Educational Technology

The reign of the $100 graphing calculator required by every US math class is finally ending

Educational Technology News Blog - 4 hours 44 min ago

by Amy X. Wang, Quartz

If you took a math class at some point in the US, there is likely a bulky $100 calculator gathering dust somewhere in your closet. Enter Desmos, a San Francisco-based company that offers a free online version of TI’s graphing calculator. Users across 146 countries, most of them teachers or students, are currently logging 300,000 hours a day on the platform—and today, Desmos announced a major partnership with testing consortium Smarter Balanced, which administers academic exams in 15 US states. Beginning this spring, students in those areas will use the online tool in math classrooms and on statewide performance assessments. “We think students shouldn’t have to buy this old, underpowered device anymore,” Desmos CEO Eli Luberoff tells Quartz. “It’s a huge source of inequity, and it’s just not the best way to learn.”

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Is Two Hours Really Too Much Screen Time for Kids?

Educational Technology News Blog - 4 hours 45 min ago

by Matthew Lynch, tech Edvocate

In a nod to the increasing ubiquity of technology in our world, the American Academy of Paediatrics announced in October last year that it is beginning the process of revising its guidelines for children and screens. The academy says it has realised that in a world where screen time is becoming simply “time”, its policies must evolve or become obsolete. The new formalised guidelines will be published later this year and many expect screen time allowed to be lengthened. It is unrealistic for high school students to only spend two hours per day on screens, particularly when school work obliges them to do that or more. Time is also not necessarily the best measure to ensure children’s screen use is part of a healthy and balanced approach to life.

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Educational Technology News Blog - 4 hours 50 min ago

by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

A California school district is using a revolutionary writing improvement technology in a revolutionary new way. According to the IMS, the award sponsors, the prestigious recognitions are intended to, “recognize outstanding, innovative applications of educational technology to address the most significant challenges facing education.” And what the Newport-Mesa Unified School District is doing with Turnitin Revision Assistant applies. Even though Revision Assistant was designed to provide real-time feedback on student writing, which it does, the Newport-Mesa district is also using it help teachers score writing assignments more consistently across the district grading rubric.

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How Machine Learning Will Impact Online Security This Year

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 00:40

by Justin Blanchard, Forbes

Last year wasn’t a great year for security on the web. Every month, the media reported another major breach, many of which had an impact at the corporate and even state level. Online criminals want to remain hidden — if they’re discovered, it’s game over. They invest significant resources into hiding their presence, but it’s impossible for them to hide completely. There are always tell-tale network and usage patterns. But those patterns are constantly changing and obscured within massive quantities of genuine user interactions. Discovering those patterns is like looking for a needle in the world’s biggest haystack, and you have no idea what that needle looks like. It’s beyond the ability of humans, but it’s within the scope of what can be achieved with machine learning, which is capable of spotting patterns without being told exactly which patterns it should look for.

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Free online math tool plots new course for old graphing calculators

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 00:30

by Greg Toppo, USATODAY

Young people these days live most of their lives online, so why shouldn’t they be plotting graphs and performing advanced calculations there as well? For the first time this spring, students taking basic skills tests nationwide will be using a free, online, embedded graphing calculator that its developer says may finally bring the tool into the 21st century. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium was set to announce on Monday that it will embed the online calculator into math tests that millions of students use. The tool, developed by San Francisco-based Desmos, is being tested by students this spring, with plans to use it widely in classrooms in the fall. Students in the College Board’s “SpringBoard” math program are already using it, the company said.

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Home-based K-12 schools on the rise in Washington

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 00:27

by Sheila Hagar, Union Bulletin

In 30 minutes, teacher Erika Montgomery has wrapped up the weekly “live lesson” over the computer connection. Preston, 7, leaves his seat at the kitchen counter in the family’s home in Walla Walla to find a spot on one of several couches in the living room. Preston is a first-grader enrolled in Washington Connections Academy online public school. The no-tuition, virtual school was approved in Washington state for grades K-12 in 2016 and currently serves grades K-10; grades 11 and 12 will be added later. The parent organization, for-profit Connections Education, was founded in Baltimore in 2001. The program is currently available in 28 states.–schools-on-the-rise-in-washington/article_a0815962-32de-11e7-a376-3381c51b2868.html

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Wired for success: EdTech program at BSU provides technology resources to educators

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 00:40

BY MARK RUDIN, Idaho Statesman

Technology can be a powerful educational aid. However, giving students new iPads or Surfaces won’t automatically make them better learners, or even more receptive to learning. In untrained hands, these technologies can become nothing more than personal entertainment and social media systems. Only the effective implementation of technology, bolstered with teacher training, can make a difference in students’ lives and how they learn. Fortunately, for more than a decade, the College of Education’s EdTech department at Boise State University has offered graduate programs for teachers and other education professionals geared toward meeting this increasingly urgent need to support traditional teaching methods with emerging new technologies.

