Reporter#8- Emerging Technologies

Let me share with you these 10 emerging technologies and how they will impact education in 2015:

Here is a little inspiration from the people who are doing it right:

1. Cloud Computing (12 Months or Less)

In 2011, cloud computing was listed in the 12-month-or-less category of the report, primarily because of the way it had become an essential part of collaboration in both schools and the workplace. This year, the placement of cloud computing on the near-term horizon for a second time underscores the fact that the impact of this technology continues to unfold in new and expanding ways.

Language: The cloud-based Brazilian Electronic Learning Organizer helps language teachers produce and share digital learning objects and activities for their students. The learning objects are created by the teacher or assembled from a resource repository created by other teachers in the network.

Science: California State University Northridge launched the Computer Supported Collaborative Science initiative to help science teachers in high-need Los Angeles-area schools to engage students in authentic research experiences through the use of cloud-based tools.

Social Studies: Powered by cloud computing, the Global Curriculum Project allows students to participate in a virtual exchange program with school across five different countries. Students select and explore their own topics, including cuisine and ambitions.

2. Mobile Learning (12 Months or Less)

By the end of this year, the mobile market is expected to consist of over 7 billion accounts (equating to about 3.4 billion users, or one in every two people on the planet); mobile traffic on the Internet is expected to surpass desktop traffic; and mobile users will have downloaded 70 billion apps across smartphones and tablets. Educational apps are the second-most downloaded in iTunes of all categories, surpassing both entertainment and business apps in popularity.

Mathematics: Year four students at St. Leonard’s College, a primary school in Australia, are using tablets loaded with math apps and e-textbooks to access information, receive instruction, record measurements, and conduct research.

Music: Students at Institut International de Lancy in Switzerland use their tablets to create music in the school’s first iPad Orchestra. The iPads have provided opportunities for students with little to no training to create their own music with classmates.

Storytelling: Ringwood North Primary School in Australia participated in “The Epic Citadel Challenge,” wherein students and teachers collaborated to write a digital story based on the Epic Citadel environment and turn it into an app accessible via iOS mobile devices.

3. Tablet Computing (12 Months or Less)

It is so easy for students to carry tablets from class to class, using them to seamlessly access textbook and other course material as needed, that schools and universities are rethinking the need for computer labs or even personal laptops. A student’s choice of apps makes it easy to build a personalized learning environment, with all the resources and tools they need on a single device. With their growing number of features, tablets give traction to other educational technologies— from facilitating the real-time data mining needed to support learning analytics to offering a plethora of game-based learning apps.

Art: At Plymouth University in the UK, students working toward their Illustration degree are using iPads with an illustration app called Brushes to produce drawings that can be played back as video. This activity is encouraging reflection and discussion on the drawing process and enabling students to contrast techniques and highlight and correct any bad habits.

Science: Students at Redlands College in Australia are using tablets to collect and share data on indigenous rocks; geology majors at the College of Wooster in Ohio are using them to take and annotate photos of Icelandic terrain; and instructors at Yale University are sharing images from their digital microscopes with students’ iPads through mobile apps so that they can annotate and capture images for future use.

Journalism: Professor Messner at Virginia Commonwealth University secured iPads for his students so they could create multimedia news stories from happenings on campus and in the surrounding community. The students learned the importance of social media in journalism and found the iPad useful for gathering news and sources.

Special Needs: Vanderbilt University graduate students are designing an Android app that enables visually impaired students to learn math. Using haptic technology integrated into new touchscreen devices, the vibrations and audio feedback help students feel and hear shapes and diagrams.

4. MOOCs (12 Months or Less)

A number of respected thought leaders believe that the current MOOC model has deviated significantly from the initial premise outlined by George Siemens and Stephen Downes in 2008, emphasizing lecture over connectivity, but either way, educators across the globe are doing some amazing things with MOOCs. The hope is that they will eventually strike a balance between automating the assessment process while delivering personalized, authentic learning opportunities.

Music: This spring, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Purdue University Department of Music and Arts Technology began offering their first MOOC, “Music for the Listener” that can be converted into credit. The learning environment is being delivered through Course Networking, with full translation features, rich media, and social networking tools.

Physics: An MOOC called “Landmarks in Physics,” pioneered by an MIT graduate and delivered through Udacity, takes students on a virtual tour through Italy, the Netherlands, and England while explaining the basic concepts of physics at the sites of important discoveries in world history.

