With its continued focus on education, Google has launched Oppia (beta). The Open Source project is a free educational tool that lets anyone create online educational activities through the web interface. Interactivity is its strong suit. The interactive activities are called “explorations”.
Explorations can be created by anyone in any part of the world – alone or working in teams. Oppia is designed for everyone – no programming knowledge is required if you want to create your own explorations. Lessons can be created with numeric, text, and multiple choice inputs. Specialized lesson tools like a clickable map and a code evaluator are also supported.
Oppia is also a smart tool with intelligent feedback that takes the learner through a lesson based on the answers they give. Google describes the inner working:
Oppia does this by modeling a mentor who poses questions for the learner to answer. Based on the learner’s responses, the mentor decides what question to ask next, what feedback to give, whether to delve deeper, or whether to proceed to something new. You can think of this as a smart feedback system that tries to “teach a person to fish”, instead of simply revealing the correct answer or marking the submitted answer as wrong.
Authors can tweak and turn the explorations instantly to guide the learners towards the finish line. For instance, they can consider the responses and dynamically change the information to make the concepts easier. Just like live teachers interacting with their students.
This YouTube video is the visual commentary on how Oppia works.
We are presuming here that Google took the initiative, but it wants the community to take over. Here’s what they mention on the site:
Much of the code that powers this site was written as an open-source project by a group of Google engineers in their 20% time. However, oppia.org is not a Google product, and Google bears no responsibility for the content of this website.
However, Oppia is definitely a useful tool in the hand of a teacher who can make the lessons work. Try out Oppia and let’s talk about its potential.