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  • Pat A Son 2:08 am on October 29, 2012
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    McGraw-Hill LearnSmart, Strengths ·         Sound theoretical and technical base ·         Well-developed online presence ·         A long history with the education industry ·         A large market share in education as is the largest educational publisher in the U.S ·         A wealth of resources to draw from with their experience in the print media ·         A wide […]

    Continue reading McGraw-Hill LearnSmart, Strengths ·     … Posted in: Week 08:
  • coralk 8:06 pm on October 28, 2012
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    Conclusions: Thank you all for participating in our presentation of Personalized Learning Tools. We are so pleased with the amount of discussion, analysis and healthy debate that occurred this week.  We hope that you were able to learn more about the types of tools that are being used in classrooms around the world.  There are […]

    Continue reading Thank you from Week 8 – Personalized Learning Posted in: Week 08:
  • melissaayers 7:41 am on October 27, 2012
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    Smart Sparrow Adaptive eLearning PlatformTM was developed by a research group in the School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in 2011. The platform was designed to support their three principles of Adaptive eLearning Promote Learning by doing. Be intelligent and adaptive. Empower the teacher. Their Labmaker software has […]

    Continue reading SWOT – Smart Sparrow Adaptive eLearning Platform Posted in: Week 08:
    • Ranvir 10:01 pm on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I like the concept of adaptive learning especially because it is learner centric. When I looked at some of the sample tutorials, the product seems to be Flash template based product that allows you do develop interactive animation and provide feedback. Their concept of being adaptive seems to be confined to providing feedback based on the user actions. This feature is common in most of the professionally designed e-learning courses developed using popular desktop authoring software. I wonder if there is anything particular about this software platform that stands out as compared to the competition?

      In threats, you can also add the inability to be accessed on mobile devices.

    • melissaayers 4:28 am on October 29, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Ranvir,

      Thanks for you feedback. I agree that I do not find their product offers anything particularly innovative (technologically speaking) in the way they implement their platform that other providers cannot copy or use as well.

      To find out if there is anything particular that the platform does compared to its competition I would need to spend some more time doing competitor analysis sorry, so for now I can not answer your question.

      From what I understand the labs & activities created with their software are able to be viewed & used from mobile devices.


  • Paula Poodwan 12:08 am on October 22, 2012
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    Activity Seven: Invest or not to invest This is a space to discuss your thoughts on whether or not it would be viable for your school, district, business or yourself to invest in the venture selected for the SWOT analysis and explain why.

    Continue reading Week 8 Activity Seven Posted in: Week 08:
    • joeltremblay 9:45 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I’m actually going to suggest Luminosity to my SEA’s for some of the more challenging students. It might be a way to improve their autonomy and abilities since some of them spend a lot of time doing similar activities on their computers.

      • ETEC522grp8 3:33 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I would love to hear what your SEA thinks of the idea, as I think Lumosity’s combination of neuroscience and game based learning would definitely help challenging students with their learning.

    • adi 12:00 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Though the MEC is not free, it is not that expensive given what it provides in exchange; last I heard the monthly licence was around $25.00 dollars. For this price, schools have access to a huge database of exercises, activities, WebQuests, graded ‘The Guradian’ articles, games, grammar reference and practice, listening activities, IELTS, TOEFL, and Cambridge Exams practice, the Macmillan English Dictionary, and a personal word list the student creates and personal gradebook. Teachers can monitor students work in great detail, e.g. when they first tried out an activity, their first and last score etc. Teachers can also create courses using the database.
      In short, it’s a lot of resources in one place, and unlike many online resources, it is authored by experts in the field and supervised and edited for quality.

      • ETEC522grp8 3:43 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        That’s a really good price to pay for the contents you get. I was thinking the price tag was in the hundreds.

        It is too bad that MEC is not available to people outside institutions, and I do wonder why?
        – James

      • jkotler 2:44 am on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I am not familiar with MEC but it sounds like a really great resource. Have you ever used it before? Also, I am interested to learn more about it; can you provide a link for it?

      • jhodi 11:13 am on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        This is very interesting, I had not heard of it previously. It seems like for what you get, the price is very good! Does it provide resources for all grade levels? I am very intrigued by the idea that it is all created by experts in the field, because as you note, not all online resources are.

      • pcollins 2:07 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I always have the concern, that even though for the moment… the price appears quite reasonable. What will happen to this resource if the school does invest it’s time heavily into putting it into production and then they face a price jump? It’s one of the issues that I have with moodle…. concerns about when they do decide to charge, and what will that charge be.


      • visramn 10:00 pm on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        i think monitoring is a key component. The fact that this tool has that capacity makes it a lot less riskier to use with students.

    • tomwhyte1 10:52 am on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      The venture I selected was Mathletics, something that as our schools Math/Science Department Head we have begun to explore. For as a department, we are aware that for some students, our multiple approaches are not meeting their needs, regardless if they are at the low or high end of the spectrum for ability.

      Therefore, we explored two services and decided upon Mathletics. We are going through the process of purchasing 10 student accounts, to provide a more personal learning environment for students that either require more remedial training or more advanced work, for Mathletics allow you to go 6 grade levels above and below where the student is currently at.

      It is our hope, that those students selected for this trial run will find some benefit in what we are providing.


      • Suhayl Patel 2:15 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Mathletics seems interesting. I’ve heard about it a few times but never tried it myself. From the looks of it, it seems like a mesh between Khan Academy and the gamification of learning. Are there specific students you are going to target with those 10 accounts?

        • tomwhyte1 10:15 am on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          We are hoping to try this service with 5 students who need assistance to bring their grade level up (easy group to identify, education does an excellent job identifying this area), and with 5 students who are working significantly beyond grade level (education needs to do a better job identifying this group, as most themselves do not want that recognition).

          Hope this helps.

      • ETEC522grp8 9:07 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi tomwhyte1,

        Can you share with us the other choice that was being compared to Mathletics and some of the main factors you considered when deciding between the two platforms?

        – James

        • tomwhyte1 10:16 am on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          We were originally wanting to try 5 accounts of Mathletics, and 5 accounts of IXL to compare the services. Unfortunately, IXL could not accomodate our request of only purchasing 5 accounts. Therefore, we went with Mathletics for all 10.

      • pcollins 2:02 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Tom,
        I can see the affordances of Mathletics with certain students. I am wondering however, how specific students will be selected for the trial and how it will unroll in the classroom. Will these students be seperated from their classmates to focus on developing their math skills (perhaps under the guidance of the Learning Assistance Room) or will the program be implemented to help advanced students jump further into math while their class continues with the status quo?

        • tomwhyte1 10:18 am on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          The classroom teacher would identify students that they feel would benefit from an alternative approach. Then, with the classroom teacher, grade level admin, learning coach, and myself we would discuss if this would be the best option for that student.

          As for what it might look like in class. Our thoughts were, that the student would still receive regular classroom instruction, but when students were working on assignments, those identified students would access one of our netbooks and complete lessons and assignments through Mathletics.


          • ETEC522grp8 11:15 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

            Wow, there are a lot of people involved there! I always am hesitant to “pull’ students from classes before the lessons. There are so many contextual elements that a (good) teacher presents within any lesson, that can help a student understand content, not to mention questions from peers that arise. Did these reasons affect that decision for when to use it, or were there others?

    • jhodi 11:07 am on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I feel as though creating or changing a current school into a School of One school could be a very large task. Within my school board, to develop a new school for this purpose would require first of all the lessons to be created based on curriculum and different lessons to be created based on different learning styles and needs. After these were created, an algorithm would need to be determined to place students, and teachers would need to be placed according to their strengths and teaching abilities. Students would also need to be assessed for skill level and learning preferences. I also imagine that it would take some time for students to become accustomed to this new type of school and learning style.
      As I work for a larger school board, I would not say that this would be impossible, but it would most likely be a several year project, since creating the lesson bank could take a considerable amount of time on its own. Overall, I like the idea, but it would be a large undertaking.

      • ETEC522grp8 9:22 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I do wonder how the services, contents and infrastructure that the School of One provides differ from its competitors in this market..?

      • kstackhouse 6:48 am on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I also looked at School of One. I think that in a large district this is not a realistic venture, at this time. As you mention it would be a transition that would take a considerable amount of time. The initial costs and change from a traditional approach would be a tough sell. I think this type of program would be more likely to be found in a private school rather than in a large district.

    • Doug Connery 9:57 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I selected Experiential Learning for the SWOT as this example seemed the most appropriate for the technical/business post secondary environment that I work in. A great example similar to this that I have seen work well are business case competitions. Here students in groups of four are given a business case to solve and then are locked down for 10 hours researching and creating a solution. The next day the groups present to a panel of judges, one of which owns the business with the problem and the panel decides on first, second and third.

      • ETEC522grp8 11:13 pm on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        That seems to be quite an intense approach to problem based learning, but I suppose that’s how the business world is like.

        Thanks for sharing!


    • avninder 10:11 am on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I’m not sure that experiential learning can be called a venture per se. There is no IT software that has to be purchased or any other large capital investment that has to be made. From a business perspective, the main downfall is the time spent learning which could otherwise be used being ‘productive’. I think this makes EL ideal for new hires as they would spend a lot of time after they are hired training on the job anyway. This short term unproductive phase will develop employees as knowledgeable and capable.

    • manny 5:49 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      My SWOT analysis was conducted on Lumosity. If I was in charge of allocating budget funds from a school districts perspective I would not invest in this venture. From an economies of scale standpoint, it is quite simply too expensive to cover every student in the district. If Lumosity had a bulk usage licensing agreement, my mind may change depending on the parameters of the contract.
      From an individual investors standpoint, I would definitely consider investing in this venture. The billing is set up in such a way that after a set amount of users, you are guaranteeing a cash flow into the company. The overhead is low and I would think that a majority of the expenses are allocated towards research, most of which has been conducted already. Companies such as this have enormous growth potential and must be managed with the long term in mind.

    • melissaayers 7:51 am on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Since I do not work at an educational institute I can not answer the question as to whether I would invest in this venture (Smart Sparrow Adaptive eLearning Platform) for my school or district.

      However, if I was a student of medicine, nursing or science I would lobby my teachers and school to consider investigating further the feasibility of introducing this platform at my learning institute. As part of my SWOT investigation I was not able to find out what the cost involved in using this platform (I needed to request a quote via their website to gain an idea) therefore further investigation and feasibility analysis would be required. As well the training and time required for teachers to be able to create content for this platform would need to be considered.

