EP 135: Optimizing Online Learning with Emotuit

Online learning is more than just the future of education; it’s fast becoming the modern methodology for learning. Virtual learning platforms like Reading Plus, Aleks, IXL, and Khan Academy are implemented in school curriculums across the board. We know these tools work, and not only do they deliver potent lessons, but they allow for self-pacing. Once students are able to learn at their own pace without distraction, they can flourish as learners and reach their true potential without inhibition.

As robust as these programs are, there is always a question of how to make them better. It’s a tricky conundrum because feedback is hard to come by. Sure, we can ask students what they like and don’t like, but those answers aren’t necessarily pure. They can be clouded by a distaste for a particular subject or online instructor. Moreover, it is difficult to self-assess and truly distinguish between productive and problematic pieces of a program. In the world of video courses, I am faced with this challenge constantly. As content creators, what are we to do?

Someone has found an answer. Ross Jones, CEO of Emotuit, has pioneered a way to extract real-time data from students about engagement for e-learning products. Here's the best part: students don’t have to do anything extra to submit feedback. Emotuit’s software is able to utilize the embedded camera in a computer to snap photos of a student’s face intermittently in order to gauge engagement. By analyzing this data, Emotuit can tell content makers what works and what doesn’t. This pure data is untainted by any sort of bias. As content makers are able to utilize this information, course production will be optimized in a whole new way.

To hear the full scoop on Emotuit, make sure to check out the entire podcast episode. For more information on Emotuit, go to http://www.emotuit.com


EP 134: Lisa Tran on Teaching Kids to Find Pursuits of Passion

After completing her training to become a pharmacist, Lisa Tran had second thoughts. Although her educational path had been long and costly, she had deep questions about whether her life was moving down the right path. Sure, her family was proud and her financial future seemed set, but she couldn’t escape the nagging feeling that she was meant to do something else. As her enjoyment for the profession began to fade, she was overwhelmed by an urge to pursue a different avenue. That avenue was in the realm of education, a path that she had already begun to plow.

While in school, Lisa Tran started an online company and YouTube channel called VCE Study Guides. For those unfamiliar with the Australian education system, VCE is a certification for those who successfully complete their high school studies in the state of Victoria. Lisa aptly noted long ago that there was not a reputable source for study aids with respect to VCE preparation. Accordingly, she launched VCE Study Guides in 2008. It has now grown to possess a healthy staff and a thriving YouTube channel with over 13,000 subscribers.

One of the most interesting pieces of Lisa’s story is her current focus on advising students regarding career choices. Since she herself had to struggle with choices and major transitions, often to the chagrin of her family members, she now devotes a great deal of time consulting young minds with regards to finding a pursuit of passion. In this episode, Lisa explains precisely how she mentors young students to make well-informed decisions about professional pursuits. For parents, this is a great episode to glean tidbits on how to best guide your own kids with respect to future endeavors. To get more information about Lisa, check out her YouTube channel and her company page, VCE Study Guides


EP 133: Active Learning in Math - Education Expert Rae Pica’s Recipe for Maximum Engagement

We all want learning to be fun. Students hope for exciting and interesting lessons because they want to enjoy the process and be happy at school. Teachers seek enjoyable curriculum options because it means that students will be more dialed in and receptive to new information. But the quest for engaging lessons goes beyond what students and teachers want. The truth is that fun curriculums lead to higher rates of retention. When teachers are able to wrap lessons around play, mental development is bolstered. According to a study conducted by the Child Life Council, “Play was found to significantly promote cognitive and social aspects of development.”

For this week’s episode, I had a chance to speak with a true superstar in the field of education: Rae Pica. Rae is a huge proponent of “Active Learning,” a teaching pedagogy that utilizes movement and music to maximize student development and learning. Rae has cultivated an expertise in “the development and education of the whole child and children’s physical activity.” She is the proud founder and director of Rae Pica Keynotes & Consulting and  has authored 19 books in the world of education, including Experiences in Movement and Music, the award-winning Great Games for Young Children, and Jump into Math.

One of Rae’s main philosophies in life and education revolves around the notion that people learn best when they are having fun. The idea that movement and music should be used in education comes straight from her core initiative to infuse learning with enjoyment. Working with young children for many years, Rae has used a number of physical activities to help children make mathematical connections. When teaching students to distinguish between terms like “under,” “over,” “big,” and “small,” Rae uses active exercises that engage children visually, physically, and auditorily.

For parents and teachers alike who are seeking to modify curriculums and activities to improve engagement, tune into this once in a lifetime opportunity to hear from a true expert in education. During the interview, Rae delves into a number of strategies and games that can be implemented to make learning fun. To learn more about Rae Pica, go to http://www.raepica.com/


EP 132: My Story, My Vision, and My Advice to Conquer Math

For those of you that have been following me on my journey over the last four years, you know the struggles and great joy that I have experienced. You know my pain and confusion, my tribulations and revelations, an my eventual entrance into the world of math education. But for those who haven’t watched everything unfold, I want to provide a quick recap of my path thus far. I do this on the heels of a piece that was just posted about me in the Huffington Post.

I share this story for three key reasons. Firstly, I hope that adults and children alike can gain inspiration from what I’m seeking to achieve. There have been many ups and downs along the way, but it’s been 100% worth it. I hope that message resonates loudly and clearly. The second reason why I’m sharing this story today is I want my followers and listeners to know what is in the works over the next few years. I endeavor to build products and video courses that will hopefully make an indelible mark on the way mathematics is taught. At the core of my vision is a dedication to engagement, enlightenment, and empowerment.

Finally, I’m telling this story because part of this tale is the inherent belief that anyone can learn math. I would have never launched this business if I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that fact. Once you can accept that truism, you can address the real factor that negatively impacts most folks preparing for math tests: math anxiety. Recognizing that much of the obstruction in mathematics is caused from negative emotions helps students understand that the task at hand is doable. The barricade is a mirage, and with the right tutelage and learning tools, success is inevitable.