Writing: Ohio State University has partnered with Coursera to create a course that engages participants as writers, reviewers, and editors in a series of interactive reading, composition, and research activities with assignments designed to help them become more efficient consumers and producers of alphabetic, visual, and multimodal texts.

5. Open Content (2-3 Years)

While open content has been available for a long time, the topic has received increased attention in recent years. The use of open content promotes a skill set that is critical in maintaining currency in any area of study—the ability to find, evaluate, and put new information to use. The same cannot be said for many textbooks, which can be cumbersome, slow to update, and particularly costly for K-12 schools. More educators are tapping into the wealth of content within open repositories and familiarizing themselves with the Creative Commons protocol.

History:

Learn NC is a program developed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education to make resources and best practices in K-12 freely and widely available. Their digital textbook for eighth grade history contains a collection of primary sources, readings, and multimedia that can be searched and rearranged.

Mathematics: Arizona instructor James Sousa, who has been teaching math for 15 years at both the community college and K-12 levels, developed more than 2,600on  video tutorials topics from arithmetic to calculus, all of which are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution.

Science: A partnership between Bringham Young University’s David Wiley and the Hewlett Foundation sparked a project in which teachers from 18 districts and four charter schools across Utah pulled together science resources to create free digital textbooks.

6. Learning Analytics (2-3 Years)

10 Emerging Educational Technologies & How They Are Being Used Across the Globe

While analyzing student data is not a new practice, the field of learning analytics has only recently gained wide support among data scientists and education professionals. In the coming years, as learning analytics platforms become increasingly complex and effective, outcomes of learning analytics will have a significant impact on the evolution and refinement of both K-12 and higher education, especially in the design of personalized and online learning platforms.

Mathematics: Developed by a group of educators, programmers, and data scientists Mathspace is an online program that meets the demands of the NSW syllabus and Australian National Curriculum for students aged seven to ten. The platform monitors how students reason through math problems and provides personalized feedback as well as analytics reports for teachers.

Reading: Kno, an e-textbook company, launched the “Kno Me” tool, which provides students with insights into their study habits and behaviors while using e-textbooks. Students can also better pace themselves by looking at data that shows them how much time they spent working through specific texts, and where they are in relation to their goals.

Writing: The University of North Carolina Greensboro uses the Mobius Social Learning Information Platform to create intensive writing courses which facilitate anonymous, peer-to-peer feedback and grading. When students submit an essay, it is automatically distributed to the rest of their randomly chosen peer group, and an algorithm turns their feedback into statistics and performance reports.

Special Education: Constant Therapy is a mobile platform that leverages data analytics and mobile technology to provide personalized therapy for people with cognitive, language, communication, and learning disorders. With 15 years’ worth of content developed by Boston University, Constant Therapy’s lessons adapt to meet the needs of learners while allowing language educators to monitor their progress via an analytics dashboard.

7. Games and Gamification (2-3 Years)

Game play has traversed the realm of recreation and infiltrated commerce, productivity, and education, proving to be a useful training and motivation tool. Referred to as “Game-Based Learning” in previous NMC Horizon reports, this field of practice has expanded far beyond integrating digital and online games into the curriculum. The updated category title reflects the perspective that while games are effective tools for scaffolding concepts and simulating real world experiences, it should also include the larger canvas of gamer culture and game design.

Architecture: SimArchitect is a simulation game and social connection site for architects developed by IBM Center for Advanced Learning. Players are issued a request for proposal by a fictitious client and must respond, conducting meetings with the client and team and then proposing a solution. IBM created a performance scorecard that evaluates the player’s communication, architectural methods, and more.

History: The Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative project at the University of Florida is an effort to create an interactive fictional game in which the geography, culture, and characters of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia will be brought to life. Functional maps show the early architecture of the buildings, and interactive scenarios with characters like George Washington and Patrick Henry allow students to participate in discussions of the times.

Nursing: The University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing has partnered with the Minnesota Hospital Association and the technology firm, VitalSims, to develop web-based interactive games that engage nursing students with real-life scenarios. With initial versions of the game already completed, health care educators are expecting to launch these digital learning tools later in 2013.

8. 3D Printing (4-5 Years)

While 3D printing is four to five years away from widespread adoption in schools, it is easy to pinpoint the practical applications that will take hold. Geology and anthropology students, for instance, can make and interact with models of fossils and other artifacts, and organic chemistry students can print out models of complex proteins and other molecules through rapid prototyping and production tools. Even more compelling are institutions that are using 3D technology to develop brand new tools.

