One of EdTech’s 50 must-read IT bloggers speaks out on the issues in higher education that are shaping the future.

Kevin Corbett is an online learning program developer with a keen interest in social media, gamification and mobile learning.

Kevin Corbett“E-learning will continue to increase and be leveraged in universities to extend learning,” says educator Kevin Corbett.

Corbett’s self-titled blog provides educators with invaluable advice about technology today, along with how-tos they might not get from their institutions. It was recently named one of EdTech’s 2015 “50 Must-Read Higher Ed IT Blogs.”

EdTech recently had the chance to discuss Corbett’s origins as an educator, what piques his interest in the world of educational technology and where he sees institutions leaning in the future.

EDTECH: How did you get started in education, and what has kept you in it?

CORBETT:  During college, I had the opportunity to coach local youth. I was energized at helping young people succeed and inspired with their personal transformation when they earned success. Going into education was important to me for four reasons: because I wanted every student to be successful, to have them feel the personal pride of accomplishment in the classroom, help them develop their interests, and achieve their individual goals.

I’ve stayed in education because I’ve been fortunate to have exceptional administrators who have given me the trust, freedom, and power to develop cutting-edge transformative programs, so students and teachers have positive outcomes and experiences.

EDTECH: Higher education is facing a series of crises — some financial, some regarding the shape of its future iterations. How do you see the higher education world adapting to these challenges? And what role will e-learning play in those changes?

CORBETT:  The complexity and variability of cost models related to higher education make it a difficult problem to understand. Simply, as public subsidies are reduced and tuition increases, it’s problematic for both the institutions and its students. (See: Delta Cost Project)

Tweet this! E-learning will continue to increase and be leveraged in universities to extend learning. I’m please to see some growth in meaningful certifications (when accepted by industry) and competency- based learning, which has potential to reduce per- student overall costs.

Shifting costs to students through rising tuition only, is troubling: 70 percent of students borrowing an average of $33,000; 30 percent in deferment and over $1 trillion dollars in student debt nationally. Tuition costs exceeding income are not indefinitely sustainable. It bothers me to see local high schools pushing every student to attend a four-year university with the myth that a college degree somehow guarantees success in life.

EDTECH: Your blog posts often cover your thoughts on gamification. What was your response to learning that it was being cut as an evolving trend on the 2015 NMC Horizon List? Is there a future for gamification, and how does it work in higher ed classrooms?

CORBETT: I’m not surprised by gamification being dropped from the 2015 NMC Horizon List. There is promise and peril in gamification as it relates to education. I find it’s generally not very well understood how to apply game principles to a course (versus playing a game being “game- based learning”) as it goes beyond simply adding points, badges and leader boards. Engagement and fun are the critical components. Additionally, it can be very time- consuming to develop on the front -end, and I’m not confident there is time or incentive to invest in its development, nor a platform that makes it easy to do so.

EDTECH: The past five years have been truly transformative for universities in the technology sector. Do you foresee a similarly turbulent future in terms of technological progress, or are we at a plateau?

CORBETT: Tweet this! I believe the transformational learning made possible through technology will continue to progress and has potential to improve the higher education learning space.

Any turbulence, I suspect, will come from policy discussions in two places. First, are the policies institutions will be forced to engage in as they confront global technological advances and the need to meet challenges from outside competing forces. Second, will be internal decisions around fundamental questions about how their institution organizes and operates, while also providing rich, engaging learning and teaching opportunities. Personally, I will be most interested in what instructors do during class when all the course content is online. One of my favorites that others could learn from would be Boise State University’s Jackie Gerstein.

EDTECH: You have a rich history in blogging. What advice would you offer those just starting out?

CORBETT: I think it’s important for an individual to establish their own online identity and control the message about themselves that they want public on the Internet. Reputation management can be troubling to professionals who find themselves maligned on the Internet and frustrated with the ease at which other people can post negative things about them. Educators worry about students’ “digital footprints” and “digital tattoos,” yet often neglect their own. Blogging under your own domain name gives you that control.

Here are my personal “Four C’s” for beginning bloggers:

  • Start first with CURATION, by re-posting other’s’ articles that interest you.
  • Next, post the article and COMMENT about it.
  • Third, CREATE your own original article.
  • Lastly, engage with others and CONVERSE with people about mutual interests.

Read more of Corbett’s thoughts on his blog, KevinCorbett.com.

