The LectureTools Blog

LectureTools Acquired by Echo360

Posted by Chelsea Jenkins on Wed, November 07, 2012

 

An Active Learning Platform


describe the image

 

In 2005 Dr. Perry Samson started LectureTools at the University of Michigan as a research project with one goal: to revolutionize the classroom and to engage students with their laptops and cellphones, regardless of class size. 

LectureTools launched commercially in August 2011 and has since been adopted by professors at over 30 universities and colleges across the United States, Canada, and Asia. Today, we are excited to announce that we are joining forces with Echo360, whose lecture capture technology is in use at over 600 schools across the globe and backed by Steve Case's Revolution Growth.

LectureTools: An Active Learning Platform on Vimeo.

Echo360 provides not only resources, but also a like-minded vision and talented employees that will help us achieve our long-term goal of building an active learning platform that revolutionizes the way people teach and learn using technology in and out of the classroom. This is not the end of LectureTools, rather, a new beginning, and current accounts will not be affected. LectureTools will always exist and it will continue to improve as a stand alone product. It will also be developing an integrated solution with lecture capture and other active learning features. 

We would like to extend a special thank you to our early adopters, who have given us amazing feedback and their continued support. We look forward to continuing our work with you and the Echo360 team.

 

To a new beginning, 

The LectureTools team.

 

Samson is also a co-founder of the Weather Underground, which sold in the summer to the Weather Channel, with a group of former students. LectureTools also sprouted with a dedicated group of recently graduated U-M students including Jason Aubrey, Bret Squire and Sharanyan Ravi. Aubreyco-founder of LectureTools, joins Echo360 as a product manager while Squire and Ravi join as developers. 

We would also like to say thank you to a few key players in the LectureTools story – University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan TechArb, University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer, The National Science Foundation, our advisor Jim Sterken, and the instructors and students who have helped us grow.

 

 

Make your class more interactive: click below and become the next addition to our team!

 

 

 

describe the image

 

Topics: Online Education, LectureTools News, New Features, classroom engagement strategies, emerging technologies in education, interactive classroom technology, enhance student engagement, Teaching with Technology, Student-Instructor Interaction, Engaging Students in the Classroom, Classroom Response Systems, Educational Technology, instructor interaction, instructor communication, student engagement, student engagement strategies, Student Response Systems, student response, Flipped Instruction, educational networking, The Flipped Classroom

How Tech Changed My University Classroom

Posted by Chelsea Jenkins on Thu, September 06, 2012

20100428harvardhaweshall11

 

As a (now contentedly former) English professor at a large public university in the American South, and, obviously, a longtime student myself before that, I have seen firsthand how technology transformed the classroom...and then transformed it again. This is a big mistake we make when thinking about technological change: thinking that the world can be divided into “before” and “after” a given technology, and that once the latest thing is ubiquitous, we’ll get to stay still. Unfortunately this is not the case, for it’s not one shift that makes the difference but multiple simultaneous, overlapping, and qualitatively different revolutions that may soon be made obsolete themselves.

When I was a child, we still watched filmstrips in class. Yes, actual strips of actual film. I remember watching the first President Bush’s inauguration on TV in a classroom, though I can’t remember if it was cable yet or simply broadcast. Then video infiltrated classrooms, with the beloved clunky TV cart that heralded a day off from book-based study (Marshall McLuhan once warned that introducing television into education would blow the classroom apart -- I’m not so sure he wasn’t right).

Thanks to the famed visionary forward-looking genius of Apple (and/or their self-serving canniness), green screen and then full-color Macs proliferated in my schools. I was in college when cell phones became popular, but few people had laptops.

By the time I started teaching, nearly every student had a laptop, though as those years went on, fewer and fewer bothered to bring it to class. Why? I wish I could say it was because of their desire to put away anything that might distract from my words of wisdom.

