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From Mars to Minecraft: Teachers Bring the Arcade to the Classroom | The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning | MindShift | KQED News

Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 03:45
We notice that you're currently using Internet Explorer version 8 or earlier. To ensure a better experience on our site, we recommend using a recent version of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. >KQED Menu Go Close Popular Sections KQED Public Media for Northern California MindShift Search Search for: Teaching Strategies From Mars to Minecraft: Teachers Bring the Arcade to the Classroom By Jul. 10, 2014
Argubot Academy

Part 11 of MindShift’s Guide to Games and Learning.

Teachers have found many different ways of using digital games in the classroom. But what kind of games are these students playing? And how are teachers incorporating them in the classroom?

Last year’s report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, “Games For A Digital Age,” made the distinction between “short-form” and “long-form” learning games. Short-form games are designed to be played during a single class period. “They focus on a particular concept of skill refinement, skills practice, memorization, or performing specific drills.” Long-form games “extend beyond a single class period” and sometimes gameplay can “spread over multiple sessions or even several weeks.”

Often long-form games are comprehensively tied to a full curriculum. They can replace textbooks by offering an interactive experience that seamlessly blends content, practice, and assessment into a contextualized learning experience. While some programs like this already exist, it’s difficult to implement well. For teachers who want to get started, short-term games can supplement their already established curricula with fresh and engaging activities.

Learning Games

Some games are designed to do just that. Consider Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy. Designed by GlassLab, in collaboration with NASA, the game is aligned with Common Core ELA standards and infused with STEM content. It focuses on teaching argumentation, and in particular, it focuses on how to use evidence to support claims.

Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy is a role playing game that combines a space-age storyline about building a Mars colony with great animations. It engages students in a topic that is often hard to contextualize. While we ordinarily demand that students demonstrate argumentation skills in expository writing, modern education practices rarely approach it in such an explicit way.

“By teaching ELA standards through a STEM-themed storyline, the game is fundamentally interdisciplinary in all the right ways,” wrote Patricia Monticello Kievlan, a San Francisco classroom teacher who reviewed the game for Graphite. “Showing students how these skills bridge disciplines is a critical lesson, and that point is deftly delivered.”

 Argubot Academy is a great short-form tablet game that many teachers use to add contextualized interactive practice to your existing ELA curriculum (grades 6-8). John Paul Sellars, a fifth grade teacher who used the game during this past year at Red Bank Elementary School in Lexington, South Carolina, says his students “loved the ability to combine gaming with their learning.”

Classroom Modifications

Teachers are also using commercial games that have been modified for classroom use. Perhaps the most famous is MinecraftEDU. This classroom-ready modification of the popular sandbox game is not only less expensive than the commercial version, it also provides many tools that empower teachers with the ability to adapt gameplay to established class curricula.

Joel Levin, one of the creators of MinecraftEDU, uses it with second graders. But it works with students of any age. What makes MinecraftEDU great for teachers is the same thing that makes it so popular among gamers: it is so open-ended that that the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Search the web and you’ll find thousands of examples of teachers using MinecraftEDU.

MinecraftEDU provides a virtual world where teachers and students can build simulations with unlimited resources. When I was a student, we held mini-Renaissance Faires and built toothpick bridges. We were always limited by time, space, and resources. In today’s Minecraft-equipped classrooms, both teachers and students build entire multi-player worlds full of interactive scenarios. For example, when I visited the Quest to Learn school in NYC at the end of their school year, I saw final projects that used Minecraft in their presentations. One class used Minecraft-polar-ice blocks to model the potential impact of global warming. Another demonstrated their understanding of urban water treatment and sewage engineering by building a working system out of pixelated blocks and then simulating rainfall and flooding.

Commercial Games

Most teachers and parents are on board with games that are manufactured or modified for educational purposes. But what about big, bloody, shoot-’em-up commercial games? Could they also be put to use in a classroom?

Consider Norwegian high school teacher Tobias Staaby. He’s a relative newbie in the classroom. But it may actually be to his advantage that he’s only been teaching for two years; he doesn’t feel like he’s got it figured out yet. “I’m constantly searching for new ways to improve my classes, and to engage and motivate my students,” he says. One thing that has worked is using zombie-themed video games to teach moral philosophy and ethical theories. “I was looking for a way to make these concepts easier to understand without oversimplifying the material.”

One of the hardest things about facilitating class discussions about ethics is presenting engaging dilemmas that they haven’t “necessarily thought or heard much about, thus making their arguments and decisions much more their own.” Staaby settled on using The Walking Dead video game by Telltale Games.

Loaded on his personal laptop and streamed through the classroom projector, Staaby boots up The Walking Dead and hands the controller to a student. The rest of the class shouts commands at the player. Then, whenever the game presents an ethical dilemma, they “pause the game and discuss the next course of action using the ethical models and theories they had learned earlier that year — relational ethics, consequential ethics, ethics of virtue, and ethics of duty — as a basis for their arguments.” What started as Staaby’s spontaneous unplanned class exercise quickly evolved into a rigorous project. He now prepares short lectures and ties ethical theories to specific dilemmas within the game. (More about Staaby and his school in a soon-to-be-published MindShift article.)

There is research to support Staaby’s intuitive findings. A recent study out of the University at Buffalo Department of Communication, Michigan State University, and the University of Texas, Austin says that playing violent video games may increase moral awareness. “Our findings suggest that emotional experiences evoked by media exposure can increase the intuitive foundations upon which human beings make moral judgments.” Says Matthew Grizzard, one of the study’s authors. Imagine it like a low stakes practice run; simulated opportunities to practice moral and ethical decision making can teach individuals to iterate their initial reactions and make better choices in the future.

In Jerome and Donna Allender’s new book Ethics for the Young Mind: A Guide for Teachers and Parents of Children Becoming Adolescents, they write about the importance and challenges involved in teaching ethics. Their work reminds us that it all comes down to considering “responses to otherness.” When the bell rings at the end of the day, isn’t this what school is all about? We not only want to raise caring individuals, but we also want to provide our students with the skills necessary to maintain fulfilled work-a-day lives. Becoming an ethical person requires “learning more about connecting with others in ways that satisfy our needs and wants while attending to those of others.”

The common attribute of all effective learning games is that they simulate systems. They teach students how to understand academic concepts in relationship to the world around them. Certainly this increases engagement and retention, but what really matters is that it is about using knowledge in an inter-disciplinary way.

Digital or analog, game-based or not, good teaching and learning is about building social awareness, considering the individual’s impact on a wider world.

The MindShift Guide to Games and Learning is made possible through the generous support of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and is a project of the Games and Learning Publishing Council.

