Home arrow Community arrow FORUM arrow General Area arrow General Discussion arrow The business of education
The business of education

Forum Menu

Home  Help  Search  Login  Register 


Pages: [1] 2 Go Down  
Send this topic Print
Author Topic: The business of education  (Read 839 times)
Graham
Hero Member
*****


Posts: 1090
Karma: 39
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« on: August 21, 2008, 03:43:11 PM »

An interesting article and great discussion is going on at the Techcrunch UK site that asks where are the start-up businesses for education and how are they fairing?

http://uk.techcrunch.com/2008/08/20/please-sir-where-are-the-education-start-ups/

Techcrunch is a business site about new business start-ups mainly in the web and mobile space.

You'll spot lots of people your recognise from the Handheld Learning community making comments as well as a mention of Handheld Learning although I'm not entirely sure where the author of the article drew his conclusions. Hopefully he'll come along to this years conference and find out for himself!

 Wink

Logged
epokh
Active Member
**


Posts: 51
Karma: 1
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2008, 05:44:49 PM »

I would say is pretty arrogant, I mean he's criticizing but without doing any further step in investigating i.e. talking with the experts.
I really don't like this superficial approach!
What he wants? The arpu from every learning company and see how much profit they are doing?
I was skeptic too about RedHalo ( Tongue) but rather than giving opinions on websites , I explained my doubts and got feedback: how communication work.

I hope some script kiddie will deface that website ehehehe  Grin
Logged

wolfluecker
Full Member
***


Posts: 78
Karma: 9
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2008, 09:56:39 PM »

Sorry, but what are you guys on about? I have no vested interest in defending Al or his article, apart from knowing that he's a thoroughly decent chap, but I don't see why what he's asking is in any way arrogant. He put his own money where his mouth is and started up a business in the fledgling mobile learning domain, which is why he's perfectly entitled to comment on it. From the premise of the article, he is one of the 'experts', because he's running a startup himself. TechCrunch is a business publication, so yes, people talk about profits and business models a lot, and that's what he was asking.

Graham, Al has attended HHL, which is where I first met him a couple of years ago, so he does have an informed opinion of the conference. I agree with you that it's not schools-oriented, but I think his comparison of mlearn and HHL is pretty spot on. One event is for academic experimentation, research and analysis, quite removed from commercial constraints and business cases.

The other (at least last year) struck many people as turning into a technology show, with big brands having a platform to present their products and views on how to use them. I know I'm being a bit controversial here, but that's how I (and quite a few others I spoke to) felt about it. Judging by this year's programme I think you've addressed that criticism - I for one wrote it on my feedback form last year. ;-)

Anyway, back to Al's article: I think it's brilliant that someone talks about the business of educational SME's and innovation in the field for once, not just about ivory tower pilot projects and about which of the latest mobile technologies will change the world of learning. The whole social innovation area is getting a lot of attention (and money) as mentioned by Martin Owen in one of the comments, so it's about time those 30 investors at HHL get their wallets out for educational innovation too.

A script kiddie defacing TechCrunch? Come again?

Wolf.
Logged
Graham
Hero Member
*****


Posts: 1090
Karma: 39
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2008, 09:47:24 AM »

Woah, slow down there!!!

Wolf, where did I criticise Al's article on Techcrunch?

What I said in response in techcrunch's comments section was that it was a timely and interesting piece. I hope I added to it by taking part in the discussion regarding investment in education related businesses.

I can't see where I've done anything but promote Al's article and provide linkage.  Huh

I did wonder why Al had described the HHL Conference in the way that he had because he'd also used the names of sponsors from last year, I also wondered why he'd confused us as a "technology-led" event when our focus is quite clearly about learning. Yes, learning enhanced with certain technologies otherwise we'd just call the event "learning" and we'd have breakout sessions on innovative use of pencils. We also wouldn't attract a particular audience (you for example!).