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Illinois Schools Opt for Virtual Summer Learning Programs

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 00:36

by Associated Press

Some Illinois school districts are revamping their summer school programs this year with virtual programs designed to allow students to complete lessons outside of the classroom. But education experts are worried that online learning programs aren’t the best approach for younger students, the Chicago Tribune reported ( ). They are questioning whether the move is due to the school districts’ desire to cut costs and redirect money at a time when the state is $13 billion behind in allocating school funds due to the budget impasse. “They’re thinking it’s cost-effective, but it may not be learning-effective,” said Rena Shifflet, an associate professor at Illinois State University’s School of Teaching and Learning. “Illinois has kind of backed school districts into a corner. They’re doing the most with what they have.”

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Personalized Learning: What the Research Says

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 00:30
by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate Historically, teachers have been seen as leaders in the classroom, and students are meant to follow that lead completely. However, there is more autonomy given to students in a classroom that focus on personalized learning. Students no longer become a passive recipient of information because they are actively engaged and motivated, as stated previously, in the process all the more. Though more research needs to be completed on the topic of personalized learning, it does not seem to be vanishing in the forefront of educational techniques any time soon. It should be considered as a viable method to be included in every classroom right alongside collaborative and other traditional learning methods.

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Making 3-D printing as simple as printing on paper

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 00:40

by Rob Matheson | MIT News Office

If you haven’t used a 3-D printer yet, you may be surprised to learn that it isn’t fully automated the way your office’s inkjet is. With paper printers, users queue documents from a computer, and each finished sheet drops neatly into a tray, waiting to be collected. With commercial 3-D printers, however, designs are manually programmed into the printer, and each finished part is manually removed before starting a new print, which is very time-consuming. At schools and businesses, a trained expert usually handles all prints, which can be expensive. Now MIT spinout New Valence Robotics (NVBOTS) has brought to market the only fully automated commercial 3-D printer that’s equipped with cloud-based queuing and automatic part removal, making print jobs quicker and easier for multiple users, and dropping the cost per part.

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Are we heading for a new encryption war?

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 00:35

By Steve Ranger, ZDNet

More details of how the UK’s new surveillance law will operate have been revealed, in details about the use of encryption. Under draft regulations to support the new Investigatory Powers Act, the government will be able to issue ‘technical capability notices’ to companies with more than 10,000 UK users to make it easier for police, spy agencies and other government bodies to access their customers’ communications. In particular, the regulations require companies to provide and maintain “the capability to disclose, where practicable, the content of communications or secondary data in an intelligible form and to remove electronic protection applied by or on behalf of the telecommunications operator to the communications or data, or to permit the person to whom the warrant is addressed to remove such electronic protection.”

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New partnership with Khan Academy designed to expand ‘personalized learning’ in the classroom

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 00:30


Khan with attendees at an event in Irvine on April 24 to kickoff the partnership between the Khan Academy and several county education departments. In establishing relationships with several county offices of education in Southern California, the Khan Academy is hoping to expand its already large footprint in the world of personalized learning to make its online resources a more formal part of the school curriculum. The move could mark a quantum leap in the use of online materials in the classroom. Sal Khan, the Khan Academy’s founder, said he hopes the materials he has developed – online courses, instructional exercises, videos and a personalized “learning dashboard” – will become a “primary tool for practice” in the classroom, rather than just a supplement to the curriculum.

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How to prevent accidental plagiarism in an online world

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 00:38

BY LESLEY VOS, eSchool News

Students write a lot, and the issue of plagiarism (or, at least, wrong paraphrasing) remains topical. As educators, what can you do to help students avoid the problem? Everything starts with suspicion. You take a student’s essay, start reading it, and it doesn’t feel right. The writing structure, word constructions, and deductions are unlike this mentee of yours! You go to PlagiarismCheck, Copyscape, or any other resource to check that essay for plagiarism and…ta da! You were right. The essay has obvious signs of plagiarism. Don’t hurry up to blame a student. They might plagiarize accidentally. A responsible educator, you can help students write original academic papers and teach them to distinguish whether they opine on the topic or simply paraphrase statements, taken from third party sources. Here’s how.