In truth, the cellphone and laptop had merged, and their iPhones were now a one-stop shop for research, socializing, and pure time-wasting. We now have the iPad and, interestingly, tablets seem to be trending smaller and iPhones bigger. Will the two products merge? Where does our future lie, and what does it mean for education?

My most recent classrooms featured computer podiums hooked up to a projector. This was moderately useful in my Introduction to Fiction class, where I mainly used it to call up YouTube videos so that authors like James Baldwin, Ray Bradbury, and Vladimir Nabokov could explain their work in person. I also found biographical documentaries of writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and James Joyce, who did not live to see the television era, let alone get grandfathered into YouTube.

But it was the other literature class I was teaching, Introduction to Drama, where technology really brought the subject alive. Unlike prose fiction, after all, drama is not in its essential form a “text,” but is meant as a blueprint to be interpreted and brought to life. So after reading, say, Euripides in our anthology of plays, I could show my students a slideshow on the development of tragedy, a documentary clip demonstrating the spatial quality and remarkable acoustics of the Theater of Dionysus in Athens, and four or five different interpretations of the same scene from Medea taken from live and cinematic versions in English, Greek, and Japanese. This truly showcased the mind-blowing potential of the wired classroom, and all that was missing was an interactive element to make it more hands-on for my students.

 

Stephanie Brooks is a freelance writer and blogger who mostly enjoys covering all things education, including at top10onlineuniversities.org, but also regarding traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. When she's not writing, she can be found at the gym working out to Zumba and cooking healthy recipes at home. She welcomes your feedback.

 


Lecturing with an iPad eBookFree eBook: Lecturing with an iPad

Students are far less likely to stray when you are able to roam the aisles. Download our free eBook and learn how to use your iPad to untether yourself from the podium and start teaching more interactively.

Topics: Apple, classroom engagement strategies, emerging technologies in education, interactive classroom technology, enhance student engagement, Teaching with Technology, Engaging Students in the Classroom, Classroom Response Systems, Educational Technology, instructor interaction, instructor communication, student engagement, student engagement strategies, Flipped Instruction, Guest Blogger

The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Flipped Classroom

Posted by Chelsea Jenkins on Wed, August 29, 2012

 

 

The "flipped classroom" has been making waves in the educational world for some time now. With the introduction of the Khan Academy, the concept of the flipped classroom has become one of the hottest debates in the academic world among primary educators, professors, and administrators alike. As education-based technology and online platforms continue to grow and improve, more and more devices, programs, and concepts are entering the educational world and shaking things up. Where at one time the concept of online learning, computer-based assignments, and the virtual classroom were scoffed at, today online education and technology in the classroom are top priorities for schools, teachers, and researchers.

 

Within our increasingly digital world, most of us agree that education and academia must respond to the changing atmosphere of society. By and large, we accept that online learning and certain academic technologies are worthwhile. However, with all the hoopla over the Khan Academy and the flipped classroom, there remain both positives and negatives to the approach.

 

The Advantages

Many of the advantages of the flipped classroom have been covered throughout the blogosphere and elsewhere. There are many things to praise about the concept of the flipped classroom. With positive results from many teachers and school districts throughout the country, there's no denying that the approach can (and has been) successful in certain cases. Students are able to approach material and take it in at their own speed. By covering lecture material at home and from a video-based platform, students can privately view the material. This allows them to approach things at their own pace without worry of peers noticing them moving slower or faster. Students can stop, pause, rewind, and fast forward material so that they can examine things in their own way.

 

By taking the lecture portion of the classroom home with them, students are able to utilize their teachers' one-on-one attention more successfully in the classroom. Students sit through lecture, gather questions, and prepare themselves for the day with the teacher to tackle "homework". Because the actual exercises are done in the classroom rather than at home with this model, students have their teacher available for questions with problems when they occur.

