Author Archives: Jared

On Richard Curwin’s Wonder, Prediction and Student Engagement

Richard Curwin‘s post, Wonder, Prediction and Student Engagement, provides some classic recommendations to help teachers and instructional designers use methods like compare/contrast, Socratic questioning, and learner predictions.

The idea of focusing on predictions reminded me of Derek Muller‘s work that suggests students tend to ignore new information in favor of their own pre-existing understanding, even if it’s wrong. But if you call attention to students’ misunderstandings as predictions (as Muller sometimes shows in his Veritasium videos), this can help students adjust faulty mental models by creating cognitive dissonance when they compare their prediction to the correct answer.

Cross-posted from Keep Learning

Michael Feldstein starts discussion of solutionism in ed tech

OK, maybe “starts” is not the right word as this discussion has been happening – albeit often in small, sometimes closed circles — for some time (see also Klapdor and Fernandez for example).

But having been on both sides of the ed tech purchaser / vendor fence (I spent over a dozen years in higher ed online learning and currently work for Canvas by Instructure), and still having the desire to turn that fence into something more neighborly, I agree with a lot that Michael Feldstein has said about the challenges that hype-driven trends toward solutionism present to both parties.
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Setting wheels in motion: Mindsets workshop structure at MIT Media Lab

I’ve organized small and medium-sized workshops and even large conferences in my day, so I’m always interested in how others execute their events to encourage engagement and meaningful outcomes. So, setting aside the richness of the discussions, the knowledge-sharing, and the many connections at today’s mindsets, motivation and online learning workshop (hosted by MIT Media Lab) I want to describe the very clever structure and sequence that Philipp Schmidt and team used to combine and re-combine a group of over 30 researchers, teachers, technologists, and administrators from various backgrounds into fully engaged teams of collaborators:
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The Black Mountain SOLE Project

In a recent post on MindShift, Luba Vangelova summarizes David Dobias’ work on self-organizing learning environments (SOLE). The SOLE model encourages self-reliance and autonomy, situating learners in a loosely structured (but deliberately supported) environment with other, similarly “engaged learners.” The Black Mountain SOLE project is a physical gathering place for cooperative, collaborative learning. It’s not an alternative to more formal educational paths; rather, it complements them by addressing those less codified regions of learning and practice. It’s an incubator of sorts for social learning with motivation as one of the key outcomes. According to Dobias, “The point is people getting clear on their passions and taking action.”

Read the full post here.

Cross-posted from Keep Learning

“User innovation” and the opportunity to build broad, innovative teacher communities

Mike Caulfield wrote a great post musing on the origin of and instruments for innovation in teaching over at e-Literate, focusing on an area that I’ve always been particularly interested in, if only peripherally: the users. The following is a slight expansion of the comment I left on that post:
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Richard Talbert on Learner Independence

Learner independence is tied to so many valuable aspects of learning, from critical thinking to lifelong learning (I’m especially interested in how it supports habits of deliberate practice and dwelling in flow states). This is a huge topic that I won’t even attempt to address here. But I do want to reference Richard Talbert’s latest post, “Declaring Independence”, which comments on the experience of teaching a flipped class, and concludes:

…helping people become become independent learners, capable of managing and directing their intellectual growth over their entire lifespans, is the fundamental goal on which higher education — maybe all of education — needs to focus.

New Community-Contributed Blog “Keep Learning” Goes Live

Keep Learning is live, with the inaugural guest post on open architecture and open courses by Jim Groom published at 1:06pm EDT.

Keep Learning Blog

Keep Learning is a new education technology blogging project by Instructure, the folks behind Canvas. It’s a privilege to have a chance to work on this project, and hopefully engage a large swathe of the varied education and technology communities. The project relies on guest writers and cross-disciplinary readers to build bridges to different shared spaces, professional networks, and online learning communities.

Devlin Daley’s Ed Startup 101 Q&A

Of course I’m biased, but I thought Devlin Daley did a great job explaining the vision and foundation of Instructure and Canvas during today’s Ed Startup 101 Q&A. Hearing Devlin talk about Big Picture type things is always reinvigorating for someone like me who has the privilege of working with him and the rest of the Instructure team. Devlin has the rare ability to dive deep below the surface of technology challenges, refuting a superficial answer with a far more elegant, holistic solution.

Here’s the video:


Here are few salient points and quotes from the Twitter stream: