Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Interested in Taking a MOOC? Try Class Central

Have you been interested in taking a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), but don't know where to find one or how to get started?

Class Central is a free MOOC aggregator that provides links to a wide variety of courses from universities like Stanford, MIT, Harvard, etc. (offered via Coursera, Udacity, edX, NovoED, and others).

The site allows you to search for MOOCs according to the course name, instructor, subject, start date, length of course, and course provider. Class Central also offers a "MOOC Tracker" service that will send you email notifications when a MOOC that is of interest to you becomes available.

MOOCs are a great idea for your students if your school doesn't offer advanced courses for a particular subject and they are also great resources for instructors and others. Try one and I think you will find out how they can be a benefit to you. I did!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Do You Know How to Effectively Search for Information?

I found a resource that I wanted to share with created by Helene Blowers and published in the article entitled, "Do Your Students Know How To Search?" (Holly Clark, Edudemic, October 16, 2013).

I think this article begins to address either the end of the Information Age or at least a progression toward a different stage within the Information Age and the question now becomes what do we do with the information that has been collected? I believe there will be a great need for those who can not only find relevant information, but for those who can analyze information.

According to the article:

There is a new digital divide on the horizon. It is not based around who has devices and who does not, but instead the new digital divide will be based around students who know how to effectively find and curate information and those who do not. Helene Blowers has come up with seven ideas about the new digital divide – four of them, the ones I felt related to searching, are listed below.

Clark continues the article by including some of the searching skills and vocabulary that she believes we should be teaching our students (and learning ourselves):
 
Some of these skills include:
  • Quotation Marks
  • Dashes
  • Two Periods
  • Site Search
  • Country Codes
  • Filter Bubbles
  • Primary Sources
Please click HERE to find out more about these search tools and how to improve your internet searches.

Monday, October 7, 2013

11 Tips to Help Prevent Cheating and Ensure Test Security

I just read a post by Julie Delazyn on the Questionmark Blog that I wanted to share with you concerning cheating and test security.

We have previously covered many topis concerning cheating, but this post is a little different as it focuses more on the test developer and delivery system. Some of Julie's points can be used in a classroom setting so I hope you will take the time to read all eleven items. Here is Julie's post in its entirety:
With the summer behind us, it’s officially fall, and that means schools, colleges and universities have launched into a new academic year.
In this time of tests and exams, the security of test results is crucial to the validity of test scores. Today, I’d like to introduce 11 tips to help prevent cheating and ensure assessment security.
1. Screening tests – A small pre-screening can be administered to prevent people from taking an assessment for which they are not yet prepared.
2. Candidate agreements – Candidate agreements or examination honor codes are codes of conduct that a participant must agree to before they start an assessment . Candidate agreements generally are phrased in a personal manner ; the participant agrees by clicking on an ―OK‖ or ―Yes‖ button to the code of conduct for the exam
3. Limiting content exposure/leakage – In order to limit the amount of question content being shown to a participant at any given time, consider using question-by-question templates. These present questions one at a time to participants so that exam content is not completely exposed on screen.
4. Screening participants who achieve perfect scores – Many organizations will automatically investigate participants who achieve perfect scores on an assessment. Perfect scores are rare events, and could be attributed to a test-taker having had access to answer keys. The Questionmark Score List Report provides a fast and easy way to identify participants who obtain 100% on their assessments. An organization can then conduct an investigation of these participants to ensure that no suspicious behavior had occurred.
5. Verifying expected IP addresses – If assessments are to be taken from a specific location, often the IP address of the computer in that location will be known. Verifying expected IP addresses is a useful way to screen whether participants somehow took an assessment from an unauthorized location.
6. Reviewing time to finish information – The overall time it takes for a participant to complete an assessment can be a useful way to screen for suspicious behavior. If a participant takes a very short time to complete an assessment yet achieves a high score, this could be an indication that they cheated in some way.
7. Using Trojan horse or stealth items – Trojan horse or stealth items can be used to help detect whether a participant has memorized the answer key. Stealth items are inserted into an assessment and look just like the other questions, but they are purposely keyed incorrectly and one of the distracters is marked as the correct answer.
8. Post information that cheater prevention tactics are used – Inform participants that cheater -detection tactics are regularly employed. This can help to deter the low – motivation cheaters.
9. Proper seating arrangements for participants – Implementing a seating plan where participants are equally spaced, with limited ability to see another participant‘s screen/paper, is an import strategy.
10. Using unique make-up exams – When offering a make-up exam, make sure to administer it in the same strict proctored environment as the scheduled exam. Also, having another test form available specifically for make-up exams can lessen the risks of cheating and exposure for the actual large-scale exam.
11. Using more constructed response questions – Constructed response questions, like essay or short answer questions, provide less opportunity for participants to cheat because they require them to produce unique answers to questions.
Related posts:
Top 20 Resources for a Successful Testing Program
Five Tips to Prevent Your Student From Cheating
5 Keys to Creating a Successful Testing Program
Reporting Test Results to Parents
10 Questions Every Parent and Student Should Ask About Testing
Study Tips and Skills
Test Anxiety

Friday, October 4, 2013

New from CIMC: Career Focus STEM Careers


Career Focus STEM Careers Edition is a new career exploration and preparation guide created by CIMC. This full-color magazine combines essential career guidance with web activities and “skill builder” opportunities to help prepare students for college and career opportunities.

