Thursday, June 07, 2012

#iel12 Thursday Morning Keynote

"These are the days of miracles and wonders" - Paul Simon

DAU Status- Chris Hardy
- 2011: Learning assets become part of the fabric of how the workforce does its job.
  + Learning at the point of need
  + Change focus to performance support

3 imperatives
- Train like you work
- Work as you train 
- Work like you train

Roadmap
- Performance Learning Infrastucture (includes the LMS)
- Mobile
- Personalization
- Collaboration
- Virtual Environments (virtual desktops included)
- Innovative Classroom and Learning Tech (includes telepresence / web conferencing)
- Media

They created a Teaching Learning Lab - 2011
- Did it to develop and implemented a disciplined requirement generation process and evaluation methodology (need to reach out to Dr. Bayliss about this)

- Pilot and test emerging tech

- Support these technologies (if successful) to employment
  + Composica - new authoring tool.  Faculty update courses themselves.
  + Next Gen LMS
  + Mobile Initiative

- Requirements test bed

The lab is their resource for the future
- smart investments, right technologies

It's not the big that eat the small - it's the fast that eat the slow.
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Don't forget #lrnchat

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Presenter: Mitch Kapor - Closing the Talent Gap

Big Picture of education and education technologies
- Believes in the power of innovation to constructively disrupt things

2 sides - very focused on how we can make a positive difference through info tech
But also giving back

Summer Math and Science Honors Academy
- 3 year summer program for low income hs students of color
- 100 students - 50% girls
- Residential
- Goal - reward them for being smart, not punished

If we are going to have a competitive workforce - we have to prepare them
- We are not doing all that well
- Where US ranks in Science, Tech and Math - we are #52 in relative ranking
- We are not educating students in a way that makes them competitive with folks in other countries
- This problem appears as early as 6th grade
(my question - what are the benchmarks/measures for this?  Should we be higher?  Lower?)

US  Majority "Minority" country by 2042
- IN 5 years - Majority "Minority" in kindergarden
- "It is not a Them problem, but an Us problem"
- Have to increase educational outcomes for EVERYONE.  We won't be able to make up the gaps otherwise.

What might info tech be able to do?
- Things are more mixed - eras of bright hopes (see 90s and CD-ROMS and computer-based instruction)

Current wins are low tech
- Lots of examples of schools (K-12 example) successfully educating high risk populations so that they can go to college
- Many use little IT
- Take kids seriously, high expectations, care
(This seems to highlight the importance of the human element and design vs. the tools)

Public Education systems (esp urban)
- Resistant to change
- Budget pressure
(don't get me started here....)

New Ed Tech ecosystem
- Conferences and blogs
- "Lots of interest in startup-land"
- Incubators focused on education technology

New buzzwords and shibboleths (Udacity and Courcera)
- Khan Academy - "Look at all these great videos with 10s of millions of views.  We can just sit kids in front of this!" Erm..yeah...

- Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) - especially from Stanford (did George Siemen's head explode?) 

- "How do we turn this into $$$"

We have to get "underneath the hype"

Holy Grail
- Use IT to meaningfully improve education outcomes
  + What it means to learn something.  How you know that.  Changes in different contexts
  + Often "online learning" assessments are good at measuring proficiency but NOT good at assessing mastery
  + Proficiency can be adequate (I sometimes WISH we tested proficiency...and whether the proficiency we are testing is worth caring about....)
 + How to think / write / problem solve - can't test that using 10 minute video and "facts" in video.
  + Mastery involves critical thinking, problem solving (individual and collaborative) etc
  + Online tools for assessing mastery is in very early days.
  + If we cannot assess outcomes in a meaningful way - content doesn't matter
  + Next few years - the problem may get into the picture and focus

- Inclusively
  + Want availability to all students at all level
  + Why we got as far as we did in business - common platform (mostly).  Reach of IT inclusive.
     + Developers KNEW what people were running and developed for target platform (standardization)
  + Silicon Valley - focused on test prep.  Sell to parents. But if make great product, but only available on a for fee / subscription basis - giving more advantage to the affluence.  Unintentionally increasing the access/performance gap.  Opposite of what we ought to be doing.
  + High quality educational technologies need to be available for everyone.
  + Silicon Valley - looking out for own interests

