Summer 2013 #AwesomeSlates Contest Winners

This summer, Accredible debuted “slates” – a new way to capture evidence for your learning. What followed was a contest of epic proportions where learners from around the world competed for fame and fortune in our #AwesomeSlates contest. A good slate captures pre-requisite learning, a great slate conveys truly memorable, deep learning with a variety of unique pieces of evidence. Sifting through the entries, we have been incredibly inspired by the creativity, effort, and loads of learning that YOU Accredible users share with the world. It wasn’t easy, but with the help of our leading judges, we are please to announce the winners of the #AwesomeSlates Contest for the Summer of 2013! Drumroll please….!

The winner of the Best Formal Learning slate is Melissa Cardin. Her “Bachelors of Arts, Social Work” slate has exemplary evidence of her expertise in the field. Notably, she includes her actual diploma from the University of New Hampshire, notes, and syllabi from key courses to provide a snapshot of her university learning. Additionally, her excellent research and essays provide a compelling glimpse into her research and work around children’s welfare and related issues. Her endorsements highlight her dedication and academic excellence. Congratulations, Melissa!

For the Best MOOC/Online Learning slate, our winner is Vladimir Đorđević. Vladimir completed the Berklee College of Music course on the “Introduction to Music Production by Loudon Stearns” via Coursera, clearly demonstrating his skills with a variety of music production tools. Highlights from his slate include screen captures of his consistently high-scores from his quizzes and his collaborative music projects. The links to his projects show his creativity with sound and his ability to apply the different concepts and effects he’s learning about in the class. We’re excited to celebrate Vladimir’s musical endeavors!

Abraham Joyner-Meyers wins the Best Skill slate for the impressive collection of evidence of his talent as a violinist. Despite his youth, his many videos on his slate clearly showcase a talent for public performance as well as his musical gifts—he’s performed in a variety of ensembles from full orchestra to soloist roles. In addition to performing well-practiced, heart-string pulling masterpieces, Abraham also shows a sense of humor through his violin, participating in and accompanying comedy skits. Perhaps even more remarkable than what he has achieved so far is the incredibly metacognitive and thoughtful way he approaches his practice; excerpts from his blog “The Education of a Young Man” give us insight into his reflectiveness and maturity as a dedicated learner, always keen to improve his craft. Bravo, Abraham!

The “CS75: Building Dynamic Websites” slate by Arian Allenson Valdez takes the honors for Best Self-Paced Learning slate. Arian’s evidence of his learning through the Harvard Extension School showcases his evolving skills as a programmer. He includes a diverse array of evidence, from screenshots and web links for projects to links to a book he referenced during his course. He even includes two time-lapsed videos of him coding his projects, showing how he deals with the problems he encounters! Arian’s final project for the course was a “Virtual Pet” game showing a successful application of the concepts he’s learned. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s next from this intrepid programmer!

Michael Foster’s slate on “Gamification” from the UPenn Coursera MOOC wins for the category of Most Innovative slate. Aside from the detailed and thorough assignments he completed, all earning high marks, he also created a variety of awesome mind maps to capture his learning. The maps are remarkable for their depth and clarity, easily conveying large amounts of information about different game-related concepts in an easily accessible way. It’s clear that he has a strong handle of the information, but his slate also demonstrates a creative mind and a knack for distilling large amounts of information into reader-friendly portions—that’s quite a set of skillsl in itself!

We’d also like to thank our wonderful judges:

Dev

Devavrat calls himself an Autodidact, Thinker, Designer. He deeply believes, like his role-models Isaac Asimov and Seymour Papert, that the best learning happens when the learner takes charge. He’s been learning independently from a lot of MOOCs and books about various fields since 2011 because he wants to be a good big-picture thinker and solve world’s problems through collaboration and great design.

Emerson

Emerson is the CEO of StudyRoom, the social learning network for students to meet all their classmates, get help from them and get better grades! (www.getstudyroom.com) Thousands of students taking classes from Stanford, UC Berkeley, Georgia Tech and many others are using study rooms for their courses and they describe it as lifesaver. If you have ever been stuck doing homework or studying for a midterm and just needed a little help then now you can get it super fast, from your classmates on StudyRoom.

Roxy

Roxy is a nineteen-year-old self-directed learner from Russia. She’s an UnCollege student, going her own way with her education. This lets her explore and learn anything she wants, with her main interests being business, writing, and psychology. She usually uses MOOCs for them–so many that she wrote a Beginner’s Guide to MOOCs, featured on Accredible Blog some time ago. If you want to know more about her educational exploits, you can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Accredible on the Radio!

CollegeSmartRadio

Left to Right: Beatrice Schultz (College Smart Radio), Danny King & Alan Heppenstall (Accredible)

We were really honored to join Beatrice Schultz from College Smart Radio at KDOW, the Wall Street Business Network, to talk about some of our favorite subjects: college education, MOOCs, and, of course, Accredible. Join us tomorrow, Saturday, August 17 from 3-3:30 PDT  on 1220am KDOW if you’re in the Bay Area, or online (no matter where you are!) at: http://www.kdow.biz.

Update: Listen to the recording below and check out the College Smart blog post here!

EdTech Goes Retro

LDTlogosOn August 2, Stanford’s Learning Design & Technology (LDT) Expo showcased a diverse array of creative projects addressing a gamut of problems in education, proving that innovations in education aren’t limited to solving problems in a specific field, demographic, or country. Although the expected screens, tablets, and computers crowded the demo floor, a surprising number of the LDT projects involved more whimsical and charming tangible objects: railroad cars, wooden forts, and even tea sets.

Add an edtech expo, you’d expect most projects to focus on the K12 demographic, but Maketea actually targeted an older demographic, specifically, couples. It is essentially a date night kit comprised of a set of teaware, tea leaves, and a downloadable app that walks a couple through an intimate tea ceremony with reflection questions to help them better understand each other. It was a unique way to ground discussion in an experience that was a bit unexpected for a learning design and technology expo, but definitely not far from many other projects that seemed to use technology as a facilitator rather than the main interactive educational element.

Tink teaches kids programming concepts with colorful, tangible elements. Tink had various elements that could be programmed and coordinated with an iPad to take certain actions depending on the environment or stimulus nearby, perhaps playing a song when your mom came into the room, etc. The minds behind Tink also created Dr. Wagon, a tangible way to learn programming with wooden railroad cars labeled with programming language to help kids visualize the changes that they were implementing with their code — a crafty sensor in the main wagon sensed the changes and order of the rail cars and would react accordingly. When I asked Tink’s co-founder Alfredo Sandes about the rationale behind Tink, he mentioned that he’s found that research shows tangible objects tend to stimulate kids more than visual stimulants. Another STEM skill-building project was DesignDuo, a kit of projects that daughters and dads can build together. The project includes the parts and directions to configure mini lamps and even decorate their creations with paint, proving that engineering and science are collaborative and creative. Worlds, another project designed to introduce kids to programming, leveraged kids interest in gaming, in your world, you control your characters by typing in the correct code.

One of the LDT favorites Hüga Forts engaged kids in collaborative problem-solving with simple wooden panes and connecting cogs. Each wooden square could be decorated or filled with alternative embellishments: a tic-tac-toe board, mini blinds, translucent sheets of painted paper, among many others. Because of the unique design of the cogs, the wooden squares could be connected together to form a variety of shapes and especially fun forts!

When I think of these projects–and so many more from the Expo–I can’t help but think that we live in exciting times for education. Not only are there so many new topics to learn about, but so many different ways to begin and continue learning. Which of the projects interested you the most? We’d love to hear your thoughts about what’s cooking in edtech!