Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rethinking Advanced Placement

The College Board is in the process of revamping many of its AP courses. The NY Times covers the topic in an article this week. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the article. It is a very interesting read and continues to push what techniques should be used in the classroom.
The goal is to clear students’ minds to focus on bigger concepts and stimulate more analytic thinking.
Another concern is how well teachers — across the full range of A.P. subjects — will adjust to an approach that will require them to give up some control and let the students dictate more about where the class discussions go.
It also said the courses had failed to keep pace with research on how people learn: instead of listening to lectures, “more real learning takes place if students spend more time going into greater depth on fewer topics, allowing them to experience problem solving, controversies and the subtleties of scholarly investigation.”

Thursday, January 6, 2011


There is a growing trend to MOOCs that I am seeing lately. Massive Open Online Courses are usually run at the college level for credit but are open for free to anyone who wants to participate without getting credit. I thought I would share an example of two that are starting in the next couple of weeks that you could check out. You may not have any interest in actually participating in either of these but you might find some of the ideas of how they are using online technologies to modify the traditional classroom intriguing.

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (shared by Steve Ediger at United World College)
Stephen Downes and George Seimens are starting a Massive Open Online Course on Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. It begins on January 17 and lasts for 12 weeks, although the course ‘materials’ (in a MOOC about connectivism, materials simply provide a starting point; the conversation is the important thing) are on-line now. Here’s a glimpse at the first week.

Digital Storytelling
Digital Storytelling (also affectionately known as ds106) is an open, online course that will begin on January 10th, 2011. This course is free to anyone who wants to take it, and the only requirements are a real computer , a hardy internet connection, a domain of your own, some commodity web hosting, and all the creativity you can muster (and we’ll spend time helping you get up and running with at least two of the last three requirements).
As to what exactly this course is all about, well according to Wikipedia Digital Storytelling is defined rather succinctly as “using digital tools so that ordinary people can tell their own real-life stories.”
Find out more at