Articles include:
  • Identifying Possible STEM Careers
  • Highest Pay in STEM
  • STEM Careers You Might Not Have Thought About
  • Individual Career Plans, Career Clusters and Pathways
  • Online Tools for Career Planning and Preparation
  • Getting Ready for College
  • Finding Job Opportunities
  • Managing Your Digital Dirt
  • Strategies for Networking
  • Career Myths and Realities
  • CareerTech Champions in Science
  • Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
 About CIMC:
CIMC develops quality, competency-based instructional products and services for career and technology education. High school programs, area technology centers, junior and community colleges, proprietary schools, and government agencies are users of CIMC products. Business and industry customers are also learning of the training and cost advantages of using CIMC instructional systems. Several industry groups and trade associations have participated in the development of their products and services.
 
You can reach CIMC to order online, by phone, or by fax:
 
 
• 800.654.4502
 
• 405.743.5154 (fax)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Education On Demand..... Within Your Hands

Dr. Robbie K. Melton
I recently had the opportunity to meet Dr. Robbie K. Melton who is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Mobilization and Emerging Technology for the Tennesseee Board of Regents (mTBR) and a well known "Appologist."

Robbie oversees mobilization strategies and initiatives for the sixth largest statewide system of public higher education in the country: mTBR serves students enrolled in 46 institutions throughout the state (six state universities, 27 technology centers for technical/vocational education, and all of the state's 13 community colleges).

A significant part of her function is to study technology and its current and future application on education. More specifically, mTBR seeks new innovations in emerging technologies, social networking, gaming, simulations, amd virtual worlds for the purpose of increasing recruiting, retention, graduation rates and to improve teaching, learning, and workforce development. TBR creates teams that are composed of staff, faculty, students, administrators, and industry partners who are tasked with working on specific problems related to both mobile technology and its use in an education context.

Robbie and her staff are provided with the latest technology and a classroom evaluation is conducted to determine how students interact with the devices (the evaluation also includes general usability, ADA, durability, and security issues). Besides students, they provide support to instructors and staff as well. I think it's an interesting that Robbie noted that a "digital divide" exists between student and instructor, but it's typically the instructor that has the out-dated mobile device.

Now for the exciting part.... TBR maintains a mobile app resource center that points to extensive collections for education: 70,000 apps and counting. The site is easy to navigate with drop-down menus for the type of app, mobile device, academic area, workforce cluster, etc. The site also provides ratings for mobile devices and has a plethora of videos and presentations as additional resources.

Robbie is a dynamic speaker that has a passion for not only educational technology, but for it's application. I hate to say it, because I like my job, but I think Robbie has one of the coolest jobs in education. Don't you agree?


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thoughts on the Next Generation Learning Challenges


I've been following the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) (herehere and here) and some of the recent grant winners. If you aren't aware of NGLC, their goal is...
to accelerate educational innovation through applied technology to dramatically improve college readiness and completion in the United States. NGLC is guided by the belief that providing investment capital to expand the use of proven and emerging learning technologies, collecting and sharing evidence of what works, and fostering a community of innovators and adopters will result in a robust pool of solutions and greater institutional adoption which, in turn, will dramatically improve the quality of learning experiences in the United States.
Michael Horn, who served as a reviewer of the launch grants and is the cofounder and the Executive Director of Education at the Christensen Institute, noticed three trends among the current grant winners in a recent Forbes article:
  1. An increasing number of districts are applying for and receiving the grants.
  2. New types of schools, such as New Hampshire's Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) are winning grants. VLACS is an online course provider that uses a 100% self-paced competency-based approach to learning.
  3. Blended-learning programs are not only providing online experiences, but also project-based learning experiences.
My first thought is how great it is that competency-based education is finally finding the recognition that it so rightly deserves. Competencies, which are driven by industry in CTE, have always played a foundational role in career and technical education (CTE).

I'm really excited about the last two topics, project-based learning and Florida Virtual School's (FLVS) Project TAM.

Project-based learning should always have a place in CTE courses as it allows for more analytical, meaningful, and authentic learning. I like the fact that this type of learning is being highlighted in a blended approach across all educational levels.

Julie Young and the team at FLVS plan to use their grant to launch Project TAM, which will "combine a learning platform with a student profile system in which standards-aligned learning objects will be delivered to students as and how they need them—the ultimate in competency-based learning potentially. The project will now provide a blended environment where students learn through individualized online content and flexible, in-person learning."

There is so much potential for the future of digital instruction in CTE and the possibilities continue to grow at such a rapid rate. Project TAM can be a game changer for all of us as education would become truly student centric. Project-based learning and competency-based learning will always be at the core of CTE, but it's also exciting to think of the opportunties of digital delivery and how we can expand our program delivery into new areas.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The 2013 Oklahoma Career and Technology Education Summer Conference

 
The 46th Annual Oklahoma Career and Technology Education Summer Conference is scheduled for August 1-2, 2013 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
 
This conference is the major professional development activity for Oklahoma CareerTech teachers, counselors, administrators and state staff. Participants will learn innovative technical and instructional skills. They will also have the opportunity to network with and learn from their counterparts throughout the state.
 