    • Eva Ziemsen 2:20 pm on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      If SOCRAIT was available, I would immediately make use of it for students, from day one in our film program. I would say, as I already do, learning is actually the responsibility of the student. I believe SOCRAIT would help empower students who want to be in charge of their learning, as a complement to a set curriculum. Therefore, I would suggest that they have on-going questions that they must answer throughout the three years in our program. In specific courses, I would ask them to incorporate SOCRAIT into their research. I believe SOCRAIT would be easy to incorporate, as long as there was a free version, which Andersen alluded to. SOCRAIT would help educators help students be more critical and self-guided in their learning.

    • C. Ranson 9:52 am on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I am going to introduce Lumosity to my students; this is a really interesting site that I can relate to. We recently attended a presentation on Brain Plasticity; I initially didn’t realize that Lumosity was a training program based on this theory. I am going subscribe and ensure compliance to see what the outcome is and then it would be reasonable to offer an opinion to my students and whether it would be worth investing time and money into. Thanks for sharing this site.

    • visramn 9:56 pm on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      My swot analysis was on Khan academy. I found that the major factor that would draw educators to use this tool and to encourage the adoption of this tool in their school is that it is free and that it can be run from any computer with Internet access. It also has many resources and caters to all type of learners because of its multiple means of delivery for math content it offers instant feedback tend teachers can monitor students progress and how effectivley they have been using this tool Students can access this tool from anywhere and parents can view their child work and progress at any time. All of these factors indicate that this tool has many positives. I personally use this tool with my students already and believe it is a sound venture that deserves to be persued. Yes there are other products out there but this tool has proven to e successful and it’s free.

  • Paula Poodwan 12:06 am on October 22, 2012
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    Activity Six: SWOT Analysis This is a space to discuss your SWOT analysis from the perspective of an EVA. 

    Continue reading Week 8 Activity Six Posted in: Week 08:
    • joeltremblay 9:43 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      1) Adaptability and an opportunity to reach all different types of learners.
      2) Wide ranging and differentiating tests that can help improve a multitude of different abilities
      3) Originality. I’ve never seen another site dedicated and focused like this.

      Weaknesses (or Limitations):
      1) English only that I could see.
      2) Possibly not enough depth. From a superficial point of view quite comprehensive
      3) Customer retention. How many of the participants will keep it going consistently for the entire three months?
      4) Are the abilities permanent or only for the duration of the course?

      1) Different languages
      2) Different timesets as right now 3 months is the only option.

      1) Time. How long will people continue to make time for this especially if results vary?
      2) Any other website that runs iq tests etc.

      • ETEC522grp8 3:10 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for the analysis. I also felt that users would not continue to use the site if they do not see immediate results. Maybe if they distribute shareware or freeware versions of their program and people started trying it Lumosity would gain a wider customer base.
        – James

    • adi 11:53 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Macmillan English Campus (http://www.macmillanenglishcampus.com/section.asp?catid=63 )

      • Brand name of a well known publishers of EFL materials and textbooks.
      • It is both a management system and a searchable database.
      • It has a wide variety of exercise types, skills, exam practice, games and reference tools.
      • Both teachers and students can monitor progress.
      • Learner paced.
      • Can be customized to fit the institutions needs.
      • Authored by well-known experts in the field.

      • Technological requirements may not be readily available.
      • It is not free.
      • It is targeted at institutions (not for individual use).
      • The buyer is not the end user (e.g. the teacher or student).

      • They can expand market
      • Macmillan can benefit from institutions preferring a brand vs all the unknown products out there.

      • There are many free online tools and resources out there.
      • With all the user-friendly tools available, teachers are creating their own material.

      • ETEC522grp8 3:23 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for your analysis. Do you think that perhaps the contents authored by well-known experts in the field would help MEC differentiate itself from its competitors and overcome its threats?
        – James

    • tomwhyte1 10:48 am on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply


      Venture: Mathletics (http://www.mathletics.ca/)


      • Provides math help for students around the world, in electronic and print format
      • Customizes instructional materials and questions based upon:
      o Country
      o Textbook used
      • Efficient and effective student progress tracking
      • Has game elements to allow students to compete against each other around the world, which includes customizable avatars
      • Regardless of grade, level of material can be adjusted to suit individual student needs


      • Might be used as a replacement for good teaching
      • Limits social interaction with real life people
      • Online educational environment might not be beneficial for all students
      • Requires sufficient hardware and Internet access, if these are unavailable, students are not able to utilize the resource
      • Financial costs may limit the number of students/schools who access the program


      • Potential to expand core concept into other instructional areas, such as:
      o Languages
      o General Science
      • Capitalize on ever changing Internet services to provide a more meaningful and engaging service


      • Other similar services provided by large companies, which already have a large footprint within the Education market
      • As curriculum or philosophy of curriculum changes, may find it difficult to develop effective resources


      • ETEC522grp8 8:37 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply


        I like your point about connectivity. If you are using an online program and do not have a stable connection to the internet it can be incredibly frustrating for students and teachers alike. I think with any technology implementation this is an important consideration, and requires those good teaching practices so that when technology does not work their is another way to reach the same goal.

        • tomwhyte1 12:11 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Yes, such an issue occurred yesterday, when Amazon’s infrastructure, which supports other sites, had major issues. Hence Edmodo being down for hours.

    • jhodi 10:56 am on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

       School of One uses a learning algorithm that makes the curriculum adaptive to the student.
       Learning algorithm is flexible and can be modified by teachers.
       School of One learns about the student in order to create appropriate pairings of students, teachers, and resources.
       Lesson bank was designed by experts in the field, aligned with state curriculum, and was designed to satisfy different learning styles and needs.
       Relatively new with minimal concrete research and results.
       Unable to control annual numbers of students that will have specific needs.
       School of One has several partners in a wide range of fields such as digital content, facilities, funding, live content, and technology. Several of these partners are large corporations such as Microsoft. This allows opportunities to bridge the needs and goals of School of One with the technologies and services already offered by these companies.
       There is competition from schools desiring to create their own personalized learning environments that may not desire to pay for or use the technologies and services offered by School of One. Teachers may desire to use technologies offered by such companies as Microsoft to individualize their own classrooms.

    • Doug Connery 9:46 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI)

      Children learn better when engaged in hands-on activities
      Allows students to focus on their strengths
      Projects are a combination of science, language, math, and a physical skill building component

      Students who move onto other schools without this initiative will be bored and not motivated
      Teachers need to be prepared for this method

      Implement this initiative in middle and high schools
      Connect with community by demonstrating projects

      Traditionalists: parents and teachers, would oppose this type of learning

      • avninder 10:00 am on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I will also look at ELI but from a corporate training perspective:
        – can use real life situations
        – expose employees to different issues in the organization
        – concrete examples facilitate easy transfer of knowledge to the job
        – organizing site visits, meetings or other exchanges will take time and money
        – could be ideal for new employees or trainees
        – senior employees could be provided with an opportunity to share their knowledge and act as facilitators
        – the time required for ELI is time that could otherwise be used performing normal job duties i.e.: short term decrease in productivity

    • kstackhouse 6:42 am on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      School of One:

      Strengths: Highly engaged learning, focused on the need of the individual student. A mix of f2f and virtual learning. Experience with technology and collaborative learning in a flexible environment. Teacher working with students where they are at, rather than trying to address a large group and hoping that everyone will come along at the same pace.

      Weaknesses: Cost, cost, cost. Schools in my region are fighting for basic funding for technology. Purchasing the software for creating the learning goals and measuring learning would be very high. Other competitors may offer newer services. If a contract was locked in for too long districts and schools could end up paying more in the long run. Relying on the technology may cause issues if it should fail. Would teachers be prepared to work for a week or two if things went wrong?

      Opportunities: Students can work in a more real life, work place like scenario with mixed abilities and flexible groups. Students can work with students and teachers outside of their school walls. Schools have the chance to collaborate with other organizations.

      Threats: A threat to this type of program is the reliance on funding that the school would have. If one government supported it the next might not. Having parents, community, and corporate partnerships carry this program may be difficult. Breaking the mould of traditional environment(s) may be a tough “sell” to policy makers and parents.

      • ETEC522grp8 1:51 pm on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I too think one of the major threats would be policy makers and parents not buying in to programs and services such as those offered by the School of One due to insufficient funding. Perhaps such ventures need to provide more free trials like the ones offered by the School of One in order to gain a wider audience so that districts can receive more funding through grants and fundraising activities?

    • Jenny Brown 8:39 am on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Personalized Learning in Corporations

      I did a little research to see what I could find about personalized learning in corporations and I wasn’t coming up with much except for the offerings of customized corporate training and learning management systems.

      I think corporations are just at the brink of utilizing online tools to create PLEs for staff. For example: British Columbia Public Service released a document: Developing the Best: A Corporate Learning Strategy for the BC Public Service that recognized the need for personalized learning and creating personalized learning sites. http://www2.gov.bc.ca/local/myhr/documents/learning_education/corporate_learning_strategy.pdf

      Another interesting find was a Master’s Thesis entitled: The Use of Personalized Learning Environments in Corporate Training Programs http://etd.ohiolink.edu/send-pdf.cgi/Barnes%20Rachel%20J.pdf?bgsu1302192806 . The thesis included a short video, highlighting how online PLEs could be developed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPO4uy8aNcs&lr=1.

      I really liked the example of Page Flakes – that allows you to have a personalized home page with different feeds. She also talked about Google Reader, Twitter, Diigo, and Facebook which could all be used to personalize one’s learning on a daily basis.

      What I gathered in the thesis is that in a corporate setting, PLEs could evolve with the use of social media tools which encourage connectivism among users. It also includes a shift from the role of the instructor who no longer is the source of information but rather acts as a guide and teaching being no longer a means of “data transmission” but a collaboration between the instructor and the learners.

      So for a quick SWOT analysis for PLE in corporate settings:

      • Cost savings compared to conventional classroom learning;
      • Will enhance both formal and informal learning; and
      • Connectivism among employees.

      • Use of social media tools blocked by many corporate fire-walls;
      • Based on tools more familiar with younger populations; and
      • Most tools available are user-centric, not process-centric.

      • Creation of PLE targeted for use within corporations

      • IT within corporations would ever allow the growth of social media tools in the workplace;
      • Older employees won’t adapt to the new learning environment; and
      • Learning will continue to reside in antiquated LMS.

      • ETEC522grp8 10:47 pm on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for sharing the links and providing us with a different perspective on the application of PLEs outside the k-12 context! Do you think security would be an issue for companies considering training through PLEs?

