Thursday, August 28. 2014
I posted a piece here called "What Is Authentic Learning?" last month. It has been clicked (and read, hopefully) over 600 times. No comments on it because we still have comments turned off on Serendipity35 because of the spamstorms we have weathered in the past.
Tuesday, August 26. 2014
Imagine this: a language arts teacher asks her middle school students to translate a poem into computer code. The students use icons or letters to produce a new language and way of seeing poetry. They can also translate the poem’s code into an actual programming language, such as Scratch, and so animate the poem. They could put the poem into LEGO Mindstorms EV3's robot-programming language to create - well, that is yet to be seen.
This is transmedia - the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using digital technologies. It is not to be confused with traditional cross-platform media sequels or adaptations, such as a novel made into a film.
The poetry activity lets students see connections between languages, grammar and code.
Transmedia, literally “across media” may have its origin in entertainment franchises, but it is being pulled into education purposes.
Some of this occurred ten years ago in classes using virtual worlds like Second Life, and now is happening to a degree with young students building environments in Minecraft. But the retelling of a poem in a programming language is a big leap from visualizing a novel on paper or on a screen.
Transmedia might be one educational path to convergence.
Friday, August 22. 2014
I'm glad that when I plug in something to my AC wall outlets, they fit and work. All my headphones, microphones and earbuds fit into my laptop and my phone. I like interoperability. I like standards.
That love of standards isn't universal when it comes to education. I've written earlier about the problems that the implementation of the Common Core State Standards has had in American schools. Standards work when everyone agrees to them.
A post on the Canvas by Instructure blog points out that this also true in educational technology. Standards for software and hardware make it possible for tools to work with each other and on multiple devices. That is not a 100% ubiquitous agreement in standards, but the percentage is thankfully high.
The Canvas LMS and others, like Blackboard and Moodle, are adopters of the Learning Tools Interoperability™ (LTI) standard which allows a better user-experience on most learning platforms.
Higher education has embraced and benefited from this standard although some applications (such as Student Information Systems) do not play well with each other or on all platforms. The K-12 world has not benefited as much, mostly because technology providers for many K-12 tools and resources have not adopted the standards.
You would be angry if that plug did not fit in the port or didn't work even if it did fit.
Wednesday, August 13. 2014
In June, I wrote about Google's limited preview of Classroom. The new tool is not a full virtual classroom but more of a tool for teachers to stay in touch with their students, give assignments and feedback.
Now, Google says more than 100,000 educators from 45 countries have signed up to try it. They have ended the preview phase and anyone with a Google Apps for Education account can now use the service. It is available in 42 languages.
I have suspected for a few years that Google would offer teachers access to a free content management system. Classroom does that, although in a limited way.
A teacher can post updates and homework assignments and add/subtract students from their classes and give feedback including grades. The service is being aimed at K-12 teachers. Classroom doesn't connect with student information systems. It doesn't have threaded discussions and some tools that other open source or commercial CMS/LMS offer. Well, not yet...
It does connect, as you would expect, with Google Drive and the productivity applications, such as Google Docs and Slide in the Google Apps for Education suite.
In a Google world, a student works on her Chromebook with Google’s apps to write a paper and submits it through classroom. One educational ecosystem.
So, what is the ultimate objective for Classroom? Is it designed to get schools to use Google apps rather than ones from Apple or Microsoft? Is it a way to sell more Chromebooks to schools or (via Google Play for Education) open a path to sales of Android apps and books?
Will Classroom expand to higher education? Will Google one day be offering course content? How about credits?
A video about some experiences of teachers and students who gave feedback on the Classroom preview.
Find out more: http://google.com/edu/classroom
Monday, August 11. 2014
Tim recently was married and he has been in summer mode as admin and out of touch when it comes to writing any posts.
I came across the photo shown here of Andy Warhol outside a shop called Serendipity.
Monday, July 28. 2014
I was once a college student. I went to college full time and I worked part time. That's the way it is supposed to be. Right? When I did my graduate work, I was working full time and going part time to classes. That is fairly typical these days. In my case, I was teaching in a public school while I went to grad school.
Monday, July 21. 2014
You hear the term "authentic learning" used, but I can't imagine that everyone using or hearing the term thinks of the same things as examples of learning that is authentic. And does that mean that there is inauthentic learning?
Problem Based Learning (PBL) and "real world" assignments are other terms that often come up in an authentic learning discussion. There are several "reals" that are usually mentioned: learning that has a real purpose, real product, and a real audience.
"What Is Authentic Learning?" by Ken Ronkowitz was originally published on LinkedIn
Friday, July 18. 2014
The edtech company Desire2Learn said on Monday that it was renaming its learning-management system Brightspace and will add new features including game-based learning.
The company also said it was teaming up with IBM to improve the LMS's predictive analytics and partnering with Microsoft to add a Windows 8 mobile app for e-books to their offerings.
Thursday, July 17. 2014
I have waited a few weeks for the Internet to react to the Facebook research that was revealed and caused a big buzz (again) about privacy. The short summary: Facebook manipulated the news feeds of thousands of its users, without their knowing consent, in order to do some research. They wanted to know if they could have an effect on people’s behavior in the network.
Oh wait - that was back in 2010 when they were looking at U.S. voting patterns in the midterm elections. That story was told in 2012 by Nature magazine. Not much of a public reaction. No real outcry about questionable ethics.
But this latest study that Facebook conducted was co-designed by researchers at Cornell University. This research examined how positive or negative language spreads in social networks. If you see more negative comments and news, do you become more negative yourself in your posts?
This time there were two negative reactions by the public and the press. First, in this year following the NSA and Snowden revelations, there was a very vocal outcry of criticism about whether
Internet users should be informed about experiments that test human behavior. (Facebook likes to point out that users did "allow" the study by agreeing to the terms of service.)
The second concern was that a university played a role in the research design.
What were the results of the research? Users who saw fewer positive posts were less likely to post something positive, and vice versa, but the effect was small and faded as days passed. That sounds like common sense, right? Actually, existing research had seemed to indicate that seeing a number of happy, positive news feed items from friends, they felt a negativity about their own lives.
Researchers in academia are used to having research approved first by an Institutional Review Board. Did that happen at Cornell? The data scientist at Facebook conducted the actual research. He collaborated with a Cornell researcher and his former postdoc on the design and subsequent analysis. But, since the Cornell researchers did not participate in the data collection, the university’s IRB concluded that the study did not require oversight as it would usually require with human-subjects research.
The research study was published in early June in the respected journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The revelations about the NSA snooping had a split reaction. Some people saw Snowden as a hero whistle-blower alerting us to wrongdoing and wanted changes to be made in what was allowed. Others saw him as dangerous because he revealed a kind of research that the government needs to do to protect us.
The Facebook/Cornell research certainly doesn't come anywhere near the complexity or seriousness of the NSA case. Nevertheless, some people want to see this kind of research controlled or stopped and our online privacy protected better. A smaller number think that this is part of the price of using the Net and social media.
My conclusion? This kind of social research will continue. BUT - it will be done (with your approval, even if you don;t read the fine print before clicking that AGREE button), but it is unlikely to be public. It will be kept private and will not be published. And colleges will be much more careful about making research collaborations with corporations - especially those that operate online.
33 Ethicists Defend Facebook’s Controversial Mood Study
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