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Analytics for Education

Education Analytics

Education Analytics

In recent years, the idea of big data analysis and analytics has taken the tech and business worlds by storm. Every action that we take online leaves a digital trail. There’s an increasing emphasis on software that can analyze this large volume of data. Because this analysis is so vast, it can reveal fascinating trends and patterns in consumer behavior.

Learning analytics is the synthesis of user (learner) created data to discover correlations and predict on future outcomes.

George Siemens presents a holistic model for learning analytics that incorporates not only student class performance data, but also elements from all areas of a student’s online life. Predictions based on analytics would lead to adaptation, personalization, and intervention in learning.

This process helps educators and administrators as well. Recorded student interactions in the VLE (virtual learning environment) can be used to help create more dynamic curriculum design. There is potential for the learning experience to be optimized for each student. The impact of any updates or changes can be easily tracked.

Education AnalyticsWhy Learn Analytics?

Learning analytics is scalable – teachers can implement the basic principles as a way for individual students to reflect on their growth and success. An example of this would be to create a table with all class assignments. For each assignment, students can record where they completed it as well as their level of understanding. This also would include the grade they received on the assignment. Learners will be able to identify their optimal environment to complete assignments and predict how well they will do on an assignment based on various factors.

Learning analytics and educational data mining are powerful tools for improving learner performance, but they come with some ethical debates. Can students’ privacy be preserved? Additionally, would a prediction of success or failure during a course help or hinder students learning?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!


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Introducing STEAM: A New Learning Approach

Adult art artist

Introducing STEAM Title ImageWhat is STEAM?

Introducing STEAM! STEAM is derived from STEM, which is essentially a more specific curriculum of education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In order to understand STEAM, we first need to understand a little bit about STEM.

STEM was introduced in the early 2000s because it was noticed there was a decline in proficiency of the subjects in the STEM field. With the introduction of this new field, many more teachers are now being prepared and trained to teach these specific fields. STEM includes learning about the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in completely scientific concepts.

This is where STEAM and STEM differ. STEAM, like STEM, teaches science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. However, STEAM differs in that STEAM includes the arts as well. Included in the teaching of the arts is drama, dance, music, media and visual arts, among others. While this curriculum also includes science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the teaching of STEAM is different in that it looks at the subjects in a more creative and inquiring type of way.

Introducing STEAM

Why is STEAM Important?

The humanities give us the context of our world. They teach us how to think critically. They are purposely unstructured, while the sciences are purposely structured. They teach us to persuade, they give us our language, which we use to convert our emotions to thought and action. And they need to be on equal footing with the sciences”.

– Eric Berridge

One of the main reasons why introducing STEAM is important relates to the fact that there is much emphasis on preparing students for the STEM field. While this is not bad, it also means that schools are pushing the scientific fields, and shifting the humanities to the side, which does not serve students well. As Eric Berridge said, the humanities (arts) need to be equal to the sciences. By pushing the STEM curriculum, we are unintentionally sending these students a message that the sciences are the best career path after school.

Teaching the arts allows for students to think in a more creative way, because of the fact that teaching with a STEAM curriculum allows for questions. It allows for students to think more freely and because the curriculum is not specifically scientific, there can be many different answers, and it opens the classroom for a more varied, in-depth discussion.

 

The takeaway: STEM is important, but only teaching a STEM curriculum is hindering the chances of students fully learning what they’re truly passionate about. By teaching STEAM, not only is the STEM curriculum included, but the inclusion of the (A)rts provides a less structured way to discuss topics, and it may just inspire students to participate more.

 

Teaching tip:

Makerspaces are one cool way to introduce STEAM curriculum in your classroom. Learn more about how to start a makerspace easily here.

By Taylor


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, ,

Analytics for Education: How Big Data is Changing Learning

How Big Data is Changing Learning

In recent years, the idea of big data analysis has taken the tech and business worlds by storm. Every action that we take online leaves a digital trail. There’s an increasing emphasis on software that can analyze this large volume of data at a high velocity to produce meaningful results. Because this analysis is so vast, it can reveal fascinating trends and patterns in consumer behavior.

 

Learning analytics is the synthesis of user (learner) created data to discover correlations and predict on future outcomes.

 

George Siemens presents a holistic model for learning analytics that incorporates not only student class performance data, but also elements from all areas of a student’s online life. Predictions based on analytics would lead to adaptation, personalization, and intervention in learning.

