Posts Tagged digital learning

New enviroments for learning in the 21st century

Educators across the country are coming up with ways to engage students outside of the classroom utilizing 21st century technology. In an interview with Education Week, Michael H. Levine, the executive director of a research lab that studies digital learning stated, “Kids spend only a fifth of their time in school. The rest of their day is out of school, where they are often connected [virtually] in some way.” It appears the trick is finding the best way to use this “connectedness” in a meaningful way that helps students learn.

In Chicago, the downtown library has created YOUmedia, a program that connects high school age teens to technology, workshops, and mentors. Students enrolled in the program have access to computers, cameras, editing software, and even a recording studio. The program is so successful, that Education Week reports that 30 cities across the country plan to emulate it.

In Seattle, there’s the YMCA and University of Washington’s Center for Communication and Civic Engagement collaborative program, Ytech. Ytech, which targets high school students, uses technology to not only help participants gain 21st century skills, but it also encourages civil engagement. For example, Latino Ytech students utilized digital media to share stories about their cultural heritage and then used the videos to teach other Ytech students about mobile technology.

Researchers David Theo Goldberg, the executive director of the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub at the University of California, Irvine refer to this new field as “Connected Learning.” In an interview with Education Week, Goldberg had this to say about the potential of connected learning: “We’ve lost kids in school who no longer have a great deal of interest in learning, because not all kids learn in the same way. Connected learning is about catching kids in their passions and making their learning passion- and interest-driven. This means connecting them through their intersecting interests with other learners to expand their own learning.”

Read more of the story here. See what Washington students had to say about how they picture classrooms in the future here.

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Harvard and MIT to offer free online courses

Earlier this month, we told you about Coursera, the new non-profit offering free online courses from Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan.

Harvard and and MIT will begin offering free online courses, known as MOOCs (massively open-online courses), through edX. Already wildly popular at the universities where they’re offered, many see MOOCs as having great global potential. In an interview with the New York Times, online college professor and “MOOC pioneer” George Siemens stated:

“Projects like this can impact lives around the world, for the next billion students from China and India. But if I were president of a mid-tier university, I would be looking over my shoulder very nervously right now, because if a leading university offers a free circuits course, it becomes a real question whether other universities need to develop a circuits course.”

Adding another perspective, past president of Tufts University and current member of Harvard Corporation, Lawrence S. Bacow said, “Online education is here to stay, and it’s only going to get better.”

EdX’s first class, Circuits and Electronics, began in March and enrolled well over 100,000 students, 10,000 of which completed the mid-term exams. Those who complete the class will receive a certificate of mastery and a grade. Like other free online course programs, credit is not given.

EdX will expand to five courses (including humanities) in the fall and will be operated by leadership at Harvard and MIT.

Read the full story here.

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Google launches new site aimed at educators

Google has created a new site targeted at educators who want to teach online search strategies. The site, Search Education, is aligned with the Common Core curriculum and refers to the K-12 College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards. Search Education will include lessons ranging from different expertise levels as well as training videos.

Educators can choose to incorporate lessons from the following topics:

  • Picking the right search terms
  • Understanding search results
  • Searching for evidence for research tasks
  • Narrowing a search to get the best results
  • Evaluating the credibility of sources

Daily search exercises, referred to as A Google A Day, a Lesson Plan Map, and Live Trainings will be included on Search Education.This tool will definitely come in handy for those looking to enhance online research skills of their students, a critical skill for the 21st century.

Read more of the story here.

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Khan Academy featured on 60 Minutes

two girls learning at computersThe Khan Academy promises “a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.” Sal Khan, the founder of the Khan Academy, talked to 60 Minutes about just what that means. We’re big fans of the Khan Academy–President Shantanu Sinha came to talk to Seattle to talk to us about Khan’s work as part of our Innovations in Learning: Technology in the Classroom speakers series last June.

In the interview, Sal talks about how the academy started as a few videos to help his cousin learn algebra and has blossomed into a worldwide learning platform. “What we’re trying to do,” he says, “is take the passivity out of the classroom.”

Teachers and students like the approach too. One student was asked what the hard part of learning with the Khan Academy’s approach is. She responded: “I don’t think there is a hard part.”

Watch the whole story below.

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