- Sustainably
  + To extent that for-profit will be providing "some of the components in the stack"
  + Business models need to support development
  + This is dicey
  + Higher Ed - clearer than K12.  But K12 is foundational.  And they need a DAU for procurement for all.
  + K12 setup undercuts ability to develop robust ed tech ecosystem

- Scalably

Glimpses of solutions
- Blended learning - designed to have skillful mix of online and human interaction
  + Try to leverage computers good at and people good at.
  + Teachers as coaches / mentors.  Rather than routine delivery (computers can do this)
  + Focus on what only human beings can do.  This could be a huge area of investment and deployment

- Flexible, adaptive platforms
   + We are so used to model of education that starts with the way we went to school (desks, bells, etc)
   + This model of education deep in our unconscious (explanation of resistance)
  + Lockstep of time and space in that model
     ++ This carries over into online world.  Limiting
     ++ Accreditiaton for online ed - can only get credit if you are "in the virtual seat" for x hours
     ++ Above is silly
  +Competency-based learning for credit (slowly) changing that model.  Long battle with accreditors
  + Information tech changes faster than humans
  + Adaptive to you.  Go at own pace.
  + Adaptive learning - still very early on.  It will happen.  Make things more efficient.  Better student engagement and happiness.

Customization issue - this is what folks have been saying about ads on the internet.  But this is only kinda working.
- Beware the Likes in Facebook.  Will show up in ad.

- Modular infrastructure
  + eCommerce systems (pre-Amazon) - folks who created those sites had to build everything themselves.  No applications or pieces they could use to build their system.  Always like this in early stages.
  + As infrastructure develop - business recognizes reusable pieces.
   + Right now - the infrastructure does not exist - levels of assessment, auto-push of content that is useful at point of need
 
Self assessment - good at spotting trends, not so good at how long it will take

New Charter University - $199 month for online degree
- Online higher ed oriented to non-traditional college students (working adults)
- Western Governors as baseline.  Looked at Phoenix etc
- Is it possible to offer quality product, competency model based learning at disruptive cost?
- By forgoing student loans and good tech stack - able to offer full accredited program cheap.
- Lifelong learning credit - "essentially free"

Piazza - online study aid
- Instructor signs the class up
- Very inclusive.  Designed to encourage and help each other
- Engagement numbers huge.
- Started at Stanford and moved across higher ed engineering schools
- Really attracted by student engagement numbers

Untraditional backgrounds = untraditional "itches" = untraditional solutions

Prospect of giving folks tools to succeed - amplified by info tech - worthwhile.

If we are investing in education and giving people opportunity to achieve potential - we are doing something worthwhile with our lives.
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Q&A

Thoughts on projects like "Raspberry Pi Project" - low cost computing and getting people involved?
- We are seeing with the quickly dropping cost of components
- Can't say which groups and how soon - see 1 laptop per child.  But concepts found elsewhere today
- Already a billion smartphones, 6 billion cells - which will turn to smartphone
- HW ubiquity on the way to happening

Can entrepreneurship be taught?
- Important to help critically examine whether "red meat eating" version OK.
- Like music - some have differing degrees of talent.  Instruction can help develop / nurture approach.
- Still not sure what ratio of talent / hard work is needed
- Can always "think entrepreneurially"  And show that.

STEM ranking in US - what goes behind this number (thanks for asking this....)
- Lots of factors - not just ed tech or tech
- Data - low performing students (same ones) made successful using low tech approaches
- Strikingly counter-intuitive when look at it
- Whatever the cause is - the right interventions can make an enormous difference
- Still trying to figure out what these interventions are.  "Secret sauce".  How to amplify.

Big believer in value of counter-intuitive experiences
- Wikipedia example - free encyclopedia crowdsourced by amateurs? And it has value?!?!
- Nowadays - can't imagine encyclopedias (old way)

How do you influence inclusivity?
- He asks "Are you trying to make the world a better place?  How?"
- As an investor - permit and encourage a more 360 view of the impact of what they are doing
  + Economic AND Social
- Most of investing still just about the money.
- If you can speak frankly about what you believe in, willing to commit to - maybe folks will meet you 1/2 way

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