This process helps educators and administrators as well. Recorded student interactions in the VLE (virtual learning environment) can be used to help create more dynamic curriculum design. There is potential for the learning experience to be optimized for each student. The impact of any updates or changes can be easily tracked.

 

Learning analytics is scalable – teachers can implement the basic principles as a way for individual students to reflect on their growth and success. An example of this would be to create a table with all class assignments. For each assignment, students can record where they completed it, their level of understanding, the amount of time spent, any screens, etc. in addition to the grade they received on the assignment. Learners will be able to identify their optimal environment to complete assignments and predict how well they will do on an assignment based on various factors.

 

Learning analytics and educational data mining are powerful tools for improving learner performance, however, they come with some ethical debates. Can students’ privacy be preserved? Additionally, would a prediction of success or failure during a course help or hinder students learning?

 

Let us know what you think in the comments below!


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4 Cool Ideas for Teaching With Tech

Teaching with technology

Here are some of our favorite new ways to incorporate technology into your teaching.

 

Create a Virtual Field Trip in Google Earth

Engage students by showing them the places they are learning about in real life. With the internet and a little bit of preparation, it is possible to take your students on a “trip” anywhere in the world! The Teacher’s Prep writes about how to create a class trip via Google Earth here. Take it into VR with a Google Cardboard for less than $15!

Make Students Content Creators

Have a class website or blog? Let students contribute articles of their own! Younger students can write about simple topics such as their day or submit pictures, while older students can publish reflections on their learning or creative writing. iClass Content Management System provides the perfect platform for this. Students submit articles on their own and teachers can moderate with one click!

Use a Virtual Assistant

Many teachers are incorporating Amazon Echo or Echo Dot into their classrooms. Alexa can help teachers in many surprising ways, including spelling words, putting students in random groups, solving math problems, or playing ambient music. This saves valuable learning and prep time! Alexa can be set up to respond to only one voice – yours! Read more here.

Game-Based Learning
Students in 2018 have grown up playing video games. Game-based learning is a fun way to incorporate video game technology to engage your students and help them learn. Teachers can create their own games, access educational games online, or even use pre-existing video games as texts. Learn more here.


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Join the #MakerMovement: Tips for Creating A Makerspace

Tips for Creating A Makerspace

Understand Your Users

Each school is unique and will require its own makerspace based on its students and community. It is important to start developing your makerspace by taking these users into consideration. Look at what gets your students excited and how can you transform their interests to foster new ideas. Take note of the varying age groups in the school and adjust areas of the makerspace to cater to the appropriate audience.

 

Consider the concerns and interests of the parents as well. They’re support is crucial to the success of a makerspace because of the role they have in their children’s education and the school’s decisions. Ask parents how they wish to see their children benefit from the makerspace in order to guide the development of the makerspace in the correct direction.

 

Ask the teachers; especially those whose teaching methods will be directly impacted by the implementation of a makerspace. Gain an understanding of the technology teachers are comfortable using and/or learning to use. In the early stages of implementing a makerspace, students will need to be instructed on how to properly and safely utilize the space. The greater the teacher involvement, the more enthusiastic they will be about training exercises and helping students succeed.

Consult the School

Before you decide what technology and tools you will include in the makerspace, one must understand the amount of funding their school can dedicate to this project. Depending on your school, it may be best to propose the idea with a list of potential technology to include in order to gain the support needed for funding. There may also be an opportunity to raise money for the makerspace through a fundraiser within the community.

 

Select the technology

The tools and technology for your school’s makerspace should be selected using the proposed budget and information gathered about its users. For younger students, it may be a good idea to start with building tools such as Legos, cardboard, wood, or even basic robot kits. Online applications such as Minecraft and Codemoji can be used to promote creativity and idea generation among students wishing to use electronics.

 

Older students may require more advanced technology to retain their interest and support their ideas. This does not mean that every makerspace must have a 3D printer. Technology best suited for older students includes but is not limited to: woodworking tools and machines, sewing machines, coding software, electrical supplies, robotics and virtual reality systems.

 

Unsure where to start with searching for technology? The article “What to Put in Your Makerspace (and How to Pay for It)” written by Teri Bauerly on EdSurge has great suggestions for a variety of students.

