Some tools to consider:


Blackboard Collaborate has real-time polling features


Poll Everywhere -- real-time polling


From DSC:
By the way, faith-based organizations might want to consider using this tool as well.  Also, my thanks to Professor Randall Pruim, in the Mathematics Department at Calvin College, for bringing the options below to my attention. Note: Professor Pruim doesn’t necessarily recommend these tools — as both SMS Poll and require that students pay a subscription. However, I list these tools here in case you want to compare functionality/pricing/etc.

. -- real time polling of your students




Addendum on 2/2/12: -- engage the class using any device

NOTE:  Randy mentioned that Socrative requires access to the Internet (laptop or smart phone); there is no cell phone interface at this time. So you must have a web-enabled device.


Addendum on 2/21/12:


Addendum on 7/18/12:
A web based clicker and online homework tool; polls and quizzes

No clickers to buy! Students can use any device to participate in class

  • For in-class and homework use
  • Questions, open ended discussions and interactive demos
  • Use with any presentation software, such as PowerPoint
  • Amazingly simple! Takes minutes to setup


Addendum on 11/15/12:


Online students vs. traditional students — from; with thanks to Mr. Muhammad Saleem for this resource

Online Students vs. Traditional Students
Via: Online PhD Programs Blog


From DSC:
I’m not sure I would use the word versus here (or the abbreviation for it).   Students can be involved with taking both types of courses — face-to-face and online — at the same time.  So although some students might be taking most of their classes in a face-to-face manner, they might also be taking some of their coursework online (as the schools provide more online-based offerings and programs).

My advice to students new to online-based learning:

  • “Do an immediate assumptions and expectations reality check!  Don’t think that online learning is easier. It isn’t. It will require more discipline and time than your face-to-face courses. But you will learn a great deal and you will be preparing yourself for the workplace. Stay on top of things — don’t fall behind.”




Building Learning Communities 2011 Keynote: Dr. Eric Mazur — from November Learning


Today, we are officially relaunching our opening keynote from BLC11 with Dr. Eric Mazur. Dr. Mazur is the Area Dean of Applied Physics and Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

In his keynote, Dr. Mazur shares his vast research on teaching and learning. Students in Dr. Mazur’s class are moving far away from the traditional stand and deliver lectures given in many k-12 and university classrooms around the world, and they are gaining a much deeper understanding of the material being taught in the process.

As you watch this video, we invite you to take some time and respond to one or more of the following questions…


From DSC:
What I understood the key points to be:

  • Teaching and learning should not be about information transfer alone; that is, it’s not about simply having students “parrot back” the information.  That doesn’t lead to true learning and long-term retention.
  • The more a teacher is an expert in his/her content, the more difficulty this teacher has in understanding how a first time learner in this subject struggles
  • Rather we need to guide and use peer instruction/social learning/collaboration amongst students to construct learning and then be able to apply/transfer that learning to a different context
  • Lecturing is not an effective way to create a long term retention of information
  • Peer instruction/human interaction creates effective learning
  • “The plural of anecdotes is not data.”
  • Eric is seeking data and feedback to sharpen his theories of how to optimize learning
  • Technology serves pedagogy — technology should afford a new mode of learning
  • Towards that end, Eric and team working on “Peer instruction 2.0”
  • How do I design good questions?  Optimize the discussions? Manage time? Insure learning is taking place?
  • Eric is working with several other colleagues to create a system for building and using data analytics to give useful information to instructor about who’s “getting it” and who isn’t; about how we learn
  • Peer instruction not without issues — how people group themselves and who students choose to collaborate with can be problematical
  • Why not have the system do the pairing/grouping?
  • System uses algorithms, facial recognition, posture analysis; cameras, microphones
  • Surveys also used
  • The system is attempting to help Eric and his team learn about learning
  • The system being used at Harvard and by invitation only

Eric ended with a summary of the 2 key messages:

  1. Education is not about lecturing
  2. We can move way beyond the current technologies and use new methods and technologies to actively manage learning as it happens


From DSC:
After listening to this lecture, the graphic below captures a bit of what he’s getting at and reflects some of my thinking on this subject as well.  That is, we need diagnostic tools — along the lines of those a mechanic might use on our cars to ascertain where the problems/issues are:


The Digital Revolution and Higher Education — from the Pew Research Center by Kim Parker, Amanda Lenhart, and Kathleen Moore
College Presidents, Public Differ on Value of Online Learning


This report is based on findings from a pair of Pew Research Center surveys conducted in spring 2011. One is a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults ages 18 and older. The other is an online survey, done in association with the Chronicle of Higher Education, among the presidents of 1,055 two-year and four-year private, public, and for-profit colleges and universities.