The CareerTech Expo is held in conjunction with the conference. The exposition is a valuable resource to CareerTech educators, featuring over 150 exhibiting companies showcasing the latest products and services available in the career and technology education field!
 
The CareerTech Testing Center will be exhibiting along with CIMC, MAVCC, Printing Services, and Creative Services. Please stop by our booth and say hi and look at what's new for the 2013/2014 academic year!
 
I hope you have an incredible conference and take advantage of every learning and networking opportunity! 
 
And, if you are on Twitter, follow Summer Conference at #okacte 
 
I hope you'll join the conversation!

Monday, July 29, 2013

What Will the Future of Learning Look Like?

The education foundation KnowledgeWorks has released a forecast on five disruptions that will reshape the future of learning. The forecast focuses on ways that technology and new teaching strategies are not only shaking up traditional learning models, but they have the potential to radically change the way that students learn.

Also check out the following infographic from KnowledgeWorks that provides a glimpse into their projection of the future of learning: (Although each area will affect how we instruct our students and how we perform our jobs as educators, I believe CTE will play a significant role in the key insight that states, "continous career readiness will become the norm."


According to KnowledgeWorks:
This infographic tells the big story of KnowledgeWorks’ third forecast on the future of leanring, Recombinant Education: Regenerating the Future of Learning. Comprised of twelve key insights with accompanying graphics, it points the way toward a diverse learning ecosystem in which learning adapts to each child instead of each child trying to adapt to school.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Test Above Knowledge Level: Use Scenario Based Questions


I read a post on Questionmark's blog by John Kleeman that I wanted to share with you below. I think Kleeman does a great job of providing a simple example of how scenario based questions out perform knowledge or "definition" questions. This is a point that I continually try and stress to subject matter experts when they begin writing test questions. I believe the "definition" questions take less thought and effort to create and that is why subject matter experts may opt to write these type of questions, but I think it's also important to help them understand how scenario questions out perform knowledge questions upon statistical review. Other benefits of scenario questions are that they are better at assessing critical thinking skills and they add to the reading level of a test.

Thanks to John for providing us with another great post that I can share with you and with subject matter experts. Here is the post in its entirety:
Here’s the one piece of advice I’d give above all others to anyone creating quizzes, tests or exams: Test above knowledge.

You may be familiar with Bloom’s taxonomy of learning objectives, which is shown in the diagram below. At the lowest level is Knowledge; questions that test Knowledge ask for simple remembering of facts. At the highest level is Evaluation; questions that test Evaluation require participants to use judgement.
 

It’s great if you can write questions that assess at the highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, but many organizations have a lot to gain by asking questions at any of the levels above Knowledge in the pyramid. Although there are times when testing facts can be useful, it’s usually better to test the application or comprehension of those facts.

In today’s world, where facts are easily googleable, it is the use and understanding of those facts in the real world that is genuinely useful. By testing above knowledge, you are checking not just that the participant knows something but that they can apply it in some scenario. This is more valid and more realistic — and for most applications it is also more useful.

Here is a simple example to illustrate the point:
 
What does a yellow traffic light mean?
  • Stop
  • Go
  • Caution
This is purely a factual, knowledge question.

But here, the question requires that the respondent to apply to meaning of a yellow traffic light to an actual situation:

If you are driving toward an intersection and the light turns from yellow to red, what should you do?
  • Speed up and cross the intersection
  • Stop suddenly
  • Stop gradually
This is a very simple example, but I hope it makes you realize that converting factual questions to scenarios is not very hard.

I’d encourage you to consider using scenarios in your questions: Ask people to apply their knowledge, not just prove that they know some facts. Have your test-takers apply what they know to actual situations.

Monday, July 1, 2013

New from CIMC...Early Care and Education: Pathway to Your National Credential


Pathway to Your National Credential replaces CIMC's Early Education: Pathway to CDA curriculum. This revised title addresses changes made to the national credentialing process for 2013, and includes reflective writing to increase the knowledge base. This curriculum provides 150 hours of high-quality training for students who want to purse the national credential of Child Development Associate, or CDA. Pathway to Your National Credential is endorsed by Oklahoma Child Care Services, meets the Early Learning Guidelines for Master Teachers, and is aligned to the following:

Council for Professional Recognition
National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA) Commission
Oklahoma Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners
Oklahoma Early Learning Guidelines
Center for Early Childhood Professional Development (CECPD) licensing regulations

Units include:
  • Providing for Children's Safety
  • Providing for Children's Health
  • Providing an Environment for Learning
  • Child Growth and Development
  • Ensuring Developmentally Appropriate Practice
  • Guiding Children
  • Involving Families and the Community
  • Program Planning and Record Keeping
  • Developing as an Early Education Professional
  • Putting it All Together
Click on the link below for a free sample from CIMC that includes the supplements for units 1 and 2, as well as a crosswalk to the CDA competency standards.

