There has been a huge leap (no pun intended) in what is being called gesture-based control of digital devices as of late. HP recently demonstrated a new laptop that users can interact with via hand gestures and google recently released this video of a user using their Leap Motion technology to interact with Google Street. While this all very cool, it is not a new phenomenon. Video gaming consoles such as the Nintendo's Wii (wireless gesture based controller) and Microsoft's Kinect System (hand based controller) for the xBox pioneered this new way of interacting about five years ago. The difference now is that gesture computing is better, more precise and beginning to permeate all aspects of educational computing interaction. Like the mouse and the touchscreen's before them, the gesture systems will have a dramatic impact on the users experience while also driving the development of new and innovative educational applications that can take advantage of this unique way of interacting. Of course, like it's predecessors, gesture-based computing's life will be fleeting as it will be ultimately be replaced by thought -based interaction with digital content. We can only wonder what kind of educational apps will result from that technological development.
Recent studies suggest that most massively open online courses who have hundreds, thousands and even hundreds of thousands of students enrolled in them produce very few (less than 10%) course completers. Traditional education is using this data to sound the educational alarms! MOOC's are a failure now that let's get back to the way we used to educate people. I say, not so fast. I agree that we need to offer learners the traditional path through education, especially if the learner is moving toward a degree. But we also need to offer alternatives to this path and the MOOC is a great model of how to learn what you need when you need it and from some pretty experienced people. They also offer a way to network with other people who have similar interests and objectives. Those are great things to be able to do and only a MOOC can do that. That said, the question remains, "Is it critical for students to COMPLETE a MOOC in order for MOOC's or the students who participate in them to be successful?" Having participated in but not completed a MOOC last fall (yes, I am one of those 90% who "failed") I can honestly answer no. I learned what I needed to learn and then checked out to go and do what I learned. From my perspective the MOOC met my learning objective so it was an educational success. Perhaps, MOOC's are transitional and will naturally evolve into something structured less like a traditional college or high school course with starting and ending points and deadlines in between, and instead become more of "learning as I need it" model promised but not yet delivered by online education in the future. I am not sure, but I can see a strong and important place for MOOC's moving forward if we can get away from judging them on "completion rates". Your thoughts?