The flipped classroom is an advantage  to the classroom environment, introducing student and teachers to a different way of learning and teaching. Since the concept is something shared online for others to see,it is an advantage for others to share their opinions and share new ideas. Sharing these new ideas can help students understand the topic and help teachers find a new way of teaching the topic, especially when there more than one teacher involved. For example the program Sophia allows teachers to help other teachers, which is a program known as Teachers-Teaching Teachers. Teachers-Teaching Teachers is a program designed to help teachers understand the concept of flipping their classrooms through web conferences or “webinars“. With this program, along side many other programs offered teachers can find new ways to teach students and keep them interested. I believe this  trend was chosen because it hits so many new and old  ideas and bringing them to light. Although many people participate in these programs, there are soo many individuals  out there who need to take advantage of these programs and introduce it to communities, especially communities who don’t have the advantage of technology in there school environment.

Some interesting resources embedded in the trend is the program known as the Ted-Ed. I find Ted-Ed interesting because its based on educators making videos talking about different topics and reaching out to students. I can relate to this because, as a student when I don’t understand something the first thing i rely on is YouTube videos. Sometimes stepping out of the traditional way of doing research can be refreshing.  Another program known as , is a program built to reach out to individual who want to share what they know about a topic and for others who want to learn about a topic. Its a great way to communicate about ideas and allow others to tweak it or learn from it. Being a part of any of these programs, can be beneficial in so many ways. The concept of thoughts/ideas coming together from across the country or even across the world, shows not only how technology has advanced but how people are more open to other culturally ideas and learning methods.

A blog that was embedded into the trend was  Why I Gave Up Flipped Instruction , basically this blog was written by a teacher who found “love” and hate in the flipped classroom instructions.Shelly Wright begins to blog her experience from the beginning to the end.

My flipped experiments

I first encountered the flip in a blog post. At the time, it was a relatively new idea (at least in the K12 world). There weren’t any websites or books devoted to it. And while the particular post I read was actually expounding the virtues of traditional teaching vs. the flip, I thought, “Flipping could actually work.”

My students loved the idea of trying something that very few other students were doing. Some of my students even benefited from watching and re-watching videos. Even so, we used it sparingly. We never moved to an entirely flipped classroom that required my students to watch lecture after lecture, day after day, by video. Even so, when we did “flip,” it felt more like we were juggling the traditional lecture around than moving forward into a new learning paradigm.

Later on Wright starts to explain how her and her classroom transition into the flip and back to a regular classroom.

The flip faded away

As this new way of learning played out over time, my students found they didn’t need me to locate or create videos for them. Instead, they learned how to learn, and they were able to find their own resources. For me, this was a much more important skill than following my directions or using the resources I told them to use.

As this shift occurred, the flip simply disappeared from our classroom. It took almost a year for me to notice it was gone. Instead, our classroom had become a place where students discovered and shared their own resources, while engaging in projects with each other. There was no need for me to assign video homework or create portable lectures. It all happened during class.

Lest anyone think we were able to do this because we learn in a high-tech school, that’s not the case. We weren’t a 1:1 classroom. We used whatever devices my students had, which often was a couple of iPads, a few computers, and student cell phones. There were students who didn’t have a device, so other students shared. We made it work and everyone learned.



Do You Care About The Classics?

My Audrey Watters’ tech savvy trend of 2012 is about two A’s: automation and artificial intelligence.

(If you have to look these words up, don’t be ashamed, I had to as well.)

Simply put, it speaks on the use of machines and information technologies to be the most productive regarding any certain service. These services can range from something as simple as brushing our teeth to driving and in an educational setting, teachers grading students work.

An example would be the pictured self-driving car or something a little less subtle like this here:

It seems like any little thing us humans can do to make the most of our 24 hours in a day, we’ll do. The technologies act as our cheat codes to save time during our daily routines. I could see why Automation and Artificial Intelligence were chosen as a Top Ed-Tech of 2012 because society has seemed to stray away from the ‘traditional’ way of doing things. It can be said that it began with something as little as replacing good ‘ol dish washing with an actual dish washing machine or skipping on plugging in the vacuum for Saturday morning chores and having the robot vacuum take care of the mess all on its own.