Early Education sample

Please contact CIMC's Customer Service Department at 800.654.4502 to purchase Early Care and Education: Pathway to Your National Credential!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Skills to Rebuild - An Important Resource from the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education


Immediately after the tornados of May 19-20 struck the state of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education launched Skills to Rebuild.

The subsequent tornado on May 31st that also devastated one of our own technology centers, Canadian Vally Technology Center - El Reno campus, made me truly appreciate the people and the resources that this system offers and marvel at how quickly CareerTech can respond to the needs of our customers and stakeholders.

Today, CareerTech system employees are putting their "boots on the ground" in areas hit by tornados to not only help in the cleanup efforts, but to build a mission around training which is what CareerTech does every day.

I hope you will take a look at Skills to Rebuild and understand that these resources aren't just for those affected by tornados in Oklahoma, but these resources can be utilized by anyone in the event of any disaster.

Please read below for the outline for Skills to Rebuild and follow the links for additional resources:

Training and counseling professionals at ODCTE have developed a list of resources that include how to recognize people in distress as they cope with a disaster as well as safety, construction and training fact sheets and links that identify certain hazards and skills associated with cleanup efforts. 

Resources: After the Storm
Keeping people safe during cleanup and recovery efforts is a primary concern in addition to knowing how to recognize the signs of a person in distress and the toll of stress in the people who were directly affected by the storm.

Phase I -
Identifying CareerTech resources that could be quickly deployed to assist with immediate needs. Included are safety training brochures, on-site volunteer safety clinics and creating an official website to provide brief training material on various recovery topics such as counseling children, hiring a contractor, safety and basic repair "how-tos".
Phase II -
Putting boots on the ground in impacted areas. Deploying CareerTech System employees to work in affected areas. This effort is designed to embed volunteers to act as safety ambassadors as they work with other volunteers and homeowners in the recovery process. A continuation of safety clinics and supplying those clinics with consumable personal protective equipment and literature support the training effort.
Phase III -
Specific skills training to assist homeowners with training on basic home repair tasks for the longer term recovery effort. This training need will be assessed as recovery continues and resources allocated as required to support there efforts.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Best of the Web - A Great FREE Resource for Websites, Apps, and More


CIMC has just completed the eighth edition of their free web book, a resource which has been popular with educators for many years. This edition incorporates many firsts. It is the first edition to include apps for both instructors and students, and the first to be offered on CD as well as in print. As always, CIMC provides a variety of websites to enhance the classroom experience, offers avenues for professional development, and assists instructors with student engagement and enhancement activities. With this version, they have included sections of websites for:
  • Common Core
  • Teacher Resources
  • eLearning
  • General Interest
  • Careers
  • And websites listed by cluster
CIMC is offering the complete Websites, Apps, and More as a FREE DOWNLOAD. Print and CD versions are also available at no cost at many state and national conferences (see CIMC's exhibit schedule).

If you'd like to purchase multiple copies of either the print or CD versions of the web book, contact CIMC's Customer Service Department at 800.654.4502.

Language Arts Activities - A New Product from CIMC


I wanted to let you know that CIMC has created a new CD of printable activities provides practice and reinforcement for one or more of the State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (Common Core). Skills include punctuation, capitalization, parts of speech, correct word choice, sentence structure, and writing. The writing activities require using research techniques as well as writing creatively, and are appropriate for students from middle school age and older.


You can order this great new product by contacting CIMC online, by phone, or by fax:
800.654.4502
405.743.5154 (fax)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Blended Learning and Career and Technical Education

Blended learning is continuing its rapid growth through our educational system. There are numerous articles and reports on how technology has affected or "disrupted" both K-12 and Higher Education, but what about career and technology education? It seems that CTE is almost an afterthought, but I believe this form of education is best suited for a quick adoption to the blended learning approach.

So how do you best define blended learning? 

According to the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns:
  1. at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace;
  2. at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home;
  3. and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.
The majority of blended-learning programs resemble one of four models: Rotation, Flex, A La Carte, and Enriched Virtual. The Rotation model includes four sub-models: Station Rotation, Lab Rotation, Flipped Classroom, and Individual Rotation. This taxonomy will evolve as the practice of blended learning matures.
I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Horn who coauthored "Disrupting Class" with Clayton Christensen and Curtis Johnson a couple of years ago and I have been intrigued by their work ever since. The four models of blended learning they describe have application within the CTE system which I believe there implementation and use is dependent upon the program area and type of student (i.e. traditional or business and industry services clients).

Blended learning could have a tremendous impact on how CTE students learn and on their success in school, in the workplace and as lifelong learners. I hope you will review the links/resources that I have provided and begin a discussion on the impact and delivery of blended learning in CTE.

Additional resources:

Friday, May 3, 2013

Every Kid Needs A Champion

I thought I would share Rita Pierson's recent TED talk as your semester winds down. A little motivation at the end of a school year is always a good thing, isn't it?

Rita has been a teacher, counselor, testing coordinator and an assistant principal for 40 years. Unbelievably, she once heard a colleague say, "They don't pay me to like the kids." Her response was, "Kids don't learn from people they don’t like.” Her TED talk is an inspiring challenge to educators to believe in their students and to actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level. As she quotes James Comer, "No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship."