 

The flipped classroom also allows teaching to adapt more easily to the different teaching styles that individual students may be most successful with. By putting lectures in a video format, students can listen to the lesson and watch the video illustrate the lesson. Of course, this largely depends on how successful the actual video lecture is. You want a lecture (like the Khan videos) that explains concepts verbally, but also draws them out in images and pictures. This provides adequate learning opportunities for verbal learners and for visual learners. With in-classroom lecturing, the visual aspect of lecturing can be significantly more difficult to accomplish.

 

The Disadvantages

Of course, as with anything, there are going to be some disadvantages to the flipped structure of learning as well. Just as classroom lecturing works better for some and doesn't work for others, the flipped classroom method is not going to accommodate every individual perfectly. The biggest set back today to the flipped classroom method is that not all students and schools have access to technologies that can really work for this method.

 

Students from lower income areas and lower income families may not have access to the computers and internet technologies that the flipped classroom requires. The structure really hinges on every student having personal access to his or her own personal device. This simply is not the case for every student and every school district. Students who do not have personal home computers or access to the internet would be forced to use public computers at a library or at the school. This, to some degree, eliminates the personal and private experience of taking in the lecture. What makes having lectures as homework so powerful is that students can do it on their own time and in their own way. At a library computer or school computer time limits typically exist and access can be limited if it is busy. This is problematic.

 

Another downside to the idea of the flipped classroom that many people bring up is the fact that students would be spending all of their "homework time" plugged-in in front of a computer screen. Not only do not all students do well with learning from a screen, but this also adds to a student's time in front of a screen and sitting sedentary. While this concern isn't singular to the flipped classroom, the teaching concept doesn't help our young students to get up and get away from their computers, televisions, and iPods.

Flip your classroom with LectureTools! Check out one of our flipped classrooms by signing in as a student:

http://my.lecturetools.com

ID: icon20@lecturetools.com

PW: 2012

Mariana Ashley is a blogger and freelance writer who often writes for onlinecolleges.net about online college life. Mariana is passionate about all things education and loves writing about the latest trends in the world of academia. She welcomes comments via email at mariana.ashley031@gmail.com.

Topics: Learning Styles, classroom engagement strategies, emerging technologies in education, interactive classroom technology, enhance student engagement, Teaching with Technology, Student-Instructor Interaction, Engaging Students in the Classroom, Classroom Response Systems, Educational Technology, instructor interaction, student engagement, student engagement strategies, student response, Flipped Instruction, Guest Blogger, Learning Outcomes, The Flipped Classroom

3 Modern Trends in Education and the Web

Posted by Jason Aubrey on Mon, July 23, 2012

For the past several years now, our digital worlds and our physical worlds have collided in many ways. As technology and the internet become ever more prevalent in our everyday lives, we continue to blur the line between the digital and the "real". With our dating lives, our friendships, and our professional lives taking place largely in the online realm, it's no surprise that our education and academic lives are also turning to the web. Online education has been around for some time now. Where at one time the online classroom and the online degree carried some form of negative stigma, today they are more widely accepted among academics, employers, and the general public. It was the first online educational realms that have paved the way for so many other online educational innovations and resources that we have today.

 

On Modern Trends in Education and the Web Image resized 600 

 

While the online world is often discredited in one way or another—social media is seen as frivolous and social networking a distraction–there's no denying the relevance and significance of many modern online tools and techniques that have cropped up in recent years. The online world has so much to offer for its sheer accessibility and reach. With educational tools available at the simple click of a button the possibilities are endless. These three modern trends in web and education tools are major movements for the online learning community and wonderful insights into the future of education and academia.

 

TED Talks

The TED establishment has been around for some time now. Launched initially in 1984, TED, standing for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, originated as a global conference for "ideas worth spreading". While the TED slogan hasn't changed, the program has evolved significantly throughout the years. Today, TED provides thousands of videos online on subjects ranging from the United States healthcare system to lessons from death row inmates and mineral mining in seawater. Students, teachers, parents, business people, artists, and everyone alike have something to gain from TED talks and the TED agenda. What TED communicates overall is that innovative and inspiring things are happening every day and we should explore them. By creating a platform where people can explore and openly discuss their thoughts and ideas, we create the potential for a better world and a stronger human community.