Here is a summary of key findings…


From DSC:
First, [perhaps it’s in the appendices, but] how many of the people out in the public who were surveyed have actually taken an online class? If so, how many classes (each) have they taken and when did they take them? From whom did they take them? My guess is that most of them have never taken a class online.

Secondly, I wonder how many people thought that the telephone was a useful instrument/communication device shortly after it was introduced? Perhaps not too many…but did you use one today? Yesterday? I bet you did. I did…several times; and I bet that the same will be true of online learning (as online learning didn’t really begin to be used until the late 90’s).

The question is not whether online learning will blow away the face-to-face classroom, it’s when this will occur…? There will be many reasons for this, but the key one will be that you are putting up a team of specialists instead of using just one person. If they are reeeeaaaalllyy good (and a rare talent), that person can do the trick for now; but their success/job will continue to be increasingly difficult to perform, as they continue to pick up new hats each year, as the students’ attention spans and expectations continue to change, as lower cost models continue to emerge, etc, etc…

As Christensen, Horn, and Johnson assert, the innovation is taking place in the online learning world, and it will eventually surpass what’s possible (if it hasn’t already) in the face-to-face classrooms.



Finding the right learning mix — from Chief Learning Officer by Lance Dublin
Learning organizations are experiencing a kind of renaissance, with new technology prompting new thinking about how to enhance, extend and enable learning.

Blended learning -- infographic from

Nuts and Bolts: From Classroom to Online, Think “Transform” not “Transfer”

1. Analyze the current state of the classroom program.
2. Update and cut-and-chunk material.
3. Identify ways of adding interactivity and capturing the richness of the “live” event.

From DSC:
Not that I’m on board with everything here…but the following excerpt from Rethinking colleges from the ground up — from the World Future Society by Thomas Frey — is worth reflecting upon; and so are some of the questions listed at the bottom of this posting. 

(NOTE: You may need to be a member to access this article in its entirety; emphasis DSC)


So What’s Changed
The obvious question to start with is simply, “What’s changed?”

Why is it that an education system that has produced some of the world’s top scientists, engineers, and business executive is no longer good enough to serve today’s young people?

The answers can be found in the following five areas:

  1. From information poor to information rich
  2. Fierce competition
  3. The cost to benefit ratio is changing
  4. New times require new intelligence
  5. Shift from individual intelligence to group intelligence

The following are but a few of the reasons why changing times demand different solutions…

Colleges are being pushed in a number of directions but the big dividing points will be oriented around in-person vs. online, and for the in-person side of the equation, doing the things in-person that cannot be done through online education.


Also see:

What does the “new normal” of shrunken classroom budgets, greater reliance on information technology and the ongoing science and math skills shortage mean for the future of education? Join fellow futurists this summer in Vancouver to solve these and other questions during our two-day WFS-exclusive Education Summit. This year’s speakers include FUTURIST magazine authors Maria H. Andersen, David Pearce Snyder, and Tom Lombardo among many others.

Sessions include:

  • Defining the “New Normal” for Education
  • Education as a Service
  • Where’s the “Learn This” Button?
  • Learning in Depth: A Simple Innovation That Can Transform Schooling
  • A New Education Vision: Reinventing School-to-Employment Systems for Knowledge-Based Global Economies
  • The New Tech Network
  • Jump-Start Your Career as a Foresight Educator
  • Reinventing Educational Activism by Creating Linkages: Technology, Content-Driven Collaboration, and Financial Literacy
  • A New Century: A New Instructional Paradigm
  • Educating the Wise Cyborg of the Future
  • Deconstructing the Education Monopoly in the United States
  • Futurists and the Future of Education

WorldFuture 2011 Education Summit: $295 for WFS members/$345 for nonmembers. Learn more and register here.


A question of balance — by Clive Sheperd

The issue, as ever, is getting the balance right between taking advantage of new developments as they come available, while continuing to exploit the potential of long-standing approaches.










