You recently launched the DALMOOC, which you created with a focus on improving the social experience of learners – can you tell me a bit about the structure and format you have chosen?
We call it a dual layer MOOC, but we don’t mean that in a binary sense, it’s more like saying there are two pathways to take. You can either take a structured pathway – the way that you see with a lot of MOOCs that are run, say, on Cousera or edX – and that’s a heavy teacher focus with guidance. As in, you click through to the next level.
We’ve created a second level that we’re calling more of the ‘social layer’ and we’re basically asking students to engage with one another and to create artefacts that reflect their understanding and to share those artefacts.
In the learning process we need different cycles of scaffolding – there are times when you come across a new idea completely and you can’t really create and socialise around it effectively because you just don’t know anything. So, there may be a cycle by which the learner follows a traditional structure or pathway but as soon as they become more confident they move into social and more emerging formats. In a way they’re oscillating between these two elements of the MOOC: structure and linear versus emergent and social.
Conveying information in a striking, concise way has never been more important, and infographics are the perfect pedagogical tool with which to do so. Below, you’ll find my experience with designing an infographic-friendly classroom research project, explained in a step-by-step process you can implement in your own classroom.
"What was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution? Hans Rosling makes the case for the washing machine. With newly designed graphics from Gapminder, Rosling shows us the magic that pops up when economic growth and electricity turn a boring wash day into an intellectual day of reading."
September 6, 2014 Below are some valuable resources for ELL and ESL teachers. With these resources, you can find great ways to communicate more effectively, explore lessons, and be a great ELL teacher.
A new wave of e-textbooks is giving students more than just words and a few hotlinks on a digital page. Publishers over the last few years have been adding video, interactive maps and gamified quizzes designed to engage students more deeply in their learning.
"Learning how to write a computer program is a lot like learning a new language. There are nouns, verbs, and sentences. With far fewer words than a spoken language, it may be easier too. A student of languages can pick it up just as quickly as a student of math. To help, here are a set of tools that teach computer programming."
What does the future of learning hold? What will classrooms of the future be like? Emerging technologies such as cloud computing, augmented reality (AR) and 3D printing are paving the way for the future of education in ways we may have yet to see. At the very least though, we can extrapolate from what these promising technologies and predict how schools will adopt them in time to come.
I couldn't agree more. As teachers, our role must change to one that enables, guides, personalises and embraces digital technology as a fundamental part of student learning. The most dangerous thing we can do to our students is to keep doing what our teachers and professors did to us:
To survive in a time of rapidly changing technology, colleges and universities need to change their existing business models. Each higher education institution needs to develop a strategy that will take advantage of the opportunities presented by technology-enhanced learning to expand its educational mission and provide flexibility for its students.
Time to say goodbye to 2013 and welcome 2014! Here are some fascinating social stats from this year. Listed are Buffer, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, MailChimp, Pinterest, Reddit, Skype, and Twitter.
Facilitating discussions between students is one of those things that is infinitely easier when you’re teaching in a physical classroom rather than online. When the students are all in one room, discussions happen more naturally. Facilitating the same type of productive, useful discussion when teaching online is more of a challenge.
"As we employ the 1 to 1 experience, we need to ask two important questions. Is the 1 to 1 and the device about using technology, or is it about a more meaningful and engaging learning experience? Spending a day online for individual research can be a wonderful simple integration of technology experience, but might not be a true blended learning opportunity. Asking students to research and then collaborate with each other online in a collective experience takes this integration and provides more of a blended experience.
"The blended learning experience allows technology and the online experience to breakdown the traditional classroom allowing important transformation. One might wonder where on the spectrum of simple integration to blending learning a possible learning activity might be. I would like to share a lens of ten ideas that educators may wish to look at as they reflect on their 1 to 1 activity and classroom learning experiences that use technology . Sometimes it is just a simple tweak to bring out the wonderful possibilities of blended learning. Please feel free to read my ideas below that might allow you to use classroom technology to bring out a richer and blended learning experience."