Explore: Teaching Strategies, , Show Comments (4) Hide Comments Author Jordan Shapiro Jordan Shapiro’s academic work and publishing blend psychology, philosophy, and business in surprising ways. His internationally celebrated writing on education, parenting, and game-based learning can be found on Forbes.com.  He teaches in Temple University's Intellectual Heritage Department where he’s also the Digital Learning Coordinator. He is the parent of two boys (six and eight years old) and the lead administrator at Project Learn School (an independent cooperative K-8 school in Philadephia). His most recent book FREEPLAY: A Video Game Guide To Maximum Euphoric Bliss, considers how the games we play in our youth shape our adult lives. View all posts by this author Sponsored by Become a KQED sponsor Post navigation About MindShift MindShift explores the future of learning in all its dimensions. Learn more about MindShift here. About KQED Copyright © 2015 KQED Inc. All Rights Reserved. | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us Send to Email Address Your Name Your Email Address Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Email check failed, please try again Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. CONCAT via Grunt. -> --> -->
Categories: Miscellaneous

Using Social Media to Inspire Your Students | Student Affairs and Technology | InsideHigherEd

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    Search form search May 18, 2015 Blog U ›  Student Affairs and Technology Using Social Media to Inspire Your Students May 14, 2015 - 8:34pm Eric Stoller

    Departmental social media accounts are useful for a lot of reasons. As broadcast channels for the masses, these accounts serve as generic info-portals for campus communities. They are search-engine friendly – students can simply search for an office's social media presence – and they serve as consistent content locations.

    Since the beginning of the social web, offices/departments have been on a positive trajectory of intentional and strategic use of social media. Functional areas like career services and academic advising often have robust social media efforts. The number of functional areas without a substantial social media presence is decreasing on a yearly basis.

    However, there is one area within higher education social media use that is still emerging and that is an emphasis on individual professional accounts as a means of inspiring, educating, and engaging students. Sure, there are a lot of people who use social media in an individual professional context. But, there are also a lot of people who are uber resistant to the idea of using social media channels professionally with their name's attached to them.

    When students connect with departmental social media accounts, they are engaging with nameless/faceless channels that don't reflect the in-person connections that they make on a daily basis with campus practitioners. There's a tremendous opportunity for offices (on staff web pages) to share not only the emails of their staffers, but to also include links to their chosen social media accounts.

    Twitter will most-likely serve as the go-to social media platform for higher education (as it has been for sometime for a large number of higher education pros). However, it might be Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, or some other tool (e.g. Snapchat) that gets linked to a staffer's bio and that's okay. Although, for offices like career services and academic advising, Twitter and LinkedIn should almost be mandatory for all personnel.

    Being on the social channels in a professional capacity not just as an office, but as an individual is important for at least three reasons:

    Inspire

    Students look to higher education professionals for inspiration. How are you using social media in your career? What's "your style?" Model social media use for your students. When we say to students that they can use social media for leadership and career development, shouldn't we be showing them our own progression as social media leaders/users?

    Educate

    This is connected to the role-modeling aspect of showing students a wide array of social media uses. Students aren't digitally savvy by default. Showcase your profiles as a way of teaching students the overall functionality of social sites/apps. Plus, in addition to teaching the tools, you can utilize these digital avenues to share all sorts of information.

    Engage

    A wonderful benefit of using social media to inspire and educate is that once you've built up connections between students and staff on social media, your ability to engage and reach out to your community increases. You're cultivating social channels as part of an intentional communications strategy that simultaneously educates and inspires.

    Using social media as inspirational channels is very similar to how practitioners have connected with students since before social media even existed. The tools of 2015 just allow for far greater and broader rapport building efforts.

    Why do you think it's important for practitioners to share and connect via their personal/professional social media accounts?

     

     

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    Plywood Dodecahedron Snaps into Single Piece Construction | Make:

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 03:30

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    Plywood Dodecahedron Snaps into Single Piece Construction

    Students of Oakland, California’s Laney College FabLab showed off a large plywood dodecahedron at the 2015 Bay Area Maker Faire. The room-sized structure was cut using CNC fabrication and fits together without any need for glue or nails, making it relatively easy to set up and break down.

    Aside from serving as a great project for the FabLab’s students, the dodecahedron will also be used as a showpiece on campus to recruit new students to the program. The design concept was originally proposed by a student as a design for an audio speaker, the prototype for which is displayed inside the structure.

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    5 Free (or Low-Cost) Tools for Flipped Learning - e-Learning Feeds

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 03:15
    Search for: Search Submit your feed NAVIGATION Submit your feed 5 Free (or Low-Cost) Tools for Flipped Learning eLearning News 17 May 2015 - 18:12

    By Dennis Pierce, Campus Technology

    From screencasting to interactive presentations, here are some resources to get a flipped class off the ground. Flipping the classroom typically requires the use of certain technology tools, whether for recording lecture content or for orchestrating classroom discussion. Jon Bergmann, a pioneer of the flipped classroom and co-creator of FlippedClass.com, categorizes these tools into four different groups: video creation tools, like screencasting software; video hosting tools; interactive tools that help professors check for understanding and foster discussion among students; and learning management systems for tying all of this together. Some products and services perform more than one of these functions — and a few do all four.

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    Virginia Launches Statewide Open-Source Textbook Pilot | Ink, Bits, & Pixels

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 03:00
    Ink, Bits, & Pixels Menu Search for: Virginia Launches Statewide Open-Source Textbook Pilot 13 May, 2015Bookstore, College, digital textbooks Last Updated

    One of the largest college systems in the US has just launched an open source textbook pilot.

    The Virginia Community College System announced on Monday that it had secured a $200,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The funds will be used to launch a pilot program at 15 of Virginia's 23 community colleges.

    Based in part on Tidewater Community College’s OER (open educational resource) Z-Degree initiative, if all goes well this pilot is projected to save some 50,000 students over $5 million in its first year alone.

    And that is not an exaggeration or a typo; it could well happen.

    With 273,000 students enrolled each year, the VCCS is one of the largest college systems in the US. It accounts for 60% of the undergraduates in the state, many of whom attend a community college because they are cash-strapped.

    Virginia's community colleges are focused on offering technical certificates and two-year associate degrees, and as a result the colleges have a high concentration of students taking basic classes like Biology, Physics, or Chemistry 101.

    These are the same students who are screwed over by textbook publishers each time those basic textbooks are re-released as new editions every third year, but now thanks to the pilot at least some of the students will have a chance to avoid wasting hundreds of dollars on textbooks that they cannot resell.

    Instead, the students will have the opportunity to download perfectly functional and free digital textbooks which were customized by the colleges to fit each school's academic requirements.

    In fact, some students already are using those textbooks. At least two community colleges in VA have been developing their own textbooks for the past several years. In addition to Tidewater mentioned above, my local Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) also started using OER textbooks in its distance learning classes in 2013. These classes are taught online, and the switch from print to free digital textbooks saves students the cost of shipping as well as the cost of textbooks.

    NOVA librarians also maintain a resource page on OER curricula, although it's not clear whether it is widely used.

    ***

    No matter whether that page is used by instructors, today's announcement is still bad news for Follett, Nebraska Book Co, and most especially B&N College. These three companies run the college bookstores for many of the 23 community college systems in Virginia. Less money spent on textbooks means lower revenues, and that in particular means trouble for B&N as it proceeds to spin off its college bookstore division.

