Tag Archives: Technology

The Flipped Classroom

(Source)

A popular concept in education, which is reviewed on Inside Higher ED’s website, is the idea of a “flipped classroom.” The basic definition of a “flipped classroom,” which varies depending on your source, is that the typical lecture and homework elements of a classroom are reversed. This means students would listen to a pre-recorded lecture at home and do homework in the classroom. Several different business models and organizations already promote this idea, like the well-known Khan Academy non-profit model, but is this model optimal?

Benefits
Don’t get me wrong; the “flipped” model has its benefits. (1) Students can go through the material at their own pace in a comfortable environment. This approach allows students who blaze through the material to be more efficient with their time and less confident students to spend as much time as they need to understand the content. (2) Students who are struggling with a problem or concept in class can ask an instructor for assistance who will guide them to the answer. Speaking from a student perspective, it is much easier (and memorable) to have an instructor work with you to solve a problem than it is consulting a textbook or searching for the answer online. (3) Plenty of opportunity to discuss and compare approaches with other students while in class. Students often solve problems and run into the same issues while working through problems. It can be very helpful and time efficient to collaborate with other students to achieve I higher degree of understanding. These benefits all contributes to a greater understanding of the content and a stronger awareness of troublesome areas that require greater attention.

Weaknesses
So why hasn’t everyone adopted this model? Simply put, it’s in our human nature to resist change. The traditional method of suggesting material to read over before class, lecturing during class, and assigning homework after class has been in place for centuries. This traditional “teacher experience,” arguably, can never be replaced. As a student, one fatal flaw I’ve experienced in the current system occurs at home. I often find it difficult to concentrate and motivate myself to read from a textbook or learn a new topic that doesn’t particularly interest me, especially if the content isn’t specifically brought up in class. I relate this experience to a chore I never liked doing, but is required for a greater cause, like my parent’s satisfaction (or graduation). Of course, it isn’t a perfect system, but we implement support initiatives to redeem its shortcomings. Many of these initiatives mirror the benefits of the “flipped classroom,” for example Academic-Zone’s personalized online approach. Lecturing for more than 50 minutes may not maintain student attention and be effected by diminishing marginal returns. However, the lecture still plays an important role in highlighting the key information in a mountain of text. Instructors also make themselves available after class to clarify information.

Final Thoughts
Similar to the article written by Pamela E. Barnett, a potential solution would be an integration of both systems. Taking the best of both models with the help of modern technology can improve the effectiveness of teaching. For example, having a short lecture, in-class exercises, and relevant online material/assessment could be a possible layout for the lectures of tomorrow. With this model, we have the opportunity to try a new approach and personalize learning for students of the 21st century.

What are you thoughts?
–     Do you think this “flipped classroom” model could work?
–     Would it be easier for students to learn information using this model?
–     How about instructors to teach?

I look forward to your opinion!

Exploring Different Ways to Teach Math

Math. It’s a word that strikes fear into many students. Whether or not you’re a math major, at some point you may have to use math in post-secondary. For example, Sociology students are required to take a course on statistics, but it may have been years since they’ve taken a Math course.

At Academic-Zone, we approach this challenge with our online Numeracy-Zone module. The module is broken down into four topics: Calculations, Statistics, Algebra, and Equations & Lines. Mathematical concepts are explained using real-life examples and the module’s easy-to-navigate design allows students to explore based on their own needs and interests.  Math is learned through doing, and our modules provide students with many opportunities for practice through interactive exercises and quizzes.

There are many different ways to effectively teach math. One approach is through the use of games. In an article on Forbes, Stanford Mathematician, Dr. Keith Devlin, explains why video games are the perfect way to teach math. He explains that math is not something you know, but rather an activity that you do. He argues that games encourage students to do, by providing challenges and rewards.

What are your thoughts on the use of games as a tool for teaching math? What other strategies do you use to teach or learn math concepts?

Check out the full article on Dr. Keith Devlin here.

Will Teachers Eventually Be Replaced?

Is it possible for technology to replace teachers? Some people view it as a strong possibility, while others believe teachers won’t be replaced any time soon. As technology continues to evolve, it may seem as though the possibility of teachers being replaced by technology and online learning is becoming more and more likely.

However, an article on the Huffington Post explains why this won’t be happening. “Technology Will Not Replace Teachers” provides some insight on why teachers are irreplaceable. It talks about how technology is only a supplementary tool to enhance or improve on current teaching methods, and is not a lesson on its own. The author brings up a very interesting point, mentioning that with this increase in technology in the classroom, there is a greater need for teachers. He explains that teachers are needed to figure out how technology works for each student based on their individual needs, and where its use is most appropriate.

The article ends off with an intriguing statement:

“A computer can give information, but a teacher can lend a hand, or an ear, and discern what’s necessary for a student to succeed, and to want to succeed.”

Do you think teachers can be replaced by technology? Why or why not?

For more reading on this topic, check out the original article here.

Is it Time to Retire the Binder?

Has the time come to abandon binders and the whole concept of handwritten notes? In a recent post by the Canadian Education Association, one instructor gives his thoughts on this matter. “Let’s Ban the Binder” discusses why we need to move on from the traditional methods of having students copy out notes or keep copies of handouts towards the use of more collaborative learning practices. It touches on how exploring of modern tools and technology should be emphasized, rather than having students simply review notes in preparation for tests.

Do you think it’s time to abandon the traditional methods of teaching and learning? What role might technology play? In your opinion, are there  factors that stand in the way of change? Share your thoughts!