Online learning set for explosive growth as traditional classrooms decline — From by David Nagel


By 2015, 25 million post-secondary students in the United States will be taking classes online. And as that happens, the number of students who take classes exclusively on physical campuses will plummet, from 14.4 million in 2010 to just 4.1 million five years later, according to a new forecast released by market research firm Ambient Insight (emphasis DSC).

Blended and Online Learning Growth
The report, “The US Market for Self-paced eLearning Products and Services: 2010-2015 Forecast and Analysis,” predicted a five-year compound decline of 22.08 percent per year in students attending traditional classrooms exclusively. The number of post-secondary students taking some (but not all) classes online will grow at a compound annual rate of 11.08 percent over the same five-year period, from 12.36 million in 2010 to 21.13 million in 2015. But the real growth will be seen among students taking classes exclusively online. Ambient predicted a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.06 percent in that area, from 1.37 million in 2010 to 3.86 million in 2015.

e-learning outlook for 2011 — from Tony Bates
Tony discusses course redesigns, mobility, open educational resources (OER), multimedia, learning analytics, and shared services.

The pace has changed -- don't come onto the track in a Model T


From DSC:
If you doubt that…read on…

The New Normal: Universities Sponsoring Online High Schools — from

K12 announced today that they are partnering with George Washington University to launch The George Washington University Online High School. This private high school will serve students from the US and countries around the world January 2011.

Students are constantly trying to find options that will set them apart from others and participating in this rigorous college preparatory program could be the key. In addition to the curriculum, students who attend an online high school connected to a University such as GWUOHS will have college counseling, personalized learning tools, test preparation, even guidance through the scholarship process.

GWU is not the only university sponsoring online high schools. Stanford has the EPGY Online High School. University of Missouri High School and The University of Oklahoma offer year-round and dual enrollment courses. Whether public or private schools, the possibilities are endless for students. Training for sports, starting a business, volunteering, working in the arts,  all can become easier by signing in to your online courses from the nearest computer.

Through major universities in partnership with online providers, students are reaping the benefits of university resources online high schools. It is interesting that we do not see this type of partnership more often.

MIT tries new approach for some OpenCourseWare (OCW) — from The Chronicle by Jeff Young

New MIT OpenCourseWare Initiative Aims to Improve Independent Online Learning — from the NYT by Aurey Watters of ReadWriteWeb

MIT OpenCourseWare is launching five new courses today that mark a new model for one of the world’s premier open educational resources. These OCW Scholar courses are designed for use by independent learners, and like the other material made available through MIT OCW, are freely available for anyone to pursue. These aren’t distance learning classes – there is no instructor, no contact with MIT, no credit. But the courses are meant to be stand-alone offerings, not requiring any additional materials for learning.

Technology Empowering Online Learning at Post-Secondary Level — from TMCNet by Beecher Tuttle

Times have changed, however. With lower budgets, limited physical space and new insight into the effectiveness of online learning, a myriad of highly regarded public and private colleges and universities have begun transitioning their curriculum to a digital world. In fact, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the most well thought-of state institutions on the East Coast, recently announced its plans to offer its prestigious MBA program completely online. The business school’s dean told Mashable that the university made the move because it did not see online learning as a lesser form of education, if delivered properly.

Quick aside from DSC:

Re: that last sentence…please…let’s stop asking the question if online learning is as good as face-to-face learning. That question has been answered time and again.

The question now is, how will face-to-face learning begin to keep up and measure up to online learning as online learning begins to hit its real stride? We haven’t seen anything yet; and at this point, innovation is happening at much faster speeds in the online world. Those professors, teachers, and trainers used to working solely in the face-to-face teaching and learning environments better really start asking themselves how they will innovate, and how they will respond to the K-12 students (and employees) that are  changing right in front of our eyes!

New Web Venture Offers ‘Syndicated Courses’ — from The Chronicle by  Tusher Rae

Omnicademy, a for-profit institution conceived at Louisiana State University, hopes to allow professors to syndicate their courses this fall.

The company’s system will let professors upload material from courses they’re already teaching and offer the courses to students at other colleges through the Omnicademy site, said the company’s founder, Stacey Simmons, associate director for economic development at Louisiana’s Center for Computation and Technology.

Universities can review the courses and decide which ones they want to adopt and offer credit for. When students log into Omnicademy—using a .edu e-mail address—they will only be allowed to select from courses that have been approved by their institution.