Archaeology: Harvard University’s Semitic Museum uses 3D printing technology to restore damaged artifacts from its collection. For example, by 3D scanning existing fragments of an Egyptian lion’s legs, researchers can create computer models that will be used to print a scale foam replica of the complete structure, even though it was originally missing its body and head.

Astronomy: In an effort to engage inner-city students in STEM-related fields, Minnesota non-profit STARBASE has created an aerospace-themed curriculum where students plan a mission to Mars. A highlight of the project is the use of 3D printing technology to create a working rocket that students launch on the final day of the program.

Business: In early 2013, Darwin High School in Australia initiated a project
intended to expose students to micro-business concepts through product development and workflow analysis. Using 3D printers, students rapidly prototype ideas, explore product design, and learn how to market their goods.

Computer Science: Students at Glacier Peak High School in Washington can receive college credit for taking computer-aided design classes featuring the incorporation of 3D printers for rapid prototype development. The courses include modeling and design, tolerance specification, documentation drawing, and assembly modeling.

9. Virtual and Remote Laboratories (4-5 Years)

Virtual and remote laboratories reflect the current trend in K-12 education toward more authentic online education. Though technology is four to five years away from mainstream use in schools, the benefits of implementation are already clear. Virtual and remote labs offer flexibility, as students can run experiments as many times as they like, both in and out of school. Because these labs are designed to allow for easy repetition of experiments, students feel less pressure to execute perfectly the first time. In the controlled environments of these labs, students are safe, even if they make an error.

Chemistry: Dr. David Yaron, Associate Professor Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University, developed ChemCollective, a project of the National Science Digital Library, to create flexible interactive learning environments in which high school students can approach chemistry more like practicing scientists.

Marine Biology: In Lysekil, Sweden, high school students use virtual tools to explore the marine environment of Gullmar Fjord on the Swedish west coast, learning in the process how scientific knowledge is created. The students use a virtual ocean acidification laboratory to conduct studies on the acidification of the marine environment.

Mathematics: High School students in North Carolina are using Geometer’s Sketchpad to understand how theorems are developed. The software is accessed through North Carolina State University’s virtual computing lab, a cloud-based learning environment with an interactive online community where teachers share tips on the software used as well as the projects undertaken.

10. Wearable Technology (4-5 Years)

Perhaps the least educationally applicable but most complex technology of the NMC report is wearable technology. Google’s “Project Glass” is one of the most talked-about current examples. One of the most promising potential outcomes of wearable technology in higher education is productivity: tools that could automatically send information via text, e-mail, and social networks on behalf of the user—based on voice commands, gestures, and other indicators— that would help students and educators communicate with one another, keep track of updates, and better organize notifications.

Chemistry: A team from the Centre for Sensor Web Technologies at Dublin City University is building a wearable sensor that detects hazardous gases and immediately alerts the user of these conditions.

Geology: Wearable cameras like Memoto, a tiny GPS-enabled camera that clips to a user’s shirt collar or button and takes two five-megapixel shots per minute, could benefit geologists or archaeologists in the field, capturing hundreds of photographs or data about a user’s surroundings on an offsite dig which can later be accessed via e-mail or social media.

Neuroscience: A new brain-sensing headband called Muse displays a user’s brain activity directly onto their smartphone or tablet, in effect making it possible to control actions with one’s thoughts and to collect data about the brain’s reaction to various stimuli.

Source: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/blogs/82288880-044e-425b-8c33-eff85a81d066/entry/10-emerging-technologies?lang=en

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Reporter#7- Alternatives to Computers and the Internet: Interactive Radio Instruction

Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) was developed in Nicaragua by Stanford University, funded by the the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

According to a World Bank toolkit published on the topic in 2005,

Interactive radio instruction (IRI) is a distance education system that combines radio broadcasts with active learning to improve educational quality and teaching practices. IRI has been in use for more than 25 years and has demonstrated that it can be effective on a large scale at low cost. IRI programs require teachers and students to react verbally and physically to questions and exercises posed by radio characters and to participate in group work, experiments, and other activities suggested by the radio program.

The aim of this project is to improve learning outcomes among students in difficult environment, especially hard-to-reach areas.  Bases on analysis, it was noted that learning outcomes for students improved when learners were exposed to IRI.

