OnQ Blog

A busy few days on the road to 24/7 Learning

Qualcomm Education team treks the country for mobile learning

May 19, 2015

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

In the quest to drive mobile technology into the education sector, we thought last week was amazing. I will assume you all saw the fantastic news about the team up with edX. As the Qualcomm Education team continues to trek the U.S., sharing its vision of true 24/7 learning for all, here are a few highlights of the team’s travels in the past 15 days.

Getting Future Ready:

Steve Clemons was privileged enough to be invited to the Future Ready California Regional Summit in Mountain View, CA,   given his prior background of eight years of service supporting school districts across San Diego County and his inputs to the Future Ready Build Infrastructure for Learning Framework document of Nov. 2014.

The summit is instrumental in assisting districts to utilize technology as a tool for learning. Representatives from some 45 school districts across California attended. Regional summits like this are being held across the country.

Through the Future Ready Framework, districts shared their strategy for improving education by embracing the opportunities that technology presents which are accessible today, as well as discussed requirements for future needs. Professional development was a key theme among all the delegates and will play a large part in our planning as we move ahead.

In one keynote presentation, Eric Sheninger from Spotswood School District in New Jersey talked about how his district focused on listening to students about how they wanted to learn and what tools they wanted to use. They even extended the school Wi-Fi network so that students could take their computers outside the classroom and not be confined to their desks.

Our vision is to extend this further, so students can take their learning home, to grandma’s house, to the park—almost anywhere. It was good to hear from Brian Ballinger from a small Merced County school district where he offers all families a Verizon MiFi bundle.

Good discussions were had with Steve Tietjen from Los Banos, Theresa Rouse from King City (Steve had previously developed a course with Theresa when she was at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education), Jeff Felix from Coronado and Sunne McPeak (CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund). Talking to representatives from the state—such as Red Bluff St Helena, we continually heard the same story about the need to address the “Homework Gap” created by inequitable off-campus connectivity.

Clemons came away with an ever-stronger belief in the huge opportunities for off campus connectivity for students across the state and indeed the whole country.

IMS Learning Impact Leadership Institute

Dave Wilson and Roman Visintine, who lead our Engineering team, attended the Learning Impact Leadership Institute in Atlanta, Georgia.

A morning panel entitled “What will become the core learning platform for K-20 Education” featured six people from diverse parts of the industry including our own Dave Wilson. Many members of the panel were very vocal about the opportunities for mobile in education, which was obviously music to our ears.

In an afternoon breakout session, Wilson and Visintine also presented something they call “Mobile Learning Tool Interoperability,” a native mobile extension to the LTI 2 standard that should also work well with the Caliper analytics standard.  We were inspired, in an earlier session, by the observation from VitalSource that they¹ve seen considerable cost savings through the adoption of (currently web-only) LTI 2, so much so that they are making LTI 2 reference implementations available in open source in multiple languages.  We will work with IMS Global to help bring these advantages to native mobile apps.

We were pleased to see advances in other standards as well. The new OneRoster standard has the potential to liberate schools from complex and expensive student roster data integrations.  ClassLink shared their enthusiastic support for OneRoster, and showed us that they will make roster data, as school districts direct, available to developers free of charge in support over a million K-12 students in regions across the country.  It is easy to see the OneRoster standard rapidly becoming the dominant means of roster data sharing.  We also observed what seemed like burgeoning interest among publishers for Thin Common Cartridge, which will content get into learning environments without the need to maintain copies and will work wonderfully with LTI 2.

SIIA annual Education Industry Summit

The event brought about 300 executives from across the educational software industry covering primarily K-12, but also Higher Ed, and professional learning. SIIA is known for its events which offer numerous quality networking opportunities, while providing mentorship to startup EdTech companies. Qualcomm Education, along with Intel Education and School Messenger were this year’s lead sponsors. Our very own Ben Sperling and Susan Silveira moderated two of the hot topic panels—one on next generation learning models and the other on mobile learning.

Building New Learning Models for our Next-Gen Students

This panel included Adam Hall, CEO of Nervanix; Sheryl Abshire, CTO Calcasiue Parish Schools; Elliot Soloway, U. of Michigan (Intergalactic Mobile Learning Center); and Cathie Norris, regents professor University of N. Texas.

Soloway and Norris, who are leaders and innovators in the mobile learning space and have been critical to the success of Qualcomm Wireless Reach WE Learn program in Singapore, highlighted their “Collabrify” SDK, which stresses the importance of kids working together synchronously in real-time and “collabrify” rather than work in an asynchronous manner.

Hall discussed Nervanix’s approach to using neuroscience to analyze student attention and how utilizing a headset to measure brainwaves can allow students to become empowered to monitor their own engagement with learning.

All in all, it was super exciting stuff and we’re looking forward to how these new developments will evolve the ways in which student learn.

Trends in Mobile Learning Panel

This panel included Mikkel Storm, VP of product and marketing for Waterford Institute; Tom Greaves, Greaves Consulting; and Joan Whitney, managing director of business development for MCH Consulting.

Some key discussion areas brought up during the panel included: the need to focus on professional development for teachers in a digital classroom and the fact that the bandwidth requirements for quality 1:1 learning programs are always significantly underestimated.

A very interesting report was provided by Waterford Institute, a non-profit research center founded in 1976 with the goal of providing high-quality educational models, programs and software. A major part of the effort was the development of the Waterford Early Reading Program, which offers a comprehensive reading curriculum for kindergarten through second grade, as well as the Waterford Early Math and Science program.

Mark Schneiderman of SIIA held the first full-day Privacy and Security workshop during the SIIA event. Privacy and Security remains a very complex area and we are glad that Mark and SIIA continue to provide leadership in this area. Silveira also continued her duties as a board director attending the Spring Board of Directors meeting on Sunday and was an award announcer at the 30th annual CODiE awards event on Tuesday evening.

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