    As I pointed out when B&N made that announcement 3 months ago, the college bookstore industry is in a state of flux. Bookstore revenues are declining at a lot of schools (including the three that signed deals with Amazon), and while programs like the pilot mentioned above are not the cause of the drop in revenue, they are contributing to it.

    As college textbook prices continue to skyrocket at rates faster than inflation, healthcare, or housing, students are spending less and less.  In short, the above pilot is merely the inevitable end result of textbook publishers pricing themselves out of the market.

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    Impact of Social Sciences – MOOCs must move beyond open enrolment and demonstrate a true commitment to reuse and long-term redistribution.

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 03:00
    Maximising the impact of academic research MOOCs must move beyond open enrolment and demonstrate a true commitment to reuse and long-term redistribution.

    In contrast with the type of openness encouraged by Open Education Resources and Open Courseware labels, the openness of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is severely limited. Consequently, Leo Havemann and Javiera Atenas find the recent growth of high quality online learning content is not able to be used to its full advantage. The process of opening up MOOC resources would add value to the resources by reaching a wider community. But most importantly, HE institutions currently investing in MOOCs could demonstrate, beyond reasonable doubt, their real commitment to openness and improved access to education for all.

    In 2013, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) suddenly gained a degree of notoriety, even outside the higher education sector. While the initial hype is dying down, MOOCs continue to grow in number and represent a significant new form of public engagement for universities. With the launch of the Open University’s FutureLearn platform back in September, many more UK institutions have joined a European charge into this previously US-dominated space. So, why should MOOCs open up? Are they not, by definition, open? Well, yes, maybe, and sort of.

    Credit: [Ed] (CC BY-NC-SA)

    At the risk of stating the obvious: online learning is not in itself very new, but MOOCs differ from traditional online distance learning courses in the sense that they offer open enrolment, free of charge (and therefore, often grow to ‘massive’ proportions). As such, they represent an exciting development in HE, appearing to promise a newfound equality of access to high quality content from top universities. But equal access does not necessarily translate into equal achievement. Early MOOC research has found that participants who are already university educated and digitally literate are, unsurprisingly, best placed to benefit. For many students, and especially those starting out in HE, a classroom-based or blended learning experience represents a more manageable and supported path towards a qualification.

    Although MOOCs can be considered a new strand of the wider Open Education movement, they may reflect a quite different form of openness than this label sometimes implies. For advocates of Open Educational Resources (OER), resources which have been developed in public institutions should be made available to the general public, especially with a view to their unrestricted use and repurposing by educators around the globe.

    Since 2002 UNESCO has argued for a global ‘free trade’ in educational resources which should have been licensed under the Creative Commons framework, explicitly permitting educators to perform the four Rs: Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute. OER are often conceived of as single units of content, which can be made available through repositories such as Jorum, but they can also be packaged up in the form of whole courses (or, to make an important distinction, as  ‘courseware’, which does not imply that any teaching is included). Launched in 2002, MIT’s Open CourseWare (OCW) allows open access to the resources indefinitely, as well as unrestricted downloading of the learning materials. In the OCW model, the materials can typically be downloaded individually or as a package, providing educators and students with a range of options for reuse.

    In contrast with the type of openness implied by the OER and OCW labels, the openness of MOOCs (especially those offered by elite institutions on high-profile commercial platforms) appears to be mainly of enrolment. Access to the content is usually for the duration of the course only, and restricted to registered participants. Also, in many MOOCs, the content by default is copyrighted (‘all rights reserved’) rather than openly licensed, closing off the possibility of reuse without previous agreement of the intellectual rights holder. One platform’s terms states that participants are prohibited from reproducing, copying, selling, or explaining the content of courses, which may only be download content for non-commercial purposes and personal use. It is difficult to say whether institutions sign up to these terms because they are considering how they might one day recoup their investment in course development, or whether these unnecessarily restrictive terms and conditions (apparently covering all available courses) are simply imposed by the platform providers – but the consequence is that this high quality online learning content is not able to be used to its full advantage.

    For this reason we consider it would be interesting for MOOC developers to ‘open up’ the materials they produce, and – perhaps after the initial run of the actual MOOC – place the content in open repositories for retrieval and reuse by the scholarly community. In order for this to happen, such content could be openly licensed, certainly requiring attribution, but perhaps, for example, permitting the creation of derivative works, while mandating that the original or adapted versions are ‘shared-alike’ (thereby preventing commercial publishers profiting from their resale without agreement and payment for their use).

    In practical terms, it would be simple for MOOC resources to be uploaded to an OER repository, either individually or as a package. Alternatively, entire MOOCs could be converted into OCW once the course has finished, and made available for download, either through OER repositories or even via the host MOOC platform itself. The process of opening up MOOC resources will add value to the resources by reaching a wider community, and promote the authors and institutions which provided the MOOC. But most importantly, in this way, HE institutions currently investing in MOOCs could demonstrate, beyond reasonable doubt, their real commitment to openness and improved access to education for all.

    Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of the Impact of Social Science blog, nor of the London School of Economics. Please review our Comments Policy if you have any concerns on posting a comment below.

    About the Authors

    Leo Havemann is a learning technologist at Birkbeck, University of London, and previously has been an HE tutor in communication, media, cultural and literary studies, an FE college librarian, and an IT support analyst. He is interested in academic practice and engagement with technology, open education, and literacies for learning.

    @leohavemann

    Javiera Atenas
    Is a teaching and learning technologist at UCL’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (UCL STEaPP) and PhD candidate at the Universitat de Barcelona. Her research focuses on quality assurance for open education.

    @jatenas

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    Related March 7th, 2014|Academic communication, Higher Education, Public Engagement|10 Comments Share This Story, Choose Your Platform! 10 Comments
    1. Pat March 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      We (UoL) made our Coursera MOOC (https://coursera.org/course/engcomlaw) available openly (http://lawsfolio.londoninternational.ac.uk/eclmooc) (CC-BY-NC-SA)

      At OpenEd13, Andrew Ng (one of the founders of Coursera) said he didn’t believe institutions wanted to CC license their materials as it would have affected their sustainability

    2. MOOCs must move beyond open enrolment and demon... March 7, 2014 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      […] In contrast with the type of openness encouraged by Open Education Resources and Open Courseware labels, the openness of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is severely limited. Consequently, Leo H…  […]

    3. MOOCs must move beyond open enrolment and demon... March 9, 2014 at 12:09 pm - Reply

      […] In contrast with the type of openness encouraged by Open Education Resources and Open Courseware labels, the openness of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is severely limited. Consequently, Leo Havemann and Javiera Atenas find the recent growth of high quality online learning content is not able to be used to its full advantage.  […]