If a student wishes to take a course offered through Omnicademy that is not on the list approved by his or her university, Omnicademy will negotiate on behalf of that student with the university, Ms. Simmons added.

2020 Vision — from neXtedu

The MEGATRENDS I see changing the Education Industry are:

1) The Knowledge Economy:
Prediction:  By 2020, Assessment becomes the currency for the Knowledge Economy, not where you went to school.  In other words, opportunity will truly be driven by what you know, not by where your degree is from.

2) Globalization:
Prediction: By 2020, there will be Global Schools like Avenues and Mosaica in the primary and secondary market and an acceleration of Global Universities will be driven by online offerings.  Moreover, study abroad will become a standard part of a college education (up from 1% of the students currently) and will even be an important feature for top-tier private K-12 schools.

3) The Internet: …Web 2.0 is truly about “democratizing” education, not only increasing access and lowering cost but also improving quality.
Prediction: By 2020, all college students will have a “blended” or “hybrid” learning experience, as will nearly all high school students.  Virtual School operators such as K12, Connections Academy and Florida Virtual have millions of students and Arizona State University Online becomes the largest University in the World.  The information that is made readily available by new media education sites such as Center for Education Reform’s “Media Bullpen” and the Education Breakthrough Network create a “dismantling of the Berlin Wall” moment for school choice, with a flood of opportunities coming to parents and students throughout the United States.

4) Outsourcing:
Prediction: By 2020, students in Charter Schools will have more than tripled from 3% to 10% of America’s student body, and it will become standard to integrate specialists, from foreign languages to mathematics, into the “traditional” school. Teach for America becomes a “for profit” as does KIPP, eliminating the ongoing need to raise tens of millions of dollars every year and instead utilize investor capital to sustain and grow their businesses.  I predict over 25% of Universities will have partnerships with outsourced providers to manage their online offering.  Several states will decide to “privatize” their public university system.

5) Consolidation:
Prediction: By 2020, the trend of less power and money from local coupled with a rationalization of the market will see many districts consolidate under either regional or state governance.   As many as 1/3 of the private colleges and universities will either “merge” with other universities or go away.

6) Demographics:
Prediction: By 2020, Education is the #1 national issue driven by minorities understanding that equal access to education is key to their future — and zip code shouldn’t determine a student’s earnings power.  Early stage childcare becomes much more of a national priority with leaders such as Bright Horizons being the model for how corporations and parents work together to provide the early learning needed to be “school ready”.  Gaming will be a standard component of core curriculum and supplementary learning with companies like Dreambox, Tabula Digita , Knewton and Grockit creating powerful adaptive platforms.

7) Network Effects:
Prediction:  By 2020, large learning networks are created in K12, Higher Ed and the Corporate Marketplace driven by gigantic network effects.  Platforms that support “apps” such as digital content, assessment, and social collaboration are supported by three or four large players.

8)  Freemium:
Prediction:  By 2020 some of the largest education companies will be “freemium” models with revenues driven by premium services, sponsorships and ads.  In a world where “assessment is the currency” for opportunity, freemium models that deliver high value knowledge at no cost or a fraction of the cost (like Academic Earth) will be very disruptive to high cost providers.

9) Open:
Prediction:  By 2020, most colleges and universities have abandoned their captive LMS and have adopted open solutions, and service providers such as RSmart and Moodle Rooms are thriving.

10) Brands:
Prediction:  By 2020, institutions with substantial brand equity will have multiple partners to leverage into cash to supplement endowments and flattish tuitions.  As with case studies from other sectors that have created network effects with freemium models, GLOBAL MEGABRANDS will be created with a number of education companies obtaining $10 billion plus market caps.

Arizona State University’s Education Innovation Network

The Education Innovation Network is an open innovation platform where entrepreneurs can find the resources to validate concepts, accelerate growth and reach transformative scale.

From DSC:
Again…do you hear the waves of change crashing on our shores? Do you sense the increased speeds of the “cars on the racetrack”?

Math that moves -- the use of the iPad in K-12 -- from the New York Times


From DSC:
I post this here — with higher ed included in the tags/categories — because if the trend within K-12 continues (i.e. that of using such technologies as the iPad, digital textbooks, mobile learning devices, etc.), students’ expectations WILL be impacted. When they hit our doorsteps, they will come with their heightened sets of expectations. The question is, will we in higher ed be ready for them?

© 2022 | Daniel Christian