We can’t predict the future of technology or education or how education will be changed. There is evidence that it is changing rapidly and even how we learn and how our brains work may change. How will we adapt? How will we teach and learn? We are already beginning to answer these questions. All questions and answers are open for discussion. Two recent books on opposite poles on the subject are Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains (6/6/11, W.W. Norton & Co.) and Clive Thompson’s Smarter than You Think: How Technology is Changing our Minds for Better (9/12/13, Penguin Press).
The following are two TEDTalks are about the future of education. The topic of the first is the trajectory of pedagogic change and the implications. The second is about one company’s response: MOOCs.
Donald Clark, former CEO of Epic Group, an e-learning company in UK, “More pedagogic change in the last 10 years than the last 1000 years,” TEDTalkxGlasgow, 4/2/2012. Clark is a longtime advocate of e-learning and e-learning entrepreneur. His TEDTalkx opens many questions about the future of education.
Daphne Koller, Co-founder of Coursera, “What we’re learning from online education,” TEDTalks, 8/1/12. Note the incredible growth of Coursera from 2012 to 2014: over 110 institutions 719 offer courses as of 8/2/14. At the time of this talk there were 43 courses from 4 universities. Q: Are they high quality? How are thousands of students assessed? Will MOOCs for credit become the norm?
Discussion forums engage students with each other and their instructor. Since many online courses do not meet face-to-face, forums can be used throughout a course to test thinking strategies, ask for feedback and help, and discuss topics. Instructors monitor or facilitate discussions with good questioning and follow-up skills.
This is an example of a discussion that I lead.
Diigo is a community of people sharing sites of similar interest through bookmarking. You may create or join groups to share and comment on posts of interest to the group.
Diigo has an active E-Learning for Educators group where instructors, students and professionals contribute. My contributions to Diigo are included.
Scoop-It is a curating site which can be used to collect and share information and URLs on a topic. The layout is simple, clean and easy to use. Students may create a Scoop-It magazine as a means of demonstrating their skills at evaluating websites for accuracy and plagiarism as well as a curation site.
iPads in the Classroom is my Scoop-It magazine.
In an online environment we might monitor discussions, ask for responses, observe as students work. There are tools to give us a formative assessment and it can be done in Moodle with a quiz or a survey. The quizzing tool is a more familiar and formal method of student assessment and can be graded automatically. A survey or poll is a useful tool to gauge student learning or simply engage students. There are many survey tools on the Web which will also gather and provide feedback.
Here is an example of a Moodle quiz.
The Web Investigator tool helps students apply their skills of evaluating the accuracy and usefulness of websites. In this example I investigated an interesting story on the Web about the mysterious Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.
Here is how the investigation went.
Our first course in the E-Learning Certificate Program has been an intensive look at the bones of e-learning. My journal is a reflection of our efforts to build a learning community, share our views and lead discussions, review and evaluate websites, and share information in diverse formats.
My journal is a glimpse into my reactions to the course.