On Monday (10/22/12), the @BreakDrinkCampus Tech Connection (#CTCX) discussed the latest technology gadget announcements, privacy on the Interwebz and challenges with Reddit, and diving into social media guidance in an upcoming assessment. Here is the video podcast:
There are a number of conversations about challenges, changes and disruptions to higher education. Recently, Ginkgotree, the “Tumbler for textbooks,” got me thinking more about my curriculum content and sharing for my courses.
Ginkgotree launched last week to allow instructors the ability to customize and develop their learning material using a wide variety of multimedia and curriculum content. On Monday’s (10/8/12) BreakDrink Campus Tech Connection (#CTCX) show, we were able to get a LIVE show and tell to preview the new instructional resource from Scott Hasbrouck (@scotthasbrouck), Ginkgotree CEO & “Everything Hacker.”
Here are a few of the interesting features that might appeal to educators in higher education (and possibly K-12 as well):
1. Teaching from your own curriculum - instructors have the ability and control of designing their own course curriculum that meets the needs of their learning objectives and materials. Through an easy licensing service provided by Ginkgotree, instructors have the ability to use content from all over the web including journal articles, YouTube videos, images, and other content on the web. One this course pack is developed, instructors have the ability to share a private link to students to start the learning.
2. Do you have an aged textbook to add? Ginkgotree allows you to utilize some of your favorite text material, even the ones that have been highlighted, annotated and difficult to retrieve in the past by using high quality scanners to digitize your print text and share legally with learners.
3. Give your students the best opportunities to learn - Remember when you wondered if your students even bought or even opened the textbook for your course? SOON instructors will be able to track learner progress and engagement through course pack analytics. Ginkgotree also has the ability to offer public and private notes, ask questions, and tag your content with keywords to make it easier for both the instructor and student to navigate.
4. Reduce the cost for your learners - Students pay a flat rate of $10/month for unlimited courses, plus any applicable copyright fees (usually 15 cents per page) for their books. Rather than spending $250 per textbook, average costs of textbooks range from $45-55. For instructors it is “Free. Always. Forever.”
I think Ginkgotree has an interesting model and can definitely contribute to the evolution of higher education and learning as we know it. Perhaps it is time to consider how we compile and share learning content with our students. Go on. Sign up. Play around with it yourself. Let me know what you think.
During the Campus Tech Connection (#CTCX) Show No. 60, we starting to discuss how technology has impacted social justice on our college and university campus – and beyond. Social activism is an intentional action with the goal of bringing about social change. An activist is anyone who is fighting for change in society – such as a rally against tuition increase, fighting against international human rights abuses, or educating others about a social issue. The question is – what happens when technology is interwoven into these actions for change? Is liking a Facebook page enough? How can a tweet really start a revolution? Are our students really engaged in activism by using their mobile device? Listen to the broadcast from Friday, May 25th as @BruceBMann, @Kathy_Petras & @JulieCLarsen share their ideas, thoughts, concerns and more about the topic of technology & social activism.
GoingOn Networks is a San Francisco based education technology company that has created an Academic Social Network to enable colleges and universities to streamline communications, foster connections, and simplify collaboration across the extended campus.
New social technologies provide powerful tools for creating a “connected campus” where students and faculty can more effectively engage in all aspects of their academic life, far beyond the confines of the course.
Schools have invested millions of dollars deploying institution-wide portals with good reason: they do several things very well. Most importantly, they provide users with a central place for accessing a myriad of disparate back-end systems, including the LMS and SIS. More advanced portals also provide easy access to transactional processes, such as registration, grades, and financial aid. But the other core vision for the portal was to provide a central way for students, faculty and administrators to access school-wide information and to connect with the people and resources that help them succeed. In this area, portals have been a dismal failure.
As CEO of GoingOn, I have talked to hundreds of universities about what is essentially a communication problem: how to get the right information to the right people at the right time. Today’s students (and increasingly the faculty as well) are not willing to go to portals and navigate a maze of menus and pages to try to find information. They want relevant and timely information “pushed” to them in simple and actionable chunks. Short of having an effective way to do this, most schools have resorted to “institutionalized” spam. My sister-in-law, a professor at a California state university, told me that she gets over a hundred emails a day from a myriad of generic list servers and email groups. She reads about 15% of them.
So where do we go from here? To find the answer, you simply need to look as far as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These companies have done in five years what major companies like IBM, Oracle and Datatel could not accomplish in the prior twenty years: crack the code on collaborative modalities. These solutions have been so effective as to spawn global revolutions. The key reason for these product successes lies in the core design tenants on which they are based, including “push-based” activity streams, sharing, liking, following, in-line commenting, and, increasingly, intelligent recommendations. Take a look across the current academic technology stack (LMS, SIS, Portals, etc.) and you will not find a single system that effectively utilizes these essential concepts. How can we possibly engage today’s students if we do not adopt these new online models for facilitating communication, connections and collaboration?
GoingOn and a handful of other early innovators are developing a new generation of Academic Social Networks. These private institution-wide networks allow schools to extend their current systems and to apply social models to the critical goal of student engagement and faculty empowerment. The result is higher retention, integrated curriculum, and most importantly, a more rewarding academic life experience.
If you were not able tune in live be sure to check out the podcast here:
Have you ever wanted to give back to you alma mater in a meaningful way? Be sure to check out this week’s Campus Tech Connection podcast as we welcomed @tomkrieglstein back to the show to learn how alumni can contribute to the crowdsourcing student potential with @AlumniChoose. Listen to internet radio with BreakDrink on Blog Talk Radio […]
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