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Comment: Vendor packaged BS. (Score 1) 216

The problem with this is the same problem that's happening with elearning. Administrators see a cool video by a vendor and decide that's going to be the magic bullet. Then, you have 3rd graders learning Java. Then in middle school, they switch to VB. Then, in high school, it's back to Java again. Teaching kids to code like this is going to make them hate everything. Furthermore, good luck finding teachers for this- there's already a massive teacher shortage, and far too few math and science teachers, much less anything else. Instead, a better path would be to start teaching kids digital literacy. Sounds like a buzzword, but really what it comes down to is teaching kids how to use the internet and other technologies to learn. I saw a librarian who took a musty old high school library and turned it into a digital learning center, where he'd partner with teachers to add online components to their curriculum, so whenever kids felt a need to do so, they'd go to the library to do the curriculum there. All the computers faced his desk, so he could keep an eye on them. I saw something in that place I had never seen before- rows of teenagers at computers, and none of them were on youtube, facebook, twitter, etc. They were all looking at blogs, wikipedia, etc. Teaching kids that the internet is more than just facebook is far more powerful for the purpose of creating a stronger tech workforce than shoving prepackaged garbage coding plans down people's throats. (Furthermore, if you want to really ruin any subject for kids, make it common core.)

Comment: Did my master's in edutech- Here's what works. (Score 1) 231

by Peterus7 (#46052899) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Reimagine a Library?
I did my Master's thesis on successful implementations of educational technology.

One of the most successful implementations in a library was done in a low income high school in the Tacoma area. I had the amazing opportunity to interview the guy who ran it, and his story went like this- When he inherited the library from a kindly old librarian, it had become a place where students took naps. What he did was he moved the bookshelves out of the way, created a circular desk in the middle, and had four rows of computers, monitors facing him. He could see what information students were interacting with and if need be, police it, but he rarely had to.

Normally when I go to a library, I see a bunch of teenagers on facebook, youtube, etc. These kids were looking up blogs, wikipedia, etc. He explained that the first thing he did was integrate with the teachers, and ask if they wanted web quests, or similar web integration. He had a real talent for coming up with all sorts of cool online activities that could be easily integrated into a curriculum, and teachers were constantly giving him material to work with- if a student was struggling or wanted to do work on their own, he'd take them. This did mean a lot of extra work on his end, but the implementation was worth it. Not only was he getting students engaged with the material, he was helping students gain digital literacy.

I don't know how much you could take away from this for an elementary school library, but there's a lot to be said about finding cool online integration for whatever the teachers are working with- and that's huge. If you are in alignment with the teacher's curriculum, you'll have a much better chance of being successful. Also, the big thing he said he owed everything on was administration support, so best of luck with that side.

Comment: I did my master's thesis on this stuff. (Score 1) 169

by Peterus7 (#44845425) Attached to: The Post-Lecture Classroom
So, the data says that yes, hybrid (GOOD Hybrid) classrooms do work pretty well. The data also goes on to say that a lot of this is contextual, and really cannot be generalized. There's so much hype that forgets about entire populations of learners. I think the most important thing is to offer choice- learners will self determine what works best for them.

Comment: I did my master's thesis on elearning. (Score 1) 168

by Peterus7 (#44144801) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Explaining Cloud Privacy Risks To K-12 Teachers?

So, questions like this are interesting, but what I feel is more important is how effective is it going to be in the classroom? What most teachers and students are really concerned about is how can this better the student's learning and save the teacher time. Administrators care about the bottom line- the budget. If this, or any, technology meets those needs, questions about cloud privacy, and a lot of other things, go out the door.

But a very big thing to focus on is making sure the teachers know how to use the technology. That's true of any elearning solution. I've seen cases where a really robust technology was given to a school, but without sufficient professional development, it fell flat. But as more and more teachers retire, and a new generation of teachers in their 20s replaces them, technologies like these will become ubiquitous, and while questions about privacy are scary, I feel that the ability for teachers to connect with students on multiple channels is overall a positive thing.

