The Möbius Project and the Rise of Technology in Education

March 08 2013 laurent 680


Never before has the educational landscape been changing as fast as it is today, driven by a new generation of students who are growing up with instant access to on-demand information. This generation relies on ubiquitous network access and takes for granted technology that permeates every aspect of their lives. Phones and tablets are everyday companions and are used to connect with their peers, take classroom notes and research school projects. Beyond being mere consumers of information, the rise of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube shows that we now live in a world where everyone can be a content author.

As an instructor, the emphasis now needs to be on delivering insight within a dynamic and interactive learning experience that meshes with the on-demand, technology-rich mindset of today's students.

This presents a problem: We have accumulated large amounts of teaching materials over dozens of years, most of it in the form of static textbooks and course notes. All that material remains extremely relevant, yet the delivery mechanism needs updating. Many efforts are ongoing to bring this content into our millennium. The MOOC (Massively Open Online Courseware) movement is a prime example of how educational content is pooled and offered online and on demand. Unfortunately, up to now, generating engaging dynamic course material has been difficult and to do it well required combining the skills of a gifted educator with those of an advanced software developer.

With The Möbius Project, we provide a platform that I believe will change this educational landscape dramatically. For the first time, it is now straightforward to create, share, and grade dynamic, interactive educational material to support the curriculum in math, engineering, physics, science and beyond. Möbius Apps are created using Maple, providing for a seamless authoring process without the need for a computer science degree. Many Apps can be created using a simple point-and-click approach. More complex Apps take advantage of the power of the Maple programming language. All this content is easily shared via the MapleCloud, straight from within Maple. Students have easy access to any App in the Cloud from their desktop, phone or tablet via a web browser. A free Maple Player provides for an additional desktop option to consume Möbius content.

Truly groundbreaking, however, is the ability to automatically grade any Möbius App within Maple T.A., our online teaching and assessment environment. With this, The Möbius Project provides an entirely new way to assess student learning; students gain insight and understanding by interacting with a dynamic App. That interaction is automatically assessed and the results are captured in the student's gradebook alongside more standard free-response or multiple choice tests administered by Maple T.A. Students gain a rich experience within a highly engaging environment. In turn, instructors get a more complete picture of student progress and are able to fully take advantage of modern technology to deliver a first-class education.

From classroom explorations to homework assignments to high-stakes testing, Möbius Apps are an essential part of the tool-chest for teaching today's generation of students. The Möbius Project is now entering its pilot phase, and you can sign up for the pilot today. I hope you will join us on this journey.

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