The key difference between IRI and a conventional use of broadcast radio to deliver education audio content is suggested by the term interactive.  In this context, radio instruction is considered interactive because it prompts specific actions by teachers and students in a classroom. Walk into an IRI classroom (at least a well-functioning one) and you will not find students or teachers passively sitting and listening to the radio. Instead, you should expect to see teachers and students engaged in songs, question-and-answer activities and various types of physical movement, as ‘instructed’ (or directed) by an audio program delivered via a radio (or increasingly, via CD or MP3).

The research literature around the positive, cost-effective impact of IRI in a variety of low-income communities in developing countries is pretty solid — especially when compared with the still-weak evidence base we have demonstrating positive, cost-effective uses of other ICTs in educational settings in these places.  The World Bank toolkit declares that:

There is consistent and significant evidence that IRI can increase learning across subject matter, age, gender, and rural or urban location. Students show progressively greater learning with time.

A group from the Education Development Center (EDC), the U.S.-based NGO regarded as the global leader in IRI, visited the World Bank last week to present findings from recent work with IRI in Zanzibar, among other places.  The story EDC told us last week is consistent with previous conclusions*: that IRI continues to demonstrate a positive impact at low cost in some very challenging educational environments.

Many of the criticisms of the use of educational technologies stem from the poor evidence base on which related decisions for investment are made.  In comparison, such criticisms are quite muted when discussing the suitability of investments in IRI programs in developing countries.  Yet, given what we know about is cost-effectiveness, and almost 40 years after USAID funded the first experiments with IRI in Nicaragua, why do we not see more sustained large-scale IRI programs?  It is true that IRI has been used (quite successfully, most would argue) in almost 35 countries around the world, but IRI programs often wither after donor funding for them expires and foreign experts move on to another program in another place. A widely respected, former senior World Bank education official who is a passionate, long-time advocate for IRI put the question a little more bluntly in response to last week’s standing-room-only presentation:

Why, despite repeated apparent successes, do IRI programs seem to be permanent pilot projects?

Now some may argue with the characterization of IRI programs as ‘permanent pilot projects’.  In fact, statements on this issue put forward in the World Bank toolkit, as well as in a paper on this topic by an IRI pioneer, suggest that such a formulation, while nicely alliterative, is a bit too strong.

Many potential explanations have been offered for why many IRI programs make for  successful pilot projects at scale but are nonetheless not sustained over time.    Here are a few of the commonly-mentioned ones:

  • Investments in educational technologies are driven not by the evidence, some will say, but rather by ‘fads’, interest in the latest fashionable gadget or educational approach.
    Support for IRI, which has at its core an ‘old’ technology like radio, naturally suffers as a result.
  • IRI investments are not expensive enough to be supported by donors.
    In other words: Donors — especially places like the World Bank — like big expensive projects, and IRI programs aren’t ‘expensive enough’.  (Note: The IDB did fund an IRI project in Guyana [pdf]).  This is a clever argument … but is it too clever? In some ways IRI investments are ideal for donors, as they have (relatively, or at least comparatively) large upfront costs, but low recurrent costs.
  • IRI programs are often closely associated with a particular government; when the government changes, the program is abandoned.
    Given USAID’s critical role in supporting IRI around the world, IRI programs can become a political casualty of preceptions of a country’s relationship with the United States. USAID has been by far the largest source of funds in support of IRI programs around the world, and it is difficult to imagine that we would know today what we do about the usefulness of IRI without the pioneering support of USAID.
  • Institutional constraints make it difficult to sustain IRI once a large donor leaves.
    IRI programs are often located inside small units in the Ministry of Education and often have little institutional weight, especially once donor funding disappears.  Negotiating with radio stations for broadcast time can become difficult once an initial ‘novelty’ period wears off, absent clear institutional frameworks and processes to ensure access to the airwaves.
  • IRI programs are predominantly directed toward poor, rural areas.
    The implication here is that, if IRI were also used more widely in wealthier, urban areas, they might achieve a greater level of buy-in from political elites that can help sustain them over time.

