MOOCs: How will they affect your K-12 classroom?

MOOCs could have big implications for K-12 learning

MOOCs-educationThe term “MOOCs”–an acronym for massive open online courses–is no stranger to the higher-education community. Providers such as Coursera, edX, and Udacity have helped to boost MOOC mania, with some courses boasting tens of thousands of participants.

Supporters point to MOOCS’ easy accessibility and potential cost savings for students and colleges alike, while critics note the courses’ low retention rates and potential impact on college faculty hiring practices. Some universities are exploring whether or not they can offer credit for MOOC participation.

While the higher-education MOOC debate continues, more and more ed-tech advocates are linking MOOCs with K-12 education. MOOCs hold great potential to expand K-12 hybrid, or blended, learning, and also offer potential to increase student access to courses that might not be available in their brick-and-mortar schools, such as expanded language or Advanced Placement classes.…Read More

10 engaging ed-tech booths at ISTE 2013

Technology has come a long way in just a few short years, and just like the technology products featured at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2013 conference in San Antonio, exhibitor booths have taken a giant leap in imagination and creativity!

It used to be you couldn’t walk by a vendor’s booth without seeing somewhat lackluster representatives standing next to a table handing out pamphlets. But as products for teachers and students become more interactive, so have vendors’ booths–through innovative space layout, eye-catching colors, or themed decor–attracting educators with the promise of ‘something-cool-is-going-on-here.’

Were you at ISTE 2013? What booth, technology, or product caught your eye? What were some of your overall observations and thoughts about the 2013 conference? Leave your comments below or tweet me @eSN_Meris.…Read More

ISTE: DOE talks 6 education technology changes, new initiatives

In yet another packed ISTE 2013 highlighted session, Richard Culatta, acting director at the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, discussed the challenges schools face today and how education technology, broadband, and new DOE initiatives can help solve them.

“There are really four main challenges schools are facing right now,” explained Culatta. “Students are disadvantaged by geolocation, students are treated the same regardless of need, class schedules are valued over learning, and data comes back too late to be useful.”

Culatta is a firm believer that education technology can play a large role in helping to solve these issues, as well as changing six points of “problem areas” education is facing today.…Read More

Technologies that are changing and will change the world

What may sound like far-fetched predictions now could be popular digital learning tools down the road.

Well before the days of Siri, functional educational robots, and touch technology, futurists and technology enthusiasts made predictions that ended up being eerily close to some of today’s most popular technologies (just check out the Knowledge Navigator). Technology is constantly evolving, and ed-tech advocates know that what may sound like far-fetched predictions now could be popular digital learning tools down the road.

During an ISTE 2013 session on future technologies that will impact and shape schools, presenter Howie DiBlasi, an Arizona Vocational Teacher of the Year, educator and CIO, and digital technology supporter, told attendees that some technologies, including a mind-reading shopping cart and a space elevator, are either in the beginning stages of development or are not as far off as some may think.

Does wearing analytical underwear sound appealing? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. A Finnish company called Myontec is marketing underwear embedded with electromyographic sensors, which, according to Wikipedia, “can evaluate and record the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles. DiBlasi said the applications are many—medical professionals could collect important data and people could monitor their diets.…Read More

ISTE keynote: Gaming has huge educational potential

Opening keynoter Jane McGonigal addressed gaming’s educational potential.

Gaming–educational gaming in particular–has supporters and skeptics. During the ISTE 2013 opening keynote, speaker Jane McGonigal, a gaming researcher and author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, laid out a vision for how gaming can help boost student engagement.

Calling game designers “happiness engineers” and experts in making difficult tasks engaging, McGonigal said that educators and policy makers should leverage game designers’ wisdom as they try to address important challenges in today’s world.

The number of gamers worldwide recently topped 1 billion, McGonigal said, and while skeptics might “think about games as being a waste of time, to avoid being a productive member of society, 1 billion gamers is actually the best news you’ll hear all week—it’s good news for parents and teachers, for learning and education, and good news, most of all, for anyone who wants to help pitch in and solve some of the world’s most epic challenges.”…Read More