    • visramn 5:20 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/ )
      – Embedded tools for varying learning styles
      -Increased interactivity and engagement for students
      -Students can work at their own pace and level
      -Students get instant feedback
      -Free and can be accessed from computers with internet (no extra costs for schools)

      -Teachers need to know how to be present as a guide and need to make sure they do not become non-existent
      – Not approved by all boards (Cannot access these programs in all schools due to fire walls)
      – Some students lack independence and would not be able to work through the task and stay motivated without more structure.
      -Continuity from year to year may be lacking if students work with different teacher who have different means of teaching.

      -Students can access this learning tool from home or from a distance therefore making learning more flexible.
      -Parents can access this tool from home with their students to see what their child has been working on and to see their child’s progress.
      -Can be used across whole school boards so that students can transition from one school to another or one grade to another easily.

      – Parents and teachers may be opposed to using this program because it is web based and students can easily get off task or begin to interact social on the new rather than working
      -Teachers who are not comfortable with the use of technology or the internet and that prefer more traditional means of teaching may not be comfortable with using this program
      -This type of system is based on students’ level not grade. Thus, it would require a restructuring of the way students are grouped for their learning.
      -Many other tools such as this program are present in the market. Hence, this tool has a lot of competition.


      • ETEC522grp8 10:58 pm on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for the analysis. I do wonder how the Khan Academy would overcome the competition it has with other open course ware online courses?

    • manny 5:42 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Swot Analysis: Lumosity

      ➢ Creates an individualized program based on specific skills that the user chooses to build.
      ➢ Clinically proven to work with research that backs it up.
      ➢ Online courseware that does not require user to download any software.
      ➢ Activities are generally fun and engaging.

      ➢ There is no rewards based system that could motivate students to use it regularly.
      ➢ Brain index is too complicated for younger students to understand.
      ➢ Graphics could be improved for certain activities, incorporate more video game oriented play.

      ➢ Develop a pre test that calculates cognitive areas that require improvement. Students are usually not aware what they need to work on so this pre-test could make suggestions and bundle a package of activities specific to that user.

      ➢ Other online products that claim to do the exact same thing; the market is saturated with skill building activities for a lot cheaper (sometimes free).
      ➢ FOIPPA regulations.

    • Eva Ziemsen 2:13 pm on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      SWOT Analysis: SOCRAIT (by Maria H. Andersen)

      “SOCRAIT (a play on “Socratic” that includes SOC for social, AI for artificial intelligence, and IT for information technology within its name).”

      o If implemented, SOCRAIT could change the way we learn on the Internet, and not require any new content, but rather, would make use of the WWW in a highly personalized and educational manner.
      o Nothing much has to change, except that websites would need to add a “Learn This” button, (similar to Twitter, FB like, RSS).
      o If adopted, SOCRAIT would enable innovative learning outside the ‘educational’ walls on the Internet

      Weaknesses (or Limitations):
      – It may take time for all websites to adopt this button (“learn this”)
      o It will take time for the system to populate questions and make use of collective activity. In other words, for the beginning period, SOCRAIT would function on an individual basis and not make use of the collective.
      o Encouraging users to use SOCRAIT, especially in schools, where access to the full WWW is restricted, may be difficult.

      o SOCRAIT has the same potential as facebook, twitter and other large socially-driven platforms, only this is geared to education, which is all the more profitable.
      It is seemingly simple and has the potential to be adopted by a very wide audience (everyone who wants to learn, from child to adult, institutionalized or casual).

      o Some may consider this threatening to a set curriculum that aims to teach X with YZ resources.
      o This concept could easily be copied, as it is just a concept. Therefore, why would Google not already be planning such an approach?

      • ETEC522grp8 11:08 pm on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I think Maria Anderson’s SOCRAIT concept is very interesting, and her asking for internet users to help build the software is great. I can see it being created as an app using one of the app creation tools we used in Week 5 of our course.

        Thanks for sharing!


      • melissaayers 6:17 am on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Eva, thanks for sharing that I was interested to find out more about SOCRAT and came across this video by Maria H. Andersen http://edgeoflearning.com/?cat=112 for anyone else that is interested.

    • C. Ranson 9:31 am on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      SWOT – Lumosity

      I have had a chance to navigate the entire site and train for my 2nd day. This is a great site supported by very current scientific information. What a great site for the geriactric population.

       Unique in its kind
       Scientifically supported by the process of neuroplasticity
       Clinically proven
       Can be used by a diverse group of students and others
       Engaging and easy to use
       Proven to improve cognitive function
       Affordable
       Can cancel at anytime
       Data is secure
       Accessible on most devices and build-in reminders about training

       Student/individual compliance
       Not suitable for the very young

       Variety of games

       Will people use it daily and continue to use it to determine efficacy
       Novelty – in order to effectively exercise a brain, you must complete the tasks and challenges.
       Similar sites offering same program/information at a lower cost


    • frank 8:32 pm on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Coursera is a social educational tech venture that partners with top universities to offer courses online for free to anyone.

      – Partnerships with Top Educational Institutions.
      – Wide range of Topics
      – Strong support from Stanford and players in Silicon Valley

      – Sustainable student engagement
      – Recognition and Accreditation

      – Partnerships with institutions and jurisdictions that actually give Coursera recognition for providing educational content
      – Identifying ways to improve student learning and engagement
      – Expanding their presence globally

      – Stiff completion in growing Education tech: ex, edX, Udacity, Khan Acadamy, Alison.com etc.
      – Being perceived as a threat by institutions and jurisdictions: eg.


  • Paula Poodwan 12:04 am on October 22, 2012
    0 votes

    Activity Five:  Your Personalized Learning Experience This is a space to discuss your experience of personalized learning and which tools and activities you have been using? Do they work? Are there any difficulty implementing them?

    Continue reading Week 8 Activity Five Posted in: Week 08:
    • tomwhyte1 7:57 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I would like to say that I have successfully or unsuccessfully implemented a PLE within my classroom, but the answer is no. Tomorrow I will be looking at developing Student Learning Profile’s, which in our district is a first step towards this reality in Alberta. In November, I will be working with a District Representative on developing a program which may meet the needs of many students, and be PLE like, but truly not a PLE.

      Please do not think, that I do not value what a PLE has to offer, however I think some of the larger social, financial, and to be honest student/family issues have been forgotten.

      Social – in a PLE we are to meet the student where they are at. Which may mean a 13 year old would be learning right along side some 7 year olds. The differences in cognitive strength may be similar, however, maturity, experiences, and at those ages – puberty creates a world of issues that need to be understood and provided for.

      Financial – yes technology can facilitate a tremendous amount of tracking and maintaining of records, however these systems I assume are not cheap. We are living in a global economic issue, which has improved, but not by much over the last four years.

      Student/Family – Lastly, but most importantly many of our students come with more than cognitive needs. My own son, a bright boy – near the top of his class, but has needed specific behavioural supports to provide him the structure to function within a classroom. Where might he fall in this brave new world – smart enough to be ahead of most of the kids his age, but struggling socially…

      Even though I agree that the factory model is slowly dying, I do not think PLE’s are the answer. They might be part of a strategy to try, but education is very complex… We need to instruct the whole child, not just their brain…


      • ETEC522grp8 4:30 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Tom, you always come up with great observations. I agree that personalized learning is not used on a large scale now because it is hard – for ALL the stakeholders in the educational enterprise.


      • Suhayl Patel 2:06 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thats great that you are working on a creating student learning plans. I find in my work that they are truly awesome to look back on that give a good perspective on what type of student you are planning for and is a great step towards PL for each individual. I actually ave a few questions regarding your learning plan creating:

        Will your students have any say in their learning plan? Will they even be able to see it? Is it going to be something that you will work on collaboratively? And will it be edited from year to year depending on the teacher or will this be a document that lives only within your school and when the child leaves, they personal learning plan is tossed out?

        • tomwhyte1 12:09 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          These are all great questions, and as this is a relatively new process, I can only provide best guesses. As for the development, there are sections where it is necessary to interview students, as well as provide forms for parent feedback to provide more information. These documents are also created with the core teachers in collaboration, and will be revisited from time to time throughout the school year. As for the life of the document beyond this year, I am unsure, as we are not utilizing a formal program.


    • adi 8:54 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I was lucky to experience a Personalized Learning Environment back in 1969 in an experimental primary school in Iowa City called ‘Ernest Horn School’. I now realize this was a unique school for its time, and I was vey lucky to have gone there, if only for 2 years.
      It was a mixture of the New York school, in that every day we would work at our own pace. There were files with activities, exercises etc. that had to be done, and we each worked at our own pace. ‘Ernest Horn’ was also like the BC school in that we carried out similar projects, though ‘Experiential Learning’ or ‘Constructivism’ was not yet in vogue. For example, when we learned about Argentina, we cooked Argentinian food, we dressed with clothes used in Argentina, etc. and worked collaboratively on projects that we presented using overhead projectors and other tools. It was also like the Vitra school, in that the architecture was different. Classrooms were set out in a hexagon shape around a work are, and separated by a pull curtain like the type you see in universities to divide auditoriums. Often, the curtains were pulled back, and all the groups worked together. The desks were placed in sets of groups to foment collaborative work. I think architectural and classroom layout is key. There’s a Mexican sociologist (Guevara Niebla) who rightly argues that many schools are designed almost like prisons and contrary to an atmosphere that promotes collaboration and learning; with long corridors for the Head of School to monitor movement. What I loved about the Vitra project was the architecture and their spaces. I think schools all over the world have a long way to go yet.

      • jhodi 11:34 am on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        This sounds like a fantastic experience! I am so surprised that you got to experience this in 1969! As I am reading your experience, I can see how they were trying to achieve the same goals that we are trying to achieve now. The main difference being the technologies and tools that were available then versus now.

        Thanks for sharing!

        • ETEC522grp8 3:27 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Hopefully technology can and will offer new ways of progress in education.

    • Colin 10:32 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      First I have to agree with everything that Tom mentioned above as problems with the PLE system. I can’t even imagine the cost of the software, creating the content, computers to run the software, technicians to maintain and fix the systems. Not to mention the upgrades that will always be necessary. All of the video’s we watched were great marketing pieces but they didn’t mention how they would deal with all the problems that will arise.
      I work at a learning centre where students go through the material at their own pace. You will have motivated students that will finish 11 courses in a year and others that will struggle with 1. Some students when left to learn on their own don’t choose to learn. I have watched many students just sit and stare at the screen for hours. There is something to be said for having a deadline and working together through a course as a class. With this class how many of you would have pushed off submitting Assignment 1 if there wasn’t a deadline? Deadlines and keeping up with the class provides us with the push we need to keep moving forward. This is another issue I see with a PLE system.

