Khan Academy and the Effectiveness of Science Videos

Is it more effective to start with a focus on common misconceptions learners have? Will this increase the likelihood that they are going to pay attention and actually learn something? 


My PhD: http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/super/…
It is a common view that "if only someone could break this down and explain it clearly enough, more students would understand." Khan Academy is a great example of this approach with its clear, concise videos on science. However it is debatable whether they really work. Research has shown that these types of videos may be positively received by students. They feel like they are learning and become more confident in their answers, but tests reveal they haven’t learned anything. The apparent reason for the discrepancy is misconceptions. Students have existing ideas about scientific phenomena before viewing a video. If the video presents scientific concepts in a clear, well illustrated way, students believe they are learning but they do not engage with the media on a deep enough level to realize that what was is presented differs from their prior knowledge. There is hope, however. Presenting students’ common misconceptions in a video alongside the scientific concepts has been shown to increase learning by increasing the amount of mental effort students expend while watching it.

Your School Librarians Are Key To Student Success

Ever wonder how important your school librarians are to your student’s successful transition to college?  A new report from the ALA, “Factors Affecting Students’ Information Literacy as They Transition from High School to College“, lays it out in some detail.  From the abstract:

Despite the considerable attention paid to the need to increase the information literacy of high school students in preparation for the transition to college, poor research skills still seem to be the norm. To gain insight into the problem, library instruction environments of nineteen high schools were explored. The schools were selected based on whether their graduates did well or poorly on information-skills assignments integrated in a required first-year college course. The librarians in the nineteen schools were asked to characterize their working relationships with teachers, estimate their students’ information-literacy achievement, and provide data on their staffing and budgets.

Findings suggest that school librarians are seldom in a position to adequately collaborate with teachers and that their opportunities to help students achieve information literacy are limited.

Make sure to read the conclusion, where this troubling statement is written by the authors:

The key insight gained from this study is that school librarians are relatively powerless to effect change from within or on their own. Although Table 7 identifies many of the barriers to successful IL programs, including librarians’ own limited concept of their role, there is barely any mention of the part that should be played by school administration. Even those librarians who come across as strong promoters of IL in their schools do not talk about how they try to advocate with their principals or with curriculum committees. Reading the transcripts leaves one with an impression of the librarian as isolated and dependent on the cooperation of individual teachers. Broad collaboration with teachers and information literacy integration with curricula are not held up as priorities. A sense of acceptance of the status quo is pervasive.

It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens by danah boyd

SNAGHTML29d01bReading: It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens by danah boyd.  You can download the PDF of the book for free, or buy a dead-tree copy from the usual suspects.

The topics covered are: 

  • Identity – why do teens seem strange online? 
  • Privacy -  why do youth share so publicly?
  • Addiction – what makes teens obsessed with social media?
  • Danger – are sexual predators lurking everywhere?
  • Bullying  – is social media amplifying meanness and cruelty?
  • Inequality – can social media resolve social divisions?
  • Literacy – are today’s youth digital natives?

I would highly recommend this book to you no matter how much your teaching and learning practice touches the issues of social networking, digital identity, and trying to help our kids create positive digital footprints.  At the very least, make sure to review the 22 page introduction as It give a great deal of insight into this complicated world we live in.  

Rubrics help your learners build speaking and presentation skills

A few weeks back, I had a conversation with an elementary teacher about the types of feedback he could give to better let his learners know how they were doing on their presentations. This discussion led into how important the ability to stand in front of people and talk is to long-term success both in school and in the workplace.  We talked a bit about how the students at that age don’t quite know what elements of a presentation are important, so providing them a framework will help them think about and work on those skills. In addition to the framework, we thought it was important for student to self-assess, or predict, their level of proficiency before they did their presentation.  Enter the rubric.

One of the better resources for pre-created rubrics (and much more) I’ve found for students is at the Buck Institute for Education or BIE.  They provide a plethora of resources around Project Based Learning that can be adopted into your general and special education classrooms.  The K-2 rubric is a great entry-level document to help your learners understand what elements they need to include or demonstrate.   To download any of the documents, you will need first to create a free login.

