Social Learning: Share the learning experience with like-minded learners

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Shared experience is the very fabric for human culture. It creates a sense of belonging, provides common ground for conversation and links us in ways that help us to relate to one another. Shared experiences can occur on a local level such as eating a hamburger at Louis’ Lunch or surviving Mrs. Muchen’s 8th grade math class. However, we also collectively share global experiences such as mainstream films, television shows and music which we reference through quotes, lyrics, and parodies. Those common experiences are the stitches that piece each of us into the quilt of society. Excitingly, social media is creating a whole new realm of shared human experience. Social learning deploys social media to help learners around the world unite to accomplish their learning goals, whether it be mastering linear equations or learning a foreign language. The following resources exemplify a few of the social learning resources emerging in our ever-expanding world of shared experience.

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Collaborative Software: Editing student work and group projects just got easier.

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Good news! The following collaborative tools can not only make giving students’ genuine feedback a cinch, but also better facilitate group work among your students. One struggle good instructors face, is creating time for meaningful student feedback. After grading 50 papers, it is easy to give in to a cross-eyed, writers cramp induced stupor and simply write C+ without any useful comments to help your student improve. At the same time, group work might no longer send such a shudder up your students’ spines, as the same useful resources might mean students effectively collaborate from anywhere regardless of the time of day. Check out the following learning technologies to make your and your students’ lives a whole lot easier. Continue reading

Enhancing Student Engagement: Students can’t learn when they are asleep.

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Nowhere in college handbooks does it state that learning will be dry, dull and at times stressful beyond measure. However, much of the class time in universities across the country is seemingly governed by an iron fist of boredom interspersed with cram-and-purge testing several times a semester. This scenario isn’t fun for students or their instructors who look out at their glazed and sleeping (or texting) students and wonder what it is they might do differently. The following resources may help. These learning technologies are designed to spice up lecture delivery and bolster student engagement both in and out of the classroom. Harnessing the power of learning technology linked by mobile devices (which are even more ubiquitous than piercings among the college population these days) may help open instructor-student and student-student communication for your class in ways you never thought possible. Continue reading

Classroom Content: It’s all been done. Why reinvent the wheel?

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Creating exceptional and engaging lessons is time consuming no matter how you slice it. And it feels good to be creative and to bake up brand new course material. However, why not see what is out there before you start from scratch? The following resources just might be your new favorite toppings for easier and more effective lesson planning. The following useful content resources include ready-made video lessons, self quizzes, and complete college level courses – all for free! Continue reading

Five kinds of E-learning resources to whet your appetite

 

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New e-learning software is being developed to support learners and teachers in a myriad of ways. However, just having new learning technology out there does not guarantee improved learning. It is essential that instructors know what technology is available and how to employ it effectively in the classroom if the technology is going to create positive learning outcomes. So, what’s out there?

Let’s start by defining some terms.  Simply stated, e-learning is a sweeping reference to any learning or teaching that is supported electronically. While m-learning, a sub-category of e-learning, generally refers to technology specifically created for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Therefore, a huge number of technologies – from vintage image projectors and new Smartboards inside the classrooms to online learning games and even learning management systems such as Moodle and Blackboard – all technically fall under the e-learning umbrella. Check out this College of Charlson infographic to get overview of current e-learning buzzwords.

The following five categories of e-learning resources exemplify how varied, personalized and creative learning technology can be. Continue reading

Comparing Online Textbook Support and Resources: How do four major publishers measure up?

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E-book and e-textbook sales, as well as sales of conventional higher-education textbooks, are on the rise due to increased college enrollment. Evaluating the online resources and learning technologies associated with prospective college texts has become an imperative, but sometimes daunting task.

Most textbook publishers have stepped up to the plate by providing a number of digital services, e-texts, and online resources to help the users of their conventional text books.  These are tools for both the educators who teach from and the students who learn from those texts.

Many publisher products target educators short of time for preparation by generating pre-made or customized lesson plans and syllabi, as well as tailoring curriculum and even online texts to instructor’s specifications. Opportunities for hybrid or blended courses abound. Text-specific assessments and interactive learning technology for students are also available for many texts. Several companies are even engineering complete online classes which can be accessed directly by students, employed by instructors or adopted by institutions.

Below is a comparison of the learning technology resources available from the science text publishers Pearson, Wiley, Cengage and McGraw-Hill, followed by a brief summary and highlight of each company’s unique offerings. Continue reading

Lewis Dot Learning Resources

Lewis structure for Water

Whether you are a student, trying to master the drawing of Lewis Dot (aka electron dot or electron structure) diagrams for the first time, or a teacher, trying to find some resources to spice up or reinforce your classroom lectures, a lack of Google search results is likely not your problem!  Depending on your search terms, you may get 1,000,000 hits.  With so much information, how do you filter through the results (or even the first page or two) and find exactly what you are looking for without wasting all of your study or class prep-time trying to narrow them down?

That is where we come in. The purpose of this page is to give you a helping hand in finding the best Lewis Dot resources. We’ve identified what we believe are some of the best examples of written, video and learning activities for learning Lewis structures. Each resource type has the potential to improve learning about Lewis dot diagrams in a different way depending on your teaching or learning style and/or students’ needs. Your reactions may be different — so if you disagree with our assessments or think we’ve missed a hidden gem, please leave a comment and share the Lewis dot love, so to speak. Continue reading

Unmuddling Moodle: What is Moodle and why haven’t I heard of it?

Moodle is an open-source learning management system (LMS) and e-learning software platform. In the United States, LMS Blackboard seems to own most of the educational mindshare. However, this trend is changing. In the past decade, Moodle has grown from a few hundred users to over 60 million world-wide users. And, in the U.S., it has been recently adopted by schools such as the University of Minnesota and Idaho State University.

Similar to Blackboard, now employed by many universities across the U.S., Moodle enables instructors to create course materials and manage grades. It allows students to access and turn in assignments as well as take quizzes and make posts to peers and instructors. Moodle was specifically designed for the purpose of interaction, collaborative content construction and implementing constructivist teaching and learning models. First conceived in 2002 by Australian Martin Dougiamas as his PhD project, Moodle has grown from down under, across Asia and into the most populated learning management system in the world.

With a growing number of LMS choices, why does Moodle dominate the global market? Many Moodle using students and educators enjoy the customization and ease of use. Additionally, the collaboration experienced through Moodle is multifaceted for both instructors and students inviting all users to learn from one other. Others argue that Moodle is more intuitive, faster and easier to use than Blackboard. This student project featured on Youtube highlights some students’ reasons for preferring Moodle over Blackboard.


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