Friday, February 17, 2012

Learning Analytics - Resources for Further Research

SoLAR - Society for Learning Analytics Research concept paper

This paper written by Tanya Elias clearly lays out what learning analytics are, who the companies are that are working in this space, and what type of user data they are utilizing to produce reports.

George Siemens, an expert in learning analytics, is facilitating a MOOC- Massive Open Online Course on the topic.  His blog can be found here.

The 2011 Horizon Report speaks of learning analytics as in the early stages of development and will be fully developed in four to five years.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It costs less to attend Princeton than Prison?

I was shocked when I read this today.   Newsflash: It costs less to send someone to Princeton than it does to pay for one inmate in prison.

The comparison between higher education spending and correction spending highlighted in the following chart is not perfect. Universities have means to fund themselves; prisons rely on the government.  This is why it makes sense that more of our tax dollars go directly to the prisons rather than institutions of higher learning.

I'd rather have the opportunity to choose whether or not I want to send my tax dollars to help a student in need to get into Princeton, or fund the prison system.  What would you prefer?

Prison vs Princeton
Created by: Public Administration

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs: Innovation that has changed us all

A colleague shared a presentation with me that was created by Steve Jobs.  It addresses the 7 innovation secrets that Steve shared in a book by Carmine Gallo.  Here are the key ingredients of Steve's message to us all.

Principle One: Do what you love. Steve Jobs once told a group of employees, “People with passion can change the world for the better.”  Jobs has followed his heart his entire life and that passion, he says, has made all the difference.  It’s very difficult to come up with new, creative, and novel ideas unless you are passionate about moving society forward.
Principle Two: Put a dent in the universe. Passion fuels the rocket, but vision directs the rocket to its ultimate destination. In 1976, when Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple, Jobs’ vision was to put a computer in the hands of everyday people.  In 1979, Jobs saw an early and crude graphical user interface being demonstrated at the Xerox research facility in Palo Alto, California.  He knew immediately that the technology would make computers appealing to “everyday people.”  That technology eventually became The Macintosh, which changed everything about the way we interact with computers.  Xerox scientists didn’t realize its potential because their “vision” was limited to making new copiers.  Two people can see the exactly the same thing, but perceive it differently based on their vision.

Principle Three: Kick start your brain. Steve Jobs once said “Creativity is connecting things.”  Connecting things means seeking inspiration from other industries.  At various times, Jobs has found inspiration in a phone book, Zen meditation, visiting India, a food processor at Macy’s, or The Four Seasons hotel chain.  Jobs doesn’t “steal” ideas as much as he uses ideas from other industries to inspire his own creativity.
Principle Four: Sell dreams, not products. To Steve Jobs, people who buy Apple products are not “consumers.”  They are people with hopes, dreams and ambitions.  He builds products to help people achieve their dreams.  He once said, “some people think you’ve got to be crazy to buy a Mac, but in that craziness we see genius.”  How do you see your customers?  Help them unleash their inner genius and you’ll win over their hearts and minds.
Principle Five: Say no to 1,000 things. Steve Jobs once said, “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”  He is committed to building products with simple, uncluttered design.  And that commitment extends beyond products. From the design of the iPod to the iPad, from the packaging of Apple’s products, to the functionality of the Web site, in Apple’s world, innovation means eliminating the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
Principle Six: Create insanely great experiences. The Apple store has become the world’s best retailer by introducing simple innovations any business can adopt to create deeper, more emotional connections with their customers.  For example, there are no cashiers in an Apple store. There are experts, consultants, even geniuses, but no cashiers.  Why?  Because Apple is not in the business of moving boxes; they are in the business of enriching lives.  Big difference.
Principle Seven: Master the message. Steve Jobs is the world’s greatest corporate storyteller, turning product launches into an art form.  You can have the most innovative idea in the world, but if you can’t get people excited about it, it doesn’t matter.
Simply put, innovation is a new way of doing things that results in positive change. Innovation is attainable by anyone at any organization, regardless of title or position.  Make innovation a part of your brands’ DNA by thinking differently about your business challenges.
Carmine Gallo is the communications coach for the world’s most admired brands. He is a popular keynote speaker and author of several books including the bestsellers, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. Follow him on Twitter: @Carminegallo

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Let's Flip the Classroom

Knewton is a company to watch in the online/adaptive learning space. They have been working with test prep and remedial math courses but in doing so have "cracked the code" on designing the adaptive layer of technology that may become the NEXT BIG THING in online learning. The infographic below created by Knewton lets me know that they are on the right track.

Flipping the classroom is a hot topic lately. With the advent of the Khan Academy and Salman Kahn calling for the classroom to be flipped.  Teachers are now making video lectures available anytime, online, and it becomes possible to make better use of classtime.

Example:  Think of a teenager at home trying to do their advanced math homework and relying on their parents to answer questions. If the children were able to watch a video lecture online and do some example problems with mom and dad in the evening they could then use classtime to do the 20 problems that used to be assigned as homework.  In this approach, the questions are answered by the teacher.

Educational technology makes this "flipping" of the traditional education model possible.

The Flipped Classroom
Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

Friday, August 26, 2011

Extreme Makeover - Syllabus Edition

I remember with dread the first week of school and the time wasted reviewing the syllabus for each and every class I was taking.  They were all the same.  12 point Times New Roman text that seemed to be bloated and out of control.  I think the longest one was 16 pages but I'm too old to remember anymore. 

This afternoon, I was reading the Chonicle of Higher Education and found a link to this article that shows the redesign of a syllabus that I found impressive.  Although history has not been my favorite subject in the past, I might consider taking this course.

I hope this is helpful to you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Innovation and Education - Better together

In the words of Jack Johnson, they are better together.  It is time for a change in the delivery of education.  It is time for education to be more personalized, more differentiated, and for LEARNING to be the focus.  Innovation meets education online and is a disruptive technology that will cause educators and administrators to rethink the current educational model.
In Clayton Christensen's new book "The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education", he explains how disruptive technologies are changing our old ways.  He mentions online education as the instigator of this change. 

Learn more here:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Great article on Quality in Distance Education

There have been efforts to address quality in higher education. Much work has already been done in the area of quality in online education already as pointed out in this article by Diane Goldsmith, Executive Director, Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium and Chair, WCET Steering Committee.