28 Jun 2017

Students Look for Quality Online Learning, Not Convenience

The sixth annual Online College Students report, developed by The Learning House, Inc. and Aslanian Market Research, shares an interesting, albeit intuitive in hindsight, findings on prospective and recently graduated online college students. The findings points out to the importance of the online “social presence” via communication and being part of an online community, expanding opportunities of online education, students’ remorse in buying an online course,  and more importantly online students’  growing knowledge and preference of competency-based education.

 

Key Findings

Key findings include:

  • They Want to Be Part of a Community. More than half of respondents say interaction with classmates and instructors is important to them, and about a quarter say online courses could be improved by more contact with their instructors and more engagement with classmates. Fifty-nine percent travel to campus between one and five times per year, for reasons such as meeting their instructor or meeting with a study group.

 

  • Students Are Expanding Their Search to More Schools. While the majority of students continue to stay close to home, the number of schools students consider has expanded. More students contacted or requested information from three or more schools (52 percent), an increase from 2016 (29 percent). The number of students considering only one institution fell from 30 percent to 18 percent.

 

  • They Experience Buyer’s Remorse. While online students tend to make their decisions quickly, 59 percent would change some part of their search for an online program if they had to do it over again. Twenty-three percent of current and past online college students wished they had contacted more schools during the selection process, whereas others wished they learned more about the tuition and fees (17 percent) or their financial aid package (16 percent).

 

  • They Have High Interest in Competency-Based Education. Online students are increasingly aware of competency-based programs. The percentage of respondents who say they have not heard of competency-based education has decreased, with 27 percent reporting no awareness of CBE in 2017, down from 35 percent in 2013.

 

 

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26 Jun 2017

A New, Open Online Course for Educators Trying to Effectively Integrate Technology

 

 

got tpack

Using TPACK Framework for Effective Technology Integration in Teaching

 

In our new open online, self-access course, on ilearn.today,  you will learn how to use the TPACK Framework to effectively integrate educational technology in your teaching.
It assists you  to develop competencies that will enable you to plan systemically for the selection, utilization and evaluation of technology tools and resources in a pedagogically appropriate manner.
This  open course is designed to be different from most other faculty professional development courses on technology.  While others tend to focus on simply learning the technology tools, leaving it up to the participants to make the connection to pedagogy and content knowledge, this course is based on TPACK which provides for an integrated approach to combining technology, pedagogy and content knowledge.

A digital badge and a certificate of completion will also be provided.

Mode of participation: Online, preferred to sign up in teams for discussions and reflections.

Objectives

This course is designed so that you will leave with:

  • A broader awareness and understanding of the technologies that can be used by teachers to positively impact teaching and learning
  • An introduction to emerging teaching and learning technologies
  • An awareness and familiarity of the resources available to educators for technology integration
  • Familiarity and experience with TPACK and tools to assess
  • Insights on how your own course syllabus/ lesson plans might change based on what you have learned in the course
  • The ability to assist colleagues (and students) in applying technology to their own teaching and learning activities

Topic Areas:

  • The changing nature of education, students and the modern workplace
  • The TPACK Framework
  • Evaluation tools to assess TPACK
  • Technology utilized will vary

Assessment:

  • Discussion forums
  • E-tivities
  • Final Assessment : Performance assessment (mini-lesson demonstration with technology using the TPACK) (assessed by peers)

Activity Overview

  • Introduction to TPACK and unPACKing TPACK 
  • TPACK Scenario
  • Case studies
  • Activity Types, assessments, and templates
  • (re)design a lesson to integrate technology

 

 

Sign up now and take your teaching to the next level.

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08 Jun 2017

Here’s How Curriculum Mapping Can Change Your School into a Learning Community

 

 

If you are an exceptional school, then having teachers and school admin collaborate and communicate via evidentiary data from the “operational curriculum” in a recursive and systematic manner should be your utmost concern. This does not only foster an  authentic, databased curricular dialogue, but is also one of the best professional development antidotes to the failing traditional external, aloof workshops that, at its best, and based on study findings, might result in a month of instructional practice improvement.

 

Similar to any map, but more so like Google Maps, curriculum mapping allows you to see the “Big Picture” of the whole curriculum. It allows you to step back to see the tapestry of your curriculum. This allows you to see how curriculum, instructional practices, assessments are aligned, or misaligned. However, make sure you have a high quality curriculum design and mapping, it is critical to follow the four phases of curriculum development as recommended by Heidi Jacobs. The 4 phases can be also be more so of professional development as school faculty are engaged in the (re)design or the curriculum whilst wearing the “Researcher Hat”.

 

Jacobs (2004) states that

…curriculum maps have the potential to become the hub for making decisions about teaching and learning. Focusing the barrage of initiatives and demands on schools into a central database that can be accessed from anywhere through the Internet can provide relief…Mapping becomes an integrating force to address not only curriculum issues, but also programmatic ones.

 

4 Critical Phases of Curriculum Mapping

Phase 1: Laying the Foundation

Prologue for Planners, Establishing Reasons to Map, Creating a Vision for Your School

Phase 2: Launching the Process

Ensuring Long-Term Support, Creating Individual Maps, Initiating the Review Process,
Developing Consensus Maps, Master Mapping Strategies

 

Phase 3: Maintaining, Sustaining, and Integrating

Merging Assessment Data into Maps, Integrating Literacy, Developing an Implementation
Plan/Map, Making the HUB work: Integrating Other Initiatives

 

Phase 4: Advanced Mapping Tasks

Into the Future: Updating Maps for the 21st Century

 

Here’s a video for D. Jacobs clarifying eahc of the phases above.

