Should I Stay Or Should I Go (3:00 E.R.T.)

Today I have been knee deep in survey data. The survey was for students who are using our new Innovative Learning Labs.  I’m about 75% through analyzing the data for one of the two rooms, it would have been much quicker, but less rich, without qualitative data.  So perhaps its just coincidental that I came across this article, or perhaps it stuck out because I am hip deep in data.  I think it raises a lot of good points about how we choose technology in higher education, and more importantly how we evaluate that technology after adoption.  There is not a lot of research on which LMS works best, what screen casting technology works best, what audience response software is best, or myriad other choices schools make annually.  Perhaps if there were we could all make better decisions.  Perhaps if there were we’d have a sense for what problems we may encounter using Apple TVs.  Perhaps the problem is that once a decision is made by a committee they don’t have the time or interest to conduct the research.  Or perhaps the campus tech departments don’t have enough manpower or research skills to conduct the study.  Perhaps they don’t want to be neck deep in data.  It will be interesting to see if this project at the University of Virginia leads to data based decision making on technology needs.

This article adds to the discussion over whether digital or print text is best.  It raises several good points.  What “learning” are we measuring?  What is the intent of the assignment?  Do you want comprehension or critical thinking?  I’m sure we all have our own views on the topic.  I can say in my undergad humanities course I moved the textbook to an online format.  The book is out of copyright and it saves the students some money by having it online.  They have appreciated the cost savings, but I have received some comments that they would prefer a book in hand for the longer readings.  I have not noticed any difference on some of the tests related to the readings however.

This article talks about an English teacher who uses design thinking in his class.  So after they’ve read Romeo and Juliet, in this case, they go off and design something to solve the dilemma of a character in the work.  So with legos and lights and gizmos, they produce things like heart rate monitors for Romeo.  I wish they went a tad more into this in the piece.  But I think I can see the thought process which is required in understanding the story, and figuring out a technological way to get the character out of the mess.  “But soft what light through yonder lego breaks, it is an LED.”

This is a short article with 6 points to consider for online learning, or learning.  When I talk about instructional design or course design I talk about several of these.  And this article makes me think I might go too in depth, if what they are saying covers it enough for most people.  But 6 sound points none the less.

The last article is just interesting.  By looking at student testing data and weather data over 13 years with 1 million students in New York, a grad student has determined that students do worse on standardized tests on hotter days.  That is interesting and should make us think about standardized rooms for standardized tests, a 92 degree day in NYC should have a room at the same temp as a classroom in Fargo.

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