In a recent blog post by Trent Batson on The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning’s (AAEEBL) website, an interesting topic about centralization and democratization of education emerged from the use of information technology. Either side of the issue, whether to centralize and control technology or to allow students to have control over their own learning in higher education, was compared to identify both the profitability of centralizing control of technology and/or the efficiency of giving control over to students to enhance learning.
To assess either side of the issue, Batson talks about the use of badges in online learning scenarios as a way “challenge how grading is done”, while creating a system of “micro-credentialing”.
In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and developed by lead researchers at the University of Washington, which included Scott Freeman, Mary Wenderoth, Sarah Eddy, Miles McDonough, Nnadozie Okoroafor, Hannah Jordt, and Michelle Smith, findings about STEM courses utilizing the active learning model illustrated higher pass rates than courses using a traditional lecture model.
Having accessible technology provides many opportunities for enhancing the learning experience for students. In the case of learning a foreign-language, such as Spanish or French, what better way to learn the language than from an actual student from Spain or France?
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently posted an article about a Portuguese class at Virginia Commonwealth University that uses video-conferencing software, such as Skype and Google Hangouts, to connect VCU students with English-learning students in Brazil to facilitate “authentic language-immersion experiences.” Using teletandem, or telecollaboration, allows students from both countries to teach each other their native languages, creating a genuine and highly engaging language-learning experience.
In an article written by Robert Talbert for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Talbert carefully examines and explains the comments he received in a previous article he had written about the definition of Flipped Learning. He explains, with 6 main points, how and why students are not the problem when it comes to successfully implementing a flipped learning course. Here are just some of his points:
Education and technology have worked for the betterment of larger institutions and universities. The technology used by these institutions help to solve accessibility issues and are a way for both students and faculty to become acquainted, familiar, and experts with using technology for teaching and learning.
However, some smaller institutions, such as Deep Springs College, simply find the use of technology unsuitable for their specific types of studies, which include academics, involvement with a democratic governance, and a labor program. This brings up the question of whether technology is absolutely necessary for the success and quality of these institutions. Will technology always be a benefit, or is it how it can be applied to solve specific and unique problems that can only be found in certain smaller institutions?