    4. How many shades of open? | Reflecting Allowed March 11, 2014 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      […] There is so much else to say about openness, but I’d like to discuss one other topic that came up – MOOCs. The MOOC acronym stands for “massive, open, online courses” – but they vary on all these fronts (well, maybe they’re mostly online but they definitely vary a lot on the other three). Particularly, I have tried a variety of MOOCs on various platforms led by people with diverse philosophies. The most most most open has to be Open Learn because you just click the link and find the course and you can do whatever you want with it. A couple of other relatively open platofrms are P2PU and Canvas. But I did take a course on Canvas that was later removed, so I was disappointed. The other MOOCs on Coursera, etc., require a login so this makes them slightly less open. The more connectivist MOOCs (cMOOCs) are obviously more open because much of the content lies on social media outside any platform like people’s blogs and twitter – though I think stuff that’s on facebook groups is less open as others are less likely to be able to listen in, even if the group itself is open. Also, some stuff on MOOCs disappears eventually. Not really open. Much content cannot legally be used beyond the course. Not so open. A good blog post shared during the twitter chat on this here […]

    5. MOOCs must move beyond open enrolment and demon... March 12, 2014 at 1:05 pm - Reply

      […] In contrast with the type of openness encouraged by Open Education Resources and Open Courseware labels, the openness of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is severely limited.  […]

    6. MOOCs must move beyond open enrolment and demonstrate a true commitment to reuse and long-term redistribution | What would George think? March 14, 2014 at 9:24 am - Reply

      […] This post was contributed by Leo Havemann, a learning technologist at Birkbeck, and Javiera Atenas, a teaching and learning technologist at UCL’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (UCL STEaPP) and PhD candidate at the Universitat de Barcelona. It was originally published on the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog. […]

    7. Milking the MOOCs… | Social in silico March 21, 2014 at 11:40 am - Reply

      […] Is it time for MOOCs to open up? One of the Os in MOOC stands for open – but just how open are the resources offered? […]

    8. Ellie Kesselman March 23, 2014 at 10:34 am - Reply

      I enjoyed this post enormously! Quite ironic about the Massive Open Online Courses that appear to have morphed into Small Closed Offline Lectures, isn’t it? The Ivy League cadre determined, after a year’s worth of MOOCs, that the highest completion rates were concentrated among well-educated, mid-career/ middle-aged men, with subject expertise in the applied sciences, engineering or computing. That’s not a surprise, as they are lifetime learners, probably instilled by their traditional “brick & mortar” instructors.( I gleefully referred to it as the Harvard Epiphany.) Harvard decided that MOOCs would be most useful for corporate training, after conversion to small private online classes. That doesn’t do much for young people though.

      An open paradigm for higher education that surpasses your Open University or the U.S.A’s land grant universities seems… unlikely in the near term.

    9. Twitter Open Access Report – 22 July 2014 | July 22, 2014 at 10:40 am - Reply

      […] labels, the openness of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is severely limited. Consequently, Leo Havemannand Javiera Atenas find the recent growth of high quality online learning content is not able to […]

    10. Bibliography of OER – ROER – RLO related themes | OER Quality Project September 17, 2014 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      […] Havemann, L., & Atenas, J. (2014). MOOCs must move beyond open enrolment and demonstrate a true commitment to reuse and long-term redistribution. LSE Impact of Social Sciences Blog. Retrieved from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2014/03/07/is-it-time-for-moocs-to-open-up/ […]

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    Highly – Highlights have come to the Medium app — this is going to be big. (Medium) – eric's highlights

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    DENny Awards | Digital textbooks and standards-aligned educational resources

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    June 3, 2015 at 7pm ET Celebrate Sharing at the 2015 DENny Awards At this annual event, we recognize members of the Discovery Education Community who are making a difference in the lives of students and each other. Celebrate with us as we acknowledge great things happening in classrooms around the globe. With categories like Best DEN Event, the RJ Stangerlin (for excellence in blogging), and Rising STAR (for new STARs), we recognize greatness within the community. Nominate a colleague (or two). Then join us right here for the big event. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Nominate A Colleague 

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    2015 Learning Impact Awards Announced!

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 21:43
    by Gina Howard and James Willis

    This year saw the 9th annual worldwide Learning Impact Awards competition put on by IMS Global Consortium. The Learning Impact Awards program encourages and recognizes the exploration and use of technology in diverse contexts within educational institutions where observable and measurable results have been achieved. A panel of expert evaluators select the winners using a series of rubrics to evaluate eight dimensions for improving teaching and learning impact. Given the recent partnership between IMS and Mozilla Open Badge, we were pleased to see that badges were central to the efforts of at least one of the winners.
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    Schools move toward ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies to boost student tech use - The Washington Post

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 19:01

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      Sections The Washington Post Schools move toward ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies to boost student tech use Username Education Schools move toward ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies to boost student tech use .hideText{position:absolute;left:-10000px} Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share via Email More Options Share on Whatsapp Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Share on Tumblr Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share on Tumblr Resize Text Print Article Comments
      Katie Martinez, left, and Genesis Delcid talk with their teacher, Ginger Berry, about their project which requires them to use their personal smartphone cameras during Project Success class at Argyle Middle School. (Kate Patterson/For The Washington Post) By Donna St. George September 14, 2014

      His iPhone is on his desk, out in the open, and Joshua Perez’s teacher does not take it away. Instead, she asks the eighth-grader and his classmates in honors geometry at Argyle Magnet Middle School to Google the words “vertex form parabola.”

      In seconds, Joshua finds what he needs for the day’s lesson and homework. “It’s way better and faster than looking it up in a textbook,” he says.

      The 13-year-old’s enthusiasm is matched in other Montgomery County classrooms as educators take their first steps into a practice known as “BYOD”: bring your own device.

      The idea of allowing students to use their own technology in schools to enhance academic instruction is a significant departure from the cellphone bans of old. But it has increased in a number of school systems, including those in Fairfax and Prince William counties, as educators look for ways to embrace the digital world.

      In Fairfax, where BYOD began in 2011, Maribeth Luftglass, assistant superintendent for information technology, points out that students have carried devices in their backpacks for years. “It just wasn’t necessarily official,” she said. Part of the changed thinking, she said, has been to “acknowledge what was happening and embrace it.”

      Angel Zelaya, Jimmy Benitez-Calderon and Devin Downer work together using personal smartphone cameras during sixth grade. (Kate Patterson/For The Washington Post)

      Such approaches come as many school systems are investing heavily in laptops and tablets, with an eye toward one-to-one computing, which provides a device to each student. But some districts find that impractical, and in Montgomery, school leaders are taking a blended approach that they say is more affordable and sustainable: supporting BYOD practices as they also buy thousands of Chromebooks and tablets.

      Montgomery recently adopted a technology initiative that aims to provide 40,000 computing devices to students this school year, the first phase of a plan to bring 100,000 laptops and tablets into schools by 2017-18.

      Montgomery’s chief technology officer, Sherwin Collette, said school leaders are revising regulations for mobile devices and drafting guidelines for responsible use in schools. The schools plan to engage their communities on BYOD practices, and there is a ballpark goal of formalizing the practice in Montgomery when the second semester begins in January.

