Today, we’re here with Eric Clark, one of our Real World Math and K-12 Course Designers…and our newest addition to our Educator Snapshot series!
Hello Eric! Thank you for coming out here to speak with us today.
Hello Marissa, my pleasure.
So let’s get started! What work have you done with the Saylor Foundation?
The work that I have completed with Saylor.org includes the fully developed Real World Math courses, Foundations of Real World Math and Geometry. I am also developing the fully-loaded Calculus AB for the K-12 program.
Nice work! Each of these courses are live and running to help our students keep their math skills sharp! When you’re not developing courses for us, what else keeps you busy?
I am the School Director/Director of Education at the International College of Broadcasting, a career college, in Dayton, Ohio. Other work that I currently do is to help develop assessment questions and mathematics curriculum related to the Common Core State Standards as well tutor mathematics online.
That’s great! Online tutoring can be a great way to reach struggling students all over the world! Seeing that you are very much involved in online education, how did you become acquainted with it in the first place?
I became involved in online education through my work environment because most of professional development is completed through online modules. Being an online mathematics tutor, also showed me that any subject (including mathematics) can be conveyed through an online medium where students are able to learn content.
Cool! As you already know, online learning is a flexible great way to learn for distance learning. How has your work with the Saylor Foundation changed your professional practice or added to your professional or personal repertoire?
Work with the Saylor Foundation has allowed me to see the future of education where students can study full content online and be able to study at their own pace. Open online courses have allowed for the possibility to take full courses (general education and even career related). I also have learned about Open Education Resources, which can be shared with everyone, and are quality resources for students to learn.
Yes, the gold mine of OER has been awesome asset to each of our courses here at Saylor. What did you bring into your work with Saylor that was advantageous?
I believe my experiences with students who struggle with lower levels of math as well as those that excel with math was advantageous. There are ways to explain information in a manner where any student can understand the material.
We hope that our courses will help those populations in need. As an experienced traveler in the world of online education, what advice would you give to other interested teachers?
These are additional tools and resources that you can use for the classroom, and in many cases, at no expense to the teacher. The open resources can enhance the classroom and give students to use technology to learn effectively.
That’s very true! We here at Saylor definitely encourage educators to make use of our courses in creative ways to further aid their own lessons and teaching. Switching gears a bit…what do you truly enjoy about your work?
I enjoy working with faculty on improving education in the classroom for adult learners. The techniques of engaging the students in the classroom is important, and I enjoy helping other faculty find ways for students to be successful. I also enjoy the opportunity to create new assessment and curriculum items to help improve the students understanding further of mathematical topics.
Great! Considering your expertise, do you have any thoughts on the future of K-12 education and/or less-formal learning?
With the amount of reliable content online, there will be opportunities for student to learn content in a way that best fits their learning styles. Teachers will be able to provide a more customize curriculum because of the available resources online. Students can be directed to remediate on topics they struggle with or advanced on topics they have a great understanding. Less-formal learning will occur more often because of the ample technology related tools that students currently have to learn content.
Is there any advice that you would like to give to our young student readers?
Always continue to learn and explore new opportunities and challenges within education. Find your interests within education, and realize, all subjects help you achieve your personal goals.
Lastly, what advice do you have for those who are themselves parents of students?
For parents, find a way for your child to be successful in education. There are many tools available to allow your child to give him/her opportunities to grow, and use these resources to make your child understand concepts before moving on to more advanced ones. Encourage your child to understand material, apply the information, and not just memorize for a test.