OLTD 502 started lasted Thursday with an invite to attend the CEET Meet on open learning. Ironically I had registered the day previous, after receiving an email from my Principal who kindly sends most tech related opportunities my way. The coincidence reminded me how interconnected the world of open learning actually is. It also made me consider how small it might actually be. This feeling is reverberated by the constant references to the names of Downes, Siemens and Couros.
My first exploration of the CEET site left me slightly dazed. Not really knowing where to start, or what the format for learning was, I viewed David Cormier’s #TieTalk. http://moodlemeets.learnnowbc.ca/mod/page/view.php?id=1252
I really appreciated his comment that, “Opportunities lie in how we use technology not in the technology itself.” I feel this is an important consideration when we consider implementing technology plans at a school wide or district level. Cormier also recognized the continued importance of face to face learning, which I fully support. The second half of the talk focused more on the idea of analytics, and it made me think of the book “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis and how the Oakland Athletics a cash strapped struggling baseball franchise, used analytics and more specifically “sabermetrics” to scout unrecognized and affordable talent to make their team competitive against clubs with much larger payrolls. While my university training is firmly rooted in the arts, the idea of analytics and using statistical analysis to identify struggling students and improve student learning fascinates me. This is definitely an area I’d like to explore more deeply.
More specific to open learning, Cormier’s asserts that good feedback leads to improved student performance. He further explains that an open online system is optimally set up to accomplish this and points to Purdue’s “Signals” program. http://www.itap.purdue.edu/learning/tools/signals/ According to the program description, by using analytics “Signals”:
…detects early warning signs and provides intervention to students who may not be performing
- It provides real-time feedback,
- Interventions start early - as early as the second week of class
- It provides frequent and ongoing feedback
I think a similar program could be an extremely valuable resource to school districts in K-12 schools in British Columbia. With SD68 implementing an RTI (Response to Intervention) model an open education analytics program similar to “Signals” focused on collecting and interpreting data would be an invaluable tool to identifying and supporting at risk students.
Upon reflection the best thing about the CEET meet was the inundation of information and resources. The most frustrating thing about the CEET meet was the inundation of information and resources. I’m left with the impression that open learning is truly in it’s infancy and that in many ways we are pioneers, knowing that we have stumbled on to something truly amazing, but not quite certain how to proceed forward.