      • ETEC522grp8 3:21 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks Colin for pointing out that the problem for implementing Personalized learning could come from the learners themselves. PL often requires significant self-actualized learning skills on the part of students. Cognitive science research has repeatedly shown that the best predictors of success in learning are motivation and meta-cognitive skill. Yet, they are the essential elements which many learners lack.

        • frank 3:28 pm on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Very Interesting Debate!

          PLE shows great potential in helping individuals learn in a way that optimizes to their needs and preferences, instead of aggregate social norms. The advantage of this approach is that students can learn more effectively, and learn more content. These are direct gains; there may be indirect ones as well.
          The challenge of individualized learning as Colin and Paula have pointed out is that it is fueled by the internal motives of the learner and this can be impacted by all sorts of external factors, as Tom mentioned.
          These challenges do not negate PLE as an optimal way forward, in my view.
          But it does mean that in considering PLE, we must also consider how students can cultivate greater meta-cognition skills, and as well, the environments that best attenuate to that.

      • avninder 9:13 am on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        As a product of a lot of factory-styled education, I would have to agree with you Colin – deadlines are very important. I often set up meetings prior to completing my work as it is the best way to motivate me to get the work done in a timely manner.

        Another reason that I believe in the importance of deadlines and structure is because in my real world job, I constantly work with meeting milestones and deliverables. The education system that I went through has been conducive to this set up. I realize that other areas in the job market may be more suitable for individuals who thrive while working at their own pace. Unfortunately it seems that catering to students’ learning needs may or may not adequately prepare them for their future careers as we do not know which path students will choose to follow. However, if PLE may still be advantageous if it gives students more confidence as that is a trait that can be used throughout their lives.

    • kstackhouse 6:39 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Having worked at Sylvan before becoming a full-time teacher I do recognize the value of PLE in education. It was amazing to see that students coming in reading or writing several grade levels below average were able to “catch up” and finish their program often a level or two above their peers. This came with one or two hour sessions a couple of times a week for varying amounts of time. There was a high cost for assessment and for the tutoring that the parents had to cover. On a bright side though we discovered that there were a few organizations that would help their employees pay for this through their employee benefit programs.

      I have not used a full on PLE in the high school setting. I have used Edmodo and their badge system for smaller tasks that students had to complete throughout the semester. They also used it to communicate and get after-school hours questions answered by their peers or by me. As others have mentioned though the cost associated with the PLE projects like Knewton or the School of One would be very high. I am not sure how one can establish a full PLE within a traditional school/district.

      A few things I did notice the design of the schools (Vittra and School of One). They were not limited by the fixed walls and space that most schools are stuck with. I also appreciated one of the comments by a teacher in the Vittra school. She basically said that life is not one subject and then another, but it is all of them at the same time. I totally agree with this. Even the work environment most of us experience is nothing like what school establishes. We are usually working with mixed age groups, various experience levels, and different backgrounds. I’m not sure if a shift to PLE is something that can be transferred to a large scale (entire district or province) until there is way more funding and education to politicians, decision makers and parents about the benefits of such programs.

    • jkotler 8:26 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I have never had the opportunity to teach in a personal learning environment per se, though I have related experience from when I created a training program for elementary teachers in using the Smart Board, and saw the positive response it had with the students in their learning and understanding. This is a resource, similar to that which is used in the Sundale Elementary School case study, that really allows teachers to easily create lessons that are not only interactive and engaging for the entire class but also addresses different learning styles through the combination of text, images and multimedia for print, visual and audio learners.

      However even though I am a strong supporter of the Smart Board and other PLE tools, like others in our class, I realize that purchasing, maintaining and training staff to use those tools is quite costly. Thus, from a financial standpoint, it may not be the most realistic solution, at least on a widespread scale.

      To that end, I believe there are other simpler strategies that can speak to the same goals as PLE, some of which I experienced myself when I was a young student. More specifically, in elementary and part of high school I attended an alternative school wherein individual desks did not exist and everyone sat at round or square tables; often students worked on the floor (even in grades above kindergarten), class sizes were quite small, the rooms were really big and spacious, group work was always promoted as was hands on lessons that addressed different learning styles. As such, I think that similar changes within other classes can also help to meet the needs of individual students without necessarily spending a great deal of money on it.

      • ETEC522grp8 5:21 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I agree with you that the first step in PLE is a shift in philosophy. The additional video on the Role of Technology titled “Ignite Honolulu 4” addresses this. Whatever the tools are that you use, the ideas behind PLE can be implemented in a variety of formats. Technology is just one more way to get there.

    • joeltremblay 9:28 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Because I teach in a creative medium, (film, animation, website design and photography), personalized learning is actually quite inherent in my approach to course design. This is mainly because the creative process is different for everyone, so one of the changes that I have implemented, (much to the chagrin of my administrators), is that beyond the first couple assignments the due date for all projects is the end of the year. My classes also operate on the philosophy of nothing ever being “done”. These are posted around my room:


      This means that the students can turn projects in as many times as they want as long as they are attempting to improve the work. The majority of the projects in film are based on student created stories about whatever they want to produce and when I do suggest a theme, I am always open to different stories as long as the students prove they have fleshed out the idea.

      Similarly, in my website design classes, the entire course is based around producing a website that sells the student’s best qualities. The only guidelines as far as the pages go are requirements for certain types of pages (resume page must be included etc.), but the visual themes are entirely of student design and perfected throughout the year as they are taught the different skillsets they will need for the final product. Would these organic approaches work for other more regimented classes like math or social studies? Possibly, but luckily I don’t have to teach those.

      • jkotler 2:19 am on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Joel,

        I find your approach to how you set the guidelines for your students assignments to be interesting. I wonder, how this compares to before the changes you made were implemented. Has it had a significant positive impact with the students? Has it effected the quality of the work produced and effort put in?


        • ETEC522grp8 3:30 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Have you found that engagemnet and outcomes/achievement have increased or just one of the two?

    • ETEC522grp8 2:11 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I agree that the challenges of implementing PL are immense and varied, and hopefully we have included some examples/ideas that can be implemented that are not too cost prohibitive, such as rearranging work spaces and schedules. Really, this course we are taking right now is an example of personalized learning – we were given a list of potential topics that we could learn about in the first week of class, and the group chose the topics of most interest and relevance to be studied. Your classmates are now in the process of teaching you about these topics that you asked to learn about.

      I really like this video that talks about the future of learning and technology that addresses some of these questions – this quote sums up the video nicely:

      “Knowing something is probably an obsolete idea. You don’t actually need to know anything. … It’s the teacher’s job to point young minds toward the right kind of questions. The teacher doesn’t need to give any answers, because answers are everywhere.”


    • ETEC522grp8 5:49 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Very interesting that many of us experienced school that was provided in alternative formats. I was part of an alternative stream in my highschool where we were given a lot of freedom for test-taking and project completion. We had hard and fast deadlines and learning outcomes to meet but we could take tests early, and get to our learning outcomes however we chose (projects, videos, sewing costumes, cooking, dramatic performances, etc.).

      In this program we had “demands” and then free time to work with multi-age groups on projects (which is maybe similar to what you will be doing next year Tom?). On a side note, our other teachers (for elective courses) always hated having “flex kids” in their classes because we pushed the boundaries on their assignments as we were encouraged to be collaborators with our instructors and ask questions about the “why” and “how”, instead of just falling in line with their program.

      Even this program had some of the issues that Colin and Tom point out with respect to addressing ALL student needs. Some students were unsuccessful in their first year and left the program to go to the regular stream. They needed to be provided with more details on what to do and when to do it. I think that personalized learning can address this. Having a framework for these kinds of students to follow should be a part of any PLE.

      Additionally, every student comes from their own personal context, as Tom rightly has pointed out. Motivation can be encouraged, but not forced. Some students at times will stare at the screen, their hands, the desk, out the window, no matter what program they are provided with.

    • jhodi 7:48 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Although I cannot say that I have personally applied a PLE in my classroom, I could see the benefits in my own teaching career for the Knowledge and Employability students that I teach. Several of these students come to my class with Individual Placement Plans that are designed to support the students learning according to how they learn best, their strengths, and their weaknesses. My classes frequently have a wide variety of skills and learning challenges. Quite often, when the class runs with all students working through the same unit together, several students finish quickly and are bored and several students struggle and do not complete the entire unit.

      After reading through the current examples this week, it seems to me that the ‘School of One’ example is quite an interesting alternative. I imagine that setting up such a program would be very costly and require significant maintainance, but in a perfect world, I could see students such as mine being able to benefit from working through material at their own pace with the support and structure of school that assigns them to a station each day based on their current knowledge.

      • Suhayl Patel 2:02 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I encountered the exact same problem when teaching the K+E Mathematics at the junior high level. Some students just got it and moved it rather quick, and some didn’t. They needed extra support. I enjoyed ASU’s appraoch. They hand an online program where students could work at their pace (as long as the curriculum objectives were met/completed). It was ubiquitous learning too. Students could take their device anywhere and learn. In my class, when I encountered the same problem where students were working at different levels, I decided to use Khan Academy and became their “coach. I thought it worked out well…..but I made sure that students were working on similar topics but at different levels. This way I could still do practical real life projects with them to deepen their understanding.

      • visramn 10:07 pm on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Jodi,
        I too do not think school of one is plausible due to cost and logistical reqirents. It is a wonderful initiatives but require a lot of restructuring and the uprooting of age old structures of learning which would cause lot of confusion. Thus, resulting in backlash. If only all learning environments could be that flexible and free flowing.

    • lullings 7:52 am on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      The nature of my tutoring is by its very nature a PLE. I would have small groups of people coming to learn certain elements (editing, non linear software, transfer options, exports, formats etc). Each person comes with a different background and has skills in different areas so by its very nature they all have to work at their one pace. For example if a journalist comes from a radio background they know how to edit a story together but they need to be able to work with the video formats, where as is a journalist from an online background needs to understand the basics of editing before they can start but will know a lot more about formats.
      I usually use a combination of youtube and google documents. Students would put up the assignments on youtube (learning about formats and publishing is a bonus in this process) and then they fill out the live google document as they go through the exercises. There is the same google document for everyone in the group and as a result they can see and learn from others work in relation to their own, add comments and get tips.
      When teaching editing there is no right or wrong answer just differences and experience, as a result after the general rules are explained its very personal and rules can be broken and still tell a story well. Working on an exercise is only part of the learning process – seeing how others created their stories with the same footage makes it an invaluable experience.
      I usually go around to individuals then and help with specific areas that need clarification and explanation.
      This has been the best way I have come up with for this type of group – I would love to hear if anyone has any comments or suggestions for it to be more productive.

