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1) There is no doubt that educational software is increasing in record numbers, especially online software. What can online educational software, such as Compass Learning, Aventa, Plato, etc, provide that a teacher cannot? Now, what can a teacher provide that a computer program cannot?
Online educational software, according to Christensen, Horn and Johnson (2008), will give the possibility to provide "student-centric" education and organize individualized learning, in accordance with each student's type of intelligence and other needs. There are two ways of applying learning software: computer-based way and student-centric way. New possibilities that a teacher cannot provide are individual approach to teaching for each student (in traditional classroom this is impossible), offering selective classes and classes that can't be provided due to lack of professionals (e.g. teaching Arabic, etc.), giving possibilities for credit recovery, teaching AP classes etc. Also, computer-based learning will offer new changes for disabled students and home-learning ones (Parsons & Oja, 2009). However, there are several features that the software cannot provide: teachers can help learners find best learning approach, mentor and motivate students through the learning (Christensen & Horn & Johnson, 2008). Teachers can provide individual assistance and aid students with technology.
2) Almost every state funds schools based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA). So, if students have a "cheek in the seat", regardless if they learn or not, the school gets funded for the ADA hours per student. How would schools change if schools, instead of ADA, received funding based student mastery of concept (s).
In my opinion, schools will only benefit if they received funding basing on student's mastery instead of attendance. First of all, gifted students will have more space and possibilities for development; secondly, weaker students will receive more attention. Also, such approach would increase the disruption, defined by Christensen, Horn and Johnson (2008) and will add up to the development of individualized, customized learning as well as to the change of teacher's role - from mentoring students and retelling the material to motivating and aiding students to develop.
3) Do you agree or disagree that 25% of high school courses will be taught online in 2015? Explain.
According to Christensen, Horn and Johnson (2008), by 2019 around 50% of all courses will be taught online; using the S-curve, provided in "Disrupting class: How disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns", it is possible to state that about 25% of all courses will be taught online in 2015. In my opinion, this process will not be so fast as it's described in the book, since the traditional schooling system is quite conservative, and besides general rules of demand and supply (like in the example with Apple products) there are other factors influencing the system. However, the S-curve tendency is evident, and sooner or later the large percent of courses will be indeed taught online; however, I believe that it will take more time than Christensen, Horn and Johnson (2008) predict.
4) What factors will accelerate or decelerate the substitution described by the authors?
There is a number of factors that will accelerate the substitution, the main of them being: growing shortage for teachers, low costs of computer-based and online learning and their advantage in regard of constant budget-cutting tendency, possibilities of customizing learning and the growing improvement of computer-based learning. However, there also are factors that may decelerate the substitution, such as influence of teachers' unions and the system of pay-per-pupil used for calculating budget for schools.
Chapter Four: Strategies for Tapping the Groundswell
1) Address each issue of the POST method, as they relate to education.
The POST method is the acronym for process of planning a groundswell strategy (Li & Bernoff, 2008), decoded as "people, objectives, strategy and technology".
From educational perspective, analysis of people has to answer the question: "what are main stakeholders of learning process ready for"? The stakeholders include students, teachers, administrators and parents. While students are more flexible and might accept numerous changes, other parts of the system are less flexible and this should be taken into account when planning innovations in the learning process.
Second issue, objectives, needs to give answer for the purpose of using the groundswell in education. Some of such goals may be the increased quality of learning, greater flexibility and efficiency of education and availability of courses to a larger audience than today.
The strategy issue implies understanding how the relationships between participants of the learning process have to change and what strategic change is expected from groundswell in future. Finally, the technology issue allows to determine the technologies which have to be used for integrating the influence of groundswell into education; these technologies may be determined using the previous three steps of POST method.
2) Which of the five objectives that are pursued in the Groundswell, do you think make the most sense for a teacher? What about an administrator? Explain your reasoning.
There are five objectives which can be pursued by entering the groundswell (Li & Bernoff, 2008): listening, talking, energizing, supporting and embracing. From the teacher's point of view, such objectives as talking and supporting are the most important ones. Indeed, groundswell allows reaching every learner and customizing the message optimally; the objective of supporting is also important for teachers since students might find best ways to help each other using the groundswell-empowered technologies.
From administrator's point of view, such objectives as listening and energizing are most important: it is possible to find out what students really need and lack in education though social networks and other technologies; it is also easy to motivate students and potential customers, using enthusiasts spreading the news in the environment enriched by groundswell.
3) How could Wal-Mart's challenges with its Facebook page be similar to those you might imagine for an educator? What are some ways you might manage this issue?
Wal-Mart did a right thing concerning setting objectives and selecting a target audience. However, Wal-Mart's authorities forgot that groundswell in fact passed the power to the customers (in this case, the students), and it was impossible to control the community. Concerning educational purposes, the same trap could be faced: students might use the groundswell means for spreading negative information and improper educational practices like cheating etc. In order to manage such issues, it is necessary to determine how a socially-based educational initiative might go wrong, and preventing such failures from the very beginning.
Chapter Five: Listening to the Groundswell
1). How might you utilize some of the listening strategies and tools to improve your teaching?
Li and Bernoff (2008) outline two main strategies of listening to the groundswell: setting up a private community and brand monitoring. However, there might be plenty of "home-grown" methods for listening, such as comparing the results of Google searches, examining sites with related discussions etc. These methods can be efficiently used for improving teaching. For a teacher or an administrator who is interested in improving a particular course or way of teaching, it can be useful to create a topical blog on the quality of teaching, organize a community or survey in Facebook, or develop a special forum where such questions might be discussed. If the objective is to improve the quality of teaching and learning in a district or in a number of related colleges, a company listening to Internet opinion could be hired, or a site for students where they can share opinions and solve problems anonymously might be created.
2) Memorial Sloan Kettering wanted to know why cancer patients chose a hospital. What types of questions might you ask in a communispace community of students?
Like the case with Memorial Sloan-Kettering, the first question will be "How do you choose where you want to study?". Also, it would be useful to ask "how to you decide which courses to choose?", "what are the difficulties you experience in learning" and "how to you choose to overcome learning difficulties"? Also, it would be useful to ask such questions as "what do you lack in class/during learning" and "what would you change in learning process". Also, new questions will appear after analyzing the answers to the first ones. It is important to choose an appropriate strategy after posing questions, and not simply collect information.