Comment: I did my master's thesis on this. (Score 1) 215

by Peterus7 (#42961523) Attached to: The Two Big Problems With Online College Courses
So. Key findings. OnlineTraditionalHybrid for attrition and performance. Hybrid means much greater time investment. For hybrid to succeed, you need a lot of factors working together. Students need to know what they're doing. Face to face classes need to be more student centered/fluid. Faculty need to be given sufficient professional development. LMS coherence is important. Tenured faculty will want to stick with what they've been doing for years. Student body makeup is important. CS students age ~20 will do much better than veterinary students age ~40. Digital literacy matters, but can be taught. I had a lot more findings, but this is not news. One of the biggest things is that many online courses are very poorly designed from a pedagogical point of view. It's almost like you asked some person who's been teaching face to face for 20 years to teach an online course with no experience or training.

Comment: I did my master's thesis on this. (Score 2) 372

by Peterus7 (#42867575) Attached to: Professors Rejecting Classroom Technology
So, there are a ton of issues here that I could comment on, but the bit about professors feeling administrators are being paternalistic and refusing it flat out for those reasons is particularly interesting. After having several interviews with a head of Instructional tech at my research college, they told me that the biggest frustration was the tenure system. Tenured professors would always teach they way they had always taught, while instructional technologists at private universities could leverage more control in getting a coherent LMS environment set up. It really seemed like one of the biggest roadblocks for getting cool instructional technology implemented was somewhat political and petty in nature.

In a similar vein to the bit on smaller colleges, I later interviewed a professor at a community college who was able to implement really awesome instructional tech, and the trick there was to implement it in such a way where it saved professors time and allowed for more functional instruction. Too often it seems like another loop for them to go through, but if they provide the correct scaffolding and support on the academic side, it can be done right. It just rarely is, but that's usually caused by a number of factors all working together to create a really awful e-learning experience.

Comment: Any curriculum can fail. (Score 1) 102

by Peterus7 (#42469929) Attached to: Khan Academy Will Be Ready For Its Close-Up In Idaho
What they really need to focus on is making sure the students and teachers have all the resources they need to make this work. What I'm afraid of is this giving the Khan Academy a black eye. Still, having used himself a lot, I think the kids will prefer KA over 19 year old textbooks alone.

Comment: I did my thesis on LMSes. (Score 1) 113

by Peterus7 (#41118503) Attached to: Why Professors Love (and Loathe) Technology

This is really interesting, as there is some anxiety within the public university system about tenure and LMSes, and how with the private institutions you have the freedom to implement them, whereas with public universities, there is a lot more resistance to things the faculty sees as wasteful.

Also, to run a really good flipped class, the time investment is rather insane. You might be spending less time working on powerpoint or whatnot, but you've got an email queue to deal with.

Comment: My thesis is on this. (Score 1) 76

by Peterus7 (#40090425) Attached to: Machine-Guided Learning Matches Teachers In Study
I've been doing a Master's thesis on hybrid learning, and this story is incredibly misleading. Hybrid learning doesn't equal machines teaching. It just means that the teacher is reframed as someone who has to use instructional technology more to save class time. In turn, they end up having to spend a lot more time troubleshooting course software issues, providing student tutoring, etc. We're getting to a stage where most asynchronous learning can effectively be done online. But this doesn't invalidate the need for a human being involved, and the importance of some face to face time with the instructor. The research has backed this for a long time, and this is not new information at all. In fact, I've most research suggests that hybrid learning produces better achievement results than either online or traditional modes, although the push right now is for online courses due to the flexibility they offer.

Comment: Re:Bad Science Teacher = Bad Science Education (Score 1) 225

by Peterus7 (#35607652) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Online Science For 8th Grade Students?
I'm not saying kids like everything on the internet. They don't. In fact, they don't do much with 99.9% of the internet, because they have zero exposure to it. They don't know how to do research on scientific things online, they don't know about the opportunities to help with ongoing research, and they don't have any real sense of internet literacy outside of youtube and facebook. My goal with this post was to get a good sense of what was out there that could help bring science to them in multiple ways- A textbook based lecture with a cool science simulation I found online is likely far more effective than a textbook lecture alone.

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