Online Safety, Global Education Reports & Transformation

People at a starting line with start text on floor
Back to School – Welcome 2016-2017!

Back to School and Safety Online

A thank you to  Kerry Gallagher and the Connect Safely organization from Massachusetts who provided a few reminders on online safety as we head back to school and engage students and one another in online, digitally social environments.  Also GOOGLE is doing their bit with the release of some helpful videos and tips which educators can readily retrieve from the Google Safety Centre.  Let’s be sure to promote online learning and safe learning environments this school year!

UNESCO Education Monitoring Report 2016

UNESCO published the 2016 Education Monitoring Report and dialogues have ensued this past week at the UN in New York where UNESCO’s Director General stated, “educating children is a development imperative“.  The report presents 3 key messages: (1) new approaches in education are urgently needed as trends indicate by 2030 we will continue to have 30% of children from low income countries not completing elementary school; (2) if we do not act with urgency and long-term commitment for education goals we will hamper other development goals to reduce poverty, empower gender equality and ensure more inclusive societies; (3) we must change how we think about education and its role in human well being and global development.

OECD Education at a Glance Report 2016

Also this past week (Septembet 15, 2016), OECD released it Education at a Glance Report where you can review overarching trends as well as specific findings to any of the 35 OECD countries listed.  OECD provides data on structures, finances and overall performance of education systems from around the globe.  A few highlights about Canada – we have the largest share of tertiary-educated adults when compared against all OECD countries; the gap between men’s and women’s earnings is larger in Canada than the OECD average; Canada spends more per tertiary student than almost all OECD countries.

Learning & Development Transformation

This past summer, I was immersed in reading about future workplace trends and am still reflecting upon Alec Ross’ insights in his book Industries of the Future (it will get you thinking for sure!)  I’m not reflecting in isolation by any means   – Sahana Chattopadhyay posted her views on about 4 reasons why L&D will be transformed… she had me at “the need for creating meticulously designed training programs will be gone“.

Chat soon!

Six Experiences, Growth Mindsets and Rankings Cons

The Big Six Experiences that Impact Student’s Post Graduation Success

Researchers found that there are six elements of an undergraduate experience which had a significant effect on a students’ post-graduation success.Unfortunately, according to  Gallup, only 3% of those post-secondary students polled said that they experienced all six elements on the list. (25% shared that they had no experience at all with the six identified elements).  So what are the six?

  1. A professor who made them excited to learn;
  2. A professor who cared about them as individuals;
  3. A mentor who pushed students to reach their goals;
  4. Working on a long-term project;
  5. Completing a job or internship related to classroom lessons;
  6. Being engaged in extracurricular activities and groups.

Not an impossible list by any means – shouldn’t items 1 and 2 on the list be common place?

Sometimes the most innovative ideas are not based upon boldly looking forward but on quietly looking back; to turn away from the collective gaze at all things novel and to look backwards at what we’ve lost.

Spencer Ideas encourages us to pause and reflect on our education methodology roots in the blog post:When did 19th Century Learning Become so Trendy? (8 Old Ideas That Are Actually Pretty Innovative)I particularly like John Spencer’s reference to recess where he writes: Recess: The idea is simple. Play matters. For all the talk of adding movement and creativity to classrooms, one of the best fixes a school can offer is unstructured period of time to just play. Watch the worlds that kids develop. Watch them craft new games. Watch them design new worlds. It’s pretty amazing. Now if we can just promote this further in Post-Secondary and Workplace Learning environments …

Collaboration Between Business & Academia: A Delicate Process

The London School of Economics’ Ben McLeod shares recent survey findings that there are definite barriers between business and academia that we need to overcome and for those communities that make the effort, there are win-win-wins to be found.  An interesting note by McLeod is:  the only unsuccessful projects occurred when the university and business were located geographically close to each other. Our interpretation is that many local partnerships may be born from convenience rather than strong desire to undertake a project together. 

The Uncomfortable Truth of University Rankings

Donald Clark recently posted his ‘top ten’ con list for university rankings and number 3 on his list is Teaching. “They may SAY they take teaching into account but they don’t. They often claim to have ‘measures’ on teaching, but actually draw their data from proxies, such as employment and research activity and use nothing but indirect measures to measure teaching. The Times rankings are a case in point. They claim that their ranking scores include teaching. In fact, only 30% is based on teaching but they use NO direct metrics. The proxies include student/staff ratios (which is skewed by how much research is done) and, even more absurdly, the ratio of PhDs to BAs. It is therefore, a self-fulfilling table, where the elite Universities are bound to rise to the top. There is little direct measurement of face-to face time, lecture attendance or student satisfaction” Definite food for thought and a worthwhile read … what’s next for university rankings?

