Recently, ED/IES SBIR announced its 2015 awards. There are 21 awards in all, covering a range of topics and forms of technology. For example, Zaption is designing a mobile app to help teachers integrate video into science instruction; Speak Agent is building an app to help students with speech disabilities to communicate; and Lingo Jingo is developing a platform to help teachers guide English learners. (To view short video demos of the eight new Phase II projects, see this playlist.)
The 2015 awards highlight two trends that have emerged in the ED/IES SBIR portfolio in recent years –games for learning and bridging the research-to-practice gap in education.
Trend #1: Games for Learning
Strange Loop Games to build a virtual world to engage students in learning about ecosystems,
Kiko Labs to develop mini games to strengthen young children’s thinking and memory skills, and
Schell Games to create a futuristic “ball and stick” molecular modeling kit and app to augment chemistry learning.
For a playlist including videos of these games and 19 others out of the ED/IES SBIR program, see here.
The games for learning trend echoes the movement surrounding games in the field, and is highlighted by recent ED sponsored events including ED Games Week in Washington, DC, last September and the Games for Learning Summit in New York City, in April. Both events convened stakeholders to showcase games and discuss the potential barriers and opportunities for collaboration necessary to accelerate the creation of highly effective games for learning. Stay tuned for more information and initiatives on games for learning out of ED’s Office of Technology.
Trend #2: Bridging the Research-to-Practice Gap
Mindset Works, which built on results from prior research including a 2002 IES research grant, to successfully propose a 2010 ED/IES SBIR project to develop SchoolKit. This multimedia platform enables broad distribution of the growth mindset intervention which teaches students to understand that intelligence can be developed through effort and learning. SchoolKit is now in use in more than 500 schools across the country, including half the middle schools in Washington, DC.
Learning Ovationsis building on two prior IES research grants in their 2014 ED/IES SBIR project. The prior IES funding supported the research team as they developed and evaluated an intervention to improve children’s reading outcomes,. This award is supporting the development of an implementation platform to enable large-scale use of this evidence-based intervention across settings. The project is scheduled to end in 2016, after which the platform will be launched.
The new ED/IES SBIR 2015 awards continue the research-to-practice trend. An award to Foundations in Learning furthers basic research from a 2013 National Science Foundation grant (NSF); an award to SimInsights builds on 2005 and 2008IES research projects and a 2011 Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) research project; and an award to Apprendris advances a prior 2012 IES research project and prior 2010 and 2013 NSF research projects.
By allowing students to bring in their own devices for learning–rather than insisting that they learn both content and device in school–there is an important opportunity to connect with not just their personal lives, but their natural way of doing things.
While there are students who badly want technology and can’t afford even the $50, that doesn’t seem to be a strong argument against BYOD adoption, especially in light of what it costs—in time and money—to purchase, train, integrate, and maintain—state-funded, district-purchased, school-assigned devices. This is where schools, local organizations, and communities can step in.
Money and Learning
In the United States there can be a tendency to throw money at problems that are not fully understood. As a nation, America lags behind internationally, the “learning market” being one of the few markets proving evasive in lieu of continued effort, struggle, and spending.
Key Trends Accelerating Technology Adoption in Higher Education 6
Long-Term Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in higher education for five or more years
> Advancing Cultures of Change and Innovation 8
> Increasing Cross-Institution Collaboration 10
Mid-Term Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in higher education for three to five years
> Growing Focus on Measuring Learning 12
> Proliferation of Open Educational Resources 14
Short-Term Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in higher education for the next one to two years
> Increasing Use of Blended Learning 16
> Redesigning Learning Spaces 18
Significant Challenges Impeding Technology Adoption in Higher Education 20
Solvable Challenges: Those that we understand and know how to solve
> Blending Formal and Informal Learning 22
> Improving Digital Literacy 24
Difficult Challenges: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
> Personalizing Learning 26
> Teaching Complex Thinking 28
Wicked Challenges: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
> Competing Models of Education 30
> Rewarding Teaching 32
Important Developments in Educational Technology for Higher Education 34
FolioTek, Columbia, Missouri, ePortfolio launch in 2001. Sells in U.S. with interest in expanding globally.
Livetext, LaGrange, IL, founded in 1998. New product: Field Experience Module. Smart phone app: iPad, iPhone, Android. Mostly U.S., but expanding in South America and the Middle East. Easy tie-in to accreditation agencies and their standards. Individual accounts. New release start of 2012. Started in K-12, moved focus to higher education, now exploring K-12 once again, starting with teacher education.
RCampus, produced by Reazon Systems, Santa Ana, CA. Software development started in 1999,
Desire2Learn, Kitchener, Ontario also Baltimore, MD, with offices around the world, founded in 1999. Sells worldwide, latest release for the electronic portfolio (ver. 3.5) was in August 2011. Electronic portfolio and the D2L LMS are bundled; each leverages functionalities from the other. ePortfolio moving to hosting service and individual accounts soon.
