Educational Technology

Why we all need time to tinker with tech

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 00:30


Tinkering rolls personalized learning and critical thinking into one powerful package. Tinkering in the modern context is a process of trying something to figure out what works or doesn’t to find your way to the best solution, often going through many iterations, or changes, along the way. Tinkering is more a philosophy than a single practice and thus can be applied to many forms of learning for all learners. In a blog post discussing their work, authors Hunter Maats and Katie O’Brien discuss the science behind making mistakes and becoming experts. Experts are not made by practice alone, instead they deliberately tinker to determine which strategies are working or not working, and strategically develop areas that need improvement.

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4 paths to gain buy-in for analytics projects

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 00:40

By Georgia Mariani, eCampus News

Higher education analytics leaders speak out on building support. Have you ever had a great idea for an analytics project only to see it end up in approval purgatory? Or maybe you’ve had some initial successes with analytics and you’re ready to expand a program, but are struggling with new funding? I talked to four analytics leaders in higher education to get their advice on how to gain buy-in for analytics projects.

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School Districts Turn to Virtual Learning to Fulfill Curriculum Requirements, Address Staffing Gaps

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 00:35

by Judy Verses, Huffington Post

Thanks to technological advances made over the last two decades, students are no longer limited to learning in traditional classroom environments. Online education options have proliferated, with significant growth occurring at state-sponsored virtual schools allowing students and parents to choose virtual schooling as a viable educational option. During the 2012-2013 school year, 400 full-time virtual schools enrolling