Entries in education (4)


Icebreakers: Mazes

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PowerPoint File Download:

Icebreaker Mazes - Burn the Negative.pptx


Easy - 10 by 10 orthogonal maze.pdf

Medium - 20 by 20 orthogonalmaze.pdf

Hard - 50 by 50 delta maze.pdf

Description of the icebreaker...

In this activity, participants race against each other to complete a maze.

The Maze Icebreaker is a short and potentially intense activity, which you can use with a small group in a classroom or casual business setting.

The icebreaker combines both a PowerPoint presentation and a set of handouts. It also includes a set of slides on how to conduct the game, and prompts to play audio clips (sound effects and music) throughout the activity.

Rationale for the icebreaker...

Mazes are one of those activities that many people enjoy as a child, but forget about until they introduce the activity to their children.

A complicated maze evokes both the frustration of fumbling through the corners and straightaways, and the joy of completing the journey.

Where the idea for the icebreaker came from....

My four-year-old son loves mazes, and when he is on a maze tear, he can quickly devour through a pile of pricey activity books. In order to keep up with his passion, I decided to search the internet for a maze generator. Luckily, I stumbled across a free generator at http://www.mazegenerator.net, an online application that allows me to ratchet up the complexity and size of the maze as my sons skills evolved.


Online Education: The Reality

In an article posted on April 24 in Pandodaily, Franciso Dao laid out a compelling, but also short-sighted argument that technology and education pundits have oversold the potential of online education to the public. He points to the underutilization of existing free educational services like public libraries, and the low completion rates by students participating in online courses as examples of online education’s shortcomings. In particular, he blames the lack of "… a fixed structure and a sense of belonging that come from a student body,” for the low completion rate.

To write off such a democratic and universally appealing service like online education negates the accomplishments made by Sal Khan's Khan Academy, and the efforts of the Open University to increase the quality, and quantity, of its free courses. Moreover, online education is neither standardized nor unified, it is a patchwork of endeavours to offer education to people marginalized by an inability to find or integrate traditional education into their lives.

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This episode is about data mining, and using that information to predict trends across many facets of our society , and how this information will impact our lives.

I believe people need to think about the impact Big Data will have on academic institutions and children entering elementary school in the next few years. I expect schools will attempt to use the data collected from their early academic careers, perhaps even in the first few years of grade school, to dictate the academic needs of a generation before they even graduate from primary school.

Insert a few years of test scores, enter a collection of numerical variables to represent personality traits, and tally up a record of web searches, then run it through an algorithm to assign an academic path for a student. Therefore, allowing school administrators to figure out admission targets 15 years in the future, economists to workout the make up of the workforce in 20 years, and give political strategist a look at the future power base in 25 years.

Perhaps it will make things more efficient, but will students be unfairly assigned an academic future based on faulty assumptions and inadequate algorithms?


iTunes U

In 2007, Apple introduced a service on the iTunes store that gives users access to a wide selection of free educational programs. These programs included lectures, lessons, and courseware provided by universities and other educational institutions from around the world.

Essentially, the service offers everything someone would need to get a degree in multiple subjects without receiving an actual diploma.

This week, Apple supplemented the service by releasing a dedicated iTunes U iPhone app. The app allows users the ability to select and sync educational material directly from their phones. Therefore making the service available to people who rarely use iTunes on their Mac or PC.

iTunes U’s greatest strength is that it creates a hub for the massive amount of educational material that the internet has to offer. Like its music library, iTunes makes navigating and selecting courses easy because it consolidates multiple providers into one service.

All the iTunes U courses can be downloaded to a mobile device or directly streamed to your computer. Ultimately, it is no different than the way you access your music or movie purchases on iTunes.

Like any open ecosystem where anyone can post material, there are draw backs. At times the audio and video quality of the files is subpar.

Apple does a good job featuring the best programs, yet like the schools offering the material, the quality of the courses varies wildly.

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