Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: The Battle to Open Textbooks
Part 6 of my Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012 series Digital Textbooks When I looked at the most significant trends in educational technology last year, I opted to write about the “Digital Library” in lieu of digital textbooks. In May, the Book Industry Study Group released the results of “a first ever survey of college faculty perceptions toward classroom materials” that found that most professors (88%) still prefer (and assign) the printed versions of textbooks and other class materials. Digital textbook provider Coursesmart issued a press release the same month with (not surprisingly) a sunnier view on adoption and usage. But that didn’t stop publishing companies, tech companies, governmental agencies, and non-profits from pushing digital textbooks this year. As I wrote at the time, I was a little dismayed by the PDF and by the oft-touted argument that the main reason we’d “go digital” are to make our kids’ backpacks lighter: (Answer: it's Apple.) Open Textbooks Pearson’s Project Blue Sky.
» Napster, Udacity, and the Academy Clay Shirky
Fifteen years ago, a research group called The Fraunhofer Institute announced a new digital format for compressing movie files. This wasn’t a terribly momentous invention, but it did have one interesting side effect: Fraunhofer also had to figure out how to compress the soundtrack. The result was the Motion Picture Experts Group Format 1, Audio Layer III, a format you know and love, though only by its acronym, MP3. The recording industry concluded this new audio format would be no threat, because quality mattered most. Who would listen to an MP3 when they could buy a better-sounding CD at the record store? Then Napster launched, and quickly became the fastest-growing piece of software in history. If Napster had only been about free access, control of legal distribution of music would then have returned the record labels. How did the recording industry win the battle but lose the war? The people in the music industry weren’t stupid, of course. But who faces that choice?
Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: The Flipped Classroom
Part 4 of my Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012 series “Flipping the classroom” is hardly new. But with all the hype surrounding both Khan Academy and MOOCs, it’s hardly surprising that the practice became incredibly popular this year. Indeed, in his 2011 TED Talk (which has been watched over 2 million times on YouTube), Salman Khan talked about the ways in which his videos are used by teachers to “flip the classroom.” That is, in lieu of teachers lecturing in the classroom, the Khan Academy video lectures are assigned as homework; then students work on exercises in class where the teacher can more easily assist and remediate. It’s also become part of the argument that Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller makes about how massive open online classes or MOOCs (which, duh, is another huge ed-tech trend of 2012) will change the offline university experience. The Tools of “The Flip” The History and the Benefits of “The Flip” As I noted above, the idea of the “flipped classroom” wasn’t new to 2012.
Autistic Students Make Music Using iPad Apps (WATCH)
The first time you listen to Ryan Rodriguez, Denzel Jackson and Jasmine Latham's music, you might think they sound like any high school band. But the three autistic musicians, along with the rest of their classmates, use a special learning technique and perform on their iPads. The innovative new music program comes out of P177Q, a school for special needs students in Queens, New York. Teacher Adam Goldberg integrated iPads into his class as a way of getting around the challenging, technical aspects of traditional instruments and allowing students to focus on creating music. "Right away, these students are learning to work together, they're learning to share, and cooperate, and to be like a team, because that's really what's going on when people play music -- it's team work," he told Fox News. Goldberg's class performed a challenging jazz song for the reporters, followed by free-styling their own compositions. Are you inspired by the musicians of P177Q?
Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: Education Data and Learning Analytics
Part 7 of my Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012 series I chose “data” as one of the top trends of 2011, and the opening line of that article reads “If data was an important trend for 2011, I predict it will be even more so in 2012.” Indeed. There’s a great deal that happened in 2012 that’s a continuation of what we saw last year — enough that I could probably just copy-and-paste from the article I wrote back then: More of our activities involve computers and the Internet, whether it’s for work, for school, or for personal purposes. Thus, our interactions and transactions can be tracked. It’s no wonder that talk about “data” (or its variation “data-driven”) continues to make lots of folks shudder. What Counts as “Education Data”? ”It would be nice if all of the data which sociologists require could be enumerated because then we could run them through IBM machines and draw charts as the economists do. But what do we mean by “education data”? What can you learn from it — from all this data?
Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: Learning to Code
Part 3 of my Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012 series Code Year It was sheer marketing genius: the announcement on January 1 by the learn-to-program startup Codecademy that 2012 should be “Code Year.” With an initiative timed with the making of New Year’s resolutions (and timed too to coincide with a narrative about a shortage of programmers), Codecademy encouraged people to make this the year they learned to program. Code Year earned Codecademy a lot of press. Despite the excitement from the tech press and investors, many of my concerns about the effectiveness of Codecademy remain. And if nothing else, traffic to the Codecademy site suggests that, like most New Year’s resolutions, some of the initial excitement about Code Year quickly died off. The Learn-to-Code Industry But excitement about learning to program — or at least, about learning-to-program startups — didn’t dissipate this year, and a huge industry has spawned to teach it. What Should Coding Education Look Like? This is a problem.
The developers at Retronyms have kicked off a series of weekly video previews on the development of iMPC Pro – a new music production center app that they are creating in partnership with Akai Pro. Continue reading When Akai Pro released the iMPC iPad music production center, a lot of Synthtopia readers were left wanting more. The app was fun, but it didn’t offer the full capabilities of even old-school MPCs. It looks like that may soon change. MobMuPlat (short for Mobile Music Platform) – a free app that lets you create custom audio software for iOS – has been updated to version 1.5. Here’s what’s new: AudioBus integration (input, output, and filter port).Menu widget, to choose item from pop-up list.Button to invert interface.Panels can optionally pass touches to scroll the canvas. Here’s how you can create a custom app with MobMuPlat: Here’s a video intro to MobMuPlat: MobMuPlat is a free download from the App Store. If you’ve tried MobMuPlat, let us know what you’re doing with it!
Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: The Platforming of Education
Part 8 of my Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012 series An Introductory Sidenote In late 2007, Web browser pioneer, entrepreneur, and now venture capitalist Marc Andreessen wrote a really great blog post about Internet platforms. When I decided I’d write about education platforms as one of my Top Ed-Tech Trends, I immediately searched for it. I had only a vague recollection of what Andreessen had written. Slight problem: some time in 2009, Andreessen deleted most of his blog posts, including that one. So a shout-out of thanks here to the folks who archived much of the site. Defining the Education Platform We throw the term “platform” around a lot in tech-speak, using it to refer to everything from software to hardware, from applications to operating systems, from websites to the Web and the Internet itself. Marc Andreesen offered a good definition of platforms in a 2007 post titled “The Three Kinds of Platforms You Meet on the Internet”: Education APIs As I wrote about APIs back in April, that means