An intriguing quote:
“If we believe that creativity is more important than regurgitation, that inventiveness is of greater value than memorization, that learning is more experiential than observational, then we must engage students in thinking beyond pen, ruler and paper.”

Click here for the full article.

Visit the Canadian Education Association website for more.

Can Mobile Devices Be Used in Academics?

“Students are ready to use their mobile devices more for academics, and they look to institutions and instructors for opportunities and encouragement to do so.”

This key finding from a recent study conducted by the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) provides insight on students’ experiences and expectations when it comes to the use of technology in their courses. The article, “ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2013”, raises many interesting questions. How exactly will mobile devices be used in courses? Will students actually use their devices for academics, or will they simply be a distraction? How can instructors monitor who’s using their mobile device for academics and who’s not? Let us know what you think!

Check out the full article here.

Technology Will Change Education

I came across an article earlier today on how technology will change education. The article provided insight on how technology has changed almost all aspects of our lives. It goes on to state that education has always revolved around a teacher formally instructing students in a classroom setting, but with the emergence of interactive, adaptive learning software, technology could dramatically change the entire learning process. This relates to my recent post about how online learning allows students to be more self-directed and learn at their own pace, as opposed to an instructor’s pace. Although there are barriers to the use of technology in education, I agree with the author, in that it is very likely the implementation of educational technology will increase and expand sooner rather than later.

What are your thoughts on the use of technology in education? How do you think education will be impacted over the next few years? I will leave you with one quote from the article that really stood out to me and leave the rest of the reading to you,

We very well may be at the cusp of a revolution in education based on technological change.

Click here for the full article.

Technology can help in solving problems in face-to-face classes

This is a very interesting article! The post showcases an instructor’s strategy of creating YouTube videos as online resources for her students. She discusses the benefits and setbacks of providing an online lesson to students. The post compares the pace of teaching face to face to the pace of teaching online or online resources. When teaching face to face, the instructor typically sets the pace of the lesson based on personal preference, timeframe, and students’ note-taking speed. An online resource or lesson, however, allows the student to control the pace through pausing and resuming. I believe students often have a hard time keeping up with professors.
Academic-Zone sees the benefit of self-directed learning and provides students with online resources that allow them to work at their own pace and improve their academic writing skills inside and outside the classroom. What are your thoughts? For more reading on this topic, check out the original article.

New Module Announcement – Numeracy-Zone: Equations and Lines

Numeracy-Zone

The Academic-Zone team is excited to announce the release of another new module: Numeracy-Zone: Equations and Lines! This is the fourth module to be developed under the Numeracy-Zone title, other modules include Numeracy-Zone: Calculations, Numeracy-Zone: Statistics, and Numeracy-Zone: Algebra. Numeracy-Zone: Equation and Lines will be available to Brock students during the 2013-14 school year.

Topics covered include introduction to equations and lines, the Cartesian plane, linear relationships, using the equation of a line, graphing, and systems of linear equations.

As we continue to grow, we will continue to develop and improve the line-up of Academic-Zone modules. What module do you think we should develop next?!

If you are interested in learning more leave a comment or send us an email!

Adaptive Learning: Knewton

Adaptive learning is a term that has been thrown around a lot in recent times in the world of education. Whether you are in the classroom, online, or at a conference, the topic of discussion seems to be adaptive learning.

So what exactly is adaptive learning?

Simply put, adaptive learning is a new way of learning that uses computers as interactive teaching devices. With the help of a little math and science, adaptive learning platforms manipulate and tailor educational content in real-time, to personalize learning for students and generate insights for instructors. In other words, students go through exercises and the computer platform adjusts the upcoming content to best meet the needs of the student.

Adaptive learning is looking to solve the issue of “everyone is unique, and everyone learns in a different way”. With adaptive learning the learning becomes individualized and focused; with the end goal being to provide the most effective and efficient way to learn. Technology also plays an important role in adaptive learning and in today’s education in general. Technology allows new ways to approach the learning environment and delivers new, innovative ways to educate. For example, technology enables content to be delivered in a variety of different forms, catering to the varying needs of unique students.

Adaptive learning is very complex and is truly changing the way we educate and learn. Although I have just skimmed the surface of what adaptive learning is, and what it can do, I wanted to take this opportunity to point out one organization that is leading the way with adaptive learning. The company is called Knewton, and they are the worlds leading adaptive learning technology platform. The company is breaking grounds with their outstanding platform. I first heard about Knewton at a Pearson Education conference. They recently partnered with Pearson to provide adaptive learning to their large line-up of MyLab and Mastering educational resources/LMS system. Knewton goes above and beyond with their adaptive learning platform, offering a truly individualized learning experience for every user. More importantly they have the efficacy to back it up. With proven results, the system offers a brand new and innovative way to learn.

For more information on adaptive learning check out  Knewton’s website. There is so much more to discover, so make sure you explore more!

Whats your experience with adaptive learning? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Numeracy-Zone Updated

The Academic-Zone team has been working hard to serve your needs better! We recently updated all three of the Numeracy-Zone modules (Calculations, Algebra, and Statistics), and they will be available to all of our users this upcoming school year. The Numeracy-Zone modules are now filled with interactive exercises and activities to keep the learning fun and interesting!

Numeracy-Zone

The Academic-Zone modules are dynamic, offering a unique user experience. The interactivity allows information to flow both ways within the module. Students can view the material and concepts, apply their new knowledge directly in the resource, and most importantly, obtain feedback to improve or enhance their understanding of the concept.

Make sure to check back to find out what else is happening with Academic-Zone.

Want more information on Numeracy-Zone? Send me an email at academic-zone@brocku.ca!