Matt Bower from Macquarie University in Australia has just published a new book with this title. Here’s the TOC:
Here comes the future!
A lot of us have been equating “personalized learning” with the technology that makes (or will make) individualized learning paths possible, but this article makes the point that, as is pretty much always the case, it’s about the practices and not the technology; technology may help to implement, but it’s not going to do it “all by itself.”
Quote for today:
“If we want to make a dent in the problem of digital distractions in class, we must begin by clarifying the policies we have created and the reasons behind them. Those reasons might look different from teacher to teacher.” — James Lang, professor of English at Assumption College. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
A good thought while preparing the syllabus. Not just “turn it off,” but this is WHY I don’t want you on Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat during class and it has to do with acquiring both the skills AND the discipline to be successful in life and in the workplace.
This roundup of tools is interesting because it doesn’t target educators. Some great ‘quick and dirty’ solutions!
“Personalized learning” is a huge buzzphrase these days, but, like the blind men and the elephant, it seems to mean many different things to many different people. This article (ignore the horrible headline!) has a description of the process some instructors are using, in conjunction with their Learning Management System and a few specialized tools, to create personalized learning pathways. As someone who has just converted a course from face-to-face to “anytime, anywhere,” I am a bit in awe of the amount of work that these instructors have undertaken to make this happen; I think it would take me a lot longer than a summer! But I’d love to see some samples and more practical implementation tips for doing this, nonetheless. And I would love to take a closer look at tools like Gooru’s “Learning Navigator” that is mentioned in the article. Does it really promote learner success or is it a step toward creating “assembly line” teaching? What do you think?
I’d love to use more games in my classes but haven’t found any that have anything to do with our lesson material. One company is trying to change that. Legends of Learning has created several games that are available to play for free and hundreds more for which your “first $300 are free,” and support state and national education standards (for K-12, but that’s great for a college review, in my book!) I’m encouraged to hear about the development of games to support education and see some interesting titles, especially in the “Life Sciences” category, although I’m not very clear how far my 3000 credits will go. How about you — are you using games in the classroom?
An article in the Chronicle for Higher Education Review discusses the Janus-faced nature of social media. On the one hand, students “curate” their accounts, maintaining a pristine appearance to the world since they know the information will be used by anybody who can get to it to influence decisions about their future. On the other hand, students “let off steam” in anonymous forums and accounts with “temporary” posts like Snapchat and Instagram. Is the dichotomy contributing to student stress and anxiety? Should educational institutions do more to help students understand, analyze and navigate these treacherous waters?
This past year I’ve been part of a group from Library Services creating a pilot project that will create tutorials for faculty to embed in their Talon courses. After the first round of faculty and student testing of our first module (on Plagiarism), we heard from our pilot-ers, “We like the content, but can you make it more interactive?” This created the perfect opportunity to jump into my new role as a tech scout and investigate the possibilities. I thought, there just has to be a good tool out there that won’t take hours to learn, will interact nicely with existing video content on YouTube, and also embed into Talon/D2L.
I read lots of reviews, and tried out a few different options. Office Mix, a free PowerPoint add-in, was one promising program that I ended up not really getting to try out because I ran into technical issues loading it onto my office computer. Since then tech scout Kristie Murdoch has reviewed here on the blog! I also tried out EdPuzzle, and although it looks like an interesting tool, it wasn’t what I was looking for.
PlayPosit is the tool I decided to give a full trial. Basically, I wanted a way to take an existing video and embed within it questions or activities to engage the students watching the video in paying active attention to the content, and also processing the content rather than just passively taking it in.
PlayPosit is completely web-based, and has a nice simple interface. Once you log in you can immediately start creating interactive content based on an existing video. For my needs, I had videos I had already created and uploaded to YouTube, so I was ready to roll. I simply pasted in the URL of my video, and it showed up in the PlayPosit editing screen.
From here I began adding questions, placing them at the exact place in the video where I wanted students to pause and reflect, or check
their understanding of the previous content. When students are watch my saved video, it will automatically pause at these points, and won’t continue until they have answered the question.
PlayPosit also has copyright agreements with YouTube and Vimeo that allow PlayPosit users to pull videos from these platforms, crop content if desired, and add interactive question elements. For more information see PlayPosit’s copyright FAQ. Once your PlayPosit interactive video is saved, you will have a couple different options for how to share it, through a link open to all, or through a link just for your students who have their own PlayPosit account (if you want to save their answers for grading).
I found PlayPosit to be very easy to use, with just very basic features, but those features being the ones I was looking for! This is perfect for those videos that you find on YouTube and would like to share with students, except that you only want certain chunks of it and don’t want to get permission from the owner, make a copy, do your edits, and reshare somewhere else. PlayPosit streamlines this and adds in the question features too. This is a great tool, and I highly recommend. (By the way, I tested the free version. The paid version has more question features.)
Give it a try, and let us all know what you think!
The Electronic Frontier Federation is “dedicating to defending your rights in the digital world.” A recent report they have compiled analyzes student privacy (K-12) — or lack thereof — in light of school-provided technology and school-required accounts with various ed-tech vendors. In the 3-part report, they talk about the laissez-faire approach many schools take with regard to student relationships with the outside vendors, they discus the relevant laws and also make recommendations for change.
In light of recent legislation that allows ISPs to sell subscriber data, this becomes an even more interesting question. A Wisconsin congressman, James Sensenbrenner, recently opined that this shouldn’t be a problem because “Nobody’s got to use the Internet.” However, if I require my students to sign up with an online provider to view or participate in an educational module they make available, or to use a tool that they supply, they don’t really have a choice… and are probably also quite unaware of the potential consequences.
What do you think? How can we better protect student’s privacy as we’re required to do by FERPA? How can we better educate students about their own rights and responsibilities in this matter?