      • ETEC522grp8 11:00 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I think one of the key things that you do is spending time with the individuals, which is great. Having immediate individual feedback is critical in any education setting.

    • manny 7:53 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I work in a similar setting as Colin mentioned above in which we have a classroom that is filled with students from grades 10-12 and working on a myriad of subjects. Upon viewing the “school as one” video, I couldn’t help but think how beneficial this could be in our type of setup. However, the sheer logistics of everything (as Tom mentioned) make it something that I can’t see happening in the near future.
      There are also a few things about this kind of setup that I found a little troubling. Although the idea seems to be working, the whole environment seemed to sterile for my liking. It appears that students come in and check in with a TV screen which has their name and station listed on it. They make their way to their station and complete the activities listed for the day. It all seems a little to robotic to me and face to face contact seems to be minimal. I am not going to argue the online collaboration that this kind of setup affords but I must maintain my reservations. For instance, these students are exposed to a computer screen all day long and then go home and either continue on with their learning or consume other types of media. I think I would stick to what my mom used to tell me as a child, “anything is good, but only in small doses.”

      • ETEC522grp8 3:35 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Blended deliver between online content and face to face or brick and mortar delivery/tutorials may offer solutions to the loss of human interaction.

    • Jenny Brown 8:00 am on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I am not a school teacher so I am going to provide a perspective from someone outside of the school system. I would agree with Manny and Tom that I could see this as a logistical nightmare and that the use of sophisticated management systems would be necessary. Another requirement (besides the motivation of the students) would have to be the motivation and training of the teachers – would they embrace this type of learning environment? The change management piece of this could be quite tremendous for many, I would imagine.

      In the short term, I could see the feasibility of many teachers using the methods that many of you mentioned including providing a lot of choice for assignments, providing many opportunities for improvement on work and instilling collaborative work environments.

      I am left with one thought: Do you think that having students all working at different levels (so potentially not completing the same work) as potentially limiting interactions and discussions between students?

      • pcollins 2:22 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Jenny,
        Great perspective – Finding students with the kind of instrinsic motivation to really guide themselves and stay on task below the age of about 15 is certainly a bit rare depending on your school. I wonder about the kids keeping themselves on track a bit too –

        A second comment related to your final thought about limiting interactions and discussions would be that there are two sides to this coin. On one hand, the students may not be collaborating together to complete the same assignment as much, but on the other hand, the variety of projects and research can serve as inspiration to other students. Or even to have some kind of interdisciplinary collaboraiton between grades. I have seen this first hand in my own elementary situation. Our school had all 7 grades in two classrooms and every Friday afternoon was a collaboration afternoon where the older students had to plan an activity for a younger “buddy student” to participate in with them. It was really great – I don’t remember thinking that it was wierd, or below me, to have to invite a grade 1 to work on something with me. It was actually something that I really looked forward too :]


        • Jenny Brown 3:07 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Hi PC,
          That does seem like a cool idea to have a collaboration day – the older I get, the more I realize how much I learn from those much younger than me 🙂 And providing a leadership role for older students is never a bad thing.

          • ETEC522grp8 11:06 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

            Good points so far. I have found the same thing to be true. When students share what they are working on with other students who may be working in different areas it forces them to think about their material in a variety of ways. They have to work on summarizing, providing support for arguments or ideas, offering their conclusions on material, and answering questions. If done correctly, it can actually open the door to some incredibly powerful interactions.

    • avninder 8:55 am on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I enjoyed viewing current examples of how personalized learning can be used in an academic setting on the OER but I have not used or plan on using personalized learning in the corporate training I develop. I think that it is a great way for students to explore what interests them in some academic situations but most of the training I develop is mandatory and must be completed before employees are able to access certain IT systems or perform specific job duties because of safety and security concerns. So there is not much room for personalization.

      In a world of deadlines and checking boxes it would be very difficult to implement PLE in a corporate setting. Although the organization I work for does have some optional courses that can be launched through our LMS, I do not think qualifies as true PLE as it is rare that individuals have the time to search for and complete these courses.

    • pcollins 2:15 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I am currently working with a grade 6 student who is in a fabulous PLE with an online school. We had a meeting with his guidance teacher last night, just so that his parents and I can still have help wrapping our head around the idea that at report card time – there are no hard and fast “measurements” that need to be achieved by this date. His guidance teacher simply looks at the work that has been done so far – provides relevant and constructive feedback that includes ideas and resources for what he can consider doing for the next term and off we go.

      In this particular situation however, the parents chose to hire a tutor to provide some extra guidance and structure that seemed to be missing. This PLE program is soooo open ended that it’s a bit disconcerting to those who are familiar with the bricks and mortar model of education.

      Sometimes personalized learning requires for the individual to have some experience in doing the actual “personalization”. I often wonder about the other students who don’t have in house educational support – and how they create their structures.


      • ETEC522grp8 3:39 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Blended delivery or the flipped classroom model may add the personal/human interactions and face to face support needed for increased success.

    • visramn 4:57 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I work in a Paced Learning Program (PLP) which is a program created especially for students who are developmentally delayed. All of my students are at different academic levels and they all have varying emotional needs. There placement in this program is not based on grade per say because students are all mixed together even though the students are labelled as grade 7, 8 or 9. Their age does not dictate their level. Rather, their level is based on where they are at. Differentiation is the only means of reaching these students. PLE is a practice that is very important in the program I teach. I practice this by having a common topic for all students but allowing student to work on tasks at their own pace or letting them move in a direction with the content that is best suited for them. I am present as a guide to assist them all and help them with their needs. I have a lot of flexibility in my classroom because we are not tied to curriculum. Rather, learning and content is more flexible and can be catered to each child and their interests and needs. The emphasis in the PLP program is life skills and this is taught through the explorations of content and curriculum in various areas and is based on student engagement and interest.
      A resource I use that helps with PLE is PRISM Math books. These books do not go by grade level. They go by color. Students work through the textbooks based on the level they are at. A digital tool I use is Khan Academy. Both of these tools allow my students to work on content that is accurate for their current learning needs and levels.

    • Patrick Pichette 7:26 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I’m still in the process of defining as well as refining various areas of a PLE within my own school board. As I teach information technology courses, I think that PLE is quite suited to this material. I often search for tutorials that can help guide students along and provide them with the opportunity to choose the videos that they’d like to view as opposed to a rigid pace following a particular pattern. I tend to give students pointers on what they should attack next to ensure a higher degree of success and lower some of the frustrations that might be felt if they view content that is ahead of their zone of proximal development. Having said that, there are still quite a few challenges in this approach. For one, assessment can be very tricky as some may provide details of an assessment to their peer to increase their results. To counter this, I’ve setup an end of year one on one interview with each student to discuss knowledge construction and verify that their test scores match up with the knowledge they have gained throughout the semester. One of the main benefits of a PLE is its ability to provide me with more time with students as opposed to more time in front of students. Rather than teaching students and trying to capture and provide stimulation for the varied level of experience within my classroom, I’m able to provide them with resources that will give them the exact pace they are looking to follow. When they hit a roadblock with content, I’m able to answer to their particular needs.

    • Eva Ziemsen 1:42 pm on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Upon viewing the current examples of PL, I was very inspired and wished that I could have taken part in something like the School of One in my schooling history. While I have not been part of such a PLE myself, I will comment on why and how I think it would be very useful.

      Foremost, I work in post-secondary education in a highly creative field, of film production. In this context, I feel that I am often ‘inventing’ PLE’s because not all students are able to learn in the prescribed curriculum we have, due to 1. disabilities 2. social skill-related issues 3. finances. There may actually be more reasons, but these are the most common. Since our curriculum has little flexibility, since it is based on group work that are under strict deadlines (as we are preparing them for an industry that works this way), it is almost impossible to accommodate anyone who cannot function in it. However, when the reasons are disability, certain social issues and finances, our faculty often ‘invents’ independent assignments depending on the nature of the learning outcomes. However, I wish there was a PLE in place, that was more standardized. I could see how this would be much easier to implement for other subjects, such as Math. It is however, more complex for our film courses, but I believe there is a place for it. Perhaps, there will one day be a system that allows us to input PLE’s with any regular course outline. This way, the student can ‘choose their own adventure’ and progress through a course differently, if needed.

      In terms of my own learning experiences, I have always thrived when instructors gave me choices as to how I wished to submit the proof of my learning. For example, sometimes I would approach a teacher during my undergraduate years, and request that I make a film instead of write an essay. I was usually approved. I soon realized that it would have been easier to just write something, but I wanted to make a film, as it allowed me to employ multiple skills in learning something. The resulting artifact was also much more valuable to my portfolio.

      One shocking, but interesting fact that I learned from a course I took at UBC this summer, was that a fellow student (who was a BC elementary teacher) allowed his students to submit their work up until June (the end of the school year). This means, that if a student was assigned something in November, he/she was able to submit in June, without penalty. He said to me, that the assignment was to learn points ABC, but not to be on time with it. He said that this is a phenomenon that was going on in BC. I still have trouble wrapping my head around this, since I believe this would harm a student in future years and even in the rest of life, but I suppose this is part of PL.

    • Peggy Lawson 4:28 pm on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      It’s been several years since I’ve been a classroom teacher, and while there didn’t have any real experience with personalized learning. I now work at the school division level. A priority in our division is math performance – it’s clear that the status quo, for years, has not been effective at improving student performance. Our division often performs below provincial levels in some areas, and the province typically scores below national levels. Going back to your introductory video, I personally suspect a large part of the problem has been treating all the students the same, with the result that teachers generally teach towards the theoretical middle. Unfortunately this makes it more difficult for the weaker students to rise up, and often has a tendency to disengage those at the higher end. I see great potential in individualized programs such as Knewton or Khan Academy. Students can move forward more at their own individual pace, but the presence of a skilled teacher who can monitor individual student progress and continue to help motivate students to move forward and provide individual support at those critical time is essential. I suspect some teachers have some trepidation about computer-mediated instruction that places them more in a supportive role, but as I see it, it is the only way one teacher can successfully support today’s diverse classrooms.


