Winners of the 2014 “Education Oscars”

ReimagineEdStarsThe winners of the 2014 University of Pennsylvania Re-imagine Education contest (considered by some to be “Oscars” of course design) have been busy innovating and developing new data-driven student engagement models to help students succeed.

Even if you’re not ready to buy into to the winning companies’ services, you can employ similar pedagogical strategies to improve learning outcomes.

From the winners list below, we’ve gleaned some easy, practical takeaways you can use in your own courses.

  • ForClass: Students ponder case-study based scenarios and send answers in before class, incentivizing engagement and allowing instructors to identify and praise those who answer correctly. Pedagogy takeaway: Use real-world scenarios to craft engaging questions – this challenges students to apply learning in new ways.
  • PhET Interactive Simulations University of Colorado Boulder has developed hundreds of free interactive simulations to teach students fundamental principles of science and math. Pedagogy takeaway: Explaining complex concepts is often easier and more effective with visuals, multimedia and examples.
  • PaGamO: National Taiwan University is pioneering a multi-student social game where students compete to accumulate virtual wealth and buy protective defense mechanisms by answering questions correctly. Pedagogy takeaway: Competitive team projects can provide engaging student learning options.
  • University of Utah’s Design Laboratory: (Hybrid Award) Blend of online content, simulations, lectures, and collaborative projects between freshmen and seniors designed to assist students into eventual employment and progress. Pedagogy takeaway: Collaborative projects; are we seeing a theme here?

These are just a few of the winners profiled.