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Who is the EdTech Ninja

Kevin Corbett Ed-Tech.Ninja

Congratulations! You found the EdTech Ninja!

If you’ve been searching, your quest is completed–you’ve caught me and now I must confess:  Kevin Corbett is the Ed-Tech Ninja!

About EdTech

EdTech is a study and ethical practice for facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources. In other words, use of technology in. form of products/apps/tools to enhance learning, pedagogy and instruction.
~Definition from the EdTech Review Dictionary

Simply, it’s my passion for EDUCATION, mixed with my personal interest in TECHNOLOGY = EdTech

But wait! How’d the NINJA part get in there???

About Ninjas

I’ve been involved with EdTech for years and like the warriors of feudal Japan, the two kanji depicted below and associated with the ninja were stealth & invisibility.  (“ninja” is actually a Chinese word).  Yeah, I know….not very stealthy when I’m public on social media and the EdTech Ninja is on the web….but, I like to think there are many other valuable services I provide to education behind the scenes.

Ninja were regular foot soldiers, typically from lower class backgrounds, who turned to mercenary work and covert operations for money. They favored stealth tactics because undercover work was cheap — no need to buy expensive samurai armor and katanas.

Though there had always been a fantasy component to ninjas, in the late 1990s they became science fictional too. And nothing could exemplify our era of “code ninjas” more than Neo, inside the cyberworld of the Matrix, getting software downloaded into his brain which allows him to say, “I know kung fu.” Of course SF authors like William Gibson had long associated Japanese pop culture with computer-dominated futures, but it wasn’t until the Matrix trilogy that audiences were able to see a gorgeous, big-budget film that perfectly melded the glories of a Bruce Lee fight scene with the wonders of computer graphics.

That was the moment when a generation of internet “wizards” gave way to our current generation of web “ninjas.”

From: Why Americans Became Obsessed With Ninjas

And there you have it, why Kevin Corbett is the EdTech Ninja …because, EdTech Wizard or EdTech Guru simply weren’t appealing and EdTech Ninja is FUN!

EdTech Ninja

EdTech Ninja

 

….more Ninja personal facts,

Beside being a HUGE fan of the matrix and spending most of my life in a variety of martial arts, I really enjoy Fruit Ninja with the XBOX Kinect and have a personal record of playing nearly 3 hours in front of a big screen (which is only 1/20th of the time I’ve sat during a single time “coding” for education).
And for those of you who have asked…Yes, I kind of like the four anthropomorphic Teenage Mutant NINJA Turtles too (and surprised at the gruesome death of Donatello).

 

Visit my Site
Contact melet’s work together and have some fun!
Professionally, connect with the EdTech Ninja on LinkedIn!  😉

Thank you for visiting!

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educational thought leadersThank you to eSparkLearning.com for including me in their recent blog post (August 5, 2013) titled 5 Questions for 5 EdTech Thought Leaders

The article contains answers from four other educational thought leaders:

Following are the questions that were posed to us and my answers:

In your opinion, what’s the most exciting thing happening right now in digital learning?

Individualized and personalized learning that is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week from mobile devices.

Technology versus textbooks: will there ever be a winner?

I don’t believe published paper text books to be a sound investment when there are dynamic and interactive digital options that can always be easily updated. While I may personally prefer the freely-available openness of the Internet and its vast array of resources, I understand the need for grade-level appropriate, self-contained, subject-specific digital texts. That said, I worry about student families and institutions being beholden to expensive publisher costs for eTexts.

What’s going to be the next big thing in educational technology?

Gamification.

If you could give one piece of advice to teachers about to integrate technology in their classroom this fall, what would it be?

Don’t hesitate because you think you have to be the controlling expert. Start small and learn alongside your class. Most importantly: Have fun!

What’s your best kept EdTech secret?

If there is an “EdTech secret”, it’s that people are the most significant ‘technology’ and that learning occurs best when powerful connections are made. Technology is simply a tool to help teachers extend their reach and for students to access content, investigate, share, and produce demonstrations of their understandings.

I encourage you to read the original article for all of the insights from the above noted educational thought leaders. Follow them on Twitter and visit their web sites for outstanding information on educational technology and learning in the digital age!

Original eSparkLearning article: Educational Thought Leaders

About eSparkLearning — Their mission is to transform learning so it’s personalized, best of breed, engaging, and mobile; enabling students to succeed in school and in life.

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