Your feedback about last years event is extremely valuable and I hate to sound defensive but last years conference had a single afternoon technology roadmap session, that many delegates found informative, looking at how things would develop to 2012. In this session we had senior representatives (CEO's & Directors) from leading technology companies including the BBC, Microsoft, Intel, RM, O2, etc present their vision. This session, led by Stephen Heppell, was unfortunately used by a minority of the speakers as a platform for corporate promotion however many of the presentations were excellent. It's also worth noting that during that technology session there were 4 other learning focussed sessions running in other rooms and a practitioners zone where delegates could see first hand how leading practitioners were developing their learning and teaching strategies.

In regards to garnering corporate sponsorship for the event, this is to keep delegate fees low, it has no impact on editorial. I think you'll agree 275 for the early bird rate for a 3 day event that includes delegate materials, refreshments, meals, a social evening and a Nintendo DS & game is pretty impressive value, no? Without sponsors or exhibitors we couldn't deliver this kind of event which is one of the fastest growing educational conferences for an affordable delegate fee. Unlike trade events (and even some conferences I could mention), sponsors and exhibitors all recognise that their investment in the event does not affect the editorial policy of the conference programme and where they may be asked to speak they are requested to present within the themes of the conference. If they don't? Well as a paying delegate I'd expect you to boo them off stage!

Yes, we could triple the delegate fee and become TED - preaching "edgy ideas" to business executives with pony tails but for now I like the fact that we are reaching the innovators, early adopters, thought leaders and key practitioners that might not have a big expense account to attend events but are prepared to take the risks necessary to shape the future of learning.

Take it back Sir!  Cheesy

Epokh comments, whether we agree with them or not, are his own as are any made on this forum. Perhaps they were related to the dismissal of mLearn as an academic event without a real eye on commerce. But mLearn is a research conference and has never pretended to be anything else.


« Last Edit: August 22, 2008, 10:13:38 AM by Graham » Logged
Graham
Hero Member
*****


Posts: 1090
Karma: 39
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2008, 10:26:26 AM »

so it's about time those 30 investors at HHL get their wallets out for educational innovation too.

LOL!  Grin

If only you knew Wolf!

Cheers

G
Logged
epokh
Active Member
**


Posts: 51
Karma: 1
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2008, 12:25:09 PM »

lol I didn't want to start a flame.
I just got the idea reading the websites, but I trust the opinion of an insider.
Thanks wolf for the clarification.

P.S.
I like dialectic  Tongue
Logged

wolfluecker
Full Member
***


Posts: 78
Karma: 9
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2008, 10:05:51 PM »

Sorry Graham, a long and bad day at the office had clearly impacted on my judgement and opinion. I was away from a computer yesterday but already regretted the tone of my post and some of the things I wrote. So it was with some trepidation that I logged on tonight...  Undecided

My main gripe was with epokh's post, but I overreacted on that too (sorry).

To be fair though, you did say that you didn't know where Al was getting his conclusions from, and implied that it was because he hadn't attended the event. That kicked off my all-inclusive rant.

However, in return (and probably with good reason) I feel you slightly jumped down my throat now too. I can't see where in my post I've criticised the principle of corporate sponsorship or implied any huge editorial impact at all. I do know what sponsorship is for, so that would be daft. Badly worded as it may be, there was nothing in my post to complain about the very reasonable price of HHL08 or question the integrity of the speakers/workshops and so on.

I don't think I have anything to take back in that respect.  Cheesy

I did sit through that session you mentioned though, and indeed felt like booing some speakers off the stage. Maybe that tainted my overall opinion of the conference, as well as the exhibitors' stalls, which I do think felt rather like a trade show (without selling things). That part definitely had a bigger impact on the overall event than in the couple of years before. Sorry, but as I say, this sentiment was shared by other delegates at the time. Corporate sponsorship is a necessity to achieve affordability for the people you want to include, and that's really fantastic, but let's be honest, it would be naive to say that it has no effect whatsoever on the conference or its delegates. Why would sponsors do it if that was the case?