Please watch the video below or click HERE:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Small Demons: Creating a Library of Shared Details


Small Demons is an interesting web app that lets users enter the name of a book and then the site reveals any references that are tied to the book.

For example, enter the name of a book and the site presents any references to people, things, places, media, etc. that are mentioned in the book.

What it kind of reminds me of is that you are getting the story behind the book or as the site states, you are getting "The people, places and things from books, and everywhere they can take you."

I have highlighted numerous other search engines on this blog, but Small Demons is unique because it "picks apart" literature and creates a huge library of shared details. I hope you will take a look, create your own collection, and see where literature can lead you.

Additional resource:

Friday, April 26, 2013

Can Gaming Make a Better World?


I have occasionally revisited the Ted Talk by Jane McGonigal entitled, "Gaming Can Make a Better World" for the last few years and I have to admit that I'm still on the fence as far as my thoughts go.

I believe that as we continue towards blended and online learning that the technology and software will become more and more interactive and I can see where McGonigal is headed, but I'm not so sure it is obtainable. The thing that intrigues me is when she says that the average gamer plays 10,000 hours of video games by the age of twenty-one. When you consider the fact that, in the United States, a student receives 10,080 hours of instruction from the beginning of fifth grade until they graduate 12th grade we seem to have an entire parallel track of education. So how can we harness the time and abilities of gamers?

According to McGonigal:
Reality is broken and we need to make it work more like a game.

So why doesn't the real world work more like an online game? In the best-designed games, our human experience is optimized: We have important work to do, we're surrounded by potential collaborators, and we learn quickly and in a low-risk environment.
Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems?
In her work as a game designer and director of game R&D at the Institute for the Future, she creates games that use mobile and digital technologies to turn everyday spaces into playing fields, and everyday people into teammates. Her game-world insights can explain--and improve--the way we learn, work, solve problems, and lead our real lives.

Also, several years ago McGonigal suffered a serious concussion, and she created a multiplayer game to get through it, opening it up to anyone to play. In “Superbetter,” players set a goal (health or wellness) and invite others to play with them--and to keep them on track. While most games, and most videogames, have traditionally been about winning, we are now seeing increasing collaboration and games played together to solve problems.

So can gaming really make a better world?

Watch the Ted Talk below or click HERE:


Additional resources:
Institute for the Future
Game-Based Learning: What it is, Why it Works, and Where it's Going


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tagboard: Organizing Your Hashtags Across Platforms


Tagboard.com
Tagboard is a free tool that allows anyone to search hashtags across networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, App.net and Vine. To get started, you’ll just need a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account.

Tagboard allows you to follow hashtag conversations in a "bulletin board" display by simply entering any hashtag and then viewing all of the Tweets, Instagram pictures, Facebook posts, Google+ posts, and Vine posts associated with that hashtag. From this page you can share the tagboard or individual tweets or posts with friends.

You can also create your own Tagboard page for your hashtag. A tagboard page can be used by an educator, brand manager, business owner, or twitter chat organizer to promote a hashtag or to aggregate posts using a hashtag for class or group projects, events, etc.

Related posts:
Follow the CareerTech Testing Center on Twitter
Have You Developed a Personal Learning Network (PLN)?
The A-Z Dictionary of Educational Twitter Hashtags
The Complete Parent’s List of Education Hashtags on Twitter
100 Twitter Tips and Resources for Educators
The Ultimate Twitter Guidebook For Teachers
What Twitter Has Done for Me

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Predictive Analytics and Education


I'm beginning to read and hear more discussion about how predictive analytics could impact education.

So what exactly is predicitive analytics? According to Predictive Analytics World:
Predictive analytics is business intelligence technology that produces a predictive score for each customer or other organizational element. Assigning these predictive scores is the job of a predictive model which has, in turn, been trained over your data, learning from the experience of your organization.

Predictive analytics optimizes marketing campaigns and website behavior to increase customer responses, conversions and clicks, and to decrease churn. Each customer's predictive score informs actions to be taken with that customer — business intelligence just doesn't get more actionable than that.
In other words, Google, Bing, Chrome and every other search engine has been using predictive analytics in your online searches in hopes of refining your choices and maximizing your user experience.

So what does predictive analytics have to do with education? As Tom Vander Ark states, "I’m enthusiastic about the potential for data to improve global learning outcomes.  Predictive analytics have transformed every consumer activity and, as more learners engaged in digital experiences with embedded measurement, they will transform learning."

I believe education is undergoing a monumental shift from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more individualized and personalized model and predictive analytics has the potential to keep students more actively engaged in the learning process. Also, as we continue to mine (transform large data sets into intelligence) and gather data, the security and privacy of student information is paramount.

