#YearInReview: 10 Ways Crowdsourcing Advances Learning
With 2016 just around the corner we are looking back at trends with a #YearInReview series. Here are the first three posts:
- 1,500+ smart people doing innovative work
- The year of the mobile (finally)
- Google for the Win: The Ascendence of Chromebooks & Google Apps
Crowdsourcing. Coined in 2005, crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining services and solutions from an online community. In his best seller Wisdom of the Crowds, James Surowiecki helped us appreciate that large groups of people are smarter than an elite few.
Crowdsourcing emerged in 2006 as a global trend with Yelp, Angie’s List, distributed computing, and incentivized R&D. It was a big enough deal that Tom spent two years at X Prize Foundation studying the potential to crowdsource solutions to the world’s great challenges.
Crowdsourcing in Edu. As Adam Renfro noted way back in 2012, crowdsourcing has come to education. Here are eight ways we saw crowdsourcing put to work in 2015:
1. Crowd intelligence: Wikipedia, Curriki, TEDtalks, and BetterLesson which added great blended learning lessons this year (8 of the teacher leaders are shown below).
Want more of a face-to-face experience? Montreal-based E-180 is the Tinder for geeks; users post and browse “requests for knowledge”, and then set face-to-face appointments with smart people.
2. Crowdfunding: Crowdsourcing can be an effective way to launch a startup or fund a project (KickStarter, DonorsChoose). Hundreds of sites have launched in the last few years, some specific to education like ScholarMatch. Others general cause sites like GoFundMe include teacher and student campaigns.
3. Crowd Polling: Crowdsourcing is a great way for students to do real time research using sites like Poll Everywhere.
4. Crowd Chat: Creating a digital back-channel is an efficient way to bring many people, near and far, into a conversation. Apps like TodaysMeet are widely used in education to build inclusive conversations.
5. Crowd Design: There were many good examples of crowd sourced design challenges launched in 2015:
- ExcelinEd hosted the School Report Card Challenge (winner pictured).
- Laurene Powell Jobs announced a $50 million XQ Super School Project that is meant to inspire teams of educators and students, as well as leaders from other sectors, to come up with new plans for high schools.
- NewSchools launched the Science Learning Challenge and Catapult, an incentive for life-altering school models.
- 198 teams are competing for the Global Learning X Prize.
6. Crowd Reviews: Several Yelp-like sites allow educators to rate products and services. Teachers rate EdTech products on LearnTrials. Unigo allow students to rate and comment on their experiences at a particular college or university.
7. Crowd Employment: Crowdsourcing platforms help students can use to find employment-small writing assignments on sites like iWriter or odd jobs on Fiverr.
8. Crowdsourced Schools: School networks, both managed and voluntary, continue to expand. Tom called school networks the most important source of improvement and innovation of the last 20 years.
9. Crowdsourced Teaching: Professional Learning Communities (PLC) broke down the isolation of the teaching profession. Irvin Scott noted that it’s getting easier to get better highlighting the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) and the Mathematics Design Collaborative (MDC), Teaching Channel, LearnZillion and many others.
10. Crowdsourced Thought Leadership: Thought leaders are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas. In an effort to advance the sector over the last two years, we combined crowdsourcing and thought leadership on three big topics:
- More than 70 thought leaders contributed to the Smart Cities blog series which laid the groundwork for our book on learning ecosystems, Smart Cities That Work for Everyone. In 2015 we hosted six Smart Cities summits to help local communities create next steps for their learning ecosystem (the Salt Lake City meeting is the featured image).
- More than 70 thought leaders contributed more than 100 blogs to the Smart Parents blog series which culminated in our new book, Smart Parents: Parenting for Powerful Learning.
- Our new blog series, GenDIY, explores stories of dozens of young people hacking their way through high school and college to a career they love.
We hope you had a great 2015 and look forward to crowdsourcing solutions with you in 2016!
For more, see these three crowdsourced publications:
- 25 Impact Opportunities In U.S. K-12 Education
- Preparing Leaders for Deeper Learning
- Crowdsourcing Hashtags for Connected Educators Month
Thanks to Chris Barry on SAP for his notes on crowdsourcing.
Tom Vander Ark
See First Monday paper on shared dimensions of crowdsourcing & MOOCs
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