    • teacherben 4:56 pm on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      It seems to me that personalized learning gets used a lot in lower primary but peters out as students get older. My students had personalized spelling lists, where they chose the words that were most important to them, personalized behavior programs, where studente identified things they wanted to work on (i.e. raising your hand in class rather than shouting out your answers) and center time where they got to choose what activities they would do through the week. I was surprised when I moved in to middle and high school teaching at how little say the students have in what they learn. That being said, I teach a subject that lends itself well to personalized learning. For example, I did a unit on game design with my students. I gave them a single lesson for each of a half-dozen tools for making games. Then, it was up to the students to decide what sort of game they wanted to make, for whom, and what sort of technology they would learn to do it with. Some chose tools that emphasize design aspects while the most of the programming was done for you and you would drag-and-drop stuff, while others who wanted more control over the inner workings of the game chose to get more into the programming.

      As for myself, I have always done my best learning on my own. I learned computer programming from a series of videos. I learned how to cook from downloading 10 seasons of Good Eats. I am now learning about electronics from various tutorials and videos. I learned handyman stuff by doing, and whenever I ran into a snag, i looked online for solutions. The problem I have is sticking with stuff. With so much to learn on the Internet, it is easy to get sidetracked by other stuff. And the possibilities are practically endless. I am trying to get my programming to the next level now, and I have done the first 2 or 3 lessons from a ton of different sources and different languages. It is easy to spend more time searching for new material and gathering resources than it is actually learning to use them. You can see how many edtech bloggers have the same problem–they spend all their time locating resources to review and share, but when you meet these people at a conference, they don’t actually know anything beyond a superficial level (except sharing, which they know a great deal about.)

      I have started the program to become a Certified Google Apps for Education Instructor 3 times and can never get past the first couple lessons, even though I know it’s great for my resume, it’s free and it will be really useful. In fact, there is a course being offered at another school here where you just go through the free online tutorials together as a group and it costs 350 bucks! It doesn’t even include the certification. You still have to take the tests online yourself. But I am tempted to do it anyways because that way I may actually complete it. Left on my own, I may just continue to put it off over and over.

    • C. Ranson 8:25 am on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      This has been a very interesting conversation with many views about Personalized Learning, my experience is with teaching adult learners in an environment where the number of students is approximately 85, and therefore, delivering didactic curriculum face to face through personalized learning is limited. The class is very diverse in age, culture, socio-economic status and learning styles. There is a clinical component in the program where the student/faculty ratio is 1:10 in a simulation environment and then a 1:5 ratio in the clinical client care environment and in this setting personalized learning does take place; there is very specific and different teaching/learning interactions with each student depending on where they are along the competency continuum and what type of skills they are implementing.

      As I navigated through the content and examples of the schools that offered Personalized Learning it is apparent that at a young age this type of environment would be a positive learning environment, especially for the student that does not fall into the “Factory Model” of learning. It does appear that this type of philosophy would be easier to implement at a young age and with a regulated number of students, and this seems to be offered typically in the private sector of education.

      For the adult learner as mentioned, I do believe they create their own personalized learning strategies regardless of how the content is delivered. In most clinical type programs, such as dentistry, nursing, medicine the learning model is competency based where learners move along the competency continuum at different rates with the end goal being that the student can demonstrate they are safe and competent. The mastery level of the competency continuum occurs with practice and beyond their initial educational training.

      I would assume that Personalized Learning is linked to learning outcomes and within the model there would be various evaluative methodologies that might have flexible deadlines. This model can be very effective as it offers both one-on-one interaction and collaborative interaction where various levels of learners will learn from one another. The student that fosters that natural intrinsic motivation will excel and the less motivated learner will require more direction and support through their learning. This is a very interesting philosophy and would be beneficial for our current learners and the learner that the future is creating, very different from our experience.

    • jenbarker 9:41 am on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Wow… this topic has generated outstanding discussions. When I think of PLE I do not always connect it with technology per se. I believe that I have offered my students PLE through posing open ended questions in Mathematics. Some may refer to this as Problem Based Learning. Each student is able to feel successful and is given the choice of how to respond. Some students use iPads to help them solve a problem. Others use hands-on manipulatives and others choose to draw pictures. Really their options are endless. I believe that this allows each student the ability to personalize and choose a learning style that best suits them. In Science I use a Gradual Release Model, beginning the school year inquiring into what is Science, and what do Scientist do through doing some teacher directed activities. Once they are able to answer these questions and understand the process of inquiry, students choose their own big questions or wonders and explore them through the inquiry process. Like I said earlier, it may or may not include the use of technology but allowing for individual choice, it is personal. Students also chose whether or not to work alone, with a partner, or in a small group. I hope that I have understood PLE as you meant it. I like the examples you shared but found that many still were founded on a “banking model” of education where the student needs to be filled with specific facts or knowledge and although I feel that students need the basics, I don’t agree with this structure and testing. To me, the New York School is not reflective of the Educational Paradigm shift we desperately need.

    • sophiabb 9:17 pm on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I too am intrigued by the concept of PLEs. With the affordances of Web 2.0, Cloud, Smartphones maybe this is tomorrow’s learning happening today. Educators have been talking about learner centred approaches for decades; for the last 20 that I have been an educator, this seemed at times to be more of a theoretical construct. At last, it seems very possible, through these technological affordances. I however wonder about the practical issues and their impact of the feasibility of PLEs – class size, standardized assessment expectations and issues of curricula, teacher training/preparation, technical support and the availability of technological resources. How feasible is this for schools in developing countries? What would be the impact of culture on how we ‘customize’.


  • Paula Poodwan 12:01 am on October 22, 2012
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    Tags: Week 08   

    Activity One: Create your own personalized brain training program through Lumosity This is a space to post any thoughts you have about Lumosity. 

    Continue reading Week 8 Activity One Posted in: Week 08:
    • kstackhouse 9:29 am on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      This is not the first time I have visited the site. It was the first time that I actually “played” through a session. I see these activities as great ways to keep one’s mind sharp. Similar to doing crosswords and solving other puzzles. I wonder if any learning takes place in later sessions…more than learning how to play the games and improve quickness. My kids have Brain Age on their DS and it is a similar style of mental exercising. There is no fee associated with this game beyond the initial purchase of the device and the game. I haven’t checked to see if there are similar games available through apps. Has anyone come across any like these?

    • avninder 12:26 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I enjoyed creating and working through my personalized learning plan through Luminosity. It was a great way to demonstrate how personalized learning works through online learning. I am looking forward to the rest of the week, especially the ‘Current Examples’ section, where we will hopefully see how this system will work in a face-to-face classroom.

    • ETEC522grp8 6:19 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I’m glad that you enjoyed it! We felt it was a good way to demonstrate an adaptive learning technology – the program changes the brain training activities that are presented depending on how well you do at them, personalizing the learning for your specific needs.

    • tomwhyte1 7:46 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I found Lumosity to be an interesting challenge site, to enhance my brain in the areas of speed, memory, attention, flexibility, and problem solving. And since Google defines (love this add on by the way Google) learning as:

      The acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, or study, or by being taught.

      I would then say that yes, this web-based skill program is providing an interesting learning experience, which would be an interesting addition to a classroom to enhance the overall cognitive strength of the group.

      Furthermore, I would like to see a mobile version, which would facilitate better classroom use, however I could not specifically find one.


    • frank 9:06 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      TW1, you think you could combine this with something like Edmodo to get the classroom experience you want?

      I found this a fun learning program. I liked how one can specify the areas they wanted to focus their development on and see how that might improve over time. The games themselves are relatively fun as well, for learning games, but maybe they are just teasing me at the beginning with their best games.
      I almost want to do an IQ test now, and then do one after doing the program to see if I actually improved my test results.

      On the flip side, I think the consistency of commitment is probably a lot for many, and that price is, I would say High, given how much more entertaining games are being sold on Steam, for a fraction of the price.

      Nonetheless, this product is moving in the right direction.

      • tomwhyte1 10:29 am on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Interesting addition to Edmodo. I would like it, if I could have it open within Edmodo, creating a more self-contained learning environment.

        As well, I did like the feature that allowed me to select the areas I would like to focus on. However, I wonder how many students have that deep level of understanding about themselves? Therefore, I would feel better about this technology, if it was coupled with a pre-test focusing on the skills mentioned in this app.


    • Colin 10:10 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      This is my first time using Lumosity and I have to say that it kept me engaged enough to finish my first personalized lesson. I am sure there are other programs out there that provide a similar function but Lumosity did do a good job. What I would like to see is this kind of approach applied to academic content to see if it would hold my attention in the same way.

      • ETEC522grp8 2:41 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        There are many similar products to Lumosity. One is Mind Sparke, http://mindsparke.com/ which is a more serious brain training program. The program has 30 minute sessions which you do for 19 days straight. Apparently, by the end of the week, they claimed that you should see some improvement in working memory. Lumosity, on the other hand gives you more control over your training. If you want to log in every day, there is plenty for you to do. If you can only train a few times a week, that’s fine too. Like you said, Lumosity is more fun so that users are encouraged to continue their training.

    • melissaayers 4:54 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      One I started my personalised training program it reminded me of Nintendo’s Brain Age game that I tried on a friends Nintendo DS a while ago. After playing this for a few days I lost interest and I have a feeling I might do the same with this as well unfortunately.

      I am a little sceptical if these types of games/activities really improve skill long term? I remember reading a while ago about these types of programs as not being conclusive in helping to improve intelligence. While I do not have this research on hand I remember it was based on elderly people trying to fight off alzheimer and dementia.

      I did read an amusing quote from someone that was trying out Brain Age to see if it made him smarter and he said
      “But did “Brain Training” make me smarter? Call me a cynic, but I’m not convinced it’s anything more than a cunning ploy to get non-gamers like me hooked on Nintendo’s latest little console. (Can Nintendo’s ‘Brain Training’ really boost your little gray cells?)”

      • tomwhyte1 10:31 am on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        My I ask what is your definition of “Intelligence”… For I see this to be a crucial point in your response, which would facilitate my further understanding.

        Thank you

        • melissaayers 5:31 am on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply


          I guess what I term as intelligence (problem solving, abstract thought, reasoning, self awareness etc) is not really the goal of these programs its more improving specific skills now that you make me reflect on my comment.


          • tomwhyte1 12:06 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

            I see where you are coming from. And through this discussion remembered the following – The Flynn Effect:


            Which some feel this occurs because of our increased exposure to multimedia and even games. So in a sense (if you value IQ scores), these “games” may in fact be laying the ground work for enhanced intelligence.