Encouraging Growth-Mindset for Adults

Growth mindset is a hot topic in education – specifically in relation to the development of 21st Century Skills.  However, are we as educators encouraging and advancing our own growth mindsets?  In her post, Never Too Late: Creating a Climate for Adults to Learn New Skills, Deborah Kris reminds of the clues to identifying a professionals’ fixed mindset – “ when professionals struggle with new demands, they may be tempted to use phrases such as “I’m too old for this,” or “I already know what works for me,” or “I’m just not a computer person” – along with thoughts on our role as educators and leaders to support overcoming a fixed mindset to developing a growth-mindset.  A good reminder!

Cheers to the week that was and the weeks ahead!

Schooling vs Education, Online Pillars and Badass Intros


5 Pillars of Online Teaching

Thank you to Sylvia Guinan for her Prezi image of 5 Pillars of Online Teaching.  It nicely outlines and demonstrates connection between online presence, presentations, platforms, creativity and engagement – really great!  Sylvia further shares a suite of tools that support each pillar in her article which you can find here.

PowerPoint as a 21st Century Teaching Tool

Many thanks to Kelly Walsh and his article: 10 Pretty Awesome Things You Can Do With PowerPoint where he provides video clips and hyperlinks on how to embed videos, create more dynamic animations (including GIFs), narrate over  slide presentations, and teach students how to use PowerPoint as a template for building video content. All very practical given that PPT is a common tool we’ve been using for decades.

YouTube for Your eLearning

Christopher Pappas from eLearning writes frequently to remind us that YouTube is a helpful elearning tool which teachers, faculty and instructional designers should be sure to leverage when working to engage their learners and advance their learners’ media/digital fluency skills.  Read his 8 tips to effectively use YouTube in elearning … I particularly liked the self-study application with GoogleForms.

Making Badass Intros to Your Online Learning

Always thought-provoking, Donald Clark challenges us this month to get creative and bring some life to our online courses.  His most recent blog post, 10 Ways to Make Badass Intros to Online Learning  offers up some reminders on how to engage our audience.  I couldn’t help but smile at items 3 and 6 … you’ll have to read the post to let me know your thoughts 🙂

Do Years of Schooling Equate to Education?

Are “schooling” and “education” synonymous?  The United Nation’s 1948 Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to education” (Article 26 (1)); yet with with the UN’s Millennium Development Goal Target 2.A, it states:  “Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.” Does the latter assume that meeting a target for years of schooling will achieve the goal of education? In their book, Knowledge Capital of Nations: Education and the Economics of Growth, Eric A. Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann outline how the expansion of schooling around the world has led to a disconnect between years of schooling completed and economic prosperity.

Cheers to the week that was and the week ahead!

Welcome Back! … Survey Finds, French Marketplace and Online Learning


Deloitte Releases its 2015 Human Capital Report

More than 3,300 organizations from 106 countries contributed to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2015 survey, assessing the importance of specific talent challenges and their readiness to meet them.

This report explores 10 major trends that emerged from Deloitte’s research, which reflects four major themes for 2015: leading, engaging, reinventing, and reimagining. There is also a nifty dashboard tool which makes it quite fun to engage with the data.

The Current and Future State of Corporate Learning Modalities

Over this summer, Chief Learning Officer magazine released a report of findings from their April 2015 survey where they asked over 400 Learning and Development professionals to share their experiences (hits and misses) in regards to learning modalities.  Some findings include:

  • Which learning modalities are favored over others.
  • Reasons why certain modalities have not been adopted.
  • Primary use cases for the nine most popular learning modalities.

Top 10 Ted Talks for Educators

Thank you eLearning for mining this top ten list of Ted Talks for education professionals.  If you have 18 minutes to spare and want to get inspired about our amazing industry, tap into this list.

Bonjour Kokoroe!

Not only does the name just roll of the tongue, the concept is pretty intriguing.  Kokoroe  is a marketplace for courses – instructor led courses that is! On the Kokoroe’s website, you can find a guitar teacher or a photography teacher and book a course in a few clicks. Teachers can also find students and manage their planning on the same website.  While the startup launched just five months ago in France, there are already 2,500 teachers covering more than 300 different courses. Is this a platform to advance freelance teaching? It is reminiscent of Reedsy – the site that was started for freelance authors …

Online Learning Budgets

Learning Solutions Magazine provided a nice list in their August article: Eight Best Ways to Spend Your Online Learning Budget.  Item number one on the list: “Invest in the technology know-how of the learning and development team if you can to make the most of any online learning spend” – great advice indeed!

Cheers to the week that was and the week ahead!

