Here’s how to reach every student brain

Expert gives educators tips on how to get every student brain to learn

brain-learning-neuroscienceBy now, most educators know that classroom practices such as differentiating instruction, critical thinking, and making the environment less stressful for students are critical to a 21st-century education. But…why does it work? One education and brain expert says it all comes down to chemicals and neurons.

Dr. Sarah Armstrong, the senior director for statewide K-12 professional development at the University of Virginia and a former elementary school principal and assistant superintendent of curriculum, said she became a “brain junkie” in the 1980s and never looked back.

Armstrong, author of Teaching Smarter With the Brain in Focus: Practical Ways to Apply the Latest Brain Research to Deepen Comprehension, Improve Memory, and Motivate Students to Achieve, discussed with educators how students learn at the chemical level, and why certain practices succeed when others fail.…Read More

Tech-savvy doesn’t mean internet-savvy

A commitment to quality instruction on how to access, evaluate, and synthesize online information needs to be a top priority

tech-savvyMany people, pundits and educators alike, operate under the assumption that the current generation of students is the most technologically savvy in history.

While today’s young people certainly are surrounded by technology, and they use it in their everyday lives, this is not the same as mastering technology as a task-specific learning tool, especially for gathering online information for research reports, reviews, and syntheses.

While the vast majority of students may consult their smart phones dozens of times a day to view Facebook and Instagram or to send text messages, far fewer know how to access and evaluate quality information online to help them complete academic tasks and assignments.…Read More

Here’s proof that adaptive learning works

A look at the efficacy of an adaptive learning platform

adaptive-learning-collegeSandra Connelly, an assistant professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, said when she teaches a general biology course, she’s always struck by how varied her students are.

“This year, I have almost 65 different majors spread across 400 students,” Connelly said. “Teaching them is a matter of trying to keep the attention of business majors, art majors, poetry majors, and then physicians assistance majors who really need this biology background.”

So, in 2009, she started using Pearson’s adaptive learning platform called Mastering in an attempt to create a more personalized experience. It’s really helped, Connelly said, and, of course, Pearson is happy to report the same. But the company no longer expects anecdotes like Connelly’s to be enough evidence that their products are effective.…Read More

6 facts on online vs. offline learning

New infographic reveals interesting comparisons between traditional and online learning

online-learning-infographicWhen talking about higher education, it’s hard not to run into a discussion on what’s really better for student learning: online learning or offline learning? Of course, the key is to offer both, and potentially emphasize blended learning as the less polarizing option, but if we were to look at bare bones facts about the two modes of learning, how are they the same? Different?

According to a new infographic provided by Get a Real Degree, a website dedicated to helping potential students find an online degree from a “real” school, there are more similarities between offline and online learning than you may think.

“Some argue that traditional learning is better because is the only way to maintain a fluid and solid learning process,” said the website. “However, students seem to prefer the online learning model and in most cases obtain better results (when comparing the same courses online vs. offline models). The cost is another important factor. Online degrees can be up to 80 times less expensive than traditional degrees. This is a universal rule, but this can be a decisive point for the student’s choice.”…Read More

New platform challenges conventional MOOCs

Coursmos debuts micro-learning method as a solution to low completion rates

coursmos-MOOCs-online One of the most prominent topics educators debate in ed-tech is the effectiveness of massive open online courses, better known as MOOCs. While many say students benefit from the platforms’ diverse selection of course materials and easy access, low completion rates remain problematic for the MOOC movement.

To fight these low rates, a new learning platform Coursmos, has launched a non-traditional method of online education. Founded by a Russian team and based primarily in Redwood City, Calif., Coursmos started as a way to “educate Generation Distracted” and offers micro courses that teach material in chunks.…Read More

Blended learning gets the Khan Academy treatment

New resource provides guidance on delivering blended learning

blended-learning-khanIn a somewhat ironic twist, blended learning has been lacking in a resource it aims to help promote: video resources. However, thanks to a new partnership between a blended learning powerhouse and a video resource giant, blended learning is being delivered to educators in an ideal fashion.

Blended learning, recently one of the most popular methods in education, is more than just a superficial trend. According to Gallup’s recently released “State of America’s Schools” report, blended learning holds incredible potential for increased student outcomes as well as increased capacity for student and teacher engagement—a major driver of achievement, says the report.

However, “as new technologies and online learning continue to grow in popularity, implementation and training for teachers and administrators have unfortunately remained a stumbling block—until now,” said the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Learning in a statement.…Read More

Groundbreaking: We can predict cognitive styles, and here’s how

New framework re-envisions cognitive styles based on revolutionary science; has huge impact for education

cognitive-style-educationWhile the education field’s acceptance of learning styles is helping students receive more options for learning, students are often lumped into one category without any explanation of why they prefer to learn a certain way. However, a new cognitive matrix is about to change education’s perspective once again.

According to a work-in-progress cognitive matrix developed by noted psychologists and neuroscientists, a student’s learning style occurs for a reason—and can be predicted for the future.

Using a wide range of available evidence on cognitive styles, researchers were able to synthesize cognitive styles as proposed by different theories in one comprehensive and accessible framework.…Read More

5 reasons why the lecture is on its last leg

Here’s how the basis of ‘modern education,’ Team-Based Learning, is pushing the lecture to the past

lecture-learning-DukeThough there are still many proponents of lecture as the main method of teaching in higher education, the lecture (while still integral) is becoming less of a ‘must-do’ for instructors as learning objectives change with the 21st Century. What’s taking its place? A method that Duke University says is strengthening course design.

Many new trends in learning, including Flipped Learning and online learning, say that instead of focusing on what the educator would like to impart, or what the institution would like to teach, the needs of the learner should come first.

[Read: “One shocking fact about Flipped Learning-and why it matters.“]…Read More

One shocking fact about Flipped Learning-and why it matters

New report touts Flipped Learning; but are colleges really on board?

flippedresizedNew results from a national survey reveal just how popular Flipped Learning has become. But with all of the hype on this teaching and learning style that’s grown in practice at an accelerated rate over the last two years, are colleges and universities really seeing results?

According to the recently released 2013 Speak Up National Research Project findings, Flipped Learning—defined in the survey as using lecture videos as homework while using class time for more in-depth learning such as discussions, projects, experiments, and to provide personalized coaching to individual students—is surpassing all other digital trends, including mobile apps and technology…at least, that is, in K-12.

But is higher education as enthusiastic? And if not, why?…Read More

MOOC: How to design an amazing blended learning course

A new free, five-week MOOC will help educators design more engaging blended learning courses

MOOC-blended-learning Designing a blended learning course may seem complicated to people unfamiliar with the vast array of options blended learning provides, but EDUCAUSE, Instructure, and the University of Central Florida hope to remedy that problem by offering a free MOOC on blended learning methods.

The new course also marks the first venture into the world of MOOCs for EDUCAUSE, a higher education nonprofit focusing on information technology.

Blended learning has gained steam in the past year as more educators seek to incorporate a mix of traditional classroom learning and digital media in order to create a more collaborative, and engaging work environment for students in the classroom and online.…Read More