Sunday, September 30, 2012

Learning in the 21st Century: A 5 Year Retrospective on the Growth in Online Learning

English: Diagram of technology-empowered profe...
English: Diagram of technology-empowered professional development for teachers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is report you may be interested in (recommended by John S Oliver). It is from a USA-based study (but the tends are likely to have some relevance to you) that analyses and reports key findings from 416,758 K-12 students, parents, teachers and administrators. The Speak Up team mention that by "comparing the issues we reported on in 2007 with the online learning headlines of 2012 we can easily see an increased experiential sophistication around different implementations of online learning as well as a new blending of emerging technologies such as mobile learning and digital textbooks into our online learning discussion" (source).
Key trends highlighted by the Speak up team from the report include (source):
    • A majority of teachers, school site administrators and district level administrators now report participating in an online class for their own professional development. For teachers, this represents a 148 percent increase since 2007.
    • Teachers’ value proposition on online learning for their own professional development is directly related to their previous online learning experiences as a teacher or in an online training class. 30 percent of teachers say that online PD is now their preferred approach for continuing education.
    • A new, positive correlation exists between educators’ experiences with online learning and their interest in mobile learning in school.
    • The profile of a typical student interested in taking an online class today is a middle school girl who values the use of a mobile device in school and sees online learning as her ticket to a more personalized learning environment where she is in control of the learning process.
    • One-third of parents now support increased investments in online learning.
You can download a free copy of this report via these links.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vital to education: Non-cognitive skills

Depression 4
Depression 4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I found Back to School (by the This American Life Team) an eye-opening podcast that makes a huge amount of sense. In part it asks, how much can we expect teachers to do?

Awareness of the importance of affective factors on cognitive abilities has been long-known, but this podcast focuses on "studies that show how poverty-related stress can affect brain development, and inhibit the development of non-cognitive skills".

There is a "growing body of research that 'non-cognitive skills' — qualities like tenacity, resilience, impulse control — are being viewed as increasingly vital in education". And, one of the positive points discussed was how non-cognitive skills can be taught to older students "who have gone much longer without learning things like self-control, conscientiousness and resilience".

The implications for curriculum design, facilitation and support of students of all ages, as well as assessment practices are huge. Would be good to hear your thoughts.

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Digital Literacy and Web 2.0 – the Scenario of Susie

This is a mindmap and hypothetical scenario that tells the story of Susie and her use of Web 2.0 tools to conduct research for her assignments. The mindmap: Susie Web 2.0 Research is designed to give an idea of the complex web of information, ideas, sharing, evaluation and analysis that can go on (in an ideal world) when the potential of the Web 2.0 is exploited fully.

Information Literacy and Web 2.0 - The Scenario of Susie
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Engaging students through e-Learning and better school to work pathways

Clarence Yates shared this post with another community we are both members of. He writes:
This report came out last year and I simply forgot to post it then but the truth of the matter is that I did not know how to embed such a document into the Ning and thanks to our Hazel who took the time to show me. It is a pity that I did not share it earlier because it is certainly a report to read through especially when we are looking at the engagement of our students at school and how e-Learning can play a role here. Thanks to the New Zealand Institute who agreed that we could share this report here. However it is still very relevant at this time and probably in the near future. Dr Rick Boven Director, The NZ Institute in it’s media release and report more ladders.fewer snakes examines why NZ has one of the worst youth unemployment rates in the OCED and why e-learning and creating better school-to-work pathways could make a real difference in the future. Keeping young people engaged and at school means they will be more effectively prepared for work and less likely to become unemployed. Many school leavers are not successfully progressing from school to tertiary education or work. Dr Rick Boven speaks about this report in an audio recording Radiolive interview. A report also appears in the National Business Review. Dr Rick Boven was also interviewed on TV One Close Up Thursday, November 17th. 2010
If you want more information please contact:
Dr Rick Boven, Director, The New Zealand Institute
Ph: 09 309 6230 Email:

More Ladders Fewer Snakes
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Monday, September 3, 2012

You can’t motivate students with technology because technology alone isn’t motivating....

fun (Photo credit: hodgers)
This is, I felt, and insightful post, by Bill Ferriter (August 17th, 2012). In the post Bill, makes the point that was music to my ears:
Basically what I’m arguing is that finding ways to motivate students in our classrooms shouldn’t start with conversations about technology. Instead, it should start with conversations about our kids. What are they deeply moved by? What are they most interested in? What would surprise them? Challenge them? Leave them wondering? Once you have the answers to these questions — only after you have the answers to these questions — are you ready to make choices about the kinds of digital tools that are worth embracing.
I'd highly recommend reading the rest of Bill's post - Are kids really motivated by technology? - and it would be great to hear what your thoughts are on the subject.
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