Educational Technology

America 2.0: Why It’s Time for a Technology Upgrade

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 00:39

by Knowledge at Wharton

When it comes to upgrading the nation’s infrastructure, Gad Allon, Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions, says that strategic emphasis should be placed on the nation’s major airports and high-speed trains. But he also believes that it is important for long-range prosperity and competitiveness to make sure that every person in the U.S. has access to high-speed internet, ideally fiber optic. “Only a fraction of the U.S. has LTE [wireless coverage]; most people have 4G. When people come from [South] Korea to the U.S., they cannot bear the speed here, so they stop connecting to the internet while they are here. This is, for me, first order.”

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Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 00:35

BY Matthew Lynch, tech Edvocate
The best edtech software relies on learning analytics to help personalize teaching methods and tailor instruction to meet each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses, learning disabilities, and prior subject knowledge. Without a personalized touch, educators would otherwise stick to the traditional model of teaching and tailor instruction not to the individual, but to a mass classroom filled with supposedly homogenous mental make-ups. Thankfully, educators and policy makers have caught on and realized the importance of personalized attention. Everyone’s brain processes information differently and with the help of learning analytics, the model of education is gradually moving away from the unrealistic institution and towards every individual student.

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Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 00:30

by Matthew Lynch, tech Edvocate
In 2008, Apple designed an education model appropriate for the learners of tomorrow. Their goal was to replace pencils with iPads, worksheets with real-world problems, and grades with societal growth. After implementing challenge-based learning into classrooms across the United States, young minds have accomplished incredible feats.  With challenge-based learning, students locate community-based or nationwide problems – the overuse of plastic bottles, after-school traffic, local pollution – and work to provide original solutions. The goal is for learners to work in group settings to brainstorm ideas, research logistics, conduct surveys, create a budget, analyze data, present their findings and share an original end product with fellow students.

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Creators of Second Life Open Sansar Social VR Platform to the Public

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 00:40

By Sri Ravipati, Campus Technology

The San Francisco-based company behind the social virtual reality (VR) platform Second Life has launched a creator beta for Sansar. According to the announcement from Linden Lab, “Sansar empowers individuals, communities, schools, studios, corporations, brands and others to easily create, share and ultimately sell immersive 3D social experiences for consumers to enjoy on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows PCs.” All creators can now use Sansar’s platform to start creating VR content. “Sansar democratizes social VR,” said Ebbe Altberg, Linden Lab CEO, in the statement. “Until now, complexity and cost has limited who could create and publish in this medium, and Sansar dramatically changes that. It’s been inspiring to see the thousands of virtual creations that have already published with Sansar during our limited preview, and I’m looking forward to the explosion of creativity we’ll see now that we’ve opened the doors in beta.”

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Microsoft Offering Students Flexible Leasing for Surface Devices, Deals on Windows 10 PCs

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 00:35

By Sri Ravipati, Campus Technology

Microsoft on Tuesday revealed a flexible payment plan to lease its Surface computers, and a number of other back-to-school deals and programs for teachers and students. The company calls the Surface Pro its most versatile laptop. First, the company is giving students a 10 percent discount on Surface machines, which double as tablets or laptops, through the new Surface Plus plan. Surface devices aren’t low-priced, with the Surface Pro priced starting at $799 and running as high as $2,999 for the Surface Studio.

Some key features of the Surface Plan include:

Low monthly payments at 0 percent APR over 24 months;

Upgrades to the latest model after 18 months; and

A 30-day hassle-free return policy and access to in-store support.

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Twin Falls School District will provide free online classes for homeschoolers

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 00:30

by JULIE WOOTTON, Magic Valley

Twin Falls homeschoolers: You’ll soon have access to free curriculum and online classes through the Twin Falls School District. The district is launching a new partnership with Harmony Educational Services, based in Springville, Utah. An informational meeting for interested families is slated for Tuesday at the Twin Falls Public Library. Families can enroll their kindergarten through eighth-graders in the program through mid-September. The partnership essentially allows homeschoolers the flexibility to pick and choose their curriculum and online classes, and have support from the Twin Falls School District. And it allows the district to receive state funding for each student enrolled.