 

Khan Academy

The Khan Academy has received a lot of buzz in recent months in the both the education and technology fields. Created in 2006 by MIT and Harvard Business school graduate Salman Khan, the Khan Academy seeks "to accelerate learning for students of all ages". The flipped classroom was covered by LectureTools recently and is a concept spearheaded in many ways by the Khan Academy. Khan provides over 3000 video tutorials on academic topics from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history. The videos teach hundreds of skills to practice to help students learn what they want to learn, when they want to learn it, and at their own pace. Khan communicates a complicated and exciting transition in the world of education—free world-class education for whomever wants it.

 

Open Courseware

As an evolution of the online learning world, many of the best and most renowned colleges and universities throughout the country are offering open courseware opportunities online. Schools like MIT (linked to above), Stanford, Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, and many more offer access to actual classes taught by their professors. These courses vary in how much they offer, but most provide a real class syllabus, assignment list, readings, lecture notes, and more for free online. The open courseware initiative put in place by these institutions for higher learning display a new and exciting concept in the world of higher education. While at one time college was in many ways the world of the privileged, these open courseware initiatives invite anyone and everyone to access collegiate level learning. Something that technology and academia have come to agree on and work toward is that a solid education should be available to any who seek it.

 

The Author 

Melissa Miller spent many years working odd jobs like street pantomime and burro grooming before finally admitting it was time to get her associate degree. Now she has sworn her life to helping others do the same by explaining the often tricky world of online education. Direct any questions or comments to melissamiller831@gmail.com.

 

Click here to learn how to use LectureTools and the cloud to flip your class!                          

Topics: classroom engagement strategies, interactive classroom technology, Flipped Instruction, The Flipped Classroom, Cloud Computing

The Flipped Classroom: Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century

Posted by Katherine Pfeiffer on Fri, February 17, 2012

Have you heard of the flipped classroom? Imagine inverting the way instruction and homework is assigned. Instead of students passively learning during class time, students learn at home receiving instruction at their own pace. Class time is then open for an active learning approach where students get access to valuable time with the instructor. The instructor’s role changes from presenter of content to learning coach. 

Jon Bergmann and Jerry Overmyer discovered this solution when students were frequently missing class for school activities. They began by recording and annotating their lectures and posted them on-line for absent students.  Not only did the absent students use these materials, but, many students who did not miss class used the on-line materials to reinforce the classroom lessons. 

There is no one exact model, but a flipped classroom typically includes:

  1. Resources like videos and PowerPoint presentations that take place of direct instruction
  2. Time outside of school where students watch videos, follow lecture slides, take notes, and create questions.
  3. Class time for working on group projects, homework where they can have the teacher’s immediate assistance.

Providing students with videos of instruction and PowerPoint presentations to be reviewed outside of school allows them to learn at their own pace.  They may pause the video, take notes, write questions, re-wind the video, review for clearer understanding, or perhaps fast-forward.  The lecture material is always available for review allowing students to return and use these powerful resources to study and prepare for exams.

While in class, the once "home" work assignments become much more meaningful and have a greater potential of sticking in their memory.  Flipping the classroom gives students the chance to first study at home and then use class time to really learn and understand through doing.  Think of the science class. Instead of spending 3/4 of class time lecturing and only 1/4 conducting lab experiments, students can spend nearly all of class time in the lab!

If you would like to provide more in-class learning experiences give the flipped classroom a try.  There are many on-line resources available.

Read More:

Follow LectureTools on Twitter

Keep Up with the Latest Trends in Educational Technology

Follow LectureTools on Twitter and join the latest conversations about best practices for teaching with technology, new technology trends that could affect your classroom, and connect with educators around the world.

Topics: Online Education, classroom engagement strategies, emerging technologies in education, Educational Technology, Flipped Instruction, The Flipped Classroom