Monday, August 24, 2009

Interview with Mark Luetzelschwab, BrainHoney: Innovators in E-Learning Series

Welcome to an interview with Dr Mark Luetzelschwab, of, a new learning management system that state standards into the entire teaching and learning process, which, in the past, has been a stumbling block as developers attempt to create K-12 courses for learners in different schools, or as colleges develop Advanced Placement courses for individuals in high schools in located in different states. Brainhoney automatically creates a curriculum map template, populates all of a person's state's standards, gradebook, and mastery chart. It is all web-based.

1. What is your name and your connection to elearning?

My name is Dr. Mark Luetzelschwab, BrainHoney. I have been involved with educational technology for 20+ years in a variety of areas including hands-on microcomputer labs, video analysis, multimedia tutorials, etc. I have focused on eLearning for last 10 years, with an emphasis on practical applications that are available to large audiences. I have also been an executive at a number of elearning startups that have grown to hundreds of thousands of enrollments across the globe. My PhD deals with expert facilitation of asynchronous discussions.

2. Please describe BrainHoney. What makes it unique? What is its structure?

BrainHoney uniquely integrates state standards into the entire teaching and learning process. Teachers track student progress against state standards; this data can be integrated with SISs and other data systems for administrator review. An automatic registration process is followed and then you may drag and drop curriculum mapping to state standards. BrainHoney creates a gradebook from the curriculum map and uses the data and alignment to generate day-by-day reports of student progress against state standards. In effect, the teachers get the same data daily the administrators get annually from state tests - in time to do something about it and provide intelligent intervention.

3. Who will use BrainHoney, and what are the core instructional strategies that it employs? Is it easy to use?

BrainHoney is designed for K-12 teachers. It is so easy and clear, we have even been hugged during demos by a few teachers. The core instructional strategy is that instructional decisions are best made based on available data. BrainHoney makes it practical for teachers to integrate state standards into the day-by-day practice and significantly benefit from that integration by understanding what students know and what concepts need to be revisited before the statewide exams.

BrainHoney can be used in the classroom, online, or both. Teachers can provide supplemental materials online for classroom students, teach online and classroom students simultaneously, and teach completely online.

Teachers who have used online learning systems like Blackboard and Moodle express that BrainHoney "has it figured out" and report savings of upwards of 80% of administrative time (i.e. looking for assignments, grading, responding to discussions)

4. What kinds of collaborative learning strategies does BrainHoney incorporate? Are there elements about BrainHoney that one can't find anywhere else?

While we have some basic asynchronous collaboration tools, we don't dictate the style of instruction. We focus on teachers aligning their activity - whether its a field trip, a collaborative project, or direct instruction - to state standards and providing a tool for measuring and reporting progress.

5. Who is likely to benefit most from BrainHoney's platform?

Ultimately, the students. BrainHoney makes it practical to differentiate instruction, which is one of the most critical aspects of effective instruction. Teachers love that it makes them more efficient, and that it helps them focus on teaching, and NOT on administrivia.

6. Does BrainHoney host the solution?

We host the solution.

BrainHoney's Facebook:

Twitter: @BrainHoneyEd

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