      But in some places, there are signs of change right now.

      Argyle Middle, with its mission as a digital design and development magnet school, is among the early adopters. BYOD is now common in its independent-reading period and on the rise in classrooms.

      “It’s beginning, but we have momentum,” Principal Robert Dodd said. “It’s moving toward a place where it’s going to be standard operating procedure for learning, done in a strategic way.”

      Dodd said support has been strong among teachers, a number of whom are millennials. “They’re comfortable with technology in their own learning, and that is trickling down to being able to use technology effectively for their students’ learning,” he said.

      Davede Giolitto, left, and Henry Allison work on a project using the camera on a smartphone during sixth grade. (Kate Patterson/For The Washington Post)

      Teacher Casey Siddons worked with his sixth-graders on character development related to the novels “Maniac Magee” and “Tuck Everlasting” on a recent school day. He told students they could use smartphones to take photos that illustrate character traits and actions. Students buzzed with excitement.

      “We’re more used to looking up things on a phone, learning things on a computer,” said Devin Downer, 11. “It’s . . . kind of our style.”

      Upstairs, science teacher Grace Romanelli’s class was working in small groups with their smartphones — so everybody didn’t need one — as they created videos or picture collages that describe a microscope’s parts and how it works.

      Romanelli said parents were receptive at a recent back-to-school night, when she described BYOD and asked them to sign permission slips. “There were a lot of wide eyes and nods and oohs and aahs,” she said. “They were definitely interested.”

      But as the change gains attention, many parents have questions.

      Frances Frost, president of the county’s council of PTAs, said she wonders how the change will work and how teachers will control the way students use technology while in the classroom. She is concerned about the devices becoming a classroom distraction and wonders how students without devices or data plans will keep up.

      Montgomery school officials said the county’s plan to purchase tens of thousands of devices will minimize differences in what students own or bring to school. They also said that BYOD is classroom-based and that teachers are sensitive to issues of equity.

      Students are accustomed to working in groups and sharing devices, Dodd said, adding that “teachers are strategic about filling the gap when kids don’t have their own technology.”

      Around the Washington region, some school systems have not adopted the practice, including D.C.’s public schools.

      Loudoun County plans to unveil a plan during the next few months. Arlington, which has a plan to provide a device to every student by 2017, also has piloted BYOD at some schools.

      In its first year of BYOD, Fairfax registered 1,900 devices, and there are now more than 10,000. “We expect even more this year,” Luftglass said. “I expect it to go way up.”

      Other school systems have visited Fairfax to observe its approach, Luftglass said. She said Fairfax has not seen major problems. “It adds to the technological resources available in our classrooms,” she said.

      In Prince William County, this school year marks the third for BYOD, and its use has been on the rise, said A.J. Phillips, supervisor of instructional technology services. The first year, high schools, for example, had an average of 45 active devices in use at any given time during the school day, and last year that average rose to 534.

      “Every year I’ve seen an increase in the number of devices,” she said. Use varies by school and teacher, she said. “Like any tool in the classroom, some teachers are going to embrace it and some are not.”

      Donna St. George writes about education, with an emphasis on Montgomery County schools. Continue reading Comments .pb-feature.pb-f-page-comments .pb-comment-wrapper{padding-right:0;border-bottom:none}.pb-feature.pb-f-page-comments{border-right:1px solid #d5d5d5;padding-right:50px} Show Comments Discussion Policy Comments

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      9 Ways To Help Students Learn Through Their Mistakes

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 19:00
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      9 Ways To Help Students Learn Through Their Mistakes

      02/10/2015, , Leave a comment

      9 Ways To Help Students Learn Through Mistakes

      by bettermarks.com

      Ed note: This post is promoted by bettermarks, a company looking for teachers to beta test their adaptive Math software. They contacted us and asked how they could get in touch with teachers to use their platform and give them feedback. They also wanted to share some thinking on the idea of mistakes in the learning process, an idea their platform is built on. The result of both goals is the post below. 

      We’ be really, really, really grateful if you could take a look at our adaptive math platform and give us feedback. It’s a free one-year trial with no strings. We want to make the best product we can, and need your help yo get it just right. It is built around the idea of learning through mistakes, which we discuss in more detail below.

      9 Ways To Help Students Learn Through Mistakes

      Most people have heard the sayings “You learn from your mistakes” or “Adversity is the school of wisdom“. Meanwhile, it is a general consensus that making mistakes is an important part of the learning process. This is because if, instead of giving up in frustration after making a mistake, we work constructively to understand the mistake, the strategy to solve the problem stays with us better than if we just memorize the solution.

      Despite this, in our educational system, mistakes are more often punished than seen as an opportunity to learn. What then can we do to help our students learn from their mistakes? First, let’s take a look at how mistakes can stimulate the learning process.

      1. See mistakes as a source of understanding

      When students are mindful of incorrect solution concepts while working on a problem, they are able to deal with the problem at a much deeper level than someone who is just presented with the correct solution and has to memorize it. Also, we should not just correct a mistake but make sure that students recognize and understand the reason for the mistake.

      Only in this way can students arrive at a deeper understanding and correct solution method for the mistake

      2. Improve motivation and self-esteem by responding to and overcoming mistakes

      A student who successfully fixes something incorrect experiences a personal success. They experience directly how worthwhile their effort is and how their competence improves. Such an experience of success leads to the student being more persistent and putting in even more effort in the future when working on reaching a learning goal because they know that they can achieve it.

      This is how to turn the motivation to learn into something intrinsic, which can be much more effective than incentivizing good grades for example.

      3. Honor mistakes as guidance for the teacher, too

      Wrong is just wrong? Wrong! Mistakes are multifaceted. They give the teacher information about the stand of the individual student and which incorrect ideas and knowledge deficits the student has which hinder learning. Mistakes also show you whether the student understands the required prerequisites and how you can optimally connect the previous topics to the current topic in the classroom.

      Mistakes give you, as the teacher, an important foundation for the lesson structure and individual student development. If they’re learned from and responded to, mistakes are powerfully good! But which prerequisites have to be met so that mistakes lead to a learning success and not to a dead-end?

      4. Allow mistakes through the learning atmosphere

      So students can learn from their mistakes, they must be allowed to make them! It should be clear to students that in a learning situation mistakes will be handled in a different way than in a performance evaluation where every mistake has a negative consequence. Also, create a mistake-friendly learning atmosphere where students don’t feel ashamed of their mistakes. Motivate your students to not give up and to continue to work on the correct solution. In this way, the reward for learning remains the focus and a constructive way of dealing with mistakes is an important foundation of this.

      5. Allow a variety of mistakes

      Students should not only be allowed to make mistakes, but they need to be able to make them. Here the type of learning material plays a decisive role. Enable situations where your students can make a variety of interesting mistakes. In most cases, just asking for the answer or using multiple choice questions will not give you any insight into the reasons for your student’s mistakes.