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Online Courses as Good as In-Person Classes

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 00:39

by Fred Lokken, Inside Higher Ed

Transitioning to the virtual learning environment has fostered improved faculty training, student preparation and student analytics. Community colleges have crafted a virtual learning environment that is structured, positive and successful. As someone who has taught online classes since 1999 and managed the online program administration at my campus for 16 years, I am personally aware of the progress we have made, the quality of instruction we do achieve, the access door we have opened wider and the difference we have made in the lives of our students. Traditional and nontraditional students alike have demonstrated a remarkable success in online degree programs. An employer can be confident that graduates of an online program have the same knowledge, skills and abilities as a student in a traditional residential program.

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Instructional Designers – what they do

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 00:35

By Sharon O’Malley, Inside Higher Ed

The practice of instructional design emerged during World War II, when the military assembled groups of psychologists and academics to create training and assessment materials for troops. In 1954, Harvard University psychology professor and author B. F. Skinner introduced the concept of programmed instructional materials through his article “The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching.” Within a decade, noted academics — including Robert Gagne, widely considered the father of the field of instructional design — had embraced the importance of assessment and learning objectives in teaching and learning. Although higher education typically left course design up to the professors who would teach in traditional classrooms, the popularity of online courses created a need for input from professionals trained in the science of teaching, instructional methods and the technology that would make learning possible for remote students. And now, the field is growing. A 2016 report funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation estimated that a minimum of 13,000 instructional designers work on college campuses.

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The New Wave in Digital Humanities

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 00:30

By Will Fenton, Inside Higher Ed

The digital humanities have supported a remarkable diversity of teaching, scholarship and service pursued by a diverse group of leaders who are shaping the field’s values and priorities. Inside Digital Learning here showcases the contributions of five rising stars of the digital humanities: Alex Gil, Lauren Klein, Marisa Parham, Miriam Posner and Jacqueline Wernimont. While no selection can represent the full scope of a field, these scholars represent the emergent and promising work within digital humanities. “These scholars demonstrate again and again the promise of digital technologies for exploring the most crucial, critical questions in the humanities,” said Kathleen Fitzpatrick, who until recently was associate executive director and director of scholarly communication at the Modern Language Association. These five rising stars work in alternative-academic and traditional tenure-track positions at public research, liberal arts and Ivy League institutions.

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Mizzou K-12 Online recruits tigers from around the world

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 00:39

by EDWARD MCKINLEY, Missourian

MU High School, and its Mizzou K-12 Online program, turns international, high school-age students from around the world into Missouri Tigers. “We feel like we are at home,” Luciana Calixto, the coordinator of Mizzou K-12 Online programs at two Brazilian schools, said about being with her students in Columbia. Students in 135 countries participate in MU’s online high school program, Mizzou K-12 Online, run by the College of Education. Other American universities offer online high school programs, but MU’s program is unusual because it is conducted through the education college. For students, the tuition for Mizzou K-12 is a few hundred dollars each month. The price differs depending on the partnerships between MU and different schools. It provides access to classes that international students wouldn’t receive in their home countries, and courses are assigned, completed and graded completely online.–online-recruits-tigers-from-around-the-world/article_5b2bd57a-72f0-11e7-8c01-932451053c47.html

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Textbooks in the Digital World

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 00:35


For decades, textbooks were seen as the foundation for instruction in American schools. These discipline-specific tomes were a fundamental part of the educational infrastructure, assigned to students for each subject and carried in heavy backpacks every day – from home to school and back again. The experience of students is much different today. As a scholar of learning technologies and a director for outreach and engagement at Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology, we’ve seen how technological advances and an increase in digital curriculum materials have hastened the move away from textbooks. Does all of this technology spell the end of traditional textbooks? And if so, is that actually a good thing for students and teachers?

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Is it time for a QR code comeback?

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 00:30

by Rebecca Sentance, ZD Net

Remember QR codes? Those blocky, black-and-white graphics that take you to a URL when scanned with your phone were everywhere from about 2011 to 2013. Brands splashed them across posters, put them in shop windows and integrated them into creative advertising. But despite the ostensible usefulness of QR codes in linking the offline and online worlds, QR codes have since mostly died out, due to a combination of poor implementation, subpar technology, and a lack of native support for QR codes in smartphones. In the meantime, QR codes have taken off in China in a way they never achieved in the west, where they’re used for everything from payments to exchanging personal details, proving that it’s possible to make a success of QR codes when they’re approached with a truly mobile-first mindset.

