Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Back again...Some thoughts on education, technology, and schools today

It's been a long time since I've blogged, but I started my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction: Educational Technology this fall and I thought this would be a good spaceto sort out thoughts and ideas as they come. I was reading Montessori's 1912 article entitled, a critical consideration of the new pedagogy in its-relation to modern science and I was struck by her disdain for the desk, rewards systems, and the schools aim to silence students most of the day. She writes,  "Today (1912) we hold the pupils in school, restricted by those instruments so degrading to body and spirit, the desk–and material prizes and punishments. Our aim in all this is to reduce them to the discipline of immobility and silence,–to lead them,– where? Far too often toward no definite end." 

She was on to something back in 1912. She understood that our desire to learn is to be cultivated not constrained. What is the ultimate aim of organized schooling? Is it possible to cultivate critical thinkers, innovators, and problem solvers in classrooms lined with rows, rules, and regulations about what to learn, when to learn, and how to learn? Perhaps one way we could advance organized schooling is to start letting kids use the internet and tools available to them on every single project, assignment, and assessment. Why glorify the lowest level of learning (memorizing) and start teaching kids how to create and evaluate. We should stop thinking of a school as a place where kids go to primarily become disciplined, dutiful, dispensers of information but as a space to interact, explore, and figure things out on there own. Where learning is fun and exciting rather than boring and fearful. The beauty of the internet world we live in today is that teachers don't have to know everything but they can lead students down new paths. Teachers can act as a trail boss to help students explore new paths and ideas.

Students can be set free by teachers that let them use all available technology to figure things out, create things, and evaluate things. Schools that place a high value on the higher things of blooms taxonomy will better position their students to become valuable members of society.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Learn Calculus Online - Mooculus

This guy will teach you calculus online. When he talks, people listen  - https://mooculus.osu.edu/

Friday, March 15, 2013

Former BGSU Student Recommendation

I just received this recommendation on my LinkedIn account today from a former student I had in class in the Fall of 2012 at BGSU.  It was quite a surprise to get this recommendation over a year later and without any prompting on my part :-)  It really made my day and I wanted to share it:

Terence taught a course at BGSU that I attended and thought I was going to despise. A course I thought I had no interest in and almost regretted the decision to take. Terence put a new twist on the course and made it more interactive, engaging, and most importantly, interesting. This course became my favorite of any course I have ever taken at a higher educational level. Terence was engaged with his students and had a very unique and effective teaching style, especially for him and his students being behind computers the entire time!
Terence's energy level was very high and he was very knowledgeable on the topics he brought to class. His interest and enthusiasm for the course was contagious. Since the course I have continued in the practicing of the topics I've learned and have passed on much of this information to a handful of individuals to help them grow their "personal online brand" along with helping these individuals on how to effectively market themselves for the "online audience" to see them for how they want to be seen.
Through this course, Terence became one of my favorite instructors at a higher educational level because he was more than just an "instructor." He had great insight on the topics he brought to class but was willing to schedule a time to share insight about the professional world, or anything else, with whomever was interested. He cared for his students in and out of the classroom.
I am very grateful for having taken this course with Terence and I highly recommend Terence as a professor, colleague, employee, or employer.
Thank you Terence for all you have taught me and for your dedication to wanting to make a difference in your students' lives!
Brandon Hostetler   
Director of Communications and Ministry Coordinaton at John Knox Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

LearnDash - The New WordPress LMS

I'm really looking forward to a new Premium Plugin for WordPress called LearnDash that essentially transforms your WordPress install into a Learning Management System. I've worked with many LMS"s over the years such as Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai, Angel, and Canvas. Each LMS has their pros and cons. The key to a good LMS is a very simple intuitive interface, excellent collaboration tools,  assignment managers, and a simple yet powerful Grade Book.  I'm looking forward to piloting the LearnDash Plugin on my own site as WordPress is my favorite CMS so being able to use it to teach a class would be awesome.  LearnDash features I'm looking forward to most are:

  • Quizzes
  • Communication Features
  • Certificates
  • Run Reports

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Online courses: A liberating and inspiring ally to residential education

Distance learning courses have been around for a very long time and have often been treated by mainstream academia as the step child to residential face to face classes. However, all of that is changing as advances in technology have made online education an excellent way to learn as well as enhance the residential experience.  The president of MIT recently said, "Online education is not the enemy of residential education but rather a profoundly liberating and inspiring ally." I wrote about this "ally" back in 2007 in the following post, University 2.0 - Online Classes Enhance Universities.  Within that blog entry, I posed the following comment and questions, "Online information and communication is changing the way the world interacts and learns...What are universities across the world doing about this information revolution? How are we demonstrating to our future students that we are not only a part of this human network but that we are leaders in the movement?" Read entire post here.

Now in 2012, we are beginning to see how some of the most prestigious research and discovery universities are answering that question. It will be interesting to see how this effects the current higher education ecosystem.

Here is what Harvard and MIT are doing.

Here is the Michigan, Penn State, Princeton, and Stanford experimental answer:

Do you think these endeavors will affect the higher education ecosystem? Will these experimental ventures be sustainable? What is the future for traditional state universities that have invested heavily in the residential experience? 