      6. Provide timely feedback so mistake can be responded to

      If a problem with understanding is recognized late in the learning process and a lot of time has elapsed before the student discovers they must re-learn the topic, the incorrect thought processes may be firmly cemented in the student’s mind. The learning process usually follows these steps in this order: practice activities, make errors, get feedback, think over the feedback, and try again.

      The less this process is interrupted the more efficient and effective the learning is. The earlier a problem is discovered the easier it is to fix it. In the ideal scenario, a student will receive feedback on how close they are in terms of correctness immediately after giving their solution.

      7. Analyze root causes and sources

      There are different kinds of mistakes. Careless mistakes, systematic mistakes, misconceptions – the root cause of mistakes can have many sources. It is not enough that students know that they have made a mistake; they also need to receive feedback on where the mistake lies. This root cause analysis in connection with targeted individual support is the best way to change thought patterns and prevent students from making the same mistake again.

      8. Encourage independent mistake correction as a matter of habit

      Giving students the opportunity to find and correct their mistakes on their own immediately after they are made has a positive impact on their motivation to learn. At the same time, learning to look for root causes and sources of mistakes develops conceptual understanding.

      For example, in mathematics, students often just learn solution methods for problems by rote rather than actually understanding the concept. However, when students look for the source of mistakes on their own, they realize the cause and improve their understanding independently. Things learned in this way are retained longer and are more easily applied to other mathematical topics.

      If you want to help your students turn their mistakes into learning success in the best possible way, there are a number of challenges:

      • How can you keep an eye on all students individually?
      • How much effort must be put into the mistake analysis?
      • How can you give all students individual feedback?
      • How do you provide timely feedback?

      9. Use technology that supports mistakes and personalized mistake analysis

      We quickly reach our limits when we try to do justice to all the mistakes of all our students. Educational software can give some relief if it is able to analyze everything the student enters and give them direct feedback on their answer. In turn, you as the teacher should automatically get analyses on the strengths and weaknesses of your students.

      There are hundreds if not thousands of educational software and platforms to choose from. To assist you in evaluating whether a technology supports you and your students in learning from mistakes we have created this checklist of requirements:

      • Does the program allow any kind of answer to be entered, or is it just multiple choice – can a student make a variety of mistakes?
      • Are there interactive input tools that are modeled after analog learning materials, for example a compass or protractor?
      • Is feedback given immediately after entering an answer?
      • Does the student receive customized individual feedback with explanations?
      • Does the technology recognize recurring mistakes as knowledge gaps?
      • As a teacher, do you receive an analysis of the learning progress and mistakes of each of your students individually?

      Our Platform

      We’d be really, really, really grateful if you could take a look at our adaptive math platform and give us feedback. It’s a free one year trial with no strings. We want to make the best product we can, and need your help yo get it just right.

      9 Ways To Help Students Learn Through Mistakes; adapted image attribution flickr user vancouverfilmschools

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      Why Social Interaction Is Essential To Learning Math

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 19:00
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      Why Social Interaction Is Essential To Learning Math

      02/19/2015, , Leave a comment

      Why Social Interaction Is Essential To Learning Math

      by Robert Sun

      Not long ago, while visiting Israel, I had the opportunity to sit in on a fourth grade class at a progressive school in that country’s North District. The young teacher that day was leading her group of 19 students as they learned English. Over the 40 minute session, as the students were introduced to 20 new English vocabulary words, speaking them aloud and using them in sentences, I suddenly realized how important active, verbal and reciprocal exchange is to learning any new language.

      And math, most definitely, is a language.

      I know first-hand how difficult the task of learning a new language can be because, like those Israeli students, I had to learn English as a fourth-grade immigrant from Shanghai. Speaking English day after day, my new home in Philadelphia slowly became a much more inviting place—for me, a city of promise.

      Fluency in English requires the mastery of 4,000 to 5,000 new and unfamiliar words. That’s a long process. By contrast, learning math should be much easier. After all, with math you don’t have to know what a “9” means; you only need to understand how a 9 can relate to a 3 or a 27, because math focuses on relationships and how numbers connect.

      One reason I believe math is challenging for so many young people, is because it is so rarely spoken. In school, math instruction focuses on the written component: the constant litany of textbooks, board work and worksheets. At best, students listen to the teacher talk about math—but rarely do they speak it at length themselves.

      Each of us, from the moment we hear our parents speak our name for the first time, gained our fluency for language through verbal interaction. The constant give-and-take, as we sharpened our pronunciations and built our vocabulary, became essential in our transformation from inarticulate toddler to fully functioning adult. The process of learning math would benefit from just such a dynamic. But it’s something we’re sorely missing.

      All too often we forget that language acquisition demands a verbal component. You can focus on all the writing you want, from grammar to composition to reading—but without receiving the constant interaction, feedback and encouragement from people through conversation, your progress in mastering any new language will be limited.

      Developing a working vocabulary is an exercise that can take many years. Until we build a foundation of competency, we are reluctant to speak because speaking is public—and in that public act we reveal ourselves.

      Our education system seeks fluency in the language of math, yet it does not encourage students to use it in a social way, producing many who are anxious about math. If they don’t have to speak math, few people really know the extent of their math proficiency. It becomes easy to keep the “secret” of how weak they may be. Like all secrets, anxiety builds the longer the secret is maintained.

      Over the last several decades, in fact, being “bad at math” has become socially acceptable. Admitting you are not proficient enables you to divert the subject and protect your deficiency. Unfortunately, so many people publically make this admission that it has become a culturally accepted way to avoid getting good at math. We need to change this dynamic.

      I believe that as educators and as a society, we need to develop the idea of “social math”: the use of spoken math to inspire the human interactions that provide the feedback and motivation to master fluency. We can start to develop social math by encouraging our children, from a very early age, to speak as well as write the language of mathematics.

      Just as the students in that Israeli classroom learned English by speaking words out loud, we can do the same when teaching math. Teachers can encourage their students to express themselves verbally using mathematical terms; even in the early grades, children can be asked to explain what they want or mean using numbers, or relationships between numbers. Anything that encourages them to talk about math and mathematical concepts is beneficial.

      5 Math Teaching Strategies That Work

      Today we understand how to remove the traditional stumbling blocks that prevent many from acquiring math proficiency:

      1. Provide immediate feedback; i.e., social engagement.
      2. Offer engaging and comprehensive content at hundreds of entry points, ensuring that no matter the skill level of a child, he or she can find an entry point to experience success and move progressively to advance their skills.
      3. Give children a sense of control and ownership over the learning process.
      4. Allow students the freedom to make mistakes, so they will push their skills right to the edge. That’s where the real active learning occurs.
      5. Encourage our children to speak and write about math so they will be truly “math fluent.”

      Technology has enabled us to develop tools that are designed to incorporate these features. Schools using these innovative tools discover that their students are eager to speak and practice mathematics.

      Whenever children in a school are struggling to learn English, we invest considerably more resources into building their competence in that subject than we do when a comparable deficiency exists with math literacy. If our children are not expected to speak the language of math, they do not reveal their weakness and it becomes easier to ignore.

