In the past ten years, technology has changed so much in our everyday lives, and education is no exception. Yet for centuries, a core concept of education has remained the same: group learning stimulates greater learning.
In other words, we boost our knowledge by connecting with others.
Recently, four common myths associated with social learning were debunked. A fifth myth could be that social learning is just for students. Yes, social learning is revolutionizing the student experience, but it’s a powerful tool for educators as well.
More and more news articles continue to be written about the flipped classroom. Its popularity stems from more teacher-student interaction and more differentiation of instruction. Districts either are intrigued and researching the topic or beginning to implement it. The goal of this teaching model is to be able to encourage students to be active learners. Lectures are recorded and students can watch them at home at their own pace. Class time is then dedicated to discussion questions which students can answer individually or in groups. Teachers are then able to help students when they have questions about a math problem or a science lab because all work is done in class.
The Ripple Effect
At Blackboard World this year, I spoke with training professionals from institutions around the world. One of the biggest challenges shared by all: getting faculty engaged in—and of course, completing— training.
I heard the frustration from instructional designers and professional trainers about how they invest significant time in designing training to increase instructors’ proficiency with developing online and hybrid courses. And yet, despite these “free” internal resources, some instructors simply don’t take advantage of them, and others may never complete the courses they do start.
We all know instructors’ ability to create engaging and exemplary online/hybrid courses is critical to the success of an online learning program. As the demand for online courses grows, whether by virtue of being part of your institution’s growth strategy, or due to increased learner demand, faculty must be ready and able to make the shift. The effects of poorly executed online sections can have a ripple effect—from impacting the academic success of students (and ultimately, retention) to influencing an institution’s brand reputation as a result of “poor reviews” via social media outlets.
Never has faculty adoption and proficiency with online learning been more critical.
At ISTE this past June, I had the opportunity to meet Cybrary Man. Cybrary Man (a portmanteau of Cyber and Library) is Jerry Blumengarten, a former New York state-based educator who spent years compiling educational resources from around the web and then sorted them by subject area and audience type on his blog.
He has a cult-like following in the K-12 community and it’s easy to understand why – he offers an endless number of instructive content and resources for teachers, browsing sites made by academics, educators, and students. Despite its 1.0 look, it’s really one of the best resources I’ve come across in a long time.
If you’re not familiar…
What I love about the Cybrary Man site is its simplicity and its expansiveness. The site is broken down into sections by audience – Parents, Students, Educators and General Interest. One of my favorite topics is on the Flipped Classroom. The premise of making lectures the homework and using class time for more interactive learning is one we discuss frequently on the Blackboard blog, as well. Cybrary Man has compiled an extensive list of resources on the topic from articles, to podcasts, to people to follow on Twitter.
Cybrary Man is a resource that’s both fun to explore and educational. See for yourself!
Summer is wrapping up. You’ve put away the inflatable pool, put the cover on the grill and you’re getting ready to retire your t-shirts and shorts: school is about to begin again. Back-to-school season is the perfect time to prepare for new online students and take into consideration how to engage active learners.
We’ve put together our top three ways to prepare for online higher-education students, as they return to the digital classroom: