Once upon a time, exactly one year ago, something magic happened: the K-20 Blog was born!
Ok, there's nothing magic to publishing a post on a blog, that is as easy and straightforward as it can be. But the day of November 17, 2015 will always be kind of magic for the NEO team.
So today we're celebrating the one-year anniversary of the K-20 Blog! Just imagine our office covered in confetti.
The K-20 Blog turns one!
It's been a full year since the first post, obviously entitled NEO says hello! has seen the light of the internet.
During the last past 52 weeks, 16 hands typed more than fifty thousands words, into over 60 blog posts. This collaborative work has placed the K-20 Blog in the first 20% of all e-learning blogs!
And now, please allow us to brag a little about our best performing articles from the past year:
Top 10 blog posts of NEO
From well-known subjects of education technology, like BYOD and gamification, to technical aspects regarding school LMSs, to trying to guess the future, the K-20 Blog covered it all in its rather short existence. Without further ado, here are the top 10 posts on the K-20 Blog:
…The cloud classroom, the Internet of Things, augmented learning, BYOD, and personalized learning! Besides these five trends of 2016, mobile learning, gamification and cloud integration have continued to be on the lips of ed tech people everywhere. Some predictions in this post were more hopeful than others, but the general idea is that education technology is changing for the better and the best part is that we are all part of this change.
I think this post really hit a sensitive chord with classroom teachers everywhere. They probably agree that learning really has to be more like games if we want schools to better equip our kids for the unknown future and seriously consider including gamification in their instruction. Small things — like changing wording for classroom activities, using experience points instead of grades, encouraging mistakes that lead to aha-moments, and keeping all learning materials in one place in the cloud — can have big results.
The Pokemon Go frenzy was like a bomb. One Pokemon Go player attracted other players, and then more players, and took over the world, just like one split atom causes other nearby atoms to split, thus forming the bomb. The idea that educators can use the AR game in the classroom was a noble one. Some teachers actually succeeded with it, for a while. I’m not sure how many are still including Pokemon Go in their instruction, but the game sure opened a window of opportunity for the use of augmented reality for education.
Virtual Reality has taken by storm the education field, and why wouldn’t it? It’s a great tool to create awesome things, and its benefits are far more numerous than its shortcomings. From physics and astronomy to medical training or learning a new language, VR can be used for almost every teaching subject, and the student engagement that it creates is immeasurable. Just imagine the possibilities of having VR as a built-in feature in an LMS. Considering the pace at which technology is evolving, this could happen pretty soon.
There are many LMS vendors that describe their products as being user friendly, but sometimes that is nowhere near the truth! Terms like intuitive, easy to use, responsive, and many other seem to mean a different thing to each vendor. But this shouldn’t happen, and LMS vendors should follow some standards before labeling their products as user friendly. For example, a user friendly LMS should have a simple navigation structure, have nice visual and graphical elements, avoid clutter, have a responsive design, and offer some fun elements, like gamification.
Teachers are the most valuable resources for a great education system, and with the help of technology, they can change things for the better. Although the use of technology in the classroom has increased significantly during the last years, there are still plenty of educators that struggle with it. The reasons for this vary, from a lack of understanding on how technology can make their lives easier, to not knowing how to use it exactly, to just being very traditional. The good news is that there are solutions to all these problems and misunderstandings.
Believe or not, there are students that consider e-learning a threat to the traditional learning with books here, notebooks there, and ink and paper everywhere. We are in the realm of the 21st century classroom, so teachers need to show to these students the benefits of digital learning. The best way to do this is through the use of a learning management system, with its gamification features, collaboration tools and anytime, anywhere access to learning materials.
Schools are like mass-producers of perfectly shaped cookies, instead of being more like mothers who bake the most delicious cookies ever. Students are allowed to be different and curious as long as they fit the mold; once they want to bend the limits, the system makes sure to keep their perfect shape. It seems like the measurement of learning has somehow become more important than learning itself. It’s high time for schools to leave behind this cookie-cutter education and make use of technology to go towards personalized learning.
Teachers are like chocolate-makers, and if they want students to devour their chocolate, they should pay attention to the wrapping as well. Even if they know how to make the finest chocolate (read courses), kids will always have a weakness for the one in the most beautiful packaging. The thing is, too many teachers focus on the educational part of their courses and simply forget about, or even ignore the visual part. This post was the first in a mini-series of three about how to create beautiful online courses, with the help of colors, fonts, and layout.
There are plenty of concerns about adopting BYOD — Bring Your Own Device — in schools, from all stakeholders of the education system: teachers, parents, school management, and even students. Many of these are truly legitimate, and can lead to negative results. But each BYOD concern has at least one corresponding solution to it, so schools should at least consider the idea of allowing students to bring their devices to class and use them as tools for learning. This post was the second and last part of a series addressing 10 BYOD concerns and some corresponding suggestions on how to overcome them.
And these were the top-performing 10 posts on the K-20 Blog, from the last exactly 366 days.
Happy anniversary, K-20 Blog! NEO LMS is proud of you! May there be many happy returns of this day!