Neuromyths, X-Rays and Online Summer Camp

Learning  Neuromyth: Learning Styles

A neuromyth is a term to describe misconceptions about brain function and an example of a neuromyth from our learning development world is that if we match instructional strategy to preferred learning style, we’ll achieve greater learner performance.  Theo Winter, in his post, L&D Neuromyth: Learning Styles, provides an overview of this widely held belief amongst educators and the research which presents learning styles as neuromyth.  For more on neuromyths, take a read of the OECD 2002 report on Understanding the Brain as well as their list of top 6 most popular neuromyths.

University of Adelaide is Phasing Out Lectures

The University of Adelaide is committing whole-heartedly to the flipped classroom; passive learning activities such as lectures will be delivered via online/video based media and supported by small group face:face sessions.  One question that is being raised about this decision is of course the data to support the decision?  Are the university’s current lectures strictly professor monologues or have they evolved to enhanced lecture styles where there is discussion and breakout?  A worthwhile site to challenge our assumptions and review some research in e-education and distance education is provided by NSD (No Significant Difference); simply type in your education query  (e.g. flipped classroom) in the search field, and you’ll receive an index of research articles for your reading review.

D2L Misusing Academic Data

As we continue to explore data in this week’s post, is D2L (Desire2Learn – the LMS company out of Ontario, Canada) misusing data for marketing claims?  According to Phil Hill and his e-site, e-Literate, this is exactly the case and many others are citing that there is a fundamental dishonesty in the way D2L performance statistics have been presented.  Phil does a great job in looking into the D2L claims in this post and what is interesting to note is that when reviewing the data, there is an underlying component to results which is based on instructional approach (this is the piece that appears to be downplayed by D2L).

Blackboard Acquires X-Ray Analytics

Speaking of LMS companies … a competitor to D2L is Blackboard and Blackboard has been on the acquisition bandwagon again with the acquisition of X-Ray Analytics.  X-Ray Analytics (quite the name …) is a cloud-based tool that uses data already generated from the LMS and delivers it in a visual manner.  According to Blackboard, the tool will provide visualizations of past learner behaviour at the course and institutional level which will assist instructors to better support learners.  What is not mentioned by Blackboard is whether this ‘big data’ will be made available to learners as well, or perhaps that will depend on the education institution to determine the role of the learner in big data …

Minecraft in Education

This past week, Microsoft launched Minecraft in Education and via the blog on Tumblr, educators are sharing their views on how this game is changing the playbook for learning.  A few highlights as to how Minecraft is changing the learning playbook: (1) Minecraft is the first massively mainstream learning game (2) Kids build together online (it’s kids programming the computer rather than being programed by computer) (3) Servers are player-operated (any player can set up and administer their own server).  Also, if you’re a parent still looking for a summer camp … Yes, there is now an online camp!  Connected Camps: Summer of Minecraft offers a 4 week camp …“accessed in the comfort of your own home and at your convenience.  Kids will learn with expert counselors in a safe, moderated, multiplayer environment.  Recommended for kids aged 9-13” If this is the future of summer camp, this will take some getting used to …

Cheers to the week that was and the week ahead! 

(image source:

Cat Videos, The War on Learning and The Power of Mindset

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YouTube Cat Videos Cannot Compete With Education Videos
Recently YouTube celebrated its 10th anniversary (10 years?!) and today this medium has over 1 billion unique visitors a month.  While cat videos are extremely popular, videos in the Education category are viewed twice as often as videos in Pets & Animals category.  When Sal Khan decided to post his first video in 2004 to tutor his cousin in Math, who could have imagined that this was a launch of digital education platforms that today deliver over 440 million free micro-lectures to 2.2 million YouTube subscribers.  Even more popular than Khan Academy is CrashCourse – an Education YouTube Channel created by John and Hank Green.  Their goal is to create resources that allow for more valuable interaction in the classroom – thank you John and Hank!  Worth checking out is their crash course history video on the agricultural revolution.
Are You Ready To Teach Online?
Penn State provides a terrific self assessment tool – you can access it if you input your name and email.  Once you answer the questions, you’ll be sent a review of your results and some insight into your readiness to teach online.  What’s evident is that in order to effectively teach online, you need to have developed a few key skills – namely:
  • Technology and Social Media Skills: Technology skills are fundamental, and though social media skills are not an essential, they enhance the instructor’s ability to connect with students.
  • Administrative and Organization Skills: Includes skills such as time management e.g. ability and willingness to respond to student questions with immediacy e.g. within  24 hours
  • Pedagogical Skills and Teaching Approach: instructor focus on supporting and guiding learning not delivering content and instruction
Apparently, Technology in Classrooms is a Challenge for the Majority of K-12 Teachers in the US
US survey results published this past week reveal that teachers feel ill-prepared to use technology in the classroom.  Although 90 percent of teachers believe that technology in the classroom is important to student success, 60 percent of teachers feel they are inadequately prepared to use technology in classrooms, according to research released by Samsung Electronics America.
The War On Learning
A new book by Elizabeth Losh, The War On Learning, is a worthwhile read.  In this book, Losh examines current efforts to “reform” higher education by applying technological solutions to problems in teaching and learning. Losh reminds us that education is a process and she cautions that video games for the classroom and/or or the distribution of iPads may let students down because they promote consumption rather than intellectual development.  As background, Losh studies media history, institutions as digital content-creators, the discourses of the “virtual state,” the media literacy of policy makers and authority figures, online political activism for human rights, electronic art that uses hacktivism, and the rhetoric surrounding regulatory attempts to limit everyday digital practices. She has published articles about digital literacy, citizen journalism, video games for the military and emergency first-responders, government websites and YouTube channels, state-funded distance learning efforts, national digital libraries, political blogging, congressional hearings on the Internet, and the role of gender and sexuality in technoculture (source:
The Power of Mindset
The reading and practice of mindfulness in education is a growing one and there is a some evidence which supports the connection between learning mindset and improved learner outcomes.  Currently in its beta version is the Mindset Kit, a free online resource designed to help educators learn about adaptive academic mindsets, view practices that promote these mindsets, and download activity ideas.