I think the only point we really seem to disagree (and hey, that's cool!) is that HHL leans towards the technology end of handheld learning. I think it does - just reading the majority of posts on this forum. No problem, I'm a technologist, and I'm not saying it covers technology for its own sake too often, but you certainly wouldn't confuse it with a pencil-based learning initiative.

Do introduce me to those people throwing money at educational innovation startups. I'm not actually chasing that dollar, but I can think of some people who do. Otherwise we'll just have to 'make do' with more capital expenditure funding  Roll Eyes
Logged
grouchal
New Member
*
Posts: 5
Karma: 0
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2008, 09:37:19 AM »

Sorry only just seen the post here - thanks for noticing the article Graham and providing comments and feedback there and posting it here.

@Wolf - thanks for a sterling (if a little grumpy) defense of the spirit of my article.

@epokh - ummh - not sure what I have done to upset you - perhaps you never expected me to read your comments - personally I don't think it is nice to encourage vandalism

As Wolf pointed out I set up two years ago to bring some innovation with mobile phones to the education marketplace. We have been working hard and I think taken the technology further than I have seen on any research project or large company driven enterprise. Our aim is to use the mobile phones that students have currently to help and support them outside of the classroom. We have worked with the Open University on a number of projects, and have two of our own products that we sell directly to students. We are still working hard in helping students and have some exciting projects that we are taking forward at the moment and are looking for funding for.

My article was written to question why the startup community (innovators and entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists) largely ignore education. Getting entrepreneurs thinking about the problems in education and bringing their creativity, innovation and funding for that creativity will make a difference. I wanted to highlight how startups are altering education and showcased some good ones - in the school scene, in student support and in informal learning (connecting teachers and pupils and languages).

My labeling of the two conferences was to show that there are two forces looking at moving technology and innovation forward in the UK - one of them comes from a research point of view and the other comes from a "what existing technology can do" point of view. I should highlight that these are just labels for the conferences - and were not intended to suggest that the conferences were not worthwhile. I am proud that the UK has these two conferences this year - and more should be done, entrepreneurs should be attending and understanding what is going on.

I realize that Handheld is no longer schools focused and accept it has changed as a conference - but when I wrote the article I was not focused on a critic of handheld - but a critic of the UK startup scene with respect to education.

The two key questions posed were:

1. Why are there not many startups in the UK that focus on education?

2. Why do so many of those startups focus on languages?

The answers to both of these questions seem to be complex - but a summary answer for the first would seem to be:

There is a confusion about how the education purchasing system works and how much effort a company has to put in to break into the schools market - this is seen as a barrier to both entrepreneurs and those who provide investment. Investors also see little potential return on education investments which has a huge impact on those looking to innovate.

This seems to link to the second question because it means that those startups that do exist focus on informal education and from that choose languages as the largest market in informal education.

I personally meet so many entrepreneurs and innovators that I think it is a crying shame that that flair isn't turned toward education.

If I might mention David McCall at SUMS online - he is a great example of what can be achieved. He created a set of tools to help with Maths and luckily had the depth of character, personal funding and energy to stick with those tools for a long time before he got them in-front of as many children as now use them. I would like to see encouragement for more people like David who have great ideas but lack their own funding.
Logged
Graham
Hero Member
*****


Posts: 1090
Karma: 39
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2008, 11:44:45 AM »

Sorry Graham, a long and bad day at the office had clearly impacted on my judgement and opinion. I was away from a computer yesterday but already regretted the tone of my post and some of the things I wrote. So it was with some trepidation that I logged on tonight...  Undecided


No problem Wolf, this forum wouldn't be the same without a little heated debate and you and I do it so well  Cheesy

I think I'm also a little touchy about the conference because working out the balance of the finances is a bit like a Rubik's cube. Whilst the event has continued to grow our HQ is still in a very cramped sweat shop in the Docklands fuelled on passion rather a scheme to get rich. Of course, as the event grows it attracts the attention of other conference companies and trade associations who regrettably operate a sort of low level smear campaign intended to maintain an agenda that is away from mobile and consumer electronics that are seen as a serious threat to the traditional educational technology supply cartels. A good supporting question might be "why was there not been a single mobile handset or consumer electronics manufacturer involved in the consultation team for the Home Access initiative to be announced in September?"

