Edmodo: Will it be around in 5 years?

I am trying to figure this out. They have a lot of users however they have no business model. They have pledged to always be free and never have advertisements. Quote from their VP “Our pledge is that Edmodo will always be free for teaching and that we will never take advertising. That model doesn’t work for education.Source. So how will this company make any money? Well their plan is to develop and sell apps for teachers and students. However I believe they forgot one very important thing: Students and teachers are poor. They have no money. Teachers already have 2-3 extra jobs and pay for a lot of their own school supplies. I just do not see edmodo having any good plan that I can see at this point.

Has school become too hostile for boys?

When I was a kid I remember building huge guns out of legos. Me and my friends would fake shoot each other with them – That was kindergarten. I remember in the third grade drawing pictures of war. Not real war but fake cartoon wars that me and my friends would draw and compare with one another – this actually got us into art and comic books, which led to reading (as I was not interested in books at that age). If I had done any of that today, I would be suspended or expelled. This article brings up a a great point – zero tolerance policies do not make sense in many cases. Boys play fake ‘war’ by nature. They need to burn that energy they have in class and on the playground.

Article

Also here is a good video that I have posted before but if you have not seen it I would highly recommend. It was done by Ali Carr-Chellman from PSU for a TED talk

MOOCs: Why I am confused

Why am I confused about MOOCs? I am confused because we have had online learning since the mid 1990s. We have conducted a million research studies on them, we have tried them, tested them, all colleges have them, etc. But all of a sudden we change their name to MOOCs? What changed? I honestly cannot figure it out. Maybe the way universities would accept credit could change but nothing about learning in the course has. For instance, I was reading this article sent to me by a colleague yesterday and saw something really interesting in the article “Tennessee will run two kinds of courses — traditional and online — side-by-side, and the results will be compared.” I thought wow – didnt we do this 1000 times in 1995? Dont we have a book entitled the no significant difference phenomenon? Havent we tested everything in online courses from comparing them for achievement, looking at social presence, class numbers, workload, time to teach, etc? SO WHY THEN ARE WE REPEATING THESE EXACT SAME EXPERIMENTS? Its not like we have 1 experiment, we literally have 1000s to look through which answers all of these questions. So are MOOCs the future of learning? Here is why I think they are not. 1) Online learning is tried and tested. Completion rates are nearly half that of regular universities. That means on average 60% of students graduate from a normal college who start, around 30% graduate from online universities. Why the high drop out rate? MOTIVATION. Why do MOOCs, who actually have less intructor/student interaction believe that they would improve that? I think motivation will actually be worse. 2) Why would someone pay $1200 for a course that has 5000 students in it vs paying $1200 for a course that has 10 students in it and a dedicated instructor? 3) The biggest scam of all MOOCs – believe that the content designed by leaders in the field is somehow better than the content designed by UoP. Guess what UoP, Walden, etc hire these same people to develop their courses. There isnt a difference. Its no different than using that person’s book in the class. Unless you have them as a professor and have access to them, there is no difference.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for the day. Until I see how MOOCs are any advantage to a student I will continue to think they are just an extension to online learning and soon enough coursera will be another online school that competes with UoP and Walden.

Call for Proposals Now Open: Global Learning Technology Conference

Call for Proposals Now Open:  Global Learning Technology Conference

We invite you to submit a proposal to present at the annual Global Learning Technology Conference to be held October 10-11 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

This year’s conference theme, Journey from Learning to Life focuses on Instructional Design from K-12/higher education/business and industry.

Proposals must be submitted by April 30, 2013

The Innovative Instructional Strategies category, instructors/teachers from higher education or K-12 will share successful cutting edge methods. These sessions may range from strategies for individual domains or interdisciplinary strategies for multiple domains.  The sessions will be identified as K-12 or higher education focused.

 

The Community Partnership category is for both business and any level educators.  These sessions will be for both business partnerships and educators to learn how educators are preparing students and skills businesses require for gainful employment.