Additional Resources:
PAR Framework
Predictive Analytics Presents: A Typical Day in 2020
Blended Learning and the Promise of Data
Big Data is Opening Doors, but Maybe Too Many
Data for Action 2012: Focus on People to Change Data Culture

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Padagogy Wheel: Matching Bloom's Taxonomy with Mobile Devices


I previously told you about Kathy Schrock's innovative work in matching technology with Bloom's Taxonomy in the following post: "iPad Apps" and "Google Apps and Tools" Meet Bloom's Revised Taxonomy, but I think the work down by Allan Carrington at the University of Adelaide builds upon what Kathy started and provides a better structure for adapting the pedagogy possibilities with mobile devices, especially the iPad.

Please take a look at the Padagogy Wheel and read Carrington's post entitled, "The Padagogy Wheel...it's a Bloomin' Better Way to Teach." I believe many of the 62 iPad apps can be used in different areas of Bloom's but it's a great start in matching apps to pedagogy. I hope you will share your thoughts and please share any apps that you find and which areas of Bloom's Taxonomy that they correspond with.

Padagogy Wheel by Allan Carrington

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The National Digital Public Library is Set to Launch!


In honor of National Library Week (April 14 – 20, 2013), I wanted to let you know about the launching of the Digital Public Library on April 18th.

The purpose of this project is to aggregate the digital archives from around the U.S. into one portal. As the website for the Digital Public Library of America states:
The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) will make the cultural and scientific heritage of humanity available, free of charge, to all. The DPLA’s primary focus is on making available materials from the United States. By adhering to the fundamental principle of free and universal access to knowledge, it will promote education in the broadest sense of the term. That is, it will function as an online library for students of all ages, from grades K-12 to postdoctoral researchers and anyone seeking self-instruction; it will be a deep resource for community colleges, vocational schools, colleges, universities, and adult education programs; it will supplement the services of public libraries in every corner of the country; and it will satisfy other needs as well—the need for data related to employment, for practical information of all kinds, and for enrichment in the use of leisure.
In a New York Review of Books essay , Harvard University Librarian Robert Darnton expressed the DPLA vision:
The Digital Public Library of America, to be launched on April 18, is a project to make the holdings of America’s research libraries, archives, and museums available to all Americans—and eventually to everyone in the world—online and free of charge...

...The user-friendly interface will therefore enable any reader—say, a high school student in the Bronx—to consult works that used to be stored on inaccessible shelves or locked up in treasure rooms—say, pamphlets in the Huntington Library of Los Angeles about nullification and secession in the antebellum South. Readers will simply consult the DPLA through its URL, http://dp.la/. They will then be able to search records by entering a title or the name of an author, and they will be connected through the DPLA’s site to the book or other digital object at its home institution.
I hope you will access the site and also share it with your students. Maybe I'm just a geek at heart, but I'm excited about the possibilities for learning and sharing!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tax Day and the Value of Accounting Services


I have to admit that I have been doing a better job of budgeting my time, taxes and donut expenditures this year, but as I completed my tax returns I began to wonder about the accounting standards and competency tests that we offer.

The CareerTech Testing Center offers skills standards and competency tests for Accounts Payable Clerk, Accounts Receivable Clerk, Payroll Accounting Clerk, and Full-Charge Bookkeeper.

Accounting is one of those areas of study that has both work and life applications. The principles of accounting can benefit your personal finances, that of your business, or it can provide a valuable career.

I hope you will take a look at our free skills standards and contact Customer Service if you would like additional information on ordering our competency tests at 800.654.4502.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

How Can You Improve a Student’s Test Performance?


The answer to this question can be quite complex and many issues may be out of the educator's control (home environment, socio-economic status, cognitive ability, specific learning disabilities, etc.), but I have tried to comprise a list that any educator can use to optimize a student's test performance.

Below are some great ways to improve your student's test performance:

Provide the best possible testing environment.

The environment should be such that participants can concentrate on their assessments with minimal distractions. Considerations regarding the testing environment include:
  • Consistent/adequate lighting levels.
  • Temperature at a comfortable level with proper ventilation.
  • Space is quiet with minimal distractions.
  • Participants should be asked to behave consistently (no eating, getting up and moving about).
  • Avoid/delay the test administration when a participant appears hurried, troubled, or ill.
Adhere to the responsibilities of the Test Proctor (in a test center environment).

Testing should be "fair" to all participants (by limiting the ability to cheat and by providing accommodations to those with disabilities).
  • Participant authentication: a picture ID should always be shown and login should be handled quickly and quietly by the proctor.
  • Protection of the security of the online testing system. Username AND password should NEVER be revealed.
  • Prohibiting the use of all communication devices (photos of test items and text messaging are common problems).
  • Computer usage: Monitor whether participants are trying to access the internet or other programs.
  • The proctor should be vigilant in their observance of the testing environment: Note passing, hand gestures, etc.
  • Reference materials, texts, notes, etc., are not allowed in the testing area unless specifically allowed for in the exam or in a student’s Individualized Education Plan.
  • If a candidate is caught cheating during an examination, testing will stop immediately. The candidate will receive a failing result and the incident will be reported.
  • Students with an IEP may have special accommodations as specified in an IEP, IRP, 504, LEP, and ELL.
Timing is everything!

Ideally, students should be tested as soon as they have completed training and passed all skills performance evaluations. It is NOT a recommended practice to wait until the end of the academic year to test if the student is ready to test earlier.