Even letting Siri text for us, make calls for us, put our appointments in our calendar for us and help us look for anything and everything just so we don’t have to use our ten little fingers are examples of how time has taken us from conventional to fancy.

In regards to efficiency and learning —

Why would we want to automate it? Why, for the sake of efficiency, of course. We have to scale. Process more students. We have to assess more content. Write more. Grade more. Test more. Cut costs. Etc.

Education may soon stray away from old fashioned paper, pencils and textbooks to laptops and smart boards. Pretty soon, we’ll start seriously questioning the purpose of a teacher in a classroom. Technology in education: is it really saving us time and money or is it in fact making us lazy and destroying us slowly. Some may favor one over the other and some can argue for both, but this will continue to be a debate. The question is who will win and if that answer is technology, what purpose would you and I serve?


MOOC’s Fork in the Road: Will it stand the TEST of time?

MOOCs is an acroymn for Massive Open On-line Course(s).


MOOCs are a new way of taking courses and learning new material. They were originally being offered for computer tech  and other technology courses now they have begun to expand into universities. All of these courses are free in sense you can sign up for them with about paying a fee however, if you register through a school and expect some type of credit towards a degree you will be paying for that aspect of the course. They offer a chance for students to learn at their own pace with interactivity, student to student communication and online labing. These courses are designed for students to explore and teach themselves as well as each other instead of learning in a traditional classroom with a teacher.

There are two different types of MOOCs that are on rise right now.

One is xMOOCs this is a newer version and it works more or less like you your standard university on-line course. This is where students are taught by structured and organized course material. With  these MOOCs assessments and test are used to measure the students understanding of the material. At the end usually some type of award, degree or passing grade is given.

The more original version is cMOOCs, this one is version of courses is only to achieve, for the student, life long learning. A student won’t, more than likely, receive any type of credit from the course but instead the achievement is a more self-fulfilling one. In this version a student is not limited or expect to learn anything impaticualr but rather to have a free place to discover and explore the topic on their own. They learn from their peers and the information that they gather. Students set their own goals and there is no platform or structured path. Audrey Watters called cMOOCs brings up in her article the idea of  connectivism. Which is an idea of teaching that focuses on exploration and self education the goal is set by the individual and only the individual can measure whether they learned anything or not, they use a system called gRSShopper. Downes, the creator of this system describes it by saying,

Rather than driving users to a course website or a learning platform for all their interactions, the users on gRSShopper “are assumed to be outside the system for the most part,” writes Downes, “inhabiting their own spaces, and not mine.”

This is one of the biggest problems with this form of teaching. Due to this type of system grading is almost impossible. They want peer feedback, students to grade their peers which is ineffective. Students may not know enough about the subject to respond. Also due to the fact that most students that use this type of learning are outside the US there are also language barriers that make peer review almost impossible.  The other problem is the large drop out rate with this form of learning. Students do not last in these class for a number of reasons. The two biggest are lack of drive which is very important due to the fact  that a lot of the work done has little to no guidance by the teacher. Another reason is that the course itself didn’t hold the students attention. These issues have caused a lot of teachers to drop that part of the course.

We see these issues and question if MOOCs will survive much longer. This system could either continue to lose its popularity and fade into the darkness or it can be improved and reevaluated and continue to grow and expand from university to university; eventually becoming, possibly, the future of higher education. This is the fork in the road, What do you think?



The future and a new purpose on education

In today’s day and age education technology and its formal methods continue to grow and blossom into “the flipped classroom”. I have been researching several articles and videos about classrooms that are being flipped or teachers flipping their classrooms in order to have their students be more engaged in he curriculum. An article by   quoted from  Daphne Koller that

There’s a growing amount of content out there on the Web,” says Koller, “and so the value proposition for the university is no longer simply getting their content out there. Rather, it’s fostering that personal interaction between faculty and students and students and students.” By being able to take advantage of online educational content – particularly lecture content from some of the best professors at the most pretigious universities in the world – students will benefit too. It’ll mean that the university classroom can be “flipped” – with lectures pre-recorded and assigned as homework. Koller, who’s been flipping her classroom since well before Khan Academy popularized the term, says that universities have been reluctant to add “active learning” opportunities at expense of covering “the curriculum” via lecture. And thanks to the increasing wealth of online classes, there’ll be more opportunities for hands-on on-campus experiences.

