotional health and their own learning. Teaching students how the brain operates is a huge step. Even young students can learn strategies for priming their brains to learn more efficiently; I know, because I’ve taught both 5th graders and 7th graders about how their brains learn.
I was a practicing neurologist before I became a teacher. Once I entered the classroom and observed how my students learned, the connections between my two professions became clear. I began to write about brain-based teaching strategies. It took a few years, though, before I realized that my students could also understand how their brains learn.
When I began incorporating basic instruction about the brain into my classes and teaching simple activities to improve brain processing, students not only became more engaged and confident, but they also began changing their study practices in ways that paid off in higher achievement. Consider these typical comments from my 7th graders:
“I imagine neurons making connections in my brain when I study. I feel like I’m changing my brain when I learn something, understand it, and review it.”
“If I use my prefrontal cortex to mentally manipulate what I learn, my dendrites and synapses grow, and I will own that learning for a long, long time. I won’t have to learn fractions all over again each year.”
Explaining how the brain works is especially important for students who believe that they are “not smart” and that nothing they do can change that. Many children, and even some parents and teachers, think that intelligence is determined at birth and that even intense effort will not budge their academic abilities. The realization that they can literally change their brains by improving how they approach learning and how they study is liberating.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve witnessed a sharp decline in the proportion of Flash-based eLearning that we create for our clients and partners. And with a team of over 100 dedicated to custom eLearning development, we sure do quite a bit of eLearning development. In the last 6 months, Flash-based courses have been just 25-30% of all eLearning that we created. The rest has been HTML5, which incidentally was almost nil two years ago. This change has been brought about by the iPad,which does not support Flash. And of course now many other tablets also don’t support Flash.
Tablets have been the fastest growing segment EVER in the mobile devices category. And with tablets becoming smaller (7 & 8 inches) andcheaper,this trend is likely to continue.