Competency-Based Education are courses designed around students’ mastery in a topic rather than around the amount of time they sit through a class. With most programs, students follow a carefully designed curriculum that leads them through specific learning objectives. Students are then required to complete a series of demanding tests, writing assignments and other assessments.
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The University of Wisconsin-Extension offers UW Flexible Option, an outreach and e-learning option that opens the door to working professionals seeking to continue their education in one. The program offers everything from certificates to bachelor’s degrees. Students that use the Flexible Option allows them to learn what they need to and save money by not taking unnecessary courses
The IT department tracks students from the day they are enrolled, release new modules as they complete competencies, and send out automated student feedback. For students, the transition to this new learning model can be overwhelming. Flexible Option offers each student an Academic Success Coach who will answer student questions, offer advice, and help students create a learning plan and timeline. Institutions partnering with IT departments can build a fully supported competency-based program that puts students in control of their education by offering courses that students can personalize at an affordable rate.
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Khan Academy is one of the biggest education based websites that strive to help students in specific subjects. Khan Academy is an online learning provider that supplies useful videos for each subject for free. Specifically, the website is known for its STEM courses that can help a student get a better understanding of a specific topic within those classes.
Salman Khan is the founder of Khan Academy, and started out the website by creating iconic recorded videos in his walk-in closet for a nonprofit organization with more than twenty million registered students. The videos are only a small part of his mission to remake education.
In an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, Sal Khan was introduced as a man that first had a career as a financial analyst at a hedge fund. He made his first videos to help his cousins with their math homework. After creating more videos, he was noticed by Bill Gates, who became a backer. After creating hundreds of videos, people believed that they weren’t professional enough, however Sal has other ideas. He believes the informal attribute allows the audience to really understand what he’s doing. The main idea of his creation is to make sure that every student truly understands the material, not just memorize the formulas.
Currently Sal Khan has created a program for students from Kindergarten through eighth grade called, Khan Lab School. He even sends one of his own kids there. He has higher hopes then just this small school however. He said if he was every given the opportunity to create a college, he would want to focus on high-need areas in the world. Specifically he doesn’t want to just traditionally have a lecture based courses, but instead sending students out to research locally, specifically possibly a university or a company.
Khan believes in introducing a different form of learning and building a student’s portfolio to make them more appealing to companies. However, he doesn’t believe this idea will be readily accepted in the community due to the old traditions of learning.
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Schools frequently attempt to use video games as part of the academic process, but one new Penn State course is actively encouraging its education studies students to play and analyze existing popular video games in order to help build effective coursework. “Gaming 2 Learn” invites future K-12 teachers to play games such as Minecraft and Call of Duty. Students will also play these same games with children and write about what stood out as an educational elements to the experience. The course is designed with the knowledge that young children love playing popular video games as much as they despise playing pre-approved “educational” games.
Instructor Ali Carr-Chellman says the program is meant to help teachers build literacy about the games students play: “As teachers, many of us do not know what our children are playing. So how can we whether or not those games are teaching our children anything? By observing and participating in the game, our students can see firsthand what the educational values of these games are.”
Registration to the online Gaming 2 Learn course is open now to graduate-level students. It is not tied to a specific content area, so teachers and future teachers of all subjects can find useful material.
For more information, click here: http://news.psu.edu/story/396733/2016/03/14/academics/new-course-brings-video-games-classroom
Teachers are now receiving more support to prepare them for an actual classroom. The University of Central Florida gives educators-in-training the option of practicing their teaching skills in a virtual classroom.
The program is called TeachLive, the first of its kind. The course challenges educators to navigate social, pedagogical and professional hurdles all at once. Educators are challenged to manage the classroom when the avatars misbehave, act in strange patterns, or ask difficult questions. Each avatar comes with their own personality. One avatar will interrupt class with their opinions on the lesson or teach, another avatar is the class chatterbox. Educators will also work with an avatar that is particularly anxious and may curl up on the floor of the classroom. With each session, the program allows users to change classroom events and avatar characteristics. Educators can practice responding to a targeted behavior or even to student disabilities.
The program can also be set to specific teacher needs. TeachLive uses Skype conference call and a Microsoft Kinect motion sensor power. TeachLive is being used at more than 80 campuses across the U.S to train some of the next generation of educators. The team at TeachLive is exploring in which technology can be used to help people.
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