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During a recent trip to Boston, I was lucky enough to catch up with a friend of mine from high school. Our lives have taken wildly divergent paths, and while I've ended up in the collaboration field, he's found himself as an instructor at the United States Military Academy, AKA West Point. Over omlettes in Southie, as the wind whipped through the narrow streets outside, we started to find a place where our viewpoints began to converge: the subject of active learning.
As a company, we mostly cater to two markets: business and education. That's been our main focus since we started, and it will likely be our larger focus going forward. As we learn more about these markets, though, it becomes obvious that sometimes you miss some things about the bigger picture. For instance, looking at the big picture, the education market itself is really all about catering to the business market. Schools, especially higher-ed institutions, are all about getting students graduated and placed, after all. So it makes sense that the big drivers in the way schools are moderninzing (like flipped classrooms, project based learning, or using huddle spaces) are all directly relatable to kinds of things businesses are looking at in regards to new hires. But what do these modern learning techniques provide that "normal" classrooms don't? Let's work it out...
If you're a reader of this blog, you're no doubt aware that I'm something of a sucker for gamified learning. In the past, we covered some fairly specific topics, such using my favorite game, Kerbal Space Program, in your classroom, or how to conduct an "Hour of Code" event. Today, we'll get a bit broader and talk about gamifying your entire classroom.
In the past, as we've written our "Focus on Active Learning" series, we've mainly talked about styles of teaching, but we've never really gone into the nuts and bolts of how to carry them out. Here, we'll take a look at 5 web applications that you can use in an active learning classroom, as well as give you a few tips on how to best use them during a lesson.
Sometimes it isn't enough to have a presentation displayed up on the screen. Your screen might be too small, some in your audience could suffer from poor eyesight, or you might just be in a classroom where you need to engage mobile devices in order to keep the attention of your students. Recognizing all of these, plus the fact that it's just handy for your audience to have the ability to view your slides at their leisure, wePresent features a function we call WebSlides. Simply put, WebSlides is the ability to access and view the presentation from any device's browser at your own pace. It's very easy to use, so let's talk about how it works.
We talk a lot about the wePresent's ability to connect up to 64 users together for collaborative efforts, but what does it actually mean to work with that? Moderator control allows a teacher or meeting leader to choose which devices are displayed - up to 4 at a time - from a handy web control panel, meaning you'll be able to work together with your audience, rather than just talking to them. Learning how to use the moderator control panel is easy, and only takes a few minutes to master. Let's take a look.
Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. -Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Space is still big news, that much hasn't changed. SpaceX recently experienced a string of high-publicity successes with their Falcon reuseable booster, and NASA has recently begun testing Bigelow Aerospace's BEAM inflatable habitats on the International Space Station. Commander Scott Kelly, along with his identical twin brother, Commander Mark Kelly, have both participated in the first experiment to test the effects of long-term space travel on humans, with Scott staying on board the ISS for a year to discover what kinds of hurdles that humanity must jump over to live among the stars.
Summer has been a busy month for your favorite wireless presentation gateway, but we've managed to make some splashes here and there. We've been up to a lot after InfoComm and ISTE, including a golf tournament in Europe, a partner school being featured at Model Schools out in Orlando, and a couple more Best-Of-Show awards coming out of trade show season.
The ultimate goal in education, pragmatically speaking, is to help kids prepare for the working world. This goal is a little more at the forefront of the educator's mind in higher education than, say, in primary and secondary education, but being that those two stages of education are essentially intended to prepare the student for college, one can extrapolate that they serve essentially the same function. This, more than anything else, is the reason that project-based learning is taking off. The replication of real-world work processes is essential in helping students learn to collaborate and function in the real world.
So how does it work?
Technology in the classroom is growing more and more important, but with that technology has to come a change in the way classes are taught. These days, students have a wealth of information at their fingertips thanks to the internet, and whatever concept they cannot get a basic grasp of from Wikipedia, there are dozens of educational YouTube channels ready to fill them in.