Flipped Out Over Sophia

Sophia Website Welcome Page – on the day that I took the photo.

I have just signed up for Sophia and so far it’s pretty cool. What is Sophia? It’s a social learning network described as “a mashup of Facebook, Wikipedia, and YouTube focused solely on education”.

 

What happens on Sophia?

You create a profile, make friends, join groups and follow subjects. There is a points system for watching and participating in activities, including great class management points for ‘good behaviour’, it’s not called that but the idea is to encourage people to act responsibly on the site. There are lists of tutorials and you can make a ‘playlist’ from them.

 

You can watch a tutorial and give it a rank then work your way up to the next tutorial. You can also upload tutorials – big bonus, we can all SHARE.

 

Tutorials are media heavy: text, graphics, music, videos, slideshows … The idea is that people both learn and teach in different ways so the more tutorials the more ways there are for people to connect with a learning style that matches them best.

 

Sophia has taken off in a big way and rightly so, it looks like loads of fun & there is a lot of potential for use in wider educational settings. There are privacy settings so you can share with an invite only group of people. Class projects could pick out different things in tutorials or create their own tutorial for a much deeper learning experience, or you can simply share a tutorial with your online or physical students.

 

I hope they look at breaking down the subject divisions and adding more of a tag system as not all learning takes place within a subject header.

 

To top off this great site they emphasis  Creative Commons on their licensing agreement.

They want people to share and work together :).

 

Check it out here

 

TTT – Top Tech Trend: Zero Marginal Cost Education

Education is undergoing a ‘massive change’. How many times have you heard that?

This article on changing education HAS attracted my interest. It seems that Zero Marginal Cost Education IS one of the top ten tech trends that interests venture capitalists at the Churchill Club (a Silicon Valley group encouraging innovation & growth). How do we know this? It was voted on in a recent tech trends gathering – see link here.

It’s probably very self explanatory: high quality low cost education enables everyone who can’t attend a top tier university, whether financial, time constraints, distances etc, to easily access educational facilities.

There are a lot of books online and Wikipedia answers almost every question you might have, but education is about learning not just accessing information. Collaborating and interacting and working together through online spaces enables people to learn and can break through previous learning constraints and barriers. It’s great to see that education is being recognized as a major tech player.

Go Go Online Education!

Top Tech Trend Zero Marginal Cost Education

MOOCey MOOCers

Check out this new MOOC website where you can go to find out more about the latest MOOC happenings.

MOOC me

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, MOOC’s are a Massive Open Online Course, most of the time they are completely free – bonus!

What happens is, you sign up and get confirmation with links and support information, there are webinars and content each week followed by online discussions.

The biggest hurdle is transitioning from being a ‘lurker’ to an active participant.  I have spent a lot of time lurking through discussions looking for that place where I feel I fit in before participating.  Sometimes there can be a lot of contributors and so a lot of information to go through.  The best way to handle it is to find topics that interest you and respond to what people have written, contribute to a discussion.

Why do I like MOOC’s so much?  It’s because I get the chance to connect with like minded people and have meaningful discussions.  People can be anywhere in the world and we’ve got the opportunity to connect in a relevant learning space.

Take from it what you like, but give it a go.

MOOCers – everyone’s doing it!

Khan Academy Reforming Education or an Inevitable Progression?

Reading through this article in the USA today about the Khan Academy and getting excited about online progression in education and how it supports classroom teaching, inquiry learning and how the model can be transferred to higher level education.

Khan Academy is an online education non profit, no stock options or financial incentives they don’t even have advertising on their website, they seem completely focused on their mission statement “providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere”.

It all started when Salman Khan started tutoring his cousin online, another cousin wanted the same support so Sal put it onto a youtube video for easy access and voila, it took off, now there are over 3000 online videos for anyone to access – including students, teachers, tutors etc.

Is this changing education? Is this doing away with the textbook?  Does it change the role of the teacher?

I think the Khan academy is a wonderful resource and model of a resource we should all take advantage of it. Online resources are easier to access and unlike text books can be updated  with relevant information.  After teaching in English speaking schools in South East Asia I learnt that many textbooks, although full of great information, can be irrelevant to surrounding circumstances and views, also difficult to find and expensive to import.  We would always be looking for other resources and Khan academy is definitely one of these.

Khan Academy is a great resource for facilitated inquiry learning.  Current teachers should now be looking towards guiding rather than instructing, supporting adventures and inquiries into ideas rather than following a strict outline.  Salman Khan is giving everyone a fantastic resource to be able to facilitate learning and I think this is an inevitable progression that should be extended to adult institutional learning.

Click here to read the article

Click here for Khan Academy’s website

Teamie: moving from an LMS to a social learning platform

I’m enjoying exploring the Teamie website (link below) and am looking at it not from a classroom perspective but from a more social learning perspective.

Teamie is a learning platform hosted on a cloud, big tick from me, and incorporates collaboration features through ‘walls’ similar to facebook where learners can work together.  Feedback on tests and projects can be visible to everyone and it is easy for everyone: educators, families, learners to see what’s going on.  It encourages people to communicate online and also a certain amount of transparency in the education process.

I assume that education facilities in different locations could use Teamie to connect and communicate by distance which is a great way to encourage diversity in collaboration and also mentoring.  This feature, as well as hosting classroom-style learning, could be useful in adult education/training where people often miss out on connecting with others outside of their immediate working situation.

There are more and more ‘LMS‘s’ out there and they all seem to be moving towards more of a social learning aspect.  I believe this is a massive step in the right direction.

I’m interested to see how people use it for their own learning experiences, especially when it comes to ‘inquiry’ learning.  What’s the best way to use a platform to encourage healthy use of some of the amazing resources on the Internet for student led learning?

Teamie: http://theteamie.com/

Check out their intro video ‘Teamie in Action’: