eSynergy – Minnesota eLearning Summit Day One: Full Notes

Today I attended the first day of the Minnesota eLearning Summit Day. It’s fun to see what’s happening with education and how schools, teachers and students are handling the transition.

There were two themes that emerged today: MOOCs and motivations.

MOOCs are Massive Open Online Courses – the big (often higher ed level) classes many of us have read about. The idea is one teach taking on tens of thousands of students. The learning is done through mini-video lectures, self- and peer-assessment.

Motivation was the other theme. How do we leverage gaming and technology to help kids learn? A really nice tidbit – students are motivated by intrinsic rewards. More importantly, gaming and technology can be used to build critical skills (problem solving and creative thinking) for today and the future.

If you’re not a teacher, Gamification and Game-Based Learning session (notes below) might be most interesting to help you think about how online motivation can be used in and outside of the education! If you are a educator, Creating and Using Flexbooks Based on Minnesota Content Standards  (notes below) is a good place to learn about customizable online curriculum.


Morning Keynote: Education’s JetPack Moment – Jeffery Young

Massive Open Online Courses – MOOCs

  • Short Video Lectures – made for the web
  • Auto- or Peer-Graded Homework  (there are program checkers)
  • Free (Large student groups – so students support students)


  • Coursera
  • Udacity
  • Khan
  • edX


  • Venture Capitalists
  • Companies
  • Nonprofit world
  • Universities

Creators = Robotocists turned educators

How does teaching play out?

Teacher’s Role

  • Film lectures (Marginal University)
    • The low tech version works well – big studio does not necessarily work
    • Flipped classroom – interactive classrooms; lectures at home
    • Know the students before they come into the classroom (Moneyball-fashion)

Textbook’s Role

  • Looking at e-textbooks
    • E-textbooks can customize
    • E-textbooks  is more than text
    • A little like MOOCs

Gamification and Game-Based Learning – Caitlin Cahill, Orono Public School

It was fun to hear about how and why games are motivators in the class. You could use a lot of the tips for motivating anyone – and if you hire young folks who may be gamers this may be especially helpful.

Some quick highlights for me – points, badges, leaderboards work. Kids like the competition – but the points don’t have to lead to an outside benefit, in fact points without real world value are even better. Also, the goal doesn’t have to be to be number one – just beat the people who rank near you.

Creating and Using Flexbooks Based on Minnesota Content Standards – Marc Johnson ECMECC



To start for the non-education-related readers – FlexBook is a textbook authoring platform offered by the CK-12 Foundation. ECMECC starts with CK-12 to build their FlexBooks. They looked for a curriculum that met the Minnesota State Standards and could be adapted – not just adopted. That suited the different needs of different schools and classrooms.

Teachers can in turn start with CK-12 and/or ECMECC Flexbooks and create their own customized FlexBooks.

It was fun to hear about how the curriculum was developed – specifically how they used Face-to-Face, Skype, ClearSea, Google Hangouts, Google Docs – in other words they used the technology. Also it was interesting to hear about a regional approach, which means different school and districts with different goals and technology levels.

Learn more & find Math curriculum:  Schools outside of ECMECC are welcome to use the curriculum, but please contact Marc to let him know.

24 school districts are working on a Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum and Innovative Instruction:

Educational games that develop learner independence: How effective?  – Larry Copes

What fosters independent thinking and self-evaluation? Games!

Motivation – extrinsic versus intrinsic. However there are some grey areas – sometimes we are intrinsically motivated to learn something like musical scales but it will lead to extrinsic reward of playing music.

Choose more than information or skill based games – you can also find games that try to build critical thinking, creative problem solving and include self-assessment of growth and change.


Kid Links School Partner Program: Connecting the Library and Students – Amy Luedtke, Hennepin County Library

How can public libraries use digital resources to engage and serve students and teachers?

  • Library gets 10,500 hits per week.  Link to games is most popular page.
    • Circulate ebooks for children
    • Kid Links blog
    • Online polls are popular
    • Uses Youth Program Quality Assessment Pyramid
    • BookaWocky
      • Kids can earn badges through the summer reading campaign
      • There’s a public leaderboard for badges too
      • Goal is to create a community of online readers
      • Homework Help
        • Live chat
        • Curated websites
        • Live online tutors
      • Digital Literacy
        • Info Literacy = Ability to find, evaluate, use and understand information. Foundation of Digital Literacy Technology doesn’t replace the need for information Literacy.
        • Digital Literacy = Having the skills to use technology and digital tools to consume and create content
        • New Media Literacy

Failure in Not an Option – Gary Lopez, NROC

We are now on the threshold of sea change in public education. The transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age has redefined the skill set of a work-ready citizen, as well as opened the door for new ways to teach and learn. Can digital technology help us move from our current “one-size-fits-all” education system to “personalized learning” and help more students find academic and life success?

Real change in Education requires real change in

  • Products
  • Systems
  • Economic Model

Hippocampus – free educational resources for middle school, high school, higher ed students and teachers. It’s free for individuals. For institutions, they pay about $1 per student per year.

This entry was posted in education by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s