There is a confusion about how the education purchasing system works and how much effort a company has to put in to break into the schools market - this is seen as a barrier to both entrepreneurs and those who provide investment. Investors also see little potential return on education investments which has a huge impact on those looking to innovate.

This seems to link to the second question because it means that those startups that do exist focus on informal education and from that choose languages as the largest market in informal education.

I personally meet so many entrepreneurs and innovators that I think it is a crying shame that that flair isn't turned toward education.


I think this fits in very well with what Al's article on Techcrunch was asking. There's a huge amount of innovation that is happening in educational technology yet most of it is being strangled at birth. Fiefdoms within government agencies linked to trade bodies have created a supply complex that is anti-competitive and effectively locks innovators out of the system unless invited in by a founder member. How else can we explain how the use of 90's technology in the form of so called "Learning Platforms" or VLE's based around ancient MIS systems are being forced down the neck of schools when cheaper, more effective and open systems exist that are truly web 2.0, 21st Century technologies?

Here's a clue, they are designed to operate on a particular range of hardware that will soon be as antiquated as the typewriter yet the public purse is being waxed to prop up the cartels. Imagine what the 300 million home access budget could do as a fund for innovation. Instead we are expected to believe that the solution for home access is a family sitting around a 10" screen laptop like a 1950's family did with the first generation TV's. Let's just ignore the fact that the families have mobile phones or internet enabled game consoles, etc.

It's the same story with the BSF programme, 40 Billion being spent mostly on construction but with 15% for ICT. What ICT? Isn't it obvious that learners will be carrying their own devices and will demand connectivity to the cloud so they can access their digital stuff anywhere? Yet what's happening is more public cash is being spent supporting firms that are members of the club.

So what I'm trying to say is that here is one of the big reasons that investors are wary of the education sector and that the majority of start-up's in the sector are strapped for cash. Al is right to point out players like SUMS ONLINE but then again look at what's happened in the consumer electronics sector, Brain Training has sold over 5 million copies and there are "me too" versions on most mobile phone platforms.

I did sit through that session you mentioned though, and indeed felt like booing some speakers off the stage. Maybe that tainted my overall opinion of the conference, as well as the exhibitors' stalls, which I do think felt rather like a trade show (without selling things). That part definitely had a bigger impact on the overall event than in the couple of years before. Sorry, but as I say, this sentiment was shared by other delegates at the time. Corporate sponsorship is a necessity to achieve affordability for the people you want to include, and that's really fantastic, but let's be honest, it would be naive to say that it has no effect whatsoever on the conference or its delegates. Why would sponsors do it if that was the case?


You should have heckled at the time!

But many of the presentations were good and only a minority used the platform to promote their companies. This year we are advising all speakers that if their talk becomes a pitch their microphone will be cut and they will be asked to leave the stage.

In terms of influence on the event or delegates I think this is an interesting point because as an organisation we spend much of our time lobbying government as well as manufacturers to engage with this emerging sector. Given the environment that I described above you can imagine how hard this is. Our thinking has been that by persuading companies or agencies to get involved then they would be influenced by the enthusiasm, energy and innovation that is demonstrated by the delegates.

It's also worth noting that many of the exhibitors last year were actually start-up's or small companies that are innovating in this sector. Some of the larger companies were there trying to figure out what they might do to get involved. Our reason for targeting and succeeding in getting over 30 investment companies to attend was to stimulate the type of investment activities that you and Al's article is calling for.

I think the only point we really seem to disagree (and hey, that's cool!) is that HHL leans towards the technology end of handheld learning. I think it does - just reading the majority of posts on this forum. No problem, I'm a technologist, and I'm not saying it covers technology for its own sake too often, but you certainly wouldn't confuse it with a pencil-based learning initiative.


Have you read Freakonomics by Steve Levitt?

It's a fun and stimulating read about how one can look at a set of statistics and draw conclusions about causality that are often incorrect.