In the 2011 TED Talk  with Salman Khan and his creation of Khan Academy on how using flipped classroom methods benefits the students from K-12 by having them approach the subject in an easier way and better enable them to grasp the subject without any difficulty. Over the years, educators across the country and the globe have started to incorporate the idea of flipping the classroom by having the students be more interested in the activity now and then homework and lecture from their computers at home. By flipping the classroom, students are using their ideas and experiences plus they get to use hands-on training as well, killing three birds with one stone. This has shown significant amount of both physical and educational proof that elementary students actually want and have a joy to learn more when fusing flipped classroom with the standard education curriculum just as in the 2011 Ted talk Salman Khan and Khan academy.

The flipped classroom

The image above shows what the idea(s) of being in or instructing a flipped classroom and by having the inversion, both the educator and the pupils benefit more in the educational curriculum as oppose to the regular or traditional methods of education. I as a future educator will definitely use this method and fuse it with my health education methods and I think that my future pupils will be active, interested, and engaged to learn more about it.


What’s your [Data] point?

Audrey Watters describes “data” as one of the top trends of 2011 and predicts that it will be even more important in 2012.  Big data has been a hot topic in the corporate world for about a year and half.  Corporations realized that with the explosion of social media and willingness of the public to volunteer their private information when it comes to cyberspace, they have a massive amount of data collected.  Not just any data, but specific data about potential customers and their preferences.  As the line between education and business draws closer, our politicians (often times former business leaders) are realizing that if there is a formula to predict consumer spending habits, why can’t we predict student progress and/or success?   Or the even scarier question, “why can’t we correlate students success with teacher performance?”

The problem with “big data” as an education data warehouse is that it cannot be easily used as a prediction engine.  There are too many dynamic variables in the life of a student.  For example, a model student in which the big data analytics formula would normally predict as a successful student could be experiencing a divorce situation at home which would affect his study habits.  In essence the problem is not in mining the data that is available.  The problem is what information is needed to determine student success?  This following quote sums up this issue…

”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. However, not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – William Bruce Cameron (1963)

Watters points to an article on her blog about a study that was conducted on the virtual classroom.  The study concluded that the virtual classroom students did not perform as well as their traditional school counterparts.  Perhaps this can be attributed to the presence of a traditional school environment and instructor?  In my opinion this is also a topic that is up for debate because the study does not disclose the prior history of the subjects academic performance.  We don’t know if they have failed out of the traditional schools and enrolled in the virtual classrooms while this study was conducted.  This proves the point that big data has its place in education for some analysis but it is certainly not ready to be used as a tool for predicting student success or teacher evaluation.

Big data


Invoking Education Platforms?

The trend of Internet platforms in education is important because of their programmatic aspect. The term “platform” is used when referring to software and hardware, from applications to operating systems, from websites to the Web and the Internet. In tech-speak, this term is often defined as to invoke aspirations and goals. In her article titled Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: The Platforming of Education, Audrey Watters focused on major Internet platforms such as Amazon, Google, Chegg, Blackboard, Pearson, etc. Web browser pioneer, Marc Andreessen wrote an interesting blog post about Internet platforms.

“A “platform” is a system that can be programmed and therefore customized by outside developers — users — and in that way, adapted to countless needs.”

I believe this trend was chosen because platforms in education offer functionality such as content, course administration, assessment, analytics, communication/collaboration, and external apps. Watters explains that specifically Internet education platforms are a fairly new development and that the Web is her favorite education platform because she views it as a resourceful means.Department of education found that those students who studied in online learning environments performed modelstly better than peers who were receiving face-to-face instruction. Sarah Kessler wrote an article titled Get Paid to Teach Anything With New Online Education Platform which discusses how much Internet platforms influence education.

“Department of education found that those students who studied in online learning environments performed modelstly better than peers who were receiving face-to-face instruction.”

