Educational Technology

Digital vs. print textbook war – who cares?

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 00:40

By Nathan Gamble, eCampus News

The end of print textbooks has been foretold for years with the argument that digital screens would completely replace print. The reality, however, is quite different. In fact, a recent Purdue University report found that only four percent of the population studied opted to use an e-textbook over a print textbook, concluding that print textbooks are preferred by college students. In reality, who cares what the dominant textbook format will eventually become? Depending on the learner, subject matter, and instructor, one format or another may always be the “better” choice to accommodate a student’s learning style and the instructor’s curriculum design. The more pressing conversation should be about doing everything we can to help students be successful, graduate on-time, and be prepared for the working world. To do that, we need to lower the cost of course materials for students, increase accessibility, and improve student outcomes, regardless of the textbook format – in fact, both formats have a place in achieving those goals.

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Universities share best practices to retain STEM students

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 00:35

By Bridget McCrea, eCampus News

Developing new minds ready to take on careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) may be a national priority in the U.S., but if the current trends in higher education continue, that goal could be pretty difficult to achieve. According to National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) STEM Attrition: College Students’ Paths Into and Out of STEM Fields Statistical Analysis Report, about 28 percent of bachelor’s degree students and 20 percent of associate’s degree students entered a STEM field (i.e., they chose a STEM-related major) at some point within six years of entering postsecondary education in 2003−04.

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A new survey shows flipped learning becoming the norm, and Oregon State is at the forefront

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 00:30

By Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

Oregon State uses Kaltura for its video hosting services, tracking usage through a range of techniques offered by the company. Besides short videos obviously meant for flipped classrooms, instructors post longer videos of entire lectures for which Burriel notices a spike in viewing close to midterms or finals as students scramble to review concepts and material. Kaltura’s 2015 State of Video in Education Report, the result of a second annual online survey, included feedback from faculty identifying higher student performance when they make such lectures available. While not surprising, the feedback from 1,200 respondents revealed overwhelming support of video use in education and acknowledgment that it is a powerful tool for improving student learning outcomes and content delivery. Students, of course, have greater comfort with the newer technology, but many faculty are getting on board.

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Report: 6 of 10 Millennials Have ‘Low’ Technology Skills

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 00:40

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

Digital natives aren’t as tech-savvy as they think they are — at least, not according to their bosses. American millennials (those between the ages of 16 and 34) may be the first generation that grew up with computers and Internet access, but all that time spent glued to a small screen hasn’t translated to technology competence. While they spend an average of 35 hours every week on digital media, nearly six out of 10 millennials can’t do basic tasks such as sorting, searching for and emailing data from a spreadsheet.

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8 Tips for Creating a Stellar Online Course

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 00:35

By Michele Simms-Burton, Brite

Everyone wants their course to be lively and engaging. Here’s how to make that a reality. As the MIT Media Lab noted, too many online courses are flat and stale. They look like traditional lectures with “talking heads,” rather than creatively imagining ways to engage students from afar. What can you do to liven them up? Whether you work in education, at a corporation, or for a not-for-profit, here are eight tips for creating a killer online learning experience:

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44 Kentucky school districts approved for non-traditional learning during bad weather

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 00:32

by WKYT News

When bad weather hits in the upcoming school year, students in 44 Kentucky school districts will now continue their learning even when they aren’t at school. The Kentucky Department of Education has approved waivers allowing the districts to use virtual or other non-traditional means of instruction when school is cancelled because of weather or another emergency. In most cases, students will participate in lessons online. Under the provisions of the waiver, a district may count up to 10 non-traditional instruction days as regular attendance days in its school calendar and not have to make them up.

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Illinois Lawmakers OK Pilot Program To Replace Snow Days With Online Classes

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 00:37

by CBS Chicago

Snow days could become a thing of the past for Illinois students, under legislation passed by the Illinois General Assembly. The idea is to turn snow days – or days off school due to extreme cold, or heavy snow – into so-called “e-learning days.” Lawmakers have approved a three-year pilot plan to allow at least three school districts to provide online instruction on emergency days, which would not have to be made up later in the year. The Illinois House and Illinois Senate passed the measure last month, but have yet to send it to the governor.