Testing statistics prove that 70% of all certification exams are passed when students take their exams 3 to 7 days after course completion. This amount of time typically provides adequate study time and allows testing to take place while the information is still fresh. On the converse, the same statistics show over an 80% failure rate for students attempting their exam immediately after a class or if they wait more than 2 weeks after course completion.

Analyze test results.

Study the tests that you administer and learn to how correctly interpret the results to both students and parents. Whether its standard scores, T scores, age- and grade-equivalent scores, or percentile ranks, know your tests and know how to explain them in a manner that is understandable and with compassion! Every student is somebody's child and all feedback should be in a positive manner. Stress the strengths during your interpretation and remediate the weaknesses by building upon the strengths.

Results should be analyzed for each individual student (relative strengths and weaknesses), for an individual instructors and for the overall program. In other words, did an instructor adequately cover the standards? Did your curriculum align to the standards? Did the program meet your needs at the local or state level?

Develop and implement a remediation plan.

Relative strengths and weaknesses should be the focus of your remediation plan (Your test analysis will identify these factors for you.). A student may receive a 90% score on an assessment, but they still may have an area of relative weakness and this should always be addressed. You should place as much emphasis on this as you would on some that struggled on the assessment. The goal is to maximize every student's ability!

Your remediation plan should involve more than the student. You should also analyze the test results to identify any deficiencies in instruction (Were all of the educational standards covered during instruction?) or curriculum (Did our curriculum address each of the standards?).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How Will Technology Change Education by 2028?


Fifteen years ago, Google was born. Can you remember what life was like before that time?

I don't know about you, but thinking about the past always leads into thinking about the future. So now I'm asking myself how will technology impact education during the next 15 years? Will technology continue to impact learning in more of a typical cause-effect relationship or will it evolve to the point "where one absorbs the other, where information access, socializing ideas, and creative collaboration may be organic and completely invisible?"

So what will affect education the most in the future? Will it be adaptive computer-based testing? MOOCs or open source learning models? Blended learning models? Game-based learning? If not those, will it be biometrics, personalized learning algorithms, or will learning simulations begin to replace some teachers and some schools?

In "30 Incredible Ways Technology Will Change Education by 2028" Terry Heick (TeachThought, March 2013) shares his ideas on how technology might affect and change education in the near future. I hope you will take a look and, whether you agree or disagree, I believe these types of lists are always fun to look at because they make you think about the future and wonder about the skills you will need to acquire to best serve your students.

Friday, March 29, 2013

100 Twitter Tips and Resources for Educators


I found a great resource on TeachThought entitled, "100 Twitter Tips for Teachers" that I wanted to
share with you.

I'm always looking for Twitter resources to share with educators because so many people that I talk to seem to think Twitter is 140 characters or less of irrelevant thoughts that couldn't possibly benefit their instruction or learning.

Twitter is a fun social media site, but it has evolved into so much more. For me, Twitter is a great way to share ideas, to research, to build a professional network, and to gain exposure for the CareerTech Testing Center. You could also use Twitter to build coursework and I have thought for some time that Twitter could be used in the development of skills standards.

Please read "100 Twitter Tips for Teachers" and give serious thought to the uses for Twitter in education and try it for an extended time. If you already use Twitter, please look at this resource (categories listed below) and discover how you can enhance your Twitter strategy.

"100 Twitter Tips for Teachers" includes the following categories:
  • The Basics
  • Etiquette
  • Connecting
  • Classroon
  • Professional Life
  • Pro Tools
  • Who to Follow
  • Applications to Emulate

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March Madness: Let the Testing Begin

My NCAA basketball tournament brackets have once again become my folly after only the first weekend of the tournament so I began to think of what "March Madness" really means for me in education... the beginning of the testing season.

I think there are many valid and useful reasons for testing so the "Madness" I refer to only means how busy we get during this time of year. To help you with your testing "Madness," I have created a list of twenty resources that will help you understand the reasons for testing, the testing process, test interpretation, and remediation.

I hope the list below will help you gain a better understanding of why we test and how important the process and the results are for your students and your program.

The CareerTech Testing Matrix (The Competency Test Process)

Understanding the “Depth” of Testing

Effectively Communicating the Measurement of Constructs to Stakeholders

Testing Integrity: Issues and Recommendations for Best Practices

Create a successful testing environment

Follow the recommended time for administering tests

Establish rapport with examinees

Limit test anxiety

Provide test security and eliminate cheating

Understanding the numbers I, II, III, IV

Interpreting test scores

The Pygmalion Effect: Are You Guilty?

Analyze individual tests scores across all levels - instructor, district, and state

Provide positive reinforcement and build upon an examinee’s relative strengths

Remediate an examinee’s relative weaknesses

Implement improvements across all levels

Reporting Test Results to Parents

10 Questions Every Parent and Student Should Ask About Testing

Study Tips and Skills

Read and learn “The Secret of Writing Multiple Choice Test Items”

Monday, March 25, 2013

Robert Sommers: New State Director for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education

Robert Sommers

This week starts a new direction for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education as Robert Sommers of Middletown, Ohio begins his tenure as the new state director.