Watters chose to embed this linked resource The Chronicle of Higher Education as part of her trend description because it explains how technology can actually advantage education rather than hinder it. Don Smithmier, chief executive and founder of Sophia, another community-based learning system that is backed by Capella Education, the corporation behind the online educator Capella University. LMS is a term which stands for learning management system.
“I believe the world will be shifting away from a classic LMS approach defined by the institution. Openness and social education is a very powerful idea.”
As mentioned in Watters article on platforms in education, she believes that platforms can provide lots of benefits for all and they allow functionality to be extended and customized which is a positive aspect for education since both teachers and students can have more personalized user experiences.

The Politics of Ed- Tech


This article is based on Education being political. Government role is not the only reason for Education to be political. According to the article, Audrey Watters states,”it is political because of the Polis– the connections between education and community. Education is political because learning is at once personal (and, of course, “The personal is political”) and social; is it both private and public.” If education can be political so can Ed-Tech.When people think about Ed-Tech- a lots of other words to comes to mind. Such as, Technology, education, Politics, Communication, Learning, connection and a lot more.Ed-Tech has all sorts of meanings to it.


 “Ed-tech” is often used too as a shorthand for brands: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Pearson, Intel, HP SMART, LEGO, Discovery.”


I Believe this trend was chosen to allow us to be able to understand what exactly is the Politics of Ed-Tech and how it has our lives involved into it.  We can for sure say, 2012 was the year of technology. The influence of technology in our life has been increasing dramatically.  The article mentions about the business of ed-tech and its top ed-tech trends- Ipads, Khan academy, online learning, social media and much more. All of these top notable ed-tech has a connection to learning through technology. Technology has changed the way of teaching and learning. Through the usage so much technology, it is starting a business of its own. Now there is a business of education through technology.Its a win win situation on both side. A child gets his/her education and the business company makes money off of their tech.

— we witnessed in 2012 the (education) technology sector discovering, seizing, wielding its power and influence.


 The companies listed on the image above contains all sorts of different age and social related learning corporations. They all deliberate to meet the expectation of parents and teachers.Many of us are probably familiar with quite a few of them.


An example of political influence on education is that the government wants more educated people in fields like the army and air force. The video gives a small introduction to a program called the key influencer program, which gets people excited for fields like army and air force. The program trains individuals so that they can be interested in such fields. Overall goal for such programs are, as Dr. Filippenko stated at the end of the video “we need to keep the US strong in science, technology, innovations, leadership, team work, creativity and individual pursuit of this high ideals”.


Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Audrey Watters, an Educational Technology blogger, completed a review of 2012 in her blog Hack Education.  In this blog she presented ten post and she called the Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012.  One of these trends is Automation and Artificial Intelligence.  In this trend Watters presented how technology facilitated automation and artificial intelligence in the year of 2012.  She started describing the trend with a nice example of Google’s self-driving cars.  She mentioned that when she took the ride, the developer of the car told her that “This will be the most incredibly boring drive ever.”  She also realized that the ride was really “uneventful.”  She also mentioned that she saw the future and look forward to it.Then she linked this experience to today’s education and the use of technology in the classroom.

Watters at first talked about AI and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).  AI is about “Online Introduction to Artificial Intelligence is based on Stanford CS221, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence. This class introduces students to the basics of Artificial Intelligence, which includes machine learning, probabilistic reasoning, robotics, and natural language processing.”  This sounds interesting and it is also free.  I believe this is a great opportunity for the students to learn to create computer software that runs Humanoid robots, self-driving cars and Google Goggles.  Isn’t fascinating? Hell ya!

Then Watters mentioned about the automated essay graders.  I know abut automated multiple choice graders but this is the first time I heard about the essay graders.  Watters said,

Robot essay graders – they grade just the same as human ones. That’s the conclusion of a study conducted by University of Akron’s Dean of the College of Education Mark Shermis and Kaggle data scientist Ben Hamner. The researchers examined some 22,000 essays that were administered to junior and high school level students as part of their states’ standardized testing process, comparing the grades given by human graders and those given by automated grading software. They found that “overall, automated essay scoring was capable of producing scores similar to human scores for extended-response writing items with equal performance for both source-based and traditional writing genre.