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Clear Objectives and Ease of Use Key to Successful Online Courses

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 00:35

By Leila Meyer. Campus Technology

Online courses should state the course objectives clearly and provide easy-to-use technology to maximize the chances of student success, according to a recent survey conducted by Eduventures. In the spring of 2015, the company surveyed 28,000 students, mostly over age 25, who are pursuing an online degree or certificate. Based on the results of the survey, the company identified key factors contributing to high or low academic performance in online programs and came up with a list of recommendations to help educational institutions foster student success in those programs.

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Aggressive new Nevada law puts private schools in reach of all

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 00:32

By Eric Schulzke, Deseret News

Nevada went all in on school choice this month, with the new GOP legislature passing and the GOP governor signing a sweeping bill offering parents direct access to the money used to educate their children. The new Nevada law, the most aggressive private school choice program yet, allows parents to treat education as an a la carte menu, including mixing and matching public, online, private and home school options. Most parents will be able to take 90 percent of the state funds allocated to their child and put them in a restricted-use education fund. Children with special needs or from low-income families can take 100 percent.

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EdX Course Collection Aims To Combat Summer Slide

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 06/26/2015 - 00:40

By Joshua Bolkan, Campus Technology

EdX has partnered with the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) to launch a collection of free courses in an effort to help combat summer slide. As part of the effort, “edX will offer more than 60 courses from top institutions in core subjects such as math, science and language as well as skills-based courses in software development, computer science and innovation — ideal for career-minded high schoolers, college-age students and working professionals,” according to a news release. “In addition, select courses will be offered to help high school students with their AP exams and college admissions efforts.”

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Internet2 implements large-scale deployment of ONOS in live network

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 06/26/2015 - 00:34

by Stefanie Botelho,University Business

Internet2, the open source SDN Network Operating System (ONOS) community, and the Internet2 NOC at Indiana University today announced they have actively deployed ONOS on Internet2’s nationwide research and education (R&E) network. Five higher education institutions —Duke University, Florida International University, the Indiana GigaPoP,MAX and the University of Maryland – College Park, and the University of Utah—are connected to a virtual slice of the Internet2 nation-wide network that is piloting this next-generation advanced network technology. “This is a major milestone in the SDN era,” said Rob Vietzke, vice president of network services at Internet2.

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Successful Flipped Classes

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 06/26/2015 - 00:30

by Stephanie Butler Velegol, Sarah E. Zappe, and Emily Mahoney; Tomorrow’s Professor

Stephanie Butler Velegol has done just this with about 80 students per semester in an Introduction to Environmental Engineering class at Penn State University. During out-of-class time, students watch short videos that cover the technical material in the course. They then complete an online assessment that serves as a “gate check” before coming to class. Students use this online assessment to pose questions or identify areas of confusion. Velegol reviews students’ responses and then uses about 10 minutes of class time to address their specific questions. After that, the students are free to work on their “homework” problems. They work either alone or in groups, raising their hands when they have a question. Stephanie moves around the room answering their questions and teaching “just in time.” Sometimes, instead of these problem-solving sessions, class time is used for brainstorming solutions to current environmental engineering challenges, listening to expert speakers, or going on field trips.

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EdX Expands Free Course Offerings for Summer Learners

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 00:41

by EdX

EdX, the nonprofit online learning initiative founded by Harvard and MIT, has announced a special selection of high-quality, free courses available to help all combat “summer slide.” The offering is provided in conjunction with efforts from the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement gap through high-quality summer learning for all children and youth. The NSLA’s mission is to increase access to educational and developmental opportunities throughout the summer months. On Friday, June 19th, the NSLA will lead National Summer Learning Day, an annual day of advocacy dedicated to elevating the importance of summer learning, keeping kids safe, healthy, and academically active throughout the school break. The program points parents and students to educational opportunities, like where learners can enroll in free online courses.

