Neuromyths, X-Rays and Online Summer Camp

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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: deadline.com)

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