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Preschoolers played online games for a year — and became kindergarten-ready

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 00:40

by Kirsten Clark, Courier-Journal

Karen McLean didn’t want her twins to fall behind in kindergarten. “Kindergarten is not like it used to be,” said McLean, who is a literacy coach for New Albany-Floyd County Schools. “It’s not playtime anymore. It’s academic learning.” That’s why McLean enrolled Andrew and Marcus in Upstart, an online preschool program billed as a way to prepare children for kindergarten “in just 15 minutes a day, five days a week.” Andrew and Marcus were two of roughly a hundred Floyd County 4-year-olds to participate in a pilot program that brought the software to the Hoosier state, where lawmakers hoped it would be a game-changer for the state’s roughly 27,000 low-income children without access to quality preschool.

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New guide designed to help Colorado educators combine online courses with traditional teaching

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 00:34

By MARISSA PAGE, Chalkbeat Colorado

A new guide released Monday seeks to help Colorado schools successfully introduce blending learning, a growing practice combining traditional classroom instruction with online coursework. The Colorado Blended Learning Roadmap, commissioned by state lawmakers, urges school officials to consider three main priorities: effective teacher training and increased support; flexibility in school policies to support the model; and access to quality technology and other tools.

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Why Apple Is Investing So Much in AR and VR

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 00:29

by Kate Murphy, Campos

What’s Apple going to do with the company’s patents and technology? No one knows, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed enthusiasm over AR in particular. “Unlike virtual reality, which closes out the world, AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allow an improvement on what’s happening presently,” he told the Independent in February. “With AR you can, not be engrossed in something, but have it be a part of your world, your conversation. That has resonance.” Earlier this summer, Apple launched ARKit, a tool that adds augmented reality capabilities to iOS. A soon-to-launch app developed using ARKit called A R Measure, is a good example of what this means to consumers. The app will allow you to measure real-life objects by superimposing virtual measuring tape over the item when you look through your phone screen.

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5 Assistive Technology Apps for Students with Special Needs

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 00:40

by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

With so much talk about mobile devices at K-12 desks and teaching technology for the majority of students, it can be easy to overlook the strides also being made for students with disabilities when it comes to assistive technology, especially in the area of apps. These apps can be used with virtually any electronic device, including mobile phones. Also, many come no cost, and those that are fee-based are usually inexpensive. In this article, we will profile the best assistive technology apps on the market today.

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How to Choose the Right Digital Learning Device

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 00:35

by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

Choosing the right digital learning device can be tricky. As more schools go one-to-one, offering every student a computer or tablet, they are faced with the difficult choice of picking one device that will work for all purposes. It can be tough to find a device that is tough enough to withstand everything students will throw at it, is easy to carry around, and can do everything teachers and students need it to do. Ultimately, there is no one right digital learning device for every school. But there are some basic guidelines that schools can follow to help them choose the right digital learning device for their needs.

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Is Online Education a Jobs Engine?

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 00:30

By Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

Drawing parallels to one economist’s unorthodox view of e-commerce.I like nothing better than getting things wrong. When we are wrong, we learn something. So I interested to read a NYTimes piece on 7/10/17 on e-commerce, the tech sector, and job creation. For a while now I’ve thought that the growth of online shopping is killing retail jobs, and that this trend would inevitably result in overall job losses as less the role of sales people and cashiers is eliminated. But maybe I’ve been wrong. And if online shopping is really a jobs engine, couldn’t online learning also be a job creator for educators?

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8 principles to help you advance to Flipped Learning 3.0

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 00:40


Flipped learning pioneer Jon Bergmann outlined critical steps to building an effective flipped learning school. At ISTE 2017, flipped learning pioneer Jon Bergmann introduced session attendees to Flipped Learning 3.0, and described the 8 principles that are crucial to any school’s flipped learning journey. Bergmann referenced the Flipped Learning Network’s definition as a pretty solid explanation for educators who are unsure: “Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.”

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Fascinating library project has students award peace prize

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 00:35


A media specialist’s grade-wide interdisciplinary project shows students that their voices have power around the world.The Barrow Peace Prize is a cross-curricular project that allows 2nd-grade students to consider the character traits of peace and extend their voices to a global audience. Named for our school, David C. Barrow Elementary, the project begins with each student selecting one of six nominees from civil rights history to research. They then create a persuasive video essay as well as a watercolor painting showing why their chosen nominee best displays the qualities of peace. The videos are voted on by people from all over the world, and the nominee with the most votes (and the students who researched them) is awarded the Barrow Peace Prize.

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