I think that this is the case here. I agree that the technology parts of this forum are more populated than the pure learning/teaching aspects but I'd suggest a different conclusion. Despite the current advocacy in teaching practice for collaboration and sharing many teachers do not use or post on forum's. Even in 2008 using or posting on forums does not count as part of their CPD. In a number of cases I am aware of there are teachers who are forbidden by their authority to make posts. Clearly one can see the problem here when we have a generation of learners for whom creating Bebo pages and posting on forums is part of the air they breath yet their teachers are still locked in the 90's either by rules or habit. We do get a lot of lurkers however and that's fine.

Naturally I would like to see a balance between technology and the teaching practice parts of the forums and by developing our editorial on the home page with, for example, our hero innovators series and opinion pieces, we hope that we might stimulate discussion amongst practitioners. But...

We didn't see any comments or discussion as a result of our articles on Derek Robertson or Mike Sharples so I'm wondering how we can move our readers on from being passive. I'm sure both Derek and Mike would have been delighted to answer any questions.

Do introduce me to those people throwing money at educational innovation startups. I'm not actually chasing that dollar, but I can think of some people who do. Otherwise we'll just have to 'make do' with more capital expenditure funding  Roll Eyes


As you may know I am on the advisory group for MoLeNET and I managed to gain a concession regarding what appeared to be a fund for capital equipment purchases only. My understanding now is that provided bids can demonstrate that they are capitalising their software development over the period of the project then this would be accepted.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2008, 11:50:50 AM by Graham » Logged
SUMS_Online
Active Member
**
Posts: 27
Karma: 0
Offline Offline


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2008, 01:23:05 PM »

Hi Graham,

Just an aside from the main post, but as Al has been kind enough to mention SUMS Online's success in the handheld sphere I have to comment on your point below:

Quote
Al is right to point out players like SUMS ONLINE but then again look at what's happened in the consumer electronics sector, Brain Training has sold over 5 million copies and there are "me too" versions on most mobile phone platforms.


You really shouldn't be confusing serious educational content, like SUMS, with consumer electronic games like Brain Training.  Excellent though I assume that is, from the work going on in Scotland, it remains exactly what it says on the box - good training for mental arithmetic. SUMS Maths on the other hand tackles complex and challenging maths topics like probability, graphs and charts, using a Protractor, plotting in four quadrants, special quadrilaterals etc etc and will soon move on to Quadratic Equations and other advanced content.   

Sorry to be prickly, but to those of us involved it is important to point out the difference - fast food v a proper meal  Wink. Both have their place. 

Best wishes,

David

http://www.sums.co.uk
david@sums.co.uk
Logged
Graham
Hero Member
*****


Posts: 1090
Karma: 39
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2008, 02:47:45 PM »

You really shouldn't be confusing serious educational content, like SUMS, with consumer electronic games like Brain Training.  Excellent though I assume that is, from the work going on in Scotland, it remains exactly what it says on the box - good training for mental arithmetic. SUMS Maths on the other hand tackles complex and challenging maths topics like probability, graphs and charts, using a Protractor, plotting in four quadrants, special quadrilaterals etc etc and will soon move on to Quadratic Equations and other advanced content.   

Sorry to be prickly, but to those of us involved it is important to point out the difference - fast food v a proper meal  Wink. Both have their place. 


Hi David

Oh dear! Herein lies the problem.

Your statement above really makes me wonder if you've played Brain Training or any of the other titles such as Big Brain Academy, Maths Training, etc. Yet because they are extremely popular, have the benefit of global distribution and run on a device that is inexpensive that children and adults both like to use they are dismissed by many in the teaching profession as "fast food" and some how not as rigourous as "serious educational content".

Well, poppycock!  Cheesy

David, you must know that I hold your products in high regard but what I am responding to here is Al's question about why investors are not moving rapidly into the educational technology space. The reason beyond the supply chain/government complex I mention above is the, frankly, parochial attitude to the global markets. It's no good limiting our aspirations to a couple of hundred thousand pounds worth of grant money or angel funding when what is really needed to compete is 5 Million+ to get yourself into the big league where you can leverage off distribution channels and get your product into the hands of millions of learners.