Digication, Providence, RI and Palo Alto, CA, founded 2002. Is in partnership with Google Apps. Individual accounts; institution keeps assessment data; individual keeps ePortfolio functionality. Through Google Apps: free digital accounts with Digication (no assessment management functions with these accounts). “Three or four clicks and Digication is enabled.” Almost daily updates. Smart phone app: IOS and Android. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learning Objects, producers of Campus Pack, in Washington, DC, with employees around the world, founded in 2003.
TaskStream, New York City, organized 1998, founded 2000, markets internationally, versions available in a variety of languages. Offers separate platforms, AMS (Accountability Management System) and LAT (Learning Achievement Tools); each is multi-component.
Longsight, based in Ohio with offices in NY, IN, OH, WI, and CA, founded in 1978, a service provider for open source solutions. Supports both the Open Source Portfolio (OSP) and Sakai, within which OSP is embedded.
Chalk & Wire, Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada;
NobleHour, produced by TreeTop Software, in Lakeland, FL, founded in 2011
Higher Education institutions use course evaluations for a variety of purposes. They factor in retention analysis for adjuncts, tenure approval or rejection for full-time professors, even in salary bonuses and raises. But, are the results of course evaluations an objective measure of high quality scholarship in the classroom?
Neat Chat: It is one of the easiest and fastest ways to have online conversations with a group of friends or colleagues. It provides a clean, fast and robust chat room where you can share files, send private messages and even access conversations that happened in your absence.
Today’s Meet: Allows you to have quick conversations in private online chat rooms. It has a back channel which gives you the ability to adjust your audience’s needs and emotions. In your chat room you can use live stream to make comments, ask questions and use that feedback to tailor your presentations to address your audience’s needs
Zoho Writer: Is a powerful rich text-editor for Android devices, which allows you to create documents seamlessly with a rich feature-set. You can either save these docs in local devices or cloud devices like Zoho Docs. Zoho Docs workspace is a collaboration tool, which allows you to share work on the same doc with other people in real-time.
Scriblink: Is a free digital whiteboard that users can share online in real-time. It can be used by up to 5 users at the same time. It can be used just for fun or for more practical things like layout planning, concept diagramming, or tutoring a friend.
Stinto: Is for creating free chats and inviting others to join just by sending a simple link. It allows you to share photos and images with others. You can upload photos, sketches, diagrams, etc. to your chat for others to view.
Mind42: Allows collaborative online mind-mapping and brainstorming. It runs in your browser and allows you to manage your ideas alone or while working in a group. It allows you to quickly create, manage and edit the data structure required for mind maps.
Scribblar: Offers you an online whiteboard, real-time audio, document upload, text-chat and more. It is a perfect online-tutoring platform. You can use it to revise artwork and images; create brainstorming, product demos, interviews and tests.
CoSketch: Is a multi-user online whiteboard designed to give you the ability to quickly visualize and share your ideas as images. Anything you paint is shared in real-time and can be saved and embedded on forums, blogs, etc.
Twiddla: Is a real-time online collaboration tool, which allows text and audio chat in real-time. It also allows you to review websites within the application.
Etherpad: Is an open source online editor providing collaborative editing in real-time. You can write articles, press releases, to-do lists and more along with your friends or colleagues all working on the same doc at the same time.
Tinychat: It lets you create a private chat room in an instant, the URL of which can be emailed to others to participate in real-time. It is very easy to use and also has features to support video capability.
FlashMeeting: Is an easy-to-use online meeting application. A meeting is pre-booked by a registered user and a URL, containing a unique password for the meeting, is returned by the FlashMeeting server, which is passed on to the people who want to participate.
BigMarker: It combines messaging, file sharing and video calls into one place. BigMarker communities have features for conferencing for up to 100 people, presenting PowerPoints and other docs, sharing your screen, recording, storing, exporting sessions and more.
Meetin.gs: Is a web and mobile meeting organizer which brings the benefits of online collaboration to both online and offline meetings. It provides a dedicated online meeting space for scheduling, material sharing and agenda setting.
Conceptboard: It provides instant whiteboards to create a platform for you to communicate with your team. Feedback on visual content is easy and there is support for tasks, reports and more. It simplifies and improves collaboration on visual content and accelerates collaboration processes within your team.
Speek: Allows you to simply organize conference calls. Speek uses a personal or business link instead of a phone number and PIN for conference calls. Participants can join or start a call from their phone, web or mobile browser. You can see who’s joined, who’s talking, share files, use call controls and more.
Draw It Live: Is a free application that allows you to work together with other people to draw in real-time. You can create a whiteboard and share its URL with other people to let them join.
LiveMinutes: Is an online conferencing app. A unique URL address is created for your conference that you can share with people you want to connect with. You can share audio, virtual whiteboards, documents, etc. and a feature to share videos is coming soon.
FlockDraw: Is an online whiteboard based painting and drawing tool. It makes it easy to draw online free with multiple people participation. There can be unlimited people in a room with drawing updates in real-time.
VIDquik: Is a video-conferencing platform where you can connect and talk with anyone you want. You just need to enter the Email of the person you want to call, they click on the link and the two of you are in a web-based video call.