Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Surgical Learning Analytics and Learning Playlists

 Note: This post is the fourth in the nine-part series Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Convergence Reshapes Teacher Preparation for Today and the Future and written in the vein of peering into Teaching 2030. Click here to read the previous post on the Gamification of Education.

As technology grows more sophisticated, so will the capacity for harnessing data with the targeted importance of surgical learning analytics, as Open Colleges’ Learning Analytics Infographic outlines. And, interest in learning analytics is increasing as evidenced by the doubling of registrations for the Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference between 2011 and 2012 and increased research efforts in how teachers use data to inform instruction.

However, the data gathered is only as good as the assessment. Teacher candidates must master designing appropriate and effective measures of student learning, as well as interpreting the results. Moreover, surgical learning analytics will prove even more crucial when designing customized, personalized learning experiences, let’s call them learning playlists, which tap into student interests and passions, while leveraging the best digital tools available to get the job done.

The School of One is an example of applying the backend use of surgical learning analytics – algorithms – to inform practice and teacher know-how on assessing student success, making customized, differentiated learning more engaging and relevant. Therefore, teacher candidates must have intimate knowledge of assessment, the best tools for gathering learning data, and putting the results to work.

Look for an extension on the Learning Management System design in becoming a Next Generation Learning Platform, which merges student data and teacher professional development needs, housed in the cloud, creating more relevant, personalized learning for students and teachers. The development of a Next Generation Learning Platform would be especially timely considering the projected December release of the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) and its encouraged development by the Chief State School Officers; the SLC will house student data in the cloud, making the need for understanding surgical learning analytics even more of a turnkey in teacher preparation.

Further, surgical learning analytics will expand with students using mobile devices in a variety of settings. In the Harvard Graduate School of Education course Learning Goes Lifewide: Using New Media to Connect In and Outside of School, among many topics, participants discuss how “children and young people are turning playgrounds, camps, museums, shopping malls and vacations into learning environments,” blurring lines between formal and informal learning and how “educators can conduct assessments continuously and incorporate useful feedback immediately.” Leafsnap, which “uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves,” is one example of growing experiential, place-based mobile learning beyond traditional classroom walls.

By 2030, today’s crowdsourced learning playlists, which are designed around passion and interest, such as those found at Skillshare, Mentormob, OpenStudy, and Mightybell, will become more sophisticated. And, advances in neuroscience prompt the invention of new cognitive tools that “allow educators to identify distinct cognitive pathways for individual learners, supporting increasingly customized learning experiences.”

2030 teacher edupunks, as self-directed learners, will have grown-up with the early rendition of learning playlists and have first-hand knowledge of beneficial designs, positioning them as teacherpreneurs to work in concert with for-profits or begin their own business ventures. Further, surgical learning analytics will become more sophisticated as learning ecosystems track a learner’s digital footprints, creating an information-rich, connected web of experience, skills, and learning (not education) attainment.

What are your thoughts? How will teacher preparation programs include learning playlists and learning analytics?

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