Monthly Archives: July 2012

Adaptive Learning

Source: Mashable, Jul 2012

We’re looking at what you know, what you don’t know, how you learn best. The big difference between us and other big data companies is that we’re not ever marketing your data to a third party for any reason. [The data is collected] to make your education better.

Our personal algorithm is constantly evolving and dynamically generating recommendations in real time. Within a few hours, you get a unique bundle of material that’s targeted to you. Within a few weeks, we know tons about what you know. We know as a percentile how strong you are in every concept in your course. We start to be able to guess really accurately what strengths you have in the concepts we haven’t even shown you yet, based on correlation analysis with the concepts we have shown you.

We can predict failure in advance, which means we can pre-remediate it in advance. We can say, “Oh, she’ll struggle with this, let’s go find the concept from last year’s materials that will help her not struggle with it.” So you’re not just getting a textbook, you’re getting a subscription to this huge content portfolio, and we just go find the perfect little bit to help you master a concept. It can be a video clip, text or a video clip with text if we know that you learn better that way. If you learn quantitative things better in the morning and abstract things better in the evening, we’re going to know that. If you learn English literature concepts best in 25 minute bursts, [that’s what we’ll do].

We know everything about what you know and how you learn best because we get so much data. And education is the highest stakes media product in your life. It’s infinitely more important than your Facebook friends’ status updates or your Google search results, because it’s your future.

“Our Goal is to Change the World Through Education”

Source: NYTimes, Jul 2012

… when M.I.T. decided to plunge into the world of Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, with a new platform called MITx (now folded into edX), he came forward to teach the first offering, which ran March 5 to June 8 and enrolled over 150,000.

The Change Equation

Source: PSFK, Jul 2012

Practicing Project-Based Learning

Source: KQED,  Jul 2012


‎6+1 Traits of Good Writing

Source: Education Northwest site, date indeterminate

The 6+1 Trait® Writing analytical model for assessing and teaching writing is made up of 6+1 key qualities that define strong writing. These are:

1. Ideas, the main message;
2. Organization, the internal structure of the piece;
3. Voice, the personal tone and flavor of the author’s message;
4. Word Choice, the vocabulary a writer chooses to convey meaning;
5. Sentence Fluency, the rhythm and flow of the language;
6. Conventions, the mechanical correctness; and
+1. Presentation, how the writing actually looks on the page.

Related resource:

A Natural Critical Learning Environment

Source: Best Teachers Institute, Jun 2012

People Learn Best and Most Deeply When:

  • They try to answer questions or solve problems they find interesting, intriguing, important, or beautiful;
  • They can try to answer the question or solve the problems then receive feedback and try again before anyone “grades” them on their efforts;
  • They can work collaboratively with other learners struggling with the same problems;
  • They have lots of opportunities to speculate about possible answers or solutions even before they know much about the subject, and to receive feedback on those speculations;
  • They face repeated challenges to their existing fundamental paradigms;
  • They can get support (emotional, physical, and intellectual) when they need it;
  • They care that their existing paradigms do not work;
  • They believe that they are in control of their own learning, not manipulated;
  • They believe that their work will be considered fairly and honestly;
  • They believe that their work will matter, that it will have significant consequences for themselves and/or their world;
  • They believe that intelligence and abilities are expandable, that if they work hard, they will get better at it;
  • They believe other people have faith in their ability to learn;
  • They believe that they can learn;
  • They have an opportunity to “do the discipline” before they fully “know the discipline; in other words, they have an opportunity to learn by doing;
  • They have an opportunity to learn inductively moving from specific example and experience to general principles, rather than from the general to the specific.

The Key Attitudes that Distinguish the Best Students from Their Peers

Source: Harvard University Press, Jul 2012

These individuals started out with the belief that intelligence and ability are expandable, not fixed. This led them to make connections across disciplines, to develop a “meta-cognitive” understanding of their own ways of thinking, and to find ways to negotiate ill-structured problems rather than simply looking for right answers. Intrinsically motivated by their own sense of purpose, they were not demoralized by failure nor overly impressed with conventional notions of success. These movers and shakers didn’t achieve success by making success their goal. For them, it was a byproduct of following their intellectual curiosity, solving useful problems, and taking risks in order to learn and grow.