Although there are many documented advantages of learning online, some educators still question this innovative way of teaching because of technical obstacles, because they suspect or doubt its effectiveness, or because they are unfamiliar with the approach. Indeed, the teaching considerations for an online course, versus a traditional in-residence-based course, do change by necessity because of the different learning environments.
Making traditional course material digital, converting lectures to streaming video, and assigning tests or writing assignments online are not enough to convert the full classroom experience into avirtual one.
What is lacking in the virtual setting is the dynamic interchange among students and instructors. Although their concerns are valid, in-residence educators should find solace in learning that one of the most fundamental forms of teaching, the student-peer discussion facilitated by a knowledgeable instructor, remains as valid for mature-student distance learning today as it was for Socrates. This venerable method remains effective for online students for the same reasons it works in the classroom — because the discourse among students actually builds knowledge and keeps learning focused on their needs. Online, this Socratic method of teaching, also known as a “threaded discussion” or a “forum,” is an excellent distancelearning tool. All online instructors should consider using this method.
I agree that threaded discussions bring in the online interactions and exchange of knowledge. The danger is when such threads are not directed by the mentors or facilitators, the discussions can easily wander off to personal and sometime unnecessary issues.
"We will have two students be responsible for this role each week. Together they will be given a few minutes each day to record a few notes to remind them of the key ideas that they learned that day. We will also allow them to take photos to document lessons and their learning that they can then use at the end of the week to aid them in writing a blog post about what the class learned over the week. In order to make the most of these photos, we are going to teach them to use a few of the photo apps we have available to us on our class iPads."
What comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘Blended Learning’? It’s not a new term and yet has numerous connotations. Amidst the vast information available today on what it is and what it isn’t, the basic definition says: “Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in [...]
"Raising a digitally savvy and responsible student does require explicit modelling and instruction on how to deal with the vagaries of Internet. In an age where everything you do online leaves indelible marks (digital footprints) that can be accessed and viewed by anyone , knowing how and what to share and with whom to share it become digital imperatives that every student should be aware of. This kind of knowledge is at the core of the digital citizenship concept."
"Today’s college students arrive on campus with an average of seven devices. Eighty percent of these students will carry and use a mobile phone during every waking hour of the day. So, how do you navigate all of this screen mayhem to reach students where they are…eyes to the screen? That’s the challenge we’re addressing at Campus Quad. Working with both top mobile engagement industry leaders and trailblazing innovators in higher education, we’re defining a framework for mobile engagement that is based on communication channels that capture students in their “always connected” environment, in real-time."
In our emerging digital world, a new medium of exchange has developed: online engagement, especially via social media. Effectively engaging online requires a myriad of skills that we strive to foster in school – effective written communication, brevity and civility. These components are often highlighted in Digital Citizenship programs, but in tradition-bound K12 education, we often deride social media as trite or ineffective.
"The videogame Minecraft has sold almost 14 million copies and has redefined the term indie game. Now thousands of teachers across the world are using MinecraftEDU in the classroom."
"MinecraftEDU is a plugin that turns the consumer version of Minecraft into a true teaching tool. The EDU mod adds ways to funnel students and control activities; adds border blocks to limit students to specific areas; instruction blocks to provide initial questions or problems to solve; and adds tools for class management such as teleporting students to the teacher's location, and muting them — a tool many teachers would like in the real world.
"Even if your teachers aren't aware of Minecraft, your students almost certainly are. Minecraft is a cultural phenomenon. It may have been designed as a game but Minecraft is world which engages students in a way that shouldn't be ignored. As with other new technologies that schools are currently wrestling with — tablets, social networks, and blogs etc. — Minecraft is a technology that students are engaged with at home, so why not continue that in school?
"In a genuine sense MinecraftEDU takes the rules of social etiquette we expect in the classroom and creates digital alternatives that bring order to a limitless world. Admittedly I've never had to excavate a student who had dug too far underground and had got lost in an ICT class before, but there's still a chance."