Your thoughts?

Synergy in Assessment: Vgotsky, Glaser and Rasch

CourseraI have read all three of these authors, and read about them, and used their ideas in teaching and in class. Vgotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development fits well with social learning afforded by the Internet (and earlier, with Krashen’s i+1). Glaser’s insistence on creating specific criteria for learning, instead of just comparing one student against the other, leads to better teaching. Testing the test with Rasch Analysis (for entrance exams!) yields both better exams and better criteria for evaluation.

But it wasn’t until today, taking the Coursera MOOC Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills, did I ever see anyone put all 3 together, and see how well they work together.

Best thing is that these ideas are just background to new assessment methods for new skills such as Collaborative Problem Solving. This course is now in Week 3, approaching the mid-point, but there is still time to catch up. Highly recommended.

Your thoughts?

Fitness and Social Learning

I have been interested in the Quantified Self for about 3 years now, measuring whatever could be measured in an effort to see how I can improve it. One of the most common things to measure is how many steps you take, using a pedometer. I bought a fancy pedometer that also measures how much you toss and turn at night. Then I got three friends to buy the same thing.

I found that we spurred each other on, in a friendly competition. This social aspect is exploited in many online games, but not enough learning websites.

Garmin Vivosmart, if you must know
Garmin Vivosmart, if you must know

My tracker broke, and I have been shopping for a new one. Just pre-ordered a brand new one with many more features (measures my cycling too, works as a wristwatch, is water resistant, and measures my heart rate). It even helps me find my lost smartphone.

I agonized over this decision until I found that through an intermediary web site, I could swap data with my friends and their “old” trackers. Now I will be able to have the best of both worlds.

Mozilla’s Open Badges could be considered like that intermediary website, providing a standard that can cross platforms. I can’t think of many others. Is there a place where Moodle and Blackboard and Sakai users can measure themselves against each other? Wouldn’t that be nice?

Your thoughts?

Spaced Repitition

Also known as the Leitner System, spaced repetition is a learning technique that takes memory function into account and places it front and center. We can see it here in Japan used by almost every secondary student with their vocabulary study cards. (photo source)

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Digital systems have made these cards outmoded, except in technology challenged situations. With open source software like Anki, digital version of vocabulary cards and any other flashcard content can be input or shared with other users. There is quite an extensive library of flash card sets on all kinds of topics. Anki is usually downloaded, either to your desktop and/or your smart phone (Android/iOS), and it does allow for syncing, even though it is not seamless.

I am curious as to the efficacy of these systems for language teaching and learning. I am considering using Quizlet as a small element in some of my classes, but that does not seem to contain any spaced repetition capabilities.  Please comment if you have any suggestions as to alternatives to Anki that are entirely online, and can by used with a web browser.