During last week’s question-and-answer session, I asked the room for examples of how IRI programs have been sustained by countries themselves once USAID support and EDC expertise moves on. This question was perhaps a little unfair, given that most of the focus of the people in the room, and the presentation, was on the evaluation of the impact of IRI programs, not on their long-term sustainability.  That said, the accumulated experience and expertise of many of the event attendees was quite vast, dating all the way back to the first project led by SRI in the mid-1970s, and the examples put forward rather tepidly were not terribly encouraging.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that we are convinced of the cost-effective postive impact of IRI interventions (EDC certainly gave a compelling presentation in this regard, at least in my opinion):

  • Is it really that people don’t believe that IRI is effective, or are there other issues at play here complicating prospects for sustainability?
  • To what extent should efforts be directed toward convincing institutions of the effectiveness of IRI programs versus tackling issues related to the long-term sustainability of such programs?
  • Does the nature of current support for IRI programs in some way make it more difficult to sustain such programs over time?
  • Despite our rhetoric about documenting cost-effective impact, are other factors more important to enable investment in this area?
  • Do the challenges of sustainability of IRI programs after donors leave suggest that countries do not value the successes of IRI programs, especially those related to early childhood development, as much as donors themselves do?

Are we — including those of us at the World Bank — somehow not understanding a key piece of the puzzle here?

Source: http://blogs.worldbank.org/edutech/iri

Reporter#6- Technology and Assessment

Faculty, IT professionals, instructional designers, and others frequently mean different things when they refer to assessment. Some are discussing assessment of students’ knowledge, some are focused on assessment for the sake of program improvement, and others intend to assess the resource needs associated with implementing technology effectively on campus. Some are concerned about the demands of regional accreditation, while others must meet administrative needs. Some want to know how well students are learning in face-to-face compared to online courses. Because all of these issues are lumped under the term assessment, the national conversation about assessment can be confusing. Three explanations help clarify assessment:

• “Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations and standards; and using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance. When it is embedded effectively within larger institutional systems, assessment can help us to focus our collective attention, examine our assumptions, and create a shared academic culture dedicated to assuring and improving the quality of higher education.”

• “Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development.”

• Assessment is a process that focuses on student learning, a process that involves reviewing and reflecting on student performance—what students can do—and focuses on curriculum and group performances in a planned, deliberate, and careful way.

Source: https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3005.pdf

For the teachers to become effective in assessing the output of the students, the link below will lead to the tools used for assessment :

http://tep.uoregon.edu/technology/assessment/assessment.html

Also, the URL below is a free tool to help teachers create quality rubrics:

http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php

Reporter#5- Technology and Instruction

Current research on educational technology’s impact on student learning is mixed but most of the research comes from “rich” nations where the alternative to being taught by a teacher is being taught by a highly-motivated and highly-qualified teacher.  In poor countries, and in poor regions of moderately well-off nations where teacher quality is low, the evidence on the effectiveness of computer assisted programs versus teachers, though sparse, is quite positive. Research in India, for
example, showed that children who played a computer math game two hours per week had learning gains as large as some of the most successful educational innovations tried over the years.

In spite of the varied results of research regarding the impact of technology to student learning, under certain conditions, technology demonstrates positive benefits:

1. Technology can compensate for poor teacher quality:An increasing body of research demonstrates that exposure to ICTs may increase the cognitive abilities of students, allowing them to learn faster. This is particularly true in contexts where teacher quality is poor (Carillo, Onofa & Ponce, 2010:2; Banerjee & Duflo, 2011)
2. Technology can benefit special populations: Research increasingly and cumulatively suggests that under certain conditions, technology can promote small to moderate gains in student learning (Tamim, et al., 2011), especially for learners with special needs (Ofsted, 2009) and for preschool learners in terms of early literacy
3. Technology is most successful when part of an overall focus on the key components of teaching and learning: The dominant theme that emerges from technology in education is that content, instruction, assessment and sound policies, practices and support matter far more than the kind of laptop, the software suite or whether or not teachers can make a spreadsheet (Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia, & Jones, 2009; Tamim et al., 2011). As research and experience inform us, technology “works” when it supports intended learning outcomes and when it is used to deepen content knowledge, instruction and assessment. Successful
use of technology—helping students learn in ways are measurably better or that would otherwise be impossible—still depends, not on boxes, bandwidth or wires, but on that most fundamental classroom transaction—good instruction.

Reporter#4- Teaching with technology

Technology plays a vital role in almost all aspects of human life.  Business, space and deep sea exploration, military and even in teaching.  In today’s context, teaching is sometimes equated with the use of technology.  From this report, we will know:

  1. The different technologies used by teachers inside and outside the classroom.
  2. The different websites that are helpful in improving student learning.
  3. Modes of distance education.
  4. Models of distance education for teacher training programs.
  5.  Methods or best practices necessary to develop a high quality distance education program.