K-2 Presentation Rubric

SNAGHTML37205c

3-5 Presentation Rubric 

6-8 Presentation Rubric

9-12 Presentation Rubric

SNAGHTML2a0d88

Additional Rubric Sites and Resources – RubistarRubrics from UW StoutRubrics from teAchnologyRecipes for SuccessKathy Schrock’s Rubric Collection

The $0.85 Apple Keyboard Repair

SNAGHTML817292

Apple sells these really nice wireless keyboards ($69) that we use in our Assistive Technology Lending Library, but they don’t sell a simple replacement battery cover… So when one that we’ve loaned comes back without the simple cover, we now have a $69 piece of finely sculpted aluminum.

Because I’m always looking for a way to fix things like this, I took the keyboard to the local hardware store and found a 5/8” hex cap that fit the hole perfectly – almost.  The end sticks out a bit, but other than that, it’s functional.  As someone once said, “If it’s stupid and it works, it’s not stupid.”

This nice little 5/8” hex cap cost $0.85 and needed only to have a small amount of the black oxide finish scuffed off on the end that contacts the negative side of the batteries.  Once installed and turned on, the Bluetooth keyboard showed up immediately on my iPad and Nexus tablet, and we’ve saved a otherwise useless device from the trash.

IMG_0067IMG_0069IMG_0070

Sal Kahn Keynote at the Hoover Institution’s Symposium on Blended Learning in K-12 Education

Sal Khan, the founder of the Khan Academy, recently delivered the keynote address at the Hoover Institution’s Symposium on Blended Learning in K-12 Education.

In this keynote, he describes his vision for “education reimagined.”

Loop Educational Videos Until You Get It with StepUp.io

SNAGHTML26b5e7

StepUp.io, is a London, UK based educational technology edtech startup and has created a very interesting application. This cool tool allows you to cut educational videos into bite sized chunks that can then be watched at an individual pace or repeated as many times until the content or task has been mastered.  One of the immediate uses you will see in the many sample videos is learning how to play a musical instrument, or for language learning.

The stepboard on the right of the interface allows you to choose a video segment and have it repeat until you either master the content, or would like to skip to something else to try out.  Overall, I see this is a great platform for self-directed learners, and those how might use educative video to help learn a certain skill or task.

How Universal Design for Learning has grown to become a big idea

UDLThe Harvard Graduate School of Education has an article which is well worth your time about UDL:  How a little idea called Universal Design for Learning has grown to become a big idea — elastic enough to fit every kid. 

In a nutshell – UDL is about being proactive vs reactive when we design our lessons and curriculum.  Here’s just one good pull quote from the article:

Rather than providing different tools on an as-needed basis so that each child at the margin could access the curriculum, why not rethink the curriculum so that all children could access it, even those with different learning styles? With the help of computers, a literacy curriculum, for example, could by design include audiobooks for those with difficulties reading text, dictionaries where ESL learners could look up words along the way, and extra questions for those students ready to go on to the next level.

 

New Flashcard Application On The Block – CardKiwi

Quite often people ask me which flash card site or application I like, and my go to answer is usually Quizlet.  I’m always open to trying new sites and apps that might offer the same or better function, and this week, I stumbled upon CardKiwi.

Where Quizlet has quite a few methods by which you can use your card decks, CardKiwi has few options – and that’s what might make it a good pick if you need a straightforward set of cards.  An interesting feature in CardKiwi is the ability to indicate whether you understand, kind of understand or don’t understand the concept on your car.  You indicate those choices through a thumbs up, sideways and down button.

cardwiki

In addition, CardKiwi has the ability to import cards based on an ISBN of a book you are studying.  I wasn’t able to find that it pre-populated any cards for me, but I might of been using an ISBN that no else has created card for.

You can also share your card with other’s with a short link.  Form my short time with it, I’d say it’s a good application to add to your repertoire of quality flashcard sites.

 

What kids think about education technology

Kids were asked what they think about education technology at the EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit. Here it is–unfiltered advice from the end users!