      On the other hand, when we speak the common language of math with vibrancy and passion, we inspire our children to explore and pursue the rich opportunities offered in this essential and universal form of communication. This will benefit our next generation of thinkers immensely, providing them with the foundation to support careers in the STEM professions and every part of life.

      ROBERT SUN is the CEO of Suntex International and inventor of First In Math, an online program designed for deep practice in mathematics; Why Social Interaction Is Essential To Learning Math

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      4 Stages Of Curiosity

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 19:00
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      4 Stages Of Curiosity

      05/17/2015, , 5 Comments

      4 Stages Of Curiosity & 20 Indicators That Reveal Them

      by Terry Heick

      Where curiosity comes from isn’t entirely clear.

      That’s probably because there is no single source for it any more than there is a single source for entertainment, anxiety, or confidence. There are strategies to promote curiosity in the classroom—even those that consider how the brain works. Ideally, teaching and learning wouldn’t benefit from having curiosity “added in,” but rather would fail completely without it.

      There is also no single “look” for curiosity. The things teachers look for as indicators of “engagement”–waving hands in the air, locked eye contact, or good grades on tests—may not be the result of curiosity at all.

      What are indicators of curiosity? Below we take a look at the idea. Also, note that these indicators don’t always represent curiosity and engagement—could be thoughtless habit or external coercion. In the same way, behaviors indicating lower levels of curiosity don’t necessarily mean the student is disengaged and uncurious. The lesson design could be confusing, or the materials used could be poorly-written, above their reading level, or otherwise misleading.

      For this reason (and others), teachers are always encouraged to take a broad and holistic view of each student that incorporates habits over time, personality, and the ebbs and flow of growing up! Also, certain learner “needs” at one stage may also exist at another. These are merely suggestions that can characterize most closely a student’s “need to know.”

      Stage 1: Process

      Stage 2: Content

      Stage 3: Transfer

      Stage 4: Self

      20 Indicators of Curiosity & Engagement

      Stage 1: Process

      “Tell me what to do.”

      This is the first level of curiosity and engagement, where students are primarily concerned with procedural knowledge—teacher expectations, their role, interaction with peers, task sequence, etc. Included here is their own survey of the activity to highlight areas they may like or dislike, or be prepared or unprepared to complete.

      All learners typically begin here as they try to make sense of a given task or activity. Ideally they’d start here and quickly graduate to the next level, but for some this may be their first and last stage without your intervention.

      Learner Needs at this Stage: Prompting, repeating instructions more than once, clarifying instructions with paraphrasing, instructions in multiple forms (verbal, on screen or board, on a handout, etc.)

      5 Indicators Of Curiosity At The Process Stage

      1. Learner needs redirection and prompting to even begin to make sense of the task.
      2. Learner asks primarily procedural questions if they ask any at all.
      3. Learner resists starting on a given task; may demonstrate minimal natural interest in either the content or their own performance.
      4. Learner asks about the minimal requirements of task
      5. Learner asks why they “have to learn this,” “when will they use this in real life,” and similar questions. (This questions is actually a sign of beginning curiosity, and begins to merge into Stages 2 and 3.)

      Stage 2: Content

      “This is interesting. I’d like to learn more.”

      Following the Process Stage is the Content Stage of curiosity and engagement.

      This stage unsurprisingly has content at its core. In traditional academic environments this could be topics of study, conversation, research, or related opportunities. Students no longer have the compelling big ideas of content obscured by instructions, activity design, or confusing–or well-intentioned but unnecessary in the face of budding curiosity–teacher directions.

      In fact, the teacher’s role could be significantly reduced compared to Stage 1, which allows the interaction between the learner and content to be perhaps less neat and efficient, but more authentic and direct.

      Learner Needs at this Stage: Content at appropriate reading level, compelling content, tasks that balance of consumption and production, choice and voice in their work (which is true at any stage)

      5 Indicators Of Curiosity At The Content Stage

      1. Learner begins task unprompted.
      2. Learner attempts to both provide questions and answers.
      3. Learner “celebrates” topic in authentic ways.
      4. Learner suggests related resources, attempt to predict where content is “going next.”
      5. Learner monitors own understanding and seeks to correct misconceptions.

      Stage 3: Transfer

      “Move out of my way–but not too far.”

      At this stage of curiosity, students begin to seamlessly connect knowledge, assimilating what they’re learning into what they already know. This can lead to transfer, where they—unprompted and without any cueing—transfer what they know from heavily-scaffolded and supported situations, to new and unfamiliar situations.

      Learners at this level of curiosity may demand both direction and freedom at the same time as they seek to direct their own learning in new contexts, while sometimes lacking the frameworks, ideas, or strategies to do so.

      Learner Needs at this Stage: Flexible rubrics, scoring guides that promote creativity, open-ended learning models (e.g., project-based learning), self-directed learning strategies

      5 Indicators Of Curiosity At The “Transfer” Stage

      1. Learner moves from back and forth between macro and micro thinking.
      2. Learner revises task in minor but “personal” ways that are content-relevant.
      3. Learner offers more questions than answers.
      4. Learner may resist the suggested assignment or sequence of learning.
      5. Learner perseveres trying to articulate difficult thinking; seems unbothered by confusion, pushing on to either ignore, clarify, or work around source of confusion.

      Stage 4: “Self”

      “This has changed me.”

      At the “Self” Stage of curiosity and engagement, students move past mere transfer to make sense of changes—and possible opportunities–in themselves as the result of learning. This is closely related to the Transfer Level, which makes sense as students will naturally transition knowledge to familiar schema—circumstances or situations they have experience with.

      This is the most powerful level of curiosity not simply because of knowledge assimilations and transfer, but how it can change the student’s reasons for learning, and their own role in the learning process. At this level, students ask questions unprompted, can imagine learning pathways that aren’t suggested to them, and constantly seek to reconcile what they do and don’t know without prompting and prodding. In fact, a learner at this level will benefit from support, tools, models, and collaboration more than they might with direct instruction, rigid rubrics

      5 (+1) Indicators Of Curiosity At The “Self” Stage

      1. Learner establishes their own criteria for quality
      2. Learner frequently refers to self in relation to the topic in ways that demonstrate insightful understanding or emerging understanding.
      3. Learner seeks to significantly revises task in some way—a resource, sequence, goal, or other important “part; creates unassigned work to complete on their own.
      4. Learner seeks “space,” quiet, or selective partnering to contextualize understanding in the classroom.
      5. Learner demonstrates noticeable emotions–excitement, sadness, reflection, etc.–somehow related to content that they may not feel comfortable sharing.
      6. The “residue” of learning experiences tend to linger in noticeable ways.