      • teacherben 6:51 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        There is actually quite a bit of research to argue that brain exercise does improve overall brain health, and does have a positive impact on Alzheimers patients. They never knew why until recently however. The most recent work has found a high level of a protein called ‘beta amyloid’ that accumulates between nerve cells in the brain and reduces their ability to function. Brain exercises reduce the amount of this protein and have shown measurable improvement in patients over time.

        Here’s an article about it:

        Look out for anything done by a professor from U of T named Steve Joordens. He writes a lot about technology and about human memory. He did a couple of courses for The TEaching Company that you can listen to and they are fascinating. Here’s a link to one of them:


    • jkotler 8:29 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      At first I really enjoyed selecting all of the areas I would want to focus on, as I found myself both intrigued by the questions and answer choices as well as to discover what program would be suggested. However, and this could very well just be my timing but once I answered all the questions, the next page never loaded. Though I haven’t yet, I still would like to go back and try this again.

      • ETEC522grp8 2:28 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Lumosity is undergoing a really fast growth phase. I saw their ads everywhere even on TV, which means there are a lot of visits to their site at one time. I bet their servers are having a really tough time since there are so many visitors!

    • joeltremblay 9:16 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Before I became a teacher, I was planning on pursuing a career in law and it wasn’t until I stepped into the classroom that I realized what I was “supposed” to do. However, during the planning for the aforementioned career, I was studying for the LSAT and honestly the testing that Luminosity offered would have been of immense help since a lot of the questions are related to logical and cognitive abilities.

    • Ranvir 10:22 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I really enjoyed playing Lumosity’s brain training game, especially ‘raindrops’. It was interesting to find how our response to simple math equations shows how our cognitive abilities are affected when there are multiple problems to tackle at the same time. Sounds like all the exercises are based on research findings and can help us in improving our cognitive abilities. I really liked playing the Lumosity games.

    • Jenny Brown 12:28 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I thought that this was a fun tool. It was a good example, like you say of how adaptive/personalized learning could be set up in online applications. Like many others, I am not sure of its use in a regular K-12 classrooms due to the costs (it seems to be set up more to cater to adults) but it made me think of how in 20 years we might all be sitting around wearing our Google glasses and playing these types of games – so long will be printed crossword and Sudoku puzzles.

    • lullings 2:19 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      kstackhouse already mentioned brain age games for the DS which is similar in content but lumosity does bring it to the next level and personalize the content as to what you want to focus on which is brilliant. The games are very well done and I definitely enjoyed them. The premise of the free for a while is a great hook as if there was an initial subscription required skepticism would win out I fear.
      I really liked the expanding of the visual spectrum bird watching game – illustrated in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDuD_HvPcXY
      As I work on screens all day I am finding that my field of focus has narrowed – this will be helpful counteracting that.
      A mobile version of the site would be handy but I would question the ability to adapt the effectiveness of all the games to a smaller screen (particularly the bird watching one described above).

    • jhodi 6:09 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I have been on Lumosity several times before this activity. I quite enjoy how the games that are chosen for me to play are based on the skills that I want to work on. I find these games extremely engaging and quite often find myself spending much more time than I originally plan playing. The games are very well made and when I reflect on the skill that each game is trying to work on, they are indeed working on that skill!

    • Jonathan 9:56 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Lumosity — Quite amusing the first few times. I’m curious about how effective it really is though. Definitely a lot of fun to pinpoint the areas that you want to improve on. Does it really work after a lengthy period of time? I’m tempted to say yes but I really want to send someone through the program.

      The first thing I did think about was that DS Game (as many of you have mentioned). Has there been an article on if people have gotten smarter using it?

      This type of training does remind me of language training program called Rosetta Stone. With this, I’ve heard some great results and I’ve used it sporadically and the continuous flashing of cards and different games makes me want to believe that if Rosetta Stone can be successful then so Lumiosity.

      If only there was some scientific testing to back it up?

      Thanks for introducing it to us though, it does open my eyes about the immediate feedback. The future with personalized learning will look different. It has to and this is the beginning of one of those ideas.

      • jkotler 2:36 am on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Jonathan,

        Since I was unable to finish going through Lumiosity as the pages seemed to not load properly, I cannot respond to how it fairs in comparison to other training programs like Rosetta Stone. I can however attest to the success of Rosetta Stone since I used it for a few months to learn Hebrew before I moved to Israel.

        What I found was that it does a great job of teaching and practicing a language from all different aspects (reading, writing, speaking etc.) by using all sorts of interactive activities, but you obviously really need to be dedicated and vested in it. As well, I learned that it must be taken with a grain of salt because the language it teaches (at least for Hebrew) is more formal, so there were often times I would repeat something I had recently learned to my boyfriend, who is Israeli, and he would tell me that I sound great except nobody really speaks like that in everyday communication.

        Going back to Lumiosity, I too am curious to learn what type of results it yields from its users.


    • manny 7:38 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Upon experimenting with my 3 day free trial of luminosity, I found it to be rather engaging and at times challenging. We don’t often think of our brain as a muscle but in order for it to function at its full efficiency, we need to train it as often as possible. Although it was great for reaction time exercises, I think other puzzles such as sudoku offer other avenues through which one can keep sharp. There are also various apps out there (much cheaper) which can do similar things. I would love to use this site with my students but the only thing that turned me off was the high cost of creating a user. I believe it was somewhere around $5/month or lifetime subscription of $270.

    • visramn 4:23 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I thought this was a very good learning tool. I work with kids who have a very hard time focussing and I can see how a program such as this that could be specialized to their areas of need in regards to focus and how it could be very beneficial. I enjoyed working on this activity and found that I was very engaged while being challenged at the same time. As the task got harder, I thought I would not be able to remember but I was surprised that I was able to in some cases. This activity taught me a lot about my memory and how my brain work. Thanks for introducing me to this tools.

    • C. Ranson 5:05 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Lumosity was an interesting learning tool. I focused on memory and attention, the tasks become more challening as you move through the program and this improves your engagement and competitive spirit to keep playing. Brain training seems very similiar to brain plasicity, I will continue to use my free days to enhance my brain activity. Personalized Learning has been a very interesting venture this week. In many way students create their own personalized learning within our educational system as a mechansim of survival to be successful in completing their programs. I have shared this tool with my colleagues, awaiting their feedback.

    • teacherben 6:39 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I had heard of this before on Lifehacker or Makeuseof or one of those and I think I even bookmarked it but never got around to visiting. It seems like it will be valuable and I will continue with it. With the activity where I had to remember the location of squares in a matrix I could feel my brain humming in hy head and was concentrating in a way that I don’t often get to. When I scored nine tiles, I spontaneously pumped my fist and shouted ‘yeah!’

      Then, my 3-year old came over and started watching and asking a couple questions and I crumbled. Suddenly, very easy questions were tough. There was one where I had to locate a bird then choose a number that had been shown and even the easiest ones i was missing the number with my kid next to me chattering away. Interesting experience.

      We spend a lot of time selecting the areas we want to work on. I would be interested to see how different our programs actually were. Did your research ever indicate what is going on under the hood or how many total activities there are and what each activity is supposed to enhance?

    • Eva Ziemsen 1:22 pm on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I enjoyed playing with Luminosity. It is interesting that I and also my colleagues use the word ‘play’ in this context, as the program does make it feel like a game, (even thought it is more of a training program). In that sense, it is a great example in terms of marketing learning, as a ‘fun’ and game-like. I thought it was interesting that it created a very personalized program for me, based on the initial questions (especially memory). The format of the games were also motivating, as there was a sense of reward when successful. Like my colleagues, I would love to know what research went into this program (what is going on behind the scenes)? I had heard of Luminosity before in the context of giving it to elderly people to help against Alzheimer’s disease, however, I spoke to a GP friend of mine about it and he did not think this would help. Instead, he recommended physical exercise. Again, to get to the bottom of this, I would need to conduct more research. Not sure if you guys came across this kind of material? Thanks for introducing us to this innovative program.

    • jenbarker 9:02 am on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I just joined Luminosity and completed all the activities. While I had a lot of fun and was quite engaged while doing the activities, I am not sure I am convinced that it could improve my brain functions. I wish there were a test in the beginning that you take, prior to doing any activities. Then after doing the activities for three weeks or so, you could take the test again to see your improvements. As someone who always has a lot of questions, I think I will look to try to find any research articles on this program because if it were backed by solid research, I may be more inclined to purchase a membership. I also would be interested to see other’s activities that were selected specifically for them, based on their answers. I was surprised with the activities they selected for me as they didn’t seem to match the priorities that I had selected. Either way, I really appreciated exposure to Luminosity. Great pick Week 8.

      • jenbarker 9:09 am on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        So I just went back to Luminosity to see if it was supported by Science and their is a Science Tab. Out of the five studies they cite, only two of them were done with ‘typical’ healthy individuals. The others were done with survivors of cancer, individuals with Turner’s syndrome, and patients with mild cognitive impairments. If I were to advise the executive team, I would strongly encourage them to put more money into research.

    • sophiabb 8:18 pm on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      The activities in Luminosity remind me of Brain Age. They held my attention – they challenged my focus, attention to details and response time. I am unsure as to what my BPI score really indicates. For example, my speed BPI is 292 – does this mean that my response time was very good, average or poor. The games were interesting but they would be more meaningful and applicable if I the BPI was better explained. It seems that there is a comparison in the ‘fee-for-service’ option, but I would not purchase without having a clearer /better explanation.

  • rebeccaharrison 11:56 pm on October 21, 2012
    0 votes

    Tags: ,   

    Hello and welcome to Week 8 of ETEC 522, where our topic will be Personalized Learning Tools. We hope that you enjoy the information and activities provided. We have tried to address different learning styles throughout the blog, so that you are able to choose which way you can best acquire information and show your […]

    Continue reading Hello and Welcome to Week 8 Posted in: Week 08:
    • kstackhouse 7:37 am on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great job on your intro video. The questions you posed have been on my mind for some time now. I look forward to seeing what types of answers or solutions you feel Personalized Learning will provide.

    • ETEC522grp8 8:31 am on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks! We hope our answers and solutions help you with some of your questions.

    • tomwhyte1 9:03 am on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great opening video, it reminded me of Sir Ken Robinson’s video on a similar topic, this is the link:


      • jameschen 12:44 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for linking the video. It provides us with a great illustration of Sir Ken Robinson’s take on the need for our education system to facilitate learning environments that support divergent thinking. I do wonder whether or not the move towards a personalized learning education system would bring about change to the current approach to standardized testing? – James

    • jenbarker 9:37 am on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Outstanding opening video with some really powerful and relevant questions. I look forward to learning more about personalized learning this week. As someone who likes the ideas in the BC Ed Plan I am excited to hear more about real examples that could be implemented in BC to give the Plan some “legs”.

