September 18, 2007

A school staff meeting...with 600 teachers

Q: What do you call your K-12 staff meeting when there are more than 600 employees at your school and they are all among the highest rated teachers in the state?

A: It is the Florida Virtual School Annual Staff Meeting

Florida Virtual School is one of the key R&D partners of the Academic ADL Co-Lab. I met several of FLVSs newest online teachers (about 200 of them) who were not here last year. That number is not based on attrition but staggering growth. These new teachers are incredibly enthusiastic about the work they are doing with their students. For me, seeing so many teachers who are passionate about delivering high-quality online learning and who are unafraid to push the boundaries of teaching with technology is uplifting. In fact, several that I talked with were anxious to move into new realms to include games and more advanced interactivity into their courses.

The Co-Lab is already working on two significant projects to create more interactive courseware with FLVS and we just agreed to extend our partnership with two more projects to closely integrate games in scalable and meaningful ways into FLVS courses. Of course having GLS faculty projects housed in the Co-Lab and a top learning game development company as a spin-off helps a great deal in this effort!

The AADLC is delivering three presentations at the staff meeting this year and I was fortunate enough to be asked to discuss the future of online learning technology (always an energizing topic to deliver).

I hope to squeeze out at least one more post before the conference is over.

Posted by Rovy at 10:26 PM

September 13, 2007

Extending SCORM RTE to include games and simulations

The Academic ADL Co-Lab had the opportunity to virtually host a session on the proposed SCORM Runtime Extension that is in early prototype development yesterday. What makes this extension particularly interesting is that it represents a first attempt at allowing SCORM to break out of its browser-based constraints via a web services layer.

The recorded Breeze session is available online and it is worth watching because it is a simple but powerful demonstration of how this proposed extension would work. A learner could take a course using a typical SCO format and, through a new asset type called an LSF, be directed to a different server to queue up for a simulation or game using any game technology. A web services layer then sends the results of the game activity back to the LMS and allows remediation using SCOs (if the learner is not successful in meeting objectives) through current SCORM sequencing rules. In the presentation an excellent point is made that this games and simulation component is designed to cover a particular class of simulations and not to serve all game and learning possibilities.

This framework, a white paper, and the code, is currently open for public comment, debate, and additional non-military use cases at this URL (free registration required): http://adlcommunity.net/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=116

I saw a demonstration two weeks ago at Implementation Fest of the web services layer doing significantly more than just games and simulations by tying together new system components to the "traditional" LCMS which was very impressive. Several companies, working independently on specific applications, were able to tie them together within just a few weeks to create a very powerful prototype system for human capital management.

For those of use working in more of an educational environment (rather than a training environment), this particular example still represents a fairly "closed loop" learning system. However, we had a brainstorming session here at the Co-Lab yesterday about how the web services framework could allow a more "open loop" educational system to emerge.

Posted by Rovy at 10:33 AM