Kinvolved - Big Brother is NOT a solution

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Today we give a closer look at the app Kinvolved, a mobile application developed in the U.S. in 2012 to address the great challenge of Early School Leavers. Kinvolved is a mobile application for teachers which allows to have closer communication with students' families compared to the traditional way. Among its features it tracks student attendance, sends real-time SMS or emails to their families, it gathers data student attendance at school and relate them with graduation rates.

Attendance is the key indicator of graduation. Research shows that effective family engagement leads to increased student achievement, reduced absenteeism, and higher graduation rates (source: Kinvolved)

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What Duolingo taught me

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I consider Duolingo he best learning application available on the market to date. I have been using for quite almost 4 months and I thought it is useful to write down the reasons why I consider it to be an outstanding mobile-first learning app. I think all educational developers and instructional designers should take inspiration from Duolingo much as possible.  The reason is the combination of some important elements.

  • It's a mobile native application: it's thought as a mobile-first application, it offers also a desktop web version although 80% of users are mobile.
  • It uses gamification elements: it uses a structured learning plan divided into several learning stages which the user has to unlock progressively. For each level completed experience points are awarded. The app allows to compare the experience points collected periodically with other friend users.
  • It's free of charge and is ad-free.
  • It's fully adaptive to the learner. A opening test at the beginning of each course determines the level of expertise in the language. That influences the entire course.
  • Reinforces learning: it uses strength bars which decrease without constant training. In this way it encourages the user not to give up and learn more.
  • The GUI is well designed: the options are minimalistic and seamless.
  • It uses crowdsourcing: to earn money it asks the users to translate documents and review other translations. Crowd translation is not only a smart business model but is also the most reliable way to elicit ground truth.

Will this Revolutionize Education?

Yesterday I stumbled upon this video concerning the role of technology in Education. I found it particularly interesting because it validates what has been always my claim. Whichever educational technology we pick, which enhances or supports learning, that will be never part the learning-core, the sphere where the magic happens. The latter is a complex system of purely human dynamics: the learning process always boils down to the relationship among the teacher and the learner, and among the learner and his or her peers.

World education needs no #GESF

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Business men making business behind education at the GESF

 

The 15th and 16th of March 2015 the third edition of the Global Education & Skills Forum is taking place in Dubai.

The aim of this forum, as specified on their website is to

... bring together leaders from government, business, and education, as well as leading academics, social entrepreneurs, and other thought leaders, to focus on the research, models, and mechanisms that can create quality education and employment for all.

As the subtitle of the forum says, the event is focused on Education, Equity and Employment. These three keywords carry with them some fundamental issues that the world is facing today. Just to mention a few: access and distribution of education; safety of educational environments; discriminations toward gender, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic condition; unemployment, lack of social security and basic rights. And so on.  Continue reading