Smart Sparrow is proud to announce that two exciting projects we’ve had the pleasure to work on are advancing the final rounds of judging in the IMS Global Learning Consortium’s 2018 Learning Impact Awards. These awards seek to promote “innovative applications of educational technology that have high potential to improve learning impact and experiences through increased student access, improved student outcomes, and greater affordability.” [Read the full press release here]
These qualities are central to our mission at Smart Sparrow, and are always on our minds — especially so at this time of year, as first-years begin their studies in Australia, and seniors across the US approach graduation. Our two finalist projects are designed to help both new and culminating students succeed in their academic pursuits and beyond.
Take a peek at our submissions below — if you agree that these innovative projects will enhance access to great educational experiences, and leverage technology to break down barriers to student success, please rate the projects each a 5 and share our entries with your colleagues!
Vote now, before judging ends on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.
Oregon State University’s Online Interactive Chemistry Lab
Chemistry is a field in which researchers and students alike explore and test their understanding through experimentation. Unfortunately, “learning by doing” in the traditional sense presents many limitations to instructors and learners, from limited time to complete labs, to financial burden, to safety concerns, and more. For distance learners, these limitations are even more pronounced.
OSU and Smart Sparrow are creating “Lab Builder”, a tool instructors can use to build custom virtual lab environments, as well as 27 fully-online chemistry labs with realistic, interactive simulations and lab manuals.
The Online Chemistry Labs utilize visually-stunning simulations and support blended and fully-online chemistry courses. The Lab Builder tool will enable instructors to easily customize experiment scenarios using different lab apparatus and chemicals to meet different learning goals, then deploy them to students via Smart Sparrow’s platform or their LMS. Both Lab Builder and the online labs will be available to all OSU faculty, and later to other institutions.
Impact on Learning
These labs will greatly scale access to high-quality laboratory experiences to meet the needs of a more diversified range of students. The content supports students’ development of key competencies, and allows them to practice critical skills in a zero-risk environment. On-ground learners can use these labs to prepare for in-person experimentation, while online students gain access to previously-impossible lab experiences. With Online Interactive Chemistry Labs, students get the chance to learn and fully explore chemistry in a project-based environment, inspiring self-guided learning.
Digital Skills Course for TAFE Digital
TAFE NSW, Australia’s largest vocational education and training provider, strives to prepare students for today’s working world, in which more and more jobs require digital literacy. This goal has been aided by a proliferation of online learning, which is opening new doors to remote, rural, and non-traditional students, but online courses still require students to have certain digital skills in order to participate.
“Digital Skills” is an innovative online course created by TAFE NSW that is freely available to all TAFE students. Learners 16–70 years of age develop digital confidence and acquire basic digital proficiencies and skills to help them enter and excel in today’s workforce. Skills include setting up a computer, installing software, connecting devices, managing safety and security, using web-based tools, and more.
The Digital Skills course uses adaptive technology by Smart Sparrow to create an engaging visual experience, provide hands-on practice, deliver real-time personalized guidance, and assess mastery. The course tracks learner performance against key competencies needed to succeed in today’s workforce and/or complete additional online courses.
Impact on Learning
As TAFE NSW implements the Digital Skills course to prepare learners for success in digital work and online courses, students can feel more confident entering today’s workforce and instructors can focus their time on the core learning goals of their courses.
With this new digital student resource, TAFE expects to see increased completion rates in TAFE Digital courses, more effective teaching by instructors, and improved employment rates for graduates.