I have to admit that I like a recent Tweet of his, "CareerTech in Oklahoma is impressive. Great economic development tool and a relevance provider for students!" I also have to admit that I'm excited about the future of CTE in Oklahoma as a new state director typically creates change and, although uncomfortable at times for many of us, change affords us the opportunity to learn and to grow as individuals. That is really what this blog is about anyway... lifelong learning and creating new opportunities for each of you, for your students, your business and industry clients, and your stakeholders.

Please read below for more information on Robert Sommers:
Sommers recently served as chief executive officer/managing partner of Carpe Diem Learning Systems, the organization created to grow the high-performing, cost-effective Carpe Diem model nationally. This model uses digital content and teaching faculty to create a personalized blended learning education experience. Sommers was responsible for opening a Carpe Diem school in Indianapolis.

"We are extremely fortunate to have in Oklahoma's CareerTech System someone of Bob Sommers' vision and proven track record of improving student performance," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction and Career and Technology Education Board Chair Janet Barresi. "He has 15 years experience in supervision and leadership in Ohio's career-technical education and has collaborated with Ohio Gov. John Kasich on the creation and passage of major educational reforms for improved student performance and cost effectiveness. His vision for the future of the Career and Technology System in our state is forward thinking and exciting. I look forward to working with him."

For nine years Sommers was CEO/superintendent of an Ohio career-technical district, Butler Technology and Career Development Schools, in Hamilton, Ohio. Under his leadership, the district doubled in size, became the highest performing career-technical district in Ohio and became known for creative educational programs including blended learning schools. The district served more than 26,000 high school through adult students and provided customized training to companies.

From 1986 to 2001, Sommers served in several capacities with the Ohio Department of Education. He served as an agricultural supervisor, state adviser for the FFA, assistant director of program evaluation services and associate director overseeing federal career-technical funding programs and the creation of a new Ohio career-technical funding system.

Sommers’ teaching experience included agricultural education in London, Ohio.

Sommers' work as director of Ohio’s Office of 21st Century Education included passage of reforms for increased school performance transparency, teacher evaluation, school choice and failing school transformation. His experience also includes serving as CEO of Cornerstone Charter Schools, where he led two K-8th-grade schools under management and two more schools under development. He designed the Cornerstone Health High School, a blended learning school that opened in fall 2012.

He earned a doctorate in educational administration and leadership from The Ohio State University, Columbus, where he also completed his master’s degree in agricultural education. Sommers received a bachelor of science degree in education at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and has received several education and business awards in Ohio. His service in leadership positions in numerous state and national organizations, including the chairman of the Performance Taskforce for the National Association of Career and Technical Education, is additional evidence of his commitment to his profession.

“I am excited about the opportunities before Oklahoma’s CareerTech System ,” Sommers said. “Oklahoma’s career and technology educators have led the country in creating innovative programs. I’m confident we will continue this tradition of innovation. I look forward to working with the board, the staff and the state’s career and technology educators in assuring every Oklahoman a quality career, every business a quality workforce and Oklahoma a great educational system."

Friday, March 22, 2013

Career Focus: After Military Service

I wanted to announce a new CIMC product that I'm very excited about entitled:  Career Focus: After Military Service.

This product was developed for veterans who are leaving the military and transitioning to a civilian career. This guide walks veterans through five steps in making this transition: Self-assessment, exploring career interests and options, filling a skills gap, finding and applying for a job, and managing the career transition.

CIMC is also offering the entire Career Focus: After Military Service publication as a free file for you to download.

Click here to download: Career Focus: After Military Service.
__________________________________________________
Please contact CIMC online, by phone (800.654.4502), or by fax (405.743.5154) to order the following Career Focus guides:

Career Focus is a new career exploration and preparation guide. This 32-page, full-color magazine combines essential guidance with web activities and "skill builder" opportunities to help prepare users for college and the workplace.There are three versions of Career Focus available.

The original Career Focus explores careers in all areas. Topics include career clusters and pathways; plans of study; personal selling points; online tools; college planning checklists; interview strategies; and keys to career success. Career Focus also provides workplace re-entry strategies for those who have been absent from the workplace for a number of reasons.

Career Focus: Health Careers provides career exploration and preparation for careers in the health care area, including careers in health care, unusual jobs in the field, and CareerTech Champions in this area. It is a concise guide to planned success for high school students and adults interested in the health care industry.

Filedrop: Use Your Phone as a Wi-Fi USB-Stick

I found an interesting app called Filedrop that allows users to send files between devices within one network. Users can launch Filedrop on two devices and then drag and drop files between them. The app works between any kind of device and between any kind of platform (Mac to Windows) and the theory behind the app is that is should be as easy as "passing a pen." Users can send files to any nearby devices, use their smart phone as a wireless USB stick, stream photos from their phone, or play music from their phone.

Currently, the only versions that are available are for computers, but Apple and Android apps are in development (you can sign up to receive notification when the Apps are available). I think this type of app can be important in the future because it allows users to share across different types of platforms. Potentially, a great resource with applications for both school and work.

Please watch the Filedrop video below for more information or click HERE:
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