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Google Adds Safety Feature to Android Gmail App After E-Mail Phishing Attack

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 00:35

By Sri Ravipati, THE Journal

A word of warning: If there is an e-mail in your inbox asking you to open a Google Doc from someone, don’t open it. A day after the recent attack, Google rolled out a new safeguard to its Android Gmail app. The phishing scam attempted to hack a user’s Google account after the user clicks a link that appears to be from a trusted individual. Google was able to stop the attack after about 1 million (just 0.1 percent) of all Gmail users had seen one of the e-mails. Now with the Gmail app updates, when a phony link appears in an e-mail, Google will warn the user, with an alert: “The site you are trying to visit has been identified as a forgery intended to trick you into disclosing financial, personal or other sensitive information.”

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6 South Carolina High Schools Will Launch Aerospace Curriculum This Fall

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 00:30

By Sri Ravipati, THE Journal

A group of South Carolina companies called SC Aerospace, supported by the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness and the South Carolina Department of Commerce, are introducing an aerospace curriculum in six high schools. This fall, each of the following schools will receive $50,000 from the South Carolina Department of Education to cover course costs

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5 Movie-Making Apps for Student Projects

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 05/21/2017 - 00:40

by Matthew Lynch, tech Edvocate

Student videos can be performances of short stories or narratives written by the students for English class. They can be videos of experiments done at home for science. They can be reenactments of historical events or raps about math concepts. Graphics and text can be added to these videos for context, and students can even release their creative side by including special effects. With most students owning smartphones and with many classrooms using smart pads, making videos for a class has become easier than ever. There are many movie making apps available for smartphones and tablets to create videos, but we’ve decided to share the top 5 that are the easiest for students to use.

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5 teacher-loved technology tools to meet STEM NGSS standards

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 05/21/2017 - 00:35


The Science and Engineering Practices of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) require students to ‘obtain, evaluate, and communicate information’ (NGSS Lead States, 2013). Despite this need to communicate with increasing clarity and creativity, oftentimes students and teachers rely upon common modalities such as Powerpoint presentations, Word brochures, and handmade posters when asked to communicate information within the classroom setting. While useful and rife with practical implications, these traditional options tend to be overused and are limited in their capabilities to communicate information in dynamic new ways. Additionally, it is important that students learn to use a wide variety of technology tools within our 21st century classrooms (US Dept. of Education Office of Educational Technology, 2016). This article features recommendations for technology tools that enable students to communicate information in innovative, creative, and visually appealing ways.

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Is this increasingly popular teaching job the Uber for teachers?

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 05/21/2017 - 00:30


Three educators share their experiences teaching English to Chinese students on their own schedules and from their own homes. Apps like Uber, Lyft, and Task Rabbit have helped millions of people use their skills to earn money on their own schedule. This model has now come to the American education market with 51Talk (pronounced “five-one-talk”), an online platform that connects educators in the U.S. with Chinese students who want to learn English. During each 25-minute lesson, teachers interact one-on-one with students using a live videoconferencing platform. Here, three early adopters share the challenges and rewards of practicing their craft whenever and wherever they want.

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3-D printing a valued commodity in tech industries and college campuses

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 05/20/2017 - 00:40

by Pat Donachie, Education Dive

3-D printing is a skill increasingly in demand in the fields of art, design and other industries, and the Fashion Institute of Technology is responding by installing a nascent 3-D printing lab, according to Ed Tech: Focus on Higher Ed. The technology can be adapted to a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, aerospace, healthcare and others — and supporters of the new tech say it can also be of great use to those involved in the visual and performing arts. Proponents like Jana Duda, FIT’s technology resources manager, say schools should begin small and allow time for experimentation as students and educators discern the best uses for 3-D printing. FIT built its space in an existing classroom.

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Industry Tool Detects Thousands of C2 Server RATs

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 05/20/2017 - 00:35

by Sri Ravipati, THE Journal

A tool developed by two security companies that scans the internet for command and control (C2) servers has already uncovered thousands of malicious RATs, or remote access trojans, on computers and other internet-connected devices. Shodan, a search engine used by many security researchers, lists information for open ports belonging to internet-connected devices. The company teamed up with threat intelligence firm Recorded Future to integrate a new online crawler into its search engine called Malware Hunter. Malware Hunter scans the internet regularly over time to identify C2 servers for various malware like RATs.

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