 

Prepare the Teachers

Perhaps the most important step is preparing the teachers that will be working with the makerspace. These individuals are so important because they will guide and assist students in bringing their ideas to life. First, the teachers must be trained to understand the different technology being used in order to effectively help students. Secondly, teachers must also be aware of how to properly help students without hindering their creativity. It can be difficult to balance the capabilities of the technology being used with the depths of a students creative mind. To help teachers master this balance ensure that they are well trained and prepared to work the students and technology in this environment. Be aware of teachers that may not be letting students take full advantage of the makerspace. In the same respect, teachers should understand the safety restrictions of the makerspace to ensure no student is at risk of injuring themselves or others.

 

Plan for the Future

The work does not stop after your makerspace is fully operational. There is always room for improvement because it is difficult to predict exactly how the users will respond. There may be an area of the space that proves to be more helpful to students. The school may want to consider investing more in this area of the space to ensure the technology is available to all of the students. On the other hand, areas that received a poor response should be analyzed to uncover a solution to its lack of success. As the makerspace is used more frequently it may also be necessary to develop a growth plan to ensure all students have the same opportunity to see their ideas come to life.


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Get Connected! Technology Every Teacher Should Know

It can be challenging to sift through the immense amount of tech resources that are available to teachers! Here are a few of our favorites, selected based on ease of implementation, usefulness, and student engagement.

Mindmeister

This is the website for those who have too many thoughts. Mindmeister is an online mind mapping tool that is perfect for brainstorming and organizing. The tool can also be used for note taking, as well.

Preparing a lesson for your class? Mindmeister offers both a function for brainstorming and planning – both essential for creating a lesson plan.

Create your first mind map here.

post it notes on a wall

 

Prezi

Created in 2009, Prezi has quickly become a leading presentation software for both the business and education sector. The design of Prezi has helped its rise in popularity. Unlike PowerPoint slides, Prezi offers an interactive way to present, complete with a zoomable canvas and premade templates.

There is no shortage to the type of presentations that can be created with Prezi. Topics range from analyses of books to a sales pitch in a business meeting. More importantly, because of the design of Prezi, they are much less boring to watch, therefore keeping an audience entertained and fully engaged.

The best part? It’s free. You can learn more or sign up to make your first Prezi here.

 

Kahoot

Like Prezi, Kahoot can be used in both the business and education sector. It is a primarily a mobile app, used to take quizzes of all types. Kahoot helps to keep everyone connected through a fun and interactive quiz format.

In the business world, Kahoot can be used to make any type of training or presentation more fun and engaging. Kahoot is used for team building exercises, making group trainings much more fun. In the education world, Kahoot can be used to either quiz students, or it can also be used as a study tool when there is a test.

Learn more about Kahoot here.

students are excited and looking at a computer screen

Penzu

Penzu is a site created for those people who love to write, but don’t like pen and paper. It’s an online journal and diary platform that can be used for anything from wedding planning to daily thoughts.

In the education sector, Penzu can be used as a tool for daily writing assignments or for spicing up homework. The awesome thing about Penzu is its accessibility. Anybody can write from anywhere, as the website also has a mobile app, allowing anyone to write from wherever they are, at their own convenience.

If you’re ready to start writing, click here.

 

 

Study Blue

Sponsored by Chegg, Study Blue is an online study library. Equipped with over 400 million notecards and study guides, students should have no problems studying for that upcoming test. Because of the app, students are able to study wherever they go. Study Blue also offers the option to create quizzes, giving students the opportunity to see what they already know.

Try it out here.

a person takes notes while looking at a computer

 

Knewton

No one learns the same way. Knewton knows that, so they’ve created a platform for every single type of learner. The company has provided 28 million adaptive learning courses since its founding in 2008.

The company integrated a new system known as Alta. Alta allows students to learn through completely personalized instruction and the program provides the student with an assessment of their mastery of the subject. Even better, the technology is easy-to-use and automatically provides feedback to the instructors.

You can learn more about Knewton here.

 

iClass CMS

iClass provides websites for schools that are completely interactive and adaptable. Our custom website and mobile app solutions are designed to meet the needs of a 21st-century school. Teachers have the ability to communicate with parents instantly and at no cost. Students are able to work remotely and access information via their smartphone or laptop. Learn more here.

 

By Taylor