      Learner Needs at this Stage: Exemplar models, dynamic tools, strategic collaboration, cognitive and emotional coaching, space

      4 Stages Of Curiosity & 20 Indicators That Reveal Them

      Related posts: The 4 Stages Of Edtech Disruption The Impact Of Technology On Curiosity How To Kill Learner Curiosity In 12 Easy Steps Four Stages Of A Self-Directed Learning Model 27 Ways To Increase Student Engagement In Learning
      • Martijn Sytsma

        What are the sources for this? Research? Publications? Really would like to know! (because i’m curious :))

        • terryheick

          Great question. This isn’t a product of academic research, but rather my experience as an educator. So, in terms of pure research-based credibility, it has zero. : )

          • Martijn Sytsma

            Thanks for your answer. I’m planning to do curiosity related research in the classroom, so maybe I can find the evidence for your experiences :).

          • Sylvia Kwan

            This article certainly resonated with me – being an educator of 30+ years.

      • Joel MacDonald

        Great article. Insightful as usual. You always gets me thinking.

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      Reflective Teacher at TeachThought

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 19:00
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      The Challenge Of Personalizing Learning In Real-Time

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 19:00
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      The Challenge Of Personalizing Learning In Real-Time

      05/18/2015, , Leave a comment

      The Challenge Of Personalizing Learning In Real-Time

      by Dr. Philip Lanoue

      The conversation on the need to use student achievement data in education is fast-tracking its importance in today’s classrooms. But with so much data now directed at school leaders, teachers and students  – how do you make sense of it all?

      First and foremost, it is imperative that every data point has a face – it is not about the number but about students and their performance. Student data can only be useful if the right environment is created with procedures that create conversations where data is informative, useful and put into practice. For students to grow and for teachers to personalize instruction – data must constantly be formative and meaningful.

      Here in Clarke County School District of Athens, Georgia, we are taking steps to truly integrate our digital learning initiatives with are common planning process using data. We are forging ahead with designing a new model that relies on using data for real-time progress monitoring that results in a true personalized learning environment – no more pre and post test analysis.

      This is a major focus for us, and our district leaders and teachers use new innovative technology such as Waggle from Triumph Learning to help make it happen. Waggle is a digital learning platform that monitors student performance based on practice. Students are presented with a variety of questions for the subjects of math and English and must continually be successful (the practice) to be able to move forward. When they continue to get questions right over time, then they progress to the next stage. When they answer a question incorrectly, they are able to try again, and are offered hints and customized feedback to help them find the path to the right answer.

      In this program, seeking the right answer is a critical skill that is developed. The idea here is to move past simply telling students if they are right or wrong. Educators now present them with opportunities that demonstrate the benefits of putting in the work to increase their understanding of the subjects they are tasked to learn. Learning how to find answers – productive struggle – becomes equally important as giving the right answer.

      Our new personalized learning model is moving towards real-time formation. If educators can create tools that monitor students on an ongoing basis around proficiency, then administrators like myself don’t have to worry about the time and focus put on them pre- and post-test. We now can plan and assess students by monitor growth and progress.

      One of the biggest obstacles with traditional testing methods is that there isn’t an opportunity to effectively intervene with struggling students until the results of a test are available. Implementing tools that utilize real-time formative data helps educators identify students who need more help mastering the skills that are being taught and to use personalized interventions to get them where they need to be.

      On the other end of the spectrum, it can also alert educators when students aren’t being challenged. Students who complete work quickly and accurately have likely already mastered the skills being presented to them. This provides the educator with an opportunity to advance students and keep them engaged by offering them more challenging work.

      As I said, the main goal of formative learning is to help students grow, and when learning isn’t personalized it makes it that much harder for students to do that. Students can’t grow when they are discouraged to the point of giving up or sailing through schoolwork without putting any effort into it. That’s what makes the productive struggle found in this system such an effective part of the strategies found in formative learning environments. Students are able to learn at a pace that helps them retain knowledge and skills that can build into the next stage of their academic growth.

      Using real time performance information for planning and monitoring leads to the best alignment of the learning expectations to students’ personalized needs. And developing the qualities of determination and endurance to seek the right answer is the most powerful skill we can provide our students. I am excited to bring together this process with our partnership with Triumph Learning as Waggle is being designed for the next generation of learners.

      Dr. Philip Lanoue has worked for the Clarke County School District since 2009 and was an administrator for the Cobb County School District before that. Under Lanoue’s leadership, Clarke County became a Title I Distinguished District and received a number of other statewide honors. He was chosen as Georgia Superintendent of the Year in December and the American Association of School Administrators’ 2015 National Superintendent of the Year.

      The Challenge Of Personalizing Learning In Real-Time

      Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a "sponsored post." The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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      Excellence is not the only point of education ~ Stephen's Web

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 19:00
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      Excellence is not the only point of education
      Sam Carr, The Conversation, May 17, 2015
      Commentary by Stephen Downes

      Doug Belshaw points toward this item from The Conversation in his weekly newsletter. The argument is that we should not allow business words, like 'excellence', to seep into education. "David Cameron has reminded us once again that our children and young people should aspire towards excellence.... This sort of discourse simply reinforces what we’ve known for some time: corporate mentality has hijacked education." I agree that we shouldn't adopt the language of business and commerce , that we should encourage children to be 'little entrepreneurs', but honestly, it's better than the military metaphors that have permeated the language of education up to this point. I would also observe that the language of 'excellence' has been a part of the language of education for decades, for generations. But the point about the metaphors is a good one. When I was a child we were encouraged to see ourselves in the shoes of scientists and explorers. These were our heroes. They still should be, in my view.

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      Last Updated: May 18, 2015 4:03 p.m.
      Categories: Miscellaneous

      Spread the Word about Summer Meals for Students

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 18:02
      Not often raised is the issue of summer hunger. For some kids, a break from school means a break from the school meals that they rely on.
      Categories: Miscellaneous

      AWS Launches Free Educate Service for Academics

      Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 16:00
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      David Ramel, Campus Technology, May 18, 2015

      Amazon has launched AWS Educate, a cloud service specifically for educators. "AWS Educate is Amazon’ s global initiative to provide students and educators with the resources needed to greatly accelerate cloud-related learning endeavors and to help power the entrepreneurs, workforce, and researchers of tomorrow." No, it's not free;  rates start at $200 per educator. As David Ramel notes, "AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr explained in a  blog post  that this primarily will be enabled by four resources: grants of AWS credits for use in courses and projects; free content to embed in courses or to use as-is; access to free and discounted AWS Training resources; and online and in-person collaboration and networking opportunities."

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      Modeling repetitive behavior

      Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 16:00
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      Mark Liberman, Language Log, May 18, 2015

      Admittedly, citing this post is a bit of semantic cherry-picking, but I'll do it anyways. The lesson here is that if you add 'memory' to an otherwise random process, you an create complex behaviours. The 'memory' can be very limited - in this case, the author suggests it's "the bird is getting tired". Why is this important? It's because it shows a way very simple processes can lead to very complex behaviours, and "some of the constructs of 1960s-era formal language theory, such as the Chomsky-Schü tzenberger hierarchy, can be  a source of confusion rather than insight when applied to simple  patterns generated by simple and biologically-plausible  mechanisms."

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