This snobbery about consumer electronics and entertainment software is precisely what is holding learners back. Their expectations are raised because of what they are used to at home and then when they get to school they are supposed to use sub-standard and boring software (present company excepted) running on technology from a bygone era. Why was so much money poured into the OLPC project when you could buy a Nintendo DS or a mobile phone for less money without committing to a million units? Why do people fawn over the EEE PC which is fundamentally flawed to the point where you can't even back the thing up, when you reset it you lose all of your work unless you save everything on a memory stick and we know that PA Consulting know how secure they are!

Good education should entertain but this doesn't mean sugar coating, you can't simply write off millions of dollars worth of game design, learning theory and programming as "fast food" when the facts speak for themselves. These titles have taken the world by storm and opened up a whole new market of gamers that companies such as Sony and Xbox didn't know existed.

What would SUMS Maths look like if you had a few million pounds to play with?

 Shocked
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 05:39:25 AM by Graham » Logged
grouchal
New Member
*
Posts: 5
Karma: 0
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2008, 06:16:57 PM »

Just as a quick note  - you mention people don't post on the forum (or at least those that posters are technically focused) - one reason for this might be that the site seems to have a few problems on the mac.

I have no idea why but in firefox on the mac I can not login - the site progress indicator just goes round and round. I have to jump over to safari just to post.

I have found other links on the site also seem to go dead in firefox - the contact us one is a good example.

Here ends a technically focused response to thread on education and business - sorry it is off topic - but I can't face finding out how to start a new thread after the steps I have had to go through just to write this! :-D
Logged
Graham
Hero Member
*****


Posts: 1090
Karma: 39
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2008, 07:21:57 PM »

Hi Grouchal  Smiley

Sorry that you seem to be having problems on your Mac which is odd given that the HHL team is primarily Mac based and I'm answering this now without problem using Firefox 2.0.0.16

Firefox does have problems rendering certain typefaces and even though this site is fully W3C compliant and doesn't use propreitary technologies like Flash (so it works on iPhones etc) there are still occasional glitches with some browsers. Having said this we haven't had any reports of problems with Firefox on Macs.

Naturally we're keen to make sure that nobody is having problems so if after the usual reset and clearing of your caches, checking that you have the current version ("check for updates" in the help menu) you're still having problems please contact our Web Manager Marcin Kraszewski - marcin (at) handheldlearning.co.uk who will be pleased to sort you out.

 Smiley
Logged
drobertson
New Member
*


Posts: 15
Karma: 1
Offline Offline


View Profile WWW
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2008, 09:24:17 PM »


Sorry to be prickly, but to those of us involved it is important to point out the difference - fast food v a proper meal  Wink. Both have their place. 

http://www.sums.co.uk
david@sums.co.uk


Which is the fast food and which is the proper meal David? In the two years that I have been working in the field of games based learning I and a whole host of Scottish teachers have been dining on a table laden with the fruits and finest wines that good teaching and learning can hope to lay before a class of hungry learners. So much so that some of the work that we have been doing with Nintendo's, Sony's and Microsoft's consoles should be awarded the equivalent of a Michelin Star!!!

To me, Dr Kawashima is no mere trifle as a learning tool. I have just been looking at the stats for the extended study that I carried out and they are outstanding. A much larger sample was used this time and still there has been a statistically significant impact on improvements in mental maths calculation and speed of processing. Not only that children AND teachers want to use it. Pupils like it, they are challenged by it, it engenders competition, a focus on self-improvement, an I can be the best I can be attitude. Also, the low skills technology threshold is such that teachers no longer need to worry about the tech so this means that they can focus on the teaching. I'm surprised at how some voices have attempted to spoil the custard here (sorry to prolong the metaphor) by suggesting that this is not a real learning tool....come on, have a taste! ;-)

I have just been at a major event this afternoon in the Scottish educational landscape and here I was hearing about local authorities buying more DS consoles so that they could try out for themselves the initiatives that we have led. You need to ask yourself why is their such a desire for this 'fast food' that appears to increase the weight of nothing but children's brains and their level of knowledge and skills.

