I am intrigued by this site. How do you see it being used within a community of practice? Do you envision everyone sharing resources to develop a large library of professionally vetted websites that can be used with adult learners or for PD? I'd love to learn more about how to use this.
Hi, Kathy -
Thanks for your questions. I am learning about Scoop.it myself, and think it could be used as a way to share and learn about assistive tech resources. I don't know if the content would be considered 'professionally vetted', and suspect that it will be generalized for all ages of learners - youth to adult.
The short video tutorial on YouTube does a nice job of explaining some of the features. This would be an experiment for our community, and something that would require a few committed members to help build a resource for the rest of the community. If you think that you're interested, I'm happy to talk with you more about it. Feel free to drop me an e-mail.
DAE Community Members -
I want to share a recent post from the U.S. Department of Education blog, Homeroom, focusing on the use of apps in the classroom. This article does a nice job of breaking down the value of using apps with learners, as well as the challenges, and explaining why the time is now to start evaluating resources to begin making evidence-based decisions when choosing apps to use with learners.
Below is an excerpt from the blog post.
Two years ago the President announced the ConnectED Initiative which called on public and private sectors alike to work together to improve internet connectivity to schools across the country. As a result, over the next two years, we will go from having roughly 30% of schools connected to wifi in the classroom to having nearly all students in classrooms with high-speed wifi. Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Rapid-Cycle Technology Evaluations. This project will establish a standard for low-cost, quick turnaround evaluations of apps, and field test rapid-cycle evaluations. Technology has the power to support the transformation of teaching and learning, but only when we know what works. By employing rapid-cycle approaches to evaluating the effectiveness of educational apps, we can make choices about which apps we use based on evidence, not hype.
We have the power, as a community, to be part of this evaluation process, which begins by learning and sharing the apps we use with learners with disabilities. Please think about how you would like to be part of this process, and let me know. Scoop.it is one possibility, but I'm open to hearing your thoughts about other avenues for us to learn about and share these apps.
Disabilities in Adult Education Moderator
Could you give a couple examples of "resources"? Are these lesson plans? Are they content resources such as instructional videos? Are they specifically intended for adult learners? Are they professional development resources intended for teachers? Are they online tools (such as scoop.it, schoology, livebinders, etc.)? Are these all going to be resources for adult learners with disabilities?
Is the idea to just share these lesson plans, instructional content resources, and/or online tools, or is it also to evaluate them?
Is it also to discuss how various practitioners might be using them? For example: with what kinds of learners, under what circumstances, what levels, for what learning objectives?
Thanks. Any light you can shed on any of these questions may help me (and perhaps others) better understand what you hope to accomplish.
David J. Rosen
Hi, David -
Thanks for the questions. When I used the term "resources", I was referring specifically to apps. I've edited the post to make that more clear, hopefully. The idea behind us learning more about apps is so that we can assist our learners, and discuss how practitioners might use them to accommodate challenges presented by different disabilities, under varying classroom circumstances, just as you guessed. Scoop.it is one way that we might go about exploring apps, but I'm open to other suggestions by community members. If you, or anyone else in the Technology & Learning community have thoughts or suggestions, we welcome them for consideration.
Mike, the blog you share brought to mind a choice and a discussion. When we think about feedback, or evaluation there might be two models out there that represent a pair of extremes.
Formal research is often slow and daunting work that includes validation, control groups, and many protocols that take time to establish and verify. The results can often be thought of as "mostly true", although many studies today get called into question even if all the proper research parameters were met. No matter what, data and statistics can often tell many variations of stories, and each story is TRUE and "proven" by the research.
In contrast, Amazon.com, Facebook and many other social feedback systems rely on almost complete subjective, quick and easy data collection. When I want to buy a vacuum, I look at how many stars it is rated and then I look at how many people were involved and finally I might look at the comments. These three pieces of data generated by this quick and dirty process are often all I need to evaluate if I want to look for more formal research level evaluations (think Consumer Reports) of that vacuum. Sometimes the feedback in the comments is so positive, I may just skip further investigation and want to try it out. After all, 204,608 people reviewing that as a 4.5 star average can't be that far off, can they?
When we talk about evaluating apps, or services or online tools, it will be a very important discussion of what is most valued. I suggest that most adult ed teachers want quick and easy any day when we talk about data input, but at the same time people want to feel any evaluation is reliable and will help them find use in their selection. Does the Amazon approach (stars with comments aggregated with minor statistics or metrics) offer a solution for each of the 4 points highlighted in the article? (Time, Cost/upkeep, Keeping up with changes over time, Variations in Purposes)
Would something even more basic like a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down evaluation tool help produce any results that help individuals find success with tools they wish to try to address goals?
Perhaps we need a set of rubrics similar to those used by OER? Does the presence of 6 or more criteria hinder participation (too much time...) or does it open up opportunities for ignorant contributions (what the heck is that rating about)? Possibly having 6 or more lenses to evaluate tools allows for more diversity to appeal to a wider range of shoppers?
What do people think? If we approach educational apps or online tools the same way as we approach shopping for a vacuum, are we missing key elements? Can thorough evaluations that are peer reviewed and cross checked ... keep up in any way with the changes out there almost daily?
Hi, Ed -
Thanks for your comments here, and the questions you raise about the DAE communities' thoughts on evaluating apps. Personally, I am envisioning something more like the Amazon approach than a research-based approach. I think the sheer number of apps and the speed with which they come to market would make this approach much more useful for many teachers.
I also like the idea of using both a starred review system, for a general overview of people's experience with an app, and the opportunity to provide a narrative to give some additional context to the app's use by individual teachers and learners.
Again, this is simply my personal opinion and preference. I encourage other members of our community to weigh in on this question. What do you think will help you learn and use apps to support learners with disabilities?
Michael Cruse wrote that he would like to see: "a narrative to give some additional context to the app's use by individual teachers and learners" . I think this could be extremely valuable.
Suppose there were a small group of experienced teachers who have a background in adult learning disabilities and who are interested in reviewing apps or software that they could use -- and help their learners to use. Suppose further that they want to know more about how other adult education teachers and learners use those apps/that software. If this describes you, and you could get a good narrative about how teachers are using the software tools/apps, what would you like to know? For example, pick an app/piece of software you have heard about, imagine that there is lots of information about how adult basic skills teachers are using it. What would you hope to learn from that information? This is not hypothetical, as several of us hope to pull together a group like this, so your thinking about this question now can inform how we might go about it. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
David J. Rosen