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Community Colleges and Employers Develop Online Course Content To Address High-Need Skills Gap

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 00:35

By Leila Meyer, Campus Technology

CorpU, a social learning platform, and Jobs for the Future, a national nonprofit that focuses on addressing workforce demands, have assembled the College Employer Collaborative (CEC), a group of community colleges and employers that will work with CorpU to develop college curricula and credentials intended to meet the needs of high-growth industries. The CEC aims to help rectify the situation by developing online courses geared toward the skills employers are looking for in employees. “Community colleges have always been a critical pipeline of talent,” said Brian Inbody, president of Neosho County Community College, in a prepared statement. “By working with employers to actually develop course content, we are able to help students develop high-demand skills in the context of a meaningful academic environment.”

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Penn State professor and students use Oculus Rift to improve online learning

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 00:30

By Katie Jacobs, Penn State University

The technology isn’t just cool, though. It’s doing what Engineering Professor Conrad Tucker hoped it would do: It helps students learn. Tucker recently completed a study that found the device significantly improves a student’s performance completing a task when compared to doing the same activity in a non-immersive computer program — just playing the simulation on a flat screen and with traditional controls like a keyboard. Tucker used the coffee pot simulation to time and compare how long it took 54 undergraduate engineering students to assemble the pot. The students were randomly split into two groups: one group completed the task using the IVR headset, and the other used a non-immersive computer program. The median time it took the Oculus Rift group was 23.21 seconds, while the median time of the second group clocked in at 49.04 seconds — more than double. (The paper will be published in the upcoming ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference [IDETC/CIE 2015].)

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Network Capacity Growth: Plan for Exponential Increases

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 00:40

By Marie Bjerede, Keith R. Krueger; THE Journal

One megabit per second per student is also a number that only 15 percent of school districts can currently meet, according to CoSN’s latest E-Rate and Infrastructure Survey. In fact, this modest broadband goal is so overwhelming to achieve that many districts cite the financial obstacle as the primary reason they don’t embark on a digital transformation for their schools and their students. Reaching this goal seems outrageously ambitious to many district IT and financial leaders, particularly those in large districts. Do Schools Really Need That Much Bandwidth According to the CoSN Smart Education Networks by Design (SEND) initiative’s work with leading districts, the answer is: absolutely!

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E-learning could be future of education

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 00:35

by Jessica Kunz, Illinois Home Page

The State Board of Education has “significant interest” in electronic learning. A new bill could let schools teach kids online with a pilot program. If all goes well, it could be a new way for districts to deal with snow days. The program could eventually replace them. Mark Reynolds says he enjoys spending snow days at home with his daughters, but admits those days could be more productive. “I mean, they’re fun, but if we can get the learning done then, and not have to worry about spending X number of summer days in school… I don’t want to have to think about that.” He might not have to think about it under a new plan at the Statehouse. It could allow kids a chance to learn at home when school is called off in certain situations, such as snow or emergency days.

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Smart clothes exposed in new online course

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 00:30

by Tim Dodd, AFR

The Australian Institute of Innovative Materials is one of four research centres at the University of Wollongong to join British massive open online course (MOOC) provider FutureLearn to showcase their work in courses which are intended to be popular as well as explain the underlying science. In the case of the bionic bra, which automatically offers more support in response to breast movement, the course will explain the materials science behind the “smart yarn” that tightens when stressed and the principles behind other wearable technologies. FutureLearn announced on Thursday that four research institutes at the University of Wollongong, and two at Queensland University of Technology, will join the MOOC provider and offer free online courses starting in 2016 as part of a new plan to offer membership to research centres.

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What America’s failing schools can learn from “Sesame Street”

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 00:40


What Levine and Kearney found, though, was a rather intriguing equivalency between the lessons of Sesame Street and MOOCs, or “massive open online-courses,” a recent trend in accessible higher education. “If we can do this with Sesame Street on television,” Levine and Kearney write, “we can potentially do this with all sorts of electronic communications.” Such a development could result in massive changes in access for lower-income Americans unable afford a university education. What’s stopping us from bridging the gap between the elementary benefits of Sesame Street and higher ed—from secondary school through college?

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