Let's not forget that it's really all about the learners in schools here. For too long they have tolerated some real dross in the edutainment field that the dominant domain of the school has decreed is educational. They tolerate this then get into all manner of games environments when they go home. What we have tried to do in Scotland is understand what it is about these games that make them so appealing to young learners? What makes them persevere so, how can they perform so well in incredibly complex environments in a game yet fail so miserably in school. We have then rethought some aspects of the technologies that we use to connect with learners and get them achieving. This is what we want, good teachers, using good resources to help learners achieve. We have used Dr Kawashima, Phoenix Wright, Guitar hero, Eye Toy, Viva Pinata, Nintendogs, Hot Brain, Hotel Dusk, My Spanish Coach, Big Brain Academy and many many other commercially available games because they are damn good. They resonate with learners and make them want to engage with learning. This to me as a teacher is gold.

"...to those of us involved" ( does that include me and the teachers that I work with?) I believe that we have helped change the discourse about games in learning. Games based learning is now no longer seen as a maverick idea carried out by a few enthusiasts it really has grown into something that teachers want to know more about. This is particularly true in Scotland but I am continually hearing about new initiatives happening in England and further afield.

We are only interested in maximising children's potential and helping make school a place where they want to come and where they feel they have a place to grow as a learner. Blurring the lines between life within and outwith school is a major focus for us in this aim and if Dr Kawashima, a Nintendog or Big Little Planet can do it then they'll be used.

Now I'm off to serve up a proper meal in Cooking Mama. Don't get me started on the learning potential here......


Logged
SUMS_Online
Active Member
**
Posts: 27
Karma: 0
Offline Offline


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2008, 10:56:15 AM »

Hi Graham,

Poppycock? Snobbery? Did I hit a nerve somewhere?   Huh

My original statement was:

Quote
"Excellent though I assume that (Brain Training) is, from the work going on in Scotland, it remains exactly what it says on the box - good training for mental arithmetic. SUMS Maths on the other hand tackles complex and challenging maths topics like probability, graphs and charts, using a Protractor, plotting in four quadrants, special quadrilaterals etc etc and will soon move on to Quadratic Equations and other advanced content."


Now Derek himself has joined the thread, but even he says that:

Quote
... there has been a statistically significant impact on improvements in mental maths calculation and speed of processing.


which is precisely what I credited it with in my original post.

You challenged me whether I had actually used the titles Graham. The answer is yes, I have access to and have played all three - and refreshed that knowledge last night. In terms of maths you'll find little beyond mental arithmetic and tables -
though it is put together very cleverly.

For example, Prof Kageyama's Maths Training is centred on a traditional pencil and paper exercise for getting practice at times tables. You put the numbers 1 to 10 across the top and down the side of a 100 square box, and then work out, as quickly as possible, all of the multiplication sums, putting the answers into the squares.

Derek, Yes, of course, what you are doing creates tremendous motivation. You'll also find tremendous motivation in the many many schools using PDAs, Windows Mobile Phones, the RM Minibook/ASUS eeePC, Sony PSPs, and other, non gaming software. It is a great thing, and it is good that different areas champion different approaches.

Answer me this though Derek. Does Brain Training etc provide extensive maths curriculum coverage?  How does it compare with SUMS Maths in that regard? Sorry to drag you back to the nitty-gritty, but I commented on Brain Training as a maths teaching tool - not on your complete project in Scotland for which I have a lot of admiration.

Best wishes,

David

http://www.sums.co.uk
david@sums.co.uk
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Go Up  
Send this topic Print
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP

Powered by SMF 1.1.5 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC

© 2008 handheld Handheld Learning

Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!

Login

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 03, 2008, 11:26:52 PM
Username:

Password:


Login with username, password and session length
Forgot your password?




RSS RSS