The Old Knewton Blog

Posts Tagged ‘elearning

Video games and failure-based learning

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I used to teach afterschool in City of New York/Parks & Recreation’s Computer Resource Center program. Kids in the program spent a lot of time playing educational games like Logical Journey Of The Zoombinis and The Incredible Machine.

The kids would literally fight with each other to get to be the first to play these games, with an intensity that surprised me. I mean, the games are fun and everything, but they were nonviolent, with less-than state of the art graphics and no recognizable characters from TV or movies. The educational content was rarely disguised as “fun,” and yet, kids who snoozed through math class were riveted by the exact same content when it was presented in the context of Treasure Mathstorm. Read the rest of this entry »

Processing

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Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to code their own animation, interactions and data visualization. It shows tons of potential for fun, interactive educational and gaming applications. Check out the project gallery to see some examples, ranging from the silly to the sublime. Project initiators Ben Fry and Casey Reas say they made it “to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.”

Anthony Mattox has made some particularly compelling artworks with Processing:

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Written by Knewton

October 16, 2009 at 7:55 PM

So what is Knewton?

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Knewton_logo_processknockout

An online test prep company.

The world’s most powerful adaptive learning engine.

An educational platform, about to do a great amount of good.

A second home to 35 extraordinarily talented people, working around the clock.

We like to believe all those assertions are true. And we plan to use this blog as the enlightenment arm of our apparatus. Check in often for thoughts and opinions on subjects ranging from subject-pronoun agreement to remixed vocab quizzes to the democratization of educational materials for learners across the world.

You’ll read insights from our teachers, our CEO, our interns, our investors and others—all from a majestic plural narrative perspective we haven’t really figured out yet.

Written by Knewton

June 28, 2009 at 12:16 AM

Learning Adapted

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Branch_PB_04_stillThe word “adapt” has its roots in the Latin word aptare, meaning “to fit.” We think learning works best when it fits you specifically, the way shoes work best when they fit your feet. One on one, any competent teacher can customize the lesson to fit a student’s needs. But in groups, it can be difficult or impossible. Every classroom teacher faces the same challenge: Half the class is bored; the other half is struggling.

How do you pace a lesson so that everyone in the room is on the same page?

Technology can help. Computer programs can track your progress and serve up lesson plans or practice questions to suit your unique needs. Self-pacing helps to keep you in a state of fluid learning. When you’re working, you want to be challenged enough to stay engaged, without being so overwhelmed that you get frustrated. Software can fill the role of a personal tutor.

You’ve probably experienced adaptive learning without meaning to—in the context of video games. A well-designed game is first and foremost a self-paced learning tool. If you master the easier early levels, you move on to the harder ones. If not, you repeat the early ones. Not every game is well-balanced, but the best ones carefully balance challenges with rewards to maintain your personal flow.

At Knewton, we think adaptive learning is especially important because some of our students will face adaptive testing. The GMAT is administered as a Computer Adaptive Test. It starts with a question of medium difficulty. If you answer it correctly, you get a harder question next. If you answer incorrectly, you get an easier question. The computerized GMAT is unique to each test taker. We think the best way to practice for this kind of test is with computerized adaptive learning.

Written by Knewton

June 26, 2009 at 3:23 PM