Cheers to the week that was and the week ahead!

Youth Job Market, Play and Creativity


The World Economic Forum asks: Is Higher Education Preparing Youth for the Job Market?

In this recent article by the World Economic Forum, while over 70 million young people globally are looking for work, millions of vacancies remain unfilled.  In countries recently surveyed by the OECD, 39 million young people are not in education or employment (NEET); yet universities around the world are graduating qualified graduates.  So what is happening?

Professorship of Play in Education, Development, and Learning

As you have likely heard, Cambridge is hiring a Professor of Play and the position is being funded via an endowment fund from the organization that is built around play, LEGO. Check out Brick by Brick: Inside Lego – a short video by Bloomberg on the Lego organization and how it re-established its vision for play.

Creativity Rubric

Speaking of play … a thank you to Trevor Andrew Bryan for his posting of the Creativity Rubric.  To Bryan’s point, there is a vast difference between drawing Donald Duck and creating Donald Duck!  As creativity is deemed a 21st Century skill, continued discussion around what constitutes creativity is relevant as are the review and development of tools that can assist educators in supporting the evolution of creativity- infused teaching and learning.  You can learn more by visiting the blog 4 O’Clock Faculty.

Educator’s Guide to Pinterest

If you have wondered how to introduce Pinterest into your instructional design and teaching and learning practice, this is a good place to start.

Hope for Handwriting

Welcome Gracious Eloise – the API opens up and can digitize anyone’s handwriting. The early focus for Gracious Eloise is gift registries, greeting cards, ecommerce, CRM, direct mail, and digital (as in, hooking up your chat applications or email to the API to let you send digital messages in your own handwriting)… this allows a nice personal touch to our digital world.

Cheers to the week that was and the week ahead!

Summer Ed Tech, A View of MOOCs and Digital Blooms

Digital Blooms

An interview with Megan Bilson – VP Global Learning Solutions at American Express

In this interview, Megan Bilson shares her own journey from journalism to working in the field of workplace education as well as her observations of key changes that are happening in corporate learning and development.

Getting ready for summer – 9 Ed Tech Tools to Capture Your Summer

After a long stretched out winter and chilly spring, we’ll soon be enjoying summer!  In preparation for summer, edtechteacher recently posted 9 complimentary tech tools to try which include Flowboard (an interactive photo album) and Photocard (a digital update on the postcard).

Views on MOOCs from the Scandinavian MOOC Conference June 12 2015 in Stockholm

Posted on slideshare this past week was a presentation by George Siemens on MOOCs – a review of where we have been and where we are going with this technology.  Canadians are super users of MOOCs and super contributors as well.  The slides provide an opportunity to reflect back on the original purpose and intent of this technology as well as examining our current phase of disruption in education and potential impact.

Global EdMedia Conference in Montreal: June 22-24 2015

Something to watch in the coming weeks the EdMedia World Conference on Educational Media and Technology which is an international conference, organized by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). This annual conference serves as a multi-disciplinary forum for the discussion and exchange of information on the research, development, and applications on all topics related to multimedia, hypermedia and telecommunications/distance education.

Gorgeous Info-graphic: Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

Thank you Global Digital Citizen Foundation for posting the terrific info-graphic of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy.  This info-graphic reflects Andrew Church’s changes to Bloom’s Taxonomy which are relevant to the practices, behaviours and actions of learning 2.0.

Cheers to the week that was and the week ahead!