 

 

 

Here’s Dr. Jacobs in a 2011 TedTalk about the state of curriculum mapping.

 

Are you mapping your curriculum at your school? If so, what are the challenges you currently face? What curriculum mapping system re you using, if any? If not, it is easy to start with the right step, the first phase.

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28 Jul 2016

Moodle Mobile Update 3.1 Adds the Ability to Submit Assignments

 

Great news today for Moodle users, especially who love accessing their Moodle site using their mobile phones. Moodle mobile, though lagging behind in terms of interactivity with the course contents, is a work in progress. Today, Moodle announced a great update to its Moodle mobile app. Moodle students now are able to submit assignments, in-text and file submissions, using their Moodle Mobile app. Also, if using the wiki tool in Moodle, you can edit the wiki using the Moodle Mobile App. All you have to do it update your Moodle Mobile on your phone. Below is Moodle’s announcement of the update.

2016-07-28_22-39-39

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23 Jul 2016

Student Competencies and Learning Plans in Moodle 3.1 that You Really Need to Harness

 

The new trend of competency based education is taking the education institutions by storm. Personally, I do not think it is a fad and that it might wither away down the road. Competency based education advocates have been diligently at work for years to make it seep into the educational institutions’ culture. INACOL’s latest project  Competencyworks is one example. As defined by CompetencyWorks, competency education

refers to a systems model in which (1) teaching and learning are designed to ensure students are becoming proficient by advancing on demonstrated mastery and (2) schools are organized to provide timely and differentiated support to ensure equity. A competency-based structure enables personalized learning to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery of the highest standards possible. With clear and calibrated understanding of proficiency, learning can be tailored to each student’s strengths, needs, and interests and enable student voice and choice in what, how, when, and where they learn.

Some of the characteristics of CBE are, as defined by CompetencyWorks, ar =e

  • Students advance upon mastery.
  • Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students.
  • Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students.
  • Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.
  • Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.

 

Educational vendors, especially, educational technology vendors, have capitalized on CBE, sometimes renaming it as  mastery-based education, to bring in customers. Moodle, the open source learning management system, has added Competencies features for its new Moodle 3.1 release that administrators, teachers, and students, if using them right, will find them remarkably beneficial.

Competencies in Moodle 3.1

Competencies features are broken into three parts in Moodle, and each part is interacted differently by Moodle admins, Moodle course teachers, and Moodle students.

1. Competency Framework is where the Moodle administrator names the framework with which teachers and students will work on.

2. Competencies are the competencies that the Admin links to the competency Frameworks and then Moodle Admin or the teacher can link the competency to the course. Teachers can also link activities to competencies.

3. Student Learning Plan is where the student with the help of the teacher constructs a learning plan and links it to competencies that he or she needs to meet.

 

Below is a video playlist of three parts on how teachers, admin and students can use competencies in Moodle.

 

Moodle also has two plugins if you need to import or export competencies. This comes it really easy to transfer competencies in and out of Moodle instead of manually entering them.

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18 Jul 2016

Educators’ Online Professional Learning Practices and Experiences: An infographic

 

More than ever, educators in k-12 schools and higher education are using online courses, communities, and resources for professional learning. Online professional learning is convenient in terms of time and place, two factors face-to-face workshops and conferences do not and cannot provide. This results in more ingrained and situated professional learning as educators get the time to experiment in their daily work, reflect on significance, and then re-iterate, amend, or quit an education method, technique, or approach. But, what is the nature of educators’ online professional learning practices and experiences? Why do educators choose online professional learning? What are the common topics they seek to develop? and via what means do they seek their online professional learning? To answer these questions, the Education Technology Industry Network of SIIA conducted a survey of world-wide k-20 educators. The Report summarizes the results from the 2016 Vision K-20 Professional Learning (PL) Survey. The Vision K-20 PL Survey asks K-20 education leaders around the globe to provide information about their online professional learning practices and experience. The results from this survey will help us and our partners better understand how K-20 educators are using online professional learning opportunities and what they hope to gain from them. The report includes an interesting infographic that mainly contrasts how k-12 and higher education educators experience and practice via their online professional learning.

 

vk20-infographics

The report shows how education technology vendors might be spending more effort in developing to meet the needs and interests of educators. One questions still stands however, are vendors overselling their products to educators? and are educators in turn, as their schools are, falling into the trap of “wow” factor of technology?

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11 Jul 2016

New and Updated Google Sites for Early Adopters

What’s new: Google Sites is one of the most popular products among our enterprise customers, and we’ve been working on an update that makes it even easier for employees to share information within their company.

With the new Google Sites, you can build beautiful, functional pages to aggregate and distribute content across your enterprise, optimized for every screen. A new intuitive drag-and-drop design experience supports real-time collaboration by multiple editors, just like in Docs, and offers easy access to all your content from Calendar, Docs, Drive, Maps and more. The new Sites also includes themes and layouts designed to scale and flex to any screen size, so they’re as useful when you access them on the 30-inch monitor at your desk or your smartphone on your commute.

Additional information for Apps administrators:

  • The classic version of Google Sites will remain fully functional for at least one year.
  • In the future, we will provide options for moving content from classic Google Sites.

If you’re the admin of a company that runs on Google Apps for Work, you can express your interest in the Google Sites Early Adopter Program here

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