Edtech digest (20140414 - 20140425)

Course redesign

Why Data Is the Key to Successful Course Redesign. Edudemic

  • Many schools and institutions decide to redesign their courses
  • When considering courses for redesign, many questions are asked but the most important is this: “What data should be considered to ensure our course redesign efforts are successful?”
  • Data metrics like grades, attendance or participation rates are obvious considerations. These can be reliable metrics in driving decision-making. However, I recommend also considering student feedback, faculty load, student experience, and assessment performance as additional data points which can better inform decisions that directly impact the course redesign process.



  • The easy thing for an instructional designer to do is to rely on simple instinct and maintain the status quo. Staying with a certain concept or product because it has performed adequately or even well in the past makes sense, at least on the surface
  • Keeping an open mind allowed Nielsen to shift their mindset from courses to bite-sized learning that could be easily consumed and delivered in a myriad of ways.

So, as they started thinking about content as small granular objects (like Legos), they experienced a series of "Aha!" moments that changed forever their notion of what content can be to their learners.

  • "Aha!" Moment No. 1: Reusing Content is a Game Changer"
  • "Aha!" Moment No. 2: I Can Share My Content Outside the L&D Organization"
  • "Aha! Moment No. 3: Collaboration Lets Us Deliver Better Content Faster"
  • "Aha! Moment No. 4: Yes, I Really Can Personalize Learning Content"
  • "Aha! Moment No. 5: Structure Provides Flexibility"

Science teaching tool

New science teaching tools shown at NSTA conference. eSchoolNews (a selection)

  • NSTA has created a new website, NGSS@NSTA, which it calls a “hub” for science teachers to find NSTA-approved resources to help them implement the standards.
  • LEGO Education. 14 physical science experiments for middle school students.
  • Sangari Active Science. New IQWST Tablet Edition.
    • IQWST stands for “Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology,” and its units are organized around questions that are relevant to students’ lives
  • Tigtag, a collection of more than 600 short science videos for young students.
  • Twig, includes more than 1,000 videos and lessons for teaching middle school science.
  • Ward’s Science highlighted a new line of durable, easy-to-use elementary science probes that can send data wirelessly to students’ digital devices
  • Laser Quest. Students play laser tag games and then discuss how concepts such as light reflection and refraction influenced their strategy or the outcome of the games.
  • A new company called STEMlete discussed its free online community for students who are serious about STEM careers.
  • ExploreLearning showed its iPad app for Gizmos, which are interactive, online simulations for math and science education in grades 3-12
  • Late Nite Labs demonstrated its online lab simulation software, which it describes as “like a flight simulator for science.” Labs are available for chemistry, biology, microbiology, and physics.

Augmented reality

Robótica infantil

Robótica Educativa.

  • Con este proyecto pretendemos iniciar a nuestro alumnado en el desarrollo de habilidades, capacidades y competencias básicas a través de la resolución de pequeños retos de aprendizaje diarios mediante el uso de la robótica y la programación, conectando y dando respuesta a las nuevas demandas educativas del siglo XXI.
  • No para aprender robótica, sino para aprender con robótica.

Edtech trends

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Encadenando recursos (Tiching)

Encadenando recursos y actividades en Tiching: secuencias didácticas y libros. EsferaTIC

  • Las novedades son principalmente los «recursos», las «secuencias didácticas» y los «libros», una organización de los materiales en tres niveles, teniendo en cuenta no solo los grupos de contenidos, sino también objetivos, criterios de evaluación y competencia, entre otros.

Teachers' opinions

Teachers at Summit Tell Ed. Companies Want They Want--and What They Don't. EdWeek

  • Tanesha Dixon, a middle school social studies teacher, said that many of the classroom technologies she saw didn't seem as if they'd been designed to make educators' lives easier, and would most likely add to their workload.
    • she wasn't convinced that developers were doing enough to seek out the opinions of educators.
    • "I always wonder, how do you develop a product?" Dixon asked the audience. "Are you sitting at home in your basement?...I feel like no one's talking to us."
  • She's a fan of a Discovery Education "Techbook" tool, which she says helps her easily shift between lessons for students at grade level and below it, and between student who are fluent in English, and others who are Spanish speakers.
  • Many product developers would probably counter Dixon's points by saying that it's difficult for them to get access to schools to conduct research on what works for teachers.
    • Districts are often reluctant to grant that access, sometimes because they don't want to be perceived as allowing companies to test out digital tools, of questionable quality, on students.
  • Another teacher on the panel, Arelys Villeda, an elementary teacher in the Chicago schools, said she wished more education products were developed with students' lack of background in some forms of technology in mind.
    • Despite all the talk about students being digital natives, Villeda noted that it still takes time for students to grow accustomed to new digital tools, particularly because not all students have the same access to technology.
  • Villeda also made a pitch for developers to think about making products that promote shared learning opportunities, not simply having students sitting in isolation, wearing headphones as they go through tech-based tasks.
    • "reach out...ask us questions," and reminded them, "it's been a long time since you were a student."

What teachers want (Report)

3D molecules

Amazing: CanvasMol



3D printers & Maker Movement

Online tools

Citizen Science

Learn to code

News and articles