Unlike more traditional seminars for educators, edcamp Phoenix West offers teachers, specialists, administrators, and anyone else interested in improving the learning experience, (they even welcome students) the opportunity to craft a day of professional development created and guided by the participants themselves.
Starting with only a Session schedule, participants offer their ideas about what they want to discuss or study.The flow of information for the day is then determined by participants who “vote with their feet” by choosing which sessions to attend.
The goal? Provide educators with the opportunity to sharpen their skills, share their wealth of knowledge, and collaborate with other teachers in arguably the most personalized professional development experience available.
This year Haiku will be providing an online collaboration wikispace for participants to share ideas and collaborate with other educators online so that the professional development that occurs at EdCamp can continue long after February 23rd. You can Join the Haiku edcamp wikispace by visiting HERE and entering 2FLM2.
What: edcamp Phoenix West
When: February 23, 2013 – 8:30am – 2:30pm
Where: Marc T. Atkinson Middle School
4315 N Maryvale Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85031
Check out the edcamp Phoenix West website at http://www.edcampphoenix.org/ for more information.
If you’ve been thinking about how your school can benefit from cloud-based learning tools, here’s your chance to hear from industry experts. Wednesday, February 2, Haiku Learning, LearnBoost, and Google Apps Marketplace™ will host a live webinar that will cover classroom management applications and how to bring your school to the cloud. Join us at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Details and registration information is available here: http://goo.gl/LYVlX
We hope you’ll join us!
Last week Converge Magazine published an article that highlights three education technology trends (as identified in a June 2010 report by the Software & Information Industry Association) to watch: learning management systems, online learning, and mobile computing. To summarize the summary, increased government standards and lower prices for learning management systems will move school districts and colleges toward blended learning programs.
We keep in close communication with our users, so these trends were no surprise to the Haiku team. In fact, if you’re familiar with our approach to updating our learning management system then you know that we constantly collaborate with educators to learn how students learn and teachers teach. That knowledge enables us to evolve Haiku LMS to meet the actual needs of actual people rather than impose our ideas for what we deem useful features.
We’re pleased that our learning management system already offers much of what educators do and will need going forward:
- Online gradebook and class rosters
- Online interaction with teachers*
- Assignments and student calendars
- Learning and course management
* Chat and online interaction get an asterisk because they’re features that are already in the works for Haiku LMS. In the meantime, third-party services like VoiceThread meet the need for these functionalities and are integrated into Haiku LMS via our Embed the Web™ feature.
More information about how to obtain the original, full report is available in the SIIA press release (pdf).
What other trends do you see?
If you’re interested in online learning — particularly blended learning — we highly recommend reading the April 28 special report, E-Learning 2010: Assessing the Agenda for Change, by Education Week. We offer here a glimpse of what you’ll find.
Something for Everyone
While some people talk the talk about the applications and implications of blended learning, schools around the United States are actually walking the walk. The article “Schools Factoring E-Courses Into the Daily Learning Mix” provides first-hand evidence that blended learning has boundless benefits. For a rural district in Idaho it enables students to take courses like foreign language that aren’t available in their own building; for students in Los Angeles it enables students to avoid scheduling conflicts that inevitably result when so many choices and activities are available. In each case, online courses are integrated into the school day, and schools increasingly see the valuable role online offerings can play alongside traditional classes (4). The article also notes strategies for successful implementation of a blended learning program, including on-site resources like mentors and computer labs.
A Shift in Mindset
Blended learning can also reduce dropout rates. An estimate in the article “Detroit-Area District Innovates to Address Dropout Problem” puts the dropout rate in metropolitan Detroit at 40 percent. With Detroit’s economy in crisis, jobs are scarce for adults let alone adolescents who have given up on education. Westwood Community School District offers at-risk students an alternative to the traditional classroom setting: blended learning. The approach is markedly different even in semantics: class participants are “researchers” rather than “students,” and they engage course content through online classes, project-based learning, and in-person support (6).
Worth a Read
Other articles in the issue touch on topics like synchronous and asynchronous classes, enrollment caps, and funding. This report is one you don’t want to miss. It’s available to download from the Education Week website.
If you need evidence of how quickly of print resources are giving way to digital materials, a recent deal between Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Detroit public schools provides a perfect case-in-point. As reported by The Boston Globe on October 29, the $40 million, multi-year deal includes the sale of some textbooks, but largely provides the district with software like Learning Village to deliver educational resources and to connect students and teachers to a virtual network.
This is a huge step forward for online and blended learning because it further underscores the increasing momentum and success of digital learning. Such a shift to digital content ensures that schools will be able to keep content current and ultimately to tie that content directly into their online classrooms to provide students with even more resources.
There are a number of content providers that are already publishing great content for students, and this latest announcement is just one more indication that digital information is here to stay.