Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Disruptive Innovation in K-12 Education: Serious Games Across The Board


 Serious Games challenging us to play a better education


Via: User Generated Education More Disruption of Education

+ Accredited Online Colleges - 10 Latest Trends in K-12 Education

User Generated Education has just posted an article quoting Ronald A. Wolk, in Education Week on 3/7/11.

Wolk asks “How do we explain that nearly 30 years of unprecedented effort and enormous expenditures has not improved student performance, reduced the dropout rate, or closed the achievement gap?”

“More standardization is not what our schools need. As Harvard Business professor Clayton Christensen states in his book Disrupting Class, “only an administrator suffering from virulent masochism would attempt to teach each student in the way his or her brain is wired to learn within this monolithic batch system”.


The future is now. Clay Christensen's groundbreaking bestselling work in education now updated and expanded, includies a new chapter on Christensen's seminal "Jobs to Be Done" theory applied to education. Disrupting Class is a well thought-through proposal for using technology to better serve students and bring schools into the 21st Century.

Wolk proposes that disruption of K-12 education can occur through personalized education. Some of his recommendations include:
 
• Preschool education would be universal.
• Beginning in middle school, multiple educational pathways would lead to college and other post-secondary programs to prepare young people for work in a complex and changing world. A student could choose a pathway reflecting his or her interests and aspirations. Each student would play a significant role in designing the curriculum, which would be anchored in the real world, not in the abstractions of most classrooms.
• There would be no “traditional” core curriculum with typical academic courses and rigid schedules in middle and high school.
• Teachers would become advisers who guide students in educating themselves. They would tutor students and help them manage their time and energy.
• Technology would largely replace textbooks and worksheets.
 
Aligned with the latter, here are the 10 Latest Trends in K-12 Education as per Accredited Online Colleges:
 
1. iPads in the classroom. Apple’s tablet computer, the iPad, has proven to be popular with not only everyday consumers but educators as well. Grants from both public and private sources have allowed schools across the nation to provide them to students. These tablet devices are easy-to-use and perfect for classrooms involving a wide variety of learning styles. Students can complete assignments on the iPad, share their work with teachers and peers, take notes, blog, play Educational Serious Games, write papers and much more.


 2. More mobile devices. Smart phones were once seen as contraband in classrooms, but today more and more educators are turning to them as interactive and cost-effective tools to get kids interested in learning. They can use these devices anywhere and anytime to engage with peers and learn.

Experts estimate that over the next two to three years, there will be an explosion of use of these devices for classroom-based activities.


3. Tech-based monitoring of student progress. New apps are making it easier than ever for teachers to follow student progress, no matter where they might be. Tracking student progress comes with a wide range of benefits: it allows teachers to easily keep in touch with parents who may push their children to do their homework when they see missing assignments instantly. An added bonus? They’re often easy to use and provide instant access from anywhere– even on a mobile device.


4.  Cloud computing. You've likely seen the "to the cloud!" commercials on TV, but probably didn't consider the advantages of this type of computing for students and educators. For one, it allows easy collaboration on everything from simple homework assignments to in-depth presentations – and it makes it much harder for students to forget a homework assignment when it’s easily available to pull up on the web. Additionally, cloud computing provides access to a wide range of educational materials without students actually having to be on-site. They can access any resources they need from anywhere with an Internet connection– and that’s a powerful force when it comes to equal access in education.


Google Anatomy Lab
Google Body Browser is a free, 3D net atlas of the human body (Click the Google chrome beta link that they give you on the page, and then open Google chrome).

- You can peel back the layers of the body – muscles, then bones, arteries, veins, nerves – or focus on specific regions – then rotate the view through all 360.

- There’s a gradient of “deepness”, so if you’re on the organ level you can play with how much, say, lung vs. heart you want. (Make sure to zoom in – the level of detail changes drastically.)

- Choice of labels or no labels –> easy self-testing.

5. Educational Serious Games – Digital Gaming Goes Academic. There have always been educational games for students to play at home or in school, but these days that variety and accessibility is growing rapidly. Educators hoping to increase interest in subjects like math, history and science have begun bringing games into the classroom, allowing students to play while they learn. Often online or on mobile devices, students can access these games from anywhere making them perfect learning vehicles at all grade levels.


6. Social networking for learning. Blogs and sites let students collaborate and help give even the most shy of students a voice. While some parents may worry about privacy issues, sites set up specifically for education are often closely guarded, helping to keep kids safe while they learn. To date, thousands of classroom and homeschool blogs have been created from kindergarten up to college, and many more are likely to pop up as teachers increase their knowledge and understanding of the technology.

7.   Adaptive learning environments. Programs that are able to change and adapt to the needs of their students may just be the next big thing for the K-12 set. These adaptive learning environments react to preferences designated by the students as well as helping identify places where they need additional support and help or for lessons to speed up or slow down. These apps allow teachers to pinpoint student needs and to help them out, without having to embarrass them in front of the class as they would in a more traditional setting. It’s personalized, private and highly effective, but many educators believe this trend still has a long way to go to make a significant impact– something that may just well happen in the coming years.

8.   Electronic, interactive textbooks. Interactive textbooks are something publishing companies have been playing around with for quite some time, but the latest technology has finally made it possible to improve the quality and effectiveness of these programs.


DynamicBooks - Textbooks That Professors Can Rewrite Digitally


9.  Online summer school. For students who miss out on or need to repeat classroom material, they may not need to head to school over the summer– just to a computer. More and more schools are implementing online summer school programs allowing students to complete the necessary work or credits they need without the additional costs associated with having them in the actual classroom. 

10. Serious Games - Sims. Simulation in education can be a real an essential key to helping students understand both lessons in the classroom and the world at large. Long used in training for astronauts and pilots, simulations can help students learn to grasp cause and effect and more easily see how events relate to one another in a real-world setting, something that’s hard to teach any other way. As education moves more and more onto the web, these simulated environments may yet become invaluable tools and something every teacher will want to add to his or her repertoire.


Kids don’t question, they just flow, which is why they are often experts on computers. It seems to indicate that it is not so much the technical skills but the ability to creatively explore that gets them there. Taken at MacWorld EXPO 2007, Moscone Center, San Francisco by David Pham on Flickr