At BGSU, my office is dedicated to working with faculty to ensure the highest quality in our online courses and programs through sound instructional design, alignment with the Quality Matters rubric (a national standard), and the strategic use of technology within each of our courses. We have since been honored as a Center of Excellence in E-learning by the Ohio Board of Regents and I am eager to see where we go from here. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Exploring the "if this then that" web app: making the Internet work for you

I discovered a neat little web app called ifttt (if this then that) that makes it easy and fun to run "if/then" statements across the internet by utilizing API's of various web apps such as twitter, google reader, instagram, and many more.  For example, I set up three if/then tasks to see how it works. The first task I set up was IF I upload a picture to Instagram THEN automatically save a copy of it in my Dropbox. The second task I set up was IF I make a blog post here on blogger, THEN automatically send a tweet out to my terenceonline twitter followers.  The third task I set up was IF I star an article in Google Reader THEN send a tweet out to my terenceonline twitter followers linking them to the starred article. There are numerous other if/then statements you can set up and I think people will find ways to get creative with it.  This is similar to what Yahoo Pipes was doing back in the day,but this is bit more simple to use. The only draw back I see right now is that you have to authorize IFTTT to access all of the accounts you set up, which isn't uncommon theses days, but may make some people nervous. If you found this article from my twitter then the IFTTT task worked. What are some neat ways that educators can take advantage of IFTTT? One more thing -- This IFTTT recipe page is pretty cool to get ideas of how people are using it http://ifttt.com/recipes

UPDATE:  The blogger to twitter task has not been working, however the Google Reader to Twitter Task worked fine.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

This just in; Pearson looks to disrupt the LMS scene

My colleague, Mike Edwards, just G+'d me about Pearson's attempt to change the LMS game completely.  Watch this video about their new FREE cloud based LMS called OpenClass, which supposedly seamlessly integrates with Google Apps for Education. It's quite bold of Pearson to call the current state of the LMS "dead." YIKES! I will be eager to see how it compares to the LMS I am currently enjoying in Instructure's   Canvas. Canvas does a lot of things well, but their cloud based solution is just as costly as the other LMS providers. I wonder how Pearson plans to keep the Cloud-based solution free for Universities that need Enterprise level service and support?
Here is the write-up:
OpenClass is a dynamic, scalable, fully cloud-based solution that stimulates social learning and the exchange of content, coursework, and ideas - all from one integrated platform. Out of the box it has all the LMS functionality needed to manage courses. But that's just the beginning. OpenClass actually advances education by leveraging modern social technology to encourage collaboration and communication for students, faculty, institutions, and administrators around the world. OpenClass also features an idea exchange that will make it easy to find and share the latest approaches, content, and curriculum.

Learn more about it here 

Canvas LMS: Technology that facilitates good pedagogy

All LMS's (learning management systems) are not created equal. The design of the LMS must be done right to facilitate good pedagogy.  It needs to be easy enough for the  non tech person to use, yet it must do very sophisticated and complex things in the background to facilitate the learning process. I would also say that pairing a faculty member with an instructional designer/academic technologist at the onset, will yield the best courses possible.

The Canvas LMS does design right and consequently facilitates good pedagogy.  That is the key, because all LMS's say they do the same things, but Canvas does them right, which makes it a tool that improves, not hinders the learning process. Here are just a few reasons:

  • Easy and efficient access to content, instructor, and students
  • Content is easily mapped to learning outcomes by instructor 
  • Assignments can be assessed using rubrics you can easily create in canvas (HTML5 anyone?)
  • Canvas makes grading assignments very engaging and efficient. Instructors can leave feedback (text, audio, or video) in the rubric or as a side comment. Students can comment back seamlessly (text, audio, or video).
  • You can easily pull learning outcomes into rubrics to ensure mastery of content
More to come in my next post...

Have you used Canvas yet? How would you compare it to other LMS's you have used?

Friday, September 02, 2011

The Perfect Tablet for Me - An Obvious Idea in Tablet Innovation that Should Have Been on the Market Last Year

Tablets are excellent tools for content consumption, yet their OS's and overall design limit their ability to produce content. The Asus Transformer and Eeepad Slider were steps in the right direction as devices geared at both consuming and producing content, yet the Honeycomb OS still hampers the content creation process, even with the keyboard. I think a really simple idea would be to use honeycomb OS when the device is being used as a Tablet, yet when you dock it to the keyboard you should be able to choose to switch over to the Chrome OS or Win 7 OS. Apple could do the same thing with an ipad that when docked to a keyboard could switch to the Lion OS for the heavy lifting. Even though Apple doesn't care about Flash, this would enable the device to get the entire internet experience through Lion OS when docked as well. A really simple idea that would enable all the Netbook users of the world to make the switch over to the Tablet Hybrids. What do you think? Is there anything on the market that does this?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reverse the lecture paradigm

Rather than teachers lecturing (sometimes poorly) and kids doing homework at home (sometimes poorly), kids watch world-class lectures at home and do exercises in class with their teachers, who are best for such personalized interaction. Agree or disagree?