Monday, May 30, 2011

This post originally appeared on Droid Portal.
I struggled at times in school. It was hard for me to stay engaged for such long periods of time. The teacher would be going over something new and I would get it but it always seemed like there was that one kid that couldn't grasp the concept no matter how it was explained. So while questions were being asked my mind would wander and then I would snap back to reality realizing that I had missed a few things and then I was completely lost.
It wasn't until college that I got to experience a class that seemed tailored to the way I learned. Advanced Calculus was available in "computer media." There was a teacher present but he was only there to answer questions. All of the learning was done through the computer. You would start each section seeing and hearing the concepts explained. Then you would work example problems with the aid of the computer until it dropped you into the final assessment. After the quiz you would get to see what you had gotten wrong and then it was explained how to solve these problems. What was also great about this was I could go at the exact pace that I wanted to. This class was perfect for me, it was the first time I had ever gotten an A in math.
Cengage has developedMindTap, a program meant to effectively utilize technology to give students a personalized learning experience. The reason I wanted to write a post on this at is that it falls in line with how technology should flow. Please click on the MindTap link and check it out.
How does this represent the future? We have all this great technology that is suppose to streamline our lives but it has really only added complexity. While everyone communicates through the web we don't all communicate the same way. So a professor who compiles a list of email addresses may not be as connected as they think when half of the class uses Facebook. MindTap would allow for effective communication not only because the entire class would be connected but also because the professor would have complete visibilty of what each student is comprehending.
Why was a computer able to reach me where others (some of which who were very talented teachers) failed? There are 3 ways people learn, by seeing, hearing, and doing. I'm a kinesthetic, so being able to do the math problems at my own pace every step of they drilled it into me. The computer had all the bases covered since it delivered the content in multiple fashions.
MindTap which is feature rich does more than just cover bases. Adding visibility for the instructor adds the ability for him or her to focus on the needs of the students more efficiently. Further, MindTap is device agnostic, giving students access to their experience anytime, anywhere - on their desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile phone, or even in print. All I can say is it's about time that multi-platform development starts taking hold. Imagine if I could have had an experience like this all throughout high school!
 MindTap was recently unveiled at TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) whose tagline is "Ideas worth spreading." I think a revamp in how we communicate when we teach is an idea worth spreading rather than just fighting over how we decide which schools get funding. 

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