Watters also said that our duty responsibility does not end by doing automation, but rather we have to make sure that it’s efficient and students are learning from it.  She also said that a robot can not replace a teacher.  I also agree with her because I believe that a robot can be a helper of the teacher but not the teacher itself. Robots can be used to make teacher’s job easier so that teachers get more time to interact with their students.

As technology has been integrated in to the curriculum, we should take advantage of it.  Online courses or YouTube videos suchas Khan Academy, these are some wonderful resources that can facilitate students learning hugely. Year 2012 was a very good start and we are looking forward to see more success.

The Business of Education for Better or Worse

In the top Ed-Tech trends of 2012 Audrey Watters writes about many issues but the issue I am concerned with is the issue of the business of Ed-Tech which is a rabbit hole of many issues that hit home for an educator

In the review Watters begins with a brief introduction to the buisness of Ed-Tech by providing a number of examples.  She is concerned not only with education technology but more so the business of education and the growing trends that surround them.  Watters focuses on the particular trend of education technology start up companies – “Clearly education technology entrepreneurship exploded this year”.  Watters follows up this statement by explaining the reason for this explosion, such as the low cost of business start up, the rising cost of public education and consumer call for education technology among others.

Watters introduces a handful of education entrepreneurs who were successful this year.  Of particular interest are entities like Coursera which offers online classes from some of the countries best universities, Khan Academy which offers users the opportunity learn many subjects for free and TeachersPayTeachers.com which is a site designed for educators to buy/sell/share a variety of resources.  By following the links in this section Watters really points to the entrepreneurship in education.

In the next section Watters details the issue of education technology investments and this issue really hit home as a college student and future educator. Watters looks at the investment numbers comparing the internet boom of the late 90’s to the present numbers.  It reveals that there was a boom in ’99, a boom in ’11 with a lull in the years between.  This suggests that education technology is on the rise and is very profitable for investors.

The issue I found interesting in this section was a point Watters made about how a large number of investments are being made to Ed-Tech start up companies as opposed to funding for public education.  Watters  uses the example of  California in which the state is freezing enrollment of 470,000 students into public universities. As a student and future educator this is a big concern of mine because it points to the trend of limited access to higher education in the future and it is also discouraging that investments are being steered toward business rather than public education.

Cal State Freezes Student Enrollment

This is a trend students and educators in many communities may have to face in the very near future. To me this is the most relevant issue in Watters review, on one hand you have a boom in education technology business and on the other hand the investments into these businesses is taking away from funding for education, therefore this boom in education technology business is like a double edge sword and it is up to us to decide which path to pursue.

Overall I found Watters review of this topic to be very eye opening, I came to understand the elements of entrepreneurship with regard to the business of educational technology and just how diverse technology is influencing education.  Yet my biggest conclusion on the issue of the business in Ed-Tech is where the funding is coming from, who its going to and who is getting left out.  I feel that technology in the classroom is the future but it should evolve around learning as opposed to money making.






MOOCs Are A Major Trend In Tech-Ed

Coursera a platform for xMOOCs

Andrey Waters wrote an a blog called “The Year of  the MOOC” in which she explains why MOOCs are one of the top trends in technical education of 2012. MOOCs stands for Massive Open Online Courses.  As the name implies, these courses are available to anyone in the world with access to the World Wide Web and are free of charge. Students may even obtain certificates once they pass a course.Their most recent version are content based and place emphasis on video lectures and multiple choice tests. These courses run in open-source platforms such as Coursera, edX and Udacity.

I believe Andrey Water, being an educational technology blogger, chose MOOCs as one of the top trends in education in 2012 because within that year, open-source platforms such as Coursera, edX and Udacity where serially launched and many universities around the world used these platform for their courses.  Among such universities are the prestigious MIT and Harvard of the United States which both took a step further by creating their own platform called edX.

MIT and Harvard launch the edX initiative, each chipping in $30 million to create the non-profit and eventually open-source platform.

MOOCs are an excellent way to allow people all over the world, who take life long education seriously, to continue educating themselves at the highest level for free. I personally applaud the efforts of those who have contributed to this cause and hope that this trend continues in the future. However, As a future K-12 educator, I’m aware that if MOOCs become very successful, they could potentially change how K-12 education is delivered in the future.