Below is the inserted file of an ebook written by Mary Burns about teaching with technology:

Distance Education for Teacher Training by Mary Burns EDC

Reporter#3- Teaching and active learning

When googling the phrase “Teaching and active learning”, I came across with an article that basically encapsulate everything we need to know about the association of active learning to student outcomes.  This article catches my attention because the teacher not only employs an active learning techniques inside the classroom but basically writes his own software to capture everything that the students are doing inside and outside the classroom.

Here is the excerpt of this beautiful article.  (Credit to John K. Waters, a freelance journalist and author based in Palo Alto, CA. )

Engaging Students with Active Learning

If you want to increase student interest in your class, add “extreme” to its title. That strategy worked for University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) professor Perry Samson, who more than doubled the number of students attending his meteorology class, “Weather and Climate,” by renaming it “Extreme Weather.” But if your goal is to improve student outcomes, Samson says, employ active learning techniques, an approach that improved examination performance among his students by just under half a standard deviation.

“We went from about 40 students to more than 200,” Samson told attendees at the recent CT Forum conference in Long Beach, CA. “When I suddenly had that many students in the room, I was challenged to understand what they don’t understand. And being a geek, I started writing my own software to do it.”

Samson, who is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at Michigan in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences and School of Information, is also an entrepreneur. He’s a co-founder of The Weather Underground, a popular weather site, and the creator of the LectureTools active learning platform.

The original version of LectureTools was developed to make large, introductory classes seem smaller and less intimidating to new instructors, Samson toldCampus Technology. His strategy was to connect with students through their laptops, tablets and smartphones during lectures on a Web-based, active learning platform. One of the most important features of the platform is its ability to provide real-time feedback from students. Samson described it as a TLC system—total lecture capture.

“It’s not just video,” he said. “We wanted to capture everything that a student was doing, the notes they were taking, how they were answering questions during class, the questions they were asking me during class. All of these things would be recorded, along with the LMS information, and the other tools the students might use.”

Samson’s own version of active learning goes well beyond software. “In five days I’ll be taking my student out in the field to chase tornadoes,” he said. “When a tornado is bearing down on you, you want to know everything there is to know about the situation in real time. I wanted to find a way to bring that energy back to the classroom, to involve students in the process in these large lecture halls.”

Samson’s conclusions about active learning are backed up by a growing number of studies. Samson cited a 2014 report from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (“Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics“), which presented the results of analysis of 225 studies that examined the effects of active-learning strategies on exam scores in STEM courses. The analysts found that students enrolled in STEM courses that included active learning earned exam scores that were 6 percent higher than the exam scores of students in lecture courses with no active learning. They also found that students in classes with no active learning were 1.5 more likely to fail course exams.

“I want to be able to look at this data and predict which students I need to worry about,” Samson said. “I want to be able to build a predictive scheme, just like I do for the weather, and forecast which students to worry about.”

Samson’s own active learning activities have led him to a number of conclusions. He has found that a strong relationship exists between active learning participation and student outcomes. The nature of active learning participation is related to the students’ incoming GPAs. Students with different incoming GPAs tend to participate in markedly different ways in the blended course. Lower GPA students tended to participate in questions less often, took five times fewer notes, and were more likely to participate in class remotely than they were to come to class physically.

Samson also noted that the LMS plays a much less central role in an active learning environment. “What’s needed here is a new set of technologies that promote active learning in the classroom,” he said. “The LMS is still needed, because it provides the grade book, assignments, and collaboration potential. But it doesn’t provide tools that can be used during class time. It’s time to get over the LMS.”

LectureTools was acquired in 2012 by ed tech company Echo360 and integrated into that company’s lecture capture and blended learning platform. During his talk, Samson demonstrated the newly released Echo360 Active Learning Platform, which the company describes as a kind of GPS for education. And he offered an example of the type of immediate feedback the system provides.

“I asked students on the first day, how many of you are comfortable asking a question verbally in class?” Samson said. “You can probably guess the results: half the male students were comfortable, but only 25% of female students were. Just by teaching in the traditional way, I’d set up an uneven playing field from day one. So we added a button that allowed them to ask questions digitally during class. The result: 68 percent of my students are asking questions in class. Women are asking more questions per capita than men. Students who are not native English speakers are asking just as many questions as the rest of the students. Victory!”