Today STEM Connector held a town hall titled ‘The state of education technology.’ Much of what was discussed was on personalized and adaptive learning, data mining and individualization for how and what students learn, and the use of technology to organize the classroom around modalities of learning and instruction. Two of the presenters, David Liu, from Knewton (http://www.knewton.com/about/) and Joel Rose, from Teach to One (http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/dc-students-test-teach-to-one-learning-system/2012/10/14/9f945470-149b-11e2-be82-c3411b7680a9_story.html) talked about their companies in this line of business. These programs, however, have high price tag. I would like to look at data on how effective these programs are for retention, closing achievement gaps, assisting with learning progressions, and metacognition. For instance, program evaluation; Teach to One is pretty new.

One thing that is pretty cool and I want you to check out is ‘iLabCentral.org Real Labs. Real Learning’ Kemi Jona, Northwestern University, described this amazing resource at this town hall. These are lab simulations on steroids? No, no they are even better because you are ‘interacting’ with real equipment. There is one that uses an ICP, oh memories. I am definitely going to use these when I get back. There is an iLab library organized by grade level. There are not that many for the middle school level, but you will see that adapting many other ones is not that far fetch. Best of all, it’s a free open-source platform.

The following narrative is from their website http://ilabcentral.org/about.php

·         ‘Gives science teachers and learners in traditional and online high schools, museums, and informal science education programs the ability to experience the excitement and authenticity of using high-end equipment to investigate the world in the same way that scientists do

·         Provides new research and learning opportunities for students, allowing them to share and discuss procedures and results

  • Prepares teachers to integrate iLABs in a range of science courses (including AP courses), encouraging them to go beyond the current paradigm of cookbook science labs with outdated or inappropriate equipment
  • Allows access by students and other audiences around the world who might not otherwise have the resources to purchase and operate costly or delicate lab equipment.’


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