      • avninder 12:36 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Does anyone know which schools are being referenced in the BC Education Plan video?

        • jameschen 1:06 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Good question. I searched the Principal’s name and found the institution that he’s in, but I am not sure if it’d be appropriate for me to post the school’s name here because of privacy concerns. – James

    • avninder 12:59 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great job! When taking the Emerging Markets Poll at the beginning of this course, I did not rate personalized learning positively. Your site has changed my mind. There is definitely a lot of potential in this market.

    • Jenny Brown 2:54 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great introduction and quality video! I recently heard about a school group in Sweden that is really focusing on personalized learning – getting rid of traditional classrooms and grouping students not by age but abilities and interests. Here is a link for more information: http://www.businessinsider.com/a-group-of-schools-in-sweden-is-abandoning-classrooms-entirely-2012-1?op=1

      • ETEC522grp8 9:45 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for the link. I can see how the philosophy behind Vittra schools reflect Sir Ken Robinson’s views on divergent thinking (see tomwhyte1’s video link above), and sets a good example for public schools in North America to follow. – James

    • ETEC522grp8 3:45 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great links guys! On a side note, I was recently at a Pro-D on Saturna Island where they use an interesting approach to Personalized Learning as their program is an Ecological Education experience. They are very careful about their uses of technology and only use it to support their classroom and outdoor experiences. A bit of a different approach, as it does not have technology at the center, but very valid nonetheless. http://seec64.ca/index.php?//programs/seecsemester_overview

    • Ranvir 3:46 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Agreed! Powerful questions challenging the status quo. In the week I look forward to some practical and budget-friendly ways in which we can provide personalized learning to our students.

      Although I am not a pessimist, I am yet to find an educational institution where pedagogy drives the business as usually its the other way round (for fair reasons). For instance, in a recent LMS upgrade that I was part of, among other functional requirements, PLE was ranked high by faculty and students, however we ended up implementing a standard LMS not much different than the status quo as it made more business sense (you know what I mean?)

      Unlike private institutions such as Knewton, K-12 schools have limited budgets. Unless a technology is reasonably priced (if not free) and can be easily integrated with the existing systems, there will be limited uptake. With the popularity of social media, many new LMS have emerged in the market that have integration with FB, Twitter and other similar sites. Sadly, they all lack “meaningful adaptive capabilities” that will give the learner all the controls of his/her learning. I recently completed a Gamification course on Coursera and thoroughly enjoyed it. Games are all about Personalized Learning where the game is on the hot seat, in control of the game and learns based on his/her actions and corresponding feedback…

      Perhaps a good starting point would be to get a good understanding of what personalized learning is? Maybe get some cues from Games…Finally, is it just the ability to change the layout, colour scheme, perhaps content on learner page on the LMS/ website or is it little broad … perhaps a different approach to teaching and learning?

      • ETEC522grp8 10:13 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        You made some very valid points, Ranvir. And I see what you mean about the challenges that exist in the implementation of PLEs being mostly related to limited budgets. With the way the economy has been going, educators might have to wait a while for hardware/software prices to drop before real personalization can begin to take shape in the education system.

        Gamification, now that’s something worth thinking about! Have a look at Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk on how gaming can make a better world at http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html

        – James

      • Pat A Son 11:32 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Ranvir I do not think that money is as much of a limiting factor where the implementation of modern technology at school is concerned. To make a case for this point the open source movement has provide many free software alternatives to expensive commercial software yet most schools do not capitalize on these. Even with heavy investment in commercial a lot of these schools have still not been able to get minimum benefits from them.
        I think the problem is a collective mental one in that we are living in a ‘renaissance’ period as far as thinking in education is concerned and the world is virtually bursting at the seams as far as ideas and technologies for this field. The old guards at the top are just overwhelmed as to how to cope with all these new concepts. So at the end of the day they just go for what they feel comfortable with which means the old ways of doing things. With the passing of time as our students who are more comfortable with the technology occupy decision making positions in education we will see the implementation of more of these ideas

    • Peggy Lawson 8:38 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great into Week 8 – awesome video. I agree with so much of what you included. Ever since the (correct, I feel) push toward differentiated instruction I’ve come more & more to see the apparant fallacy of expecting every student in a grade to master the same set of outcomes in the same restricted time period. How does that promote differentiation and individualized learning?? I’m looking forward to some great information this week. I’m already off to learn more about Newton for my meeting tomorrow with our division Coordinators & Superintendents!


      • ETEC522grp8 10:19 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        If you could share with us some of the feedback you received regarding Knewton from your meeting tomorrow that would be very much appreciated, Peggy!
        – James

    • Doug Connery 9:11 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great video introduction and questions to ponder while going through the module. I have been through your first module on Personalized Learning and my perception that this type of learning is labour intensive for the instructor has been challenged.


    • Shaun Pepper 10:56 pm on October 22, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great Video. I am looking forward to this topic. In my experience learning centred environments and projects have always facilitated the greatest amount of engagements from students.

      • ETEC522grp8 9:36 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I agree, the challenge is finding relevant and useful ways of finding and maintaining engagement with all different types of learners.

    • jkotler 8:38 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great video! I really enjoyed watching it and appreciated that the questions were so relevant and thought provoking. Some of it started to make me thing of past discussions I’ve had about the pros and cons of Montessori schools.

    • joeltremblay 9:01 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great opening vid! You posed a lot of interesting and poignant questions about the existing status quo infastructure that we all operate in. I’m interested to see what options you’ve proposed to us?

    • pcollins 9:17 am on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I can’t wait to engage with this topic group 8. Thank you for the inspirational introduction. As I was thinking about your questions from the video I kept orbiting back to the same answer……

    • frank 12:13 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hello Personalized Learning Tools team.

      I am confused about this week’s structure. Can you please what you expect and if there are missing pieces (2-4?), when they might be up?


      • ETEC522grp8 1:05 pm on October 23, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hello Frank
        Did our page launch for you? The link is above – hyperlinked where it says ‘Homepage’ but if that isn’t working for you, here is the link: https://blogs.ubc.ca/personalizedlearningetec522sep12/

        Here are all of the activities, we ask that you complete 3-4 of them:

        Activity One – Create your own program (link and instructions on project weblog)
        Activities Two, Three and Four are polls located on the project weblog
        Activity Five and Seven are discussions (post on course weblog)
        Activity Six is a SWOT Analysis (post in course weblog)

        Hope this helps and please let us know if you have any more questions.

        • frank 2:02 pm on October 28, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Thanks Coral. No, I hadn’t seen your homepage, and going through it now. Really Excellent Stuff!

    • Eva Ziemsen 1:04 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for a great intro video. I agree that these questions are very relevant. I’m including a video that I made (although please don’t think this is the usual quality of my videos, as I had no microphone available). However, it was filmed during a 3-day intensive course this summer: Recurring Questions of Technology
      A Brief History of Consciousness and Learning

      In it, you will find that BC Educators speak about some of this week’s topic. Feel free to scroll through to find those parts. It’s a bit long (and, as I said, quality is not great).


      Looking forward to the activities. I already did a poll.

    • manny 6:43 pm on October 24, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great opening video! As was mentioned earlier, it brings up the same questions that educational philosopher Ken Robinson poses in his talks. I think most educators would agree with the points that were brought up, the thoughts that came into my head upon watching it was why not? However, as was stated earlier in the course in a quote by Neil Postman, education as an institution exhibits the most resistance to change. Even when change is accepted, it progresses at a snails pace. I look forward to playing around with these ideas this week and look forward to participating in your activities.

      • ETEC522grp8 3:23 pm on October 25, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I think it is already happening at the grassroots level in classrooms all over the world. The challenge is taking personalized learning mainstream. Educators that are seeing first hand personalized learning increasing achievement and outcomes will need to be the advocates of change in education.

    • teacherben 5:34 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      It seems to me that most of the questions you posed in the video come down to economic issues. Obviously, it’s no coincidence that the modern education system closely resembles the Lean Manufacturing systems of Eli Whitney and Henry Ford. But manufacturing hasn’t changed a whole lot since then either. I recently visited the Hong Kong Electronics Expo and spoke with manufacturers from all over Asia and learned a bit about their factories. They do things the way they do to minimize costs, maximize production and reduce defects. The fact that few of our students work on farms anymore would indicate that the system is sorely out of date but economics will always be the determining factor behind what initiatives happen and which ones don’t. On the ground, it feels like common sense that the student ought to be at the center. But at the top, it will always be numbers. Programs like Khan Academy and The Rosetta Stone may present some great potential to reshape the landscape a bit and tailor programs to individual students but this only happens when it can equally be justified by numbers. And these numbers will still come from highest test scores for the least money.

    • ETEC522grp8 10:53 pm on October 26, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      That is a valid observation, Ben. At times it does feel like the people up above liken teaching to an assembly line. The most kids who can read well with the least amount of dollars spent. Even that view of “defects” or, as they are often labelled (on the graphs they show at the end of the year), “outliers” is very present. Another determining factor is public opinion, and if enough people recognize that the system we have is out of date (and in itself can be quite costly), is personalized learning the next step?

      • teacherben 5:00 am on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        It would appear that personalized learning is indeed the next step, but primarily because it is cost-effective. It looks good on paper because the computer can do some of what the teacher used to do.

        Check out this great scene from the most recent Star Trek movie that depicts automated personalized learning on Vulcan. You can imagine that this is where we are headed–Khan Academy on steroids:


        • teacherben 5:20 am on October 27, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          I was just looking at government spending over the last decade and you can see a clear trend. Not only do education and health care make up more than half of provincial spending, but with an aging population, health care has increased significantly year after year. The money has to come from somewhere. While education funding has increased as well (almost a billion a year over the past 3 years) the language of the document is not unlike cost/benefit analysis you see in any other industry. Here’s a publication from the Ontario govt:


          Here’s a pie graph showing government expenditures:

          Here, you can see that health care went up from 29.4 billion in 2003-4 to 42.6 in 2010.

          Given the fact that purchasing usually happens a couple steps over the teachers’ heads (at least when i last worked in public education) the people that need to be convinced of the efficacy of your new product are the penny pinchers at the board level. I would be interested to hear how much influence everyone here has on spending in their schools.

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