 

The Training & Professional Development category will be for the community business members to share training and professional development strategies that are successful in obtaining and keeping employee’s knowledge and skills current while maximizing transfer of knowledge and minimizing cost.

 

Topics for the above categories may include:

·         Emerging technologies

·         Mobile learning

·         Professional learning

·         Team-based learning

·         Design thinking

·         Assistive technology

·         Social media

·         Virtual learning environment

·         Distance education/e-learning

·         Applied learning

·         Assessment and evaluation

·         Digital Content

 

To submit a proposal or for additional information on the conference, visit our website at http://www.uncw.edu/ed/gltc or email gltc@uncw.edu

The Flipped Classroom

This is a new way of thinking about education. I think there is a lot to be taken from this model and placed into current classrooms. It’s very interesting.
“In this model of instruction, students watch recorded lectures for homework and complete their assignments, labs, and tests in class.” – Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann (pioneers of flipped classroom)

MOOCS – The good and the bad – My experience

After taking several MOOC courses I am ready to speak about what I think are the good and bad qualities about them. Just to described what I did. I look at several of the larger sites like Coursera and signed up for courses with them and also went to smaller MOOCs that were available just so I could see what was out there.

Honestly if I had to sum up the experience, it was like finding a good website with tons of good information about one topic. It didn’t really have that ‘course’ feeling because there was nothing at stake for me but it was more than just a website. I guess I would describe as a website with a emphasis on learning rather than just sharing information. I now think MOOCs are just learning websites, not really courses. Anyway…

They organize a lot of good material in one place. This is great if I am interested in a topic. It’s easier than having to search the internet or library for the material. In many ways, I felt like MOOCs were just organized text books that were digital and more alive than an actual book – again, learning websites. Kris is a leading expert in ADA website compliance, who can guide you and consult.

Most of the courses were set up the same – video, quizzes, and a discussion forum.

The videos were good. It’s nice to have an instructor talk about a topic. But some were like 70 minutes. Really can I look at you present your PPT for 70 minutes? I would encourage those professors to break up their videos in 5 minute chunks. An issue with the videos is that if I had a question, I could not stop the instructor and ask them about it and the discussion forums were not much help as the instructor cannot answer a question when 70,000 people (let alone 25) are in a course. Some of the courses videos were better than others, with some using professional video editing software and others just using youtube. I preferred the youtube videos because I could bookmark or save them if I wanted to use as resources later on.

Quizzes were very generic. Hitting mostly low level knowledge. I guess this is to be expected unless the instructor has been trained on assessing high level knowledge though multiple choice questions, which is not easy feat, I would guess most of these automatic scoring assessments are not really that good and leave a bad taste in most people’s mouths. A few of the courses had assignments and again these were not graded by people but rather automatic score checkers. Not a bad thing but I think these features were highly underutilized and there needs to be a better system if these are to be actual courses.

Forums. I thought the forums were ok. I think this had to do with the instructors experience teaching online. Some of the courses had like 30 different places to talk to each other which is obviously way too confusing. The courses that had less than 10 topics seemed a lot more organized however you are really just talking with classmates. It was tough to get the instructor to read the posts, so these are not much better than any internet forum. I didn’t feel like I was in a course forum – Not that its bad but you need instructor interaction for this to be a course. Otherwise its just a website geared towards learning.

Overall I found the experience fun but there was nothing new here. There are plenty of websites out there that teach me about something and are better than MOOCs. There were some really good ones though but I was never wowed by anything. It just seemed like a lot of the courses were thrown together in order to ‘teach’ a MOOC rather then put together a really good course. Again, I guess that is what you should expect when you are not paying anyone to put these courses together and you do not know if the instructors have ever really been taught to teach online. I am not saying there were not good instructors but even a good instructor needs to learn how to teach online before doing so. I guess overall I was somewhat disappointed I wasn’t wowed. I was expecting more. Everything just seemed to rushed.

Anyway, those were my initial feelings. I avoided posting stats about MOOCs in this post but will do so in the near future.