Ecto 101

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  • Introduction

    The shift towards personalized, collaborative learning and the widespread use of social software (software that supports group interaction) on the Web has produced a growing need in the next generation of online learning.

    Project Based Learning has proven to significantly improve student learning and can reduce educational costs. Schools now desire to put these learning methods into practice. Perhaps the most salient aspect of the Web 2.0/social software evolution for education practitioners and researchers is that children and young adults are acquiring, on their own, new approaches to accessing knowledge and new roles in the development of knowledge.

  • Enter Ecto

    Ecto is a hosted networked Personal Learning Environment (nPLE) that is focused on the student and is fully collaborative, where the learning content can be user-created, user-rated, shared and open. With Ecto the wired classroom becomes interactive, collaborative, and student-centered—the very definition of a modern learning environment and the only learning system designed to accomplish this.

    Because Ecto is hosted, giant libraries of content can be explored by class participants and imported, exchanged, rated, modified or just shared. The most distinguishing aspects of the Web 2.0 era are vast, open, ever-expanding, ever-refining community-managed libraries of multimedia information. Examples include YouTube, Wikipedia, and Flickr.

    Ecto connects classrooms across the hall, across town, and across the globe. In fact, Ecto already has classrooms in the US collaborating on joint projects with schools in India and China. In addition the teachers can actively engage with students’ parents through the fully networked learning system.

    The Ecto business model is based on the proven Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Because of our very light business and technology model we can provide Ecto to individuals, groups, classes, and schools on a very cost effective, monthly subscription basis.

  • Ecto helps teachers teach better

    Manage courses efficiently – Instructors can easily use their accounts to organize lesson plans, assign homework, deliver resources, and administer exams, and do grading all online by using the system. Ecto excels at meeting the unique challenges of project-based learning by allowing teachers to easily create online teams, continually provide feedback, and monitor progress.

    Facilitate collaboration – Excellent teachers are often the best untapped resource for other teachers. Ecto facilitates the sharing of best practices and best quality learning items. Teachers can easily share exams, exercises and lesson plans and reconfigure the material to suit their own uses.

    Let content evolve – Every activity in Ecto can be grouped in any configuration to meet the individual needs of both teachers and students. For example, a teacher can select an existing content item in the library, then rearrange scope and sequence or use or modify test questions either from the library or by creating their own. Quality for all items is rated on a multi-tiered scale involving factors such as user feedback, usage volume, active lifespan of the item, and user performance.

  • Ecto helps students learn better

    Learn at your own pace – Each student has her or his own individual learning style and learns at their own pace. Students have their own, individual learning styles and each learns at her or his own pace. Ecto allows teachers to quickly assess individual student needs and assemble groups of instructional activities to address those needs.

    Monitor your own progress – When students can easily and continually monitor their own progress they become more motivated to set and attain goals. With Ecto every student is able to maintain a record of her or his own progress. When students move from level to level their Ecto accounts and portfolios travels with them.

    Encourage exploration – Ecto is grounded in constructivist learning theory. If instructors wish to empower their students to take control of their learning experience through exploration and discovery, Ecto is an ideal environment. Although Ecto can easily support a more traditional approach, what emerges with Ecto is a collaborative learning environment. The context in which the user is accessing the content determines if they are instructing or learning. In Ecto, anyone can explore, create, and share learning activities.

  • Want to learn more? Take a look at our whitepaper. It explores what the next generation online learning environment should look like.
  • What is EctoLearning?

    This short video presents an overview of some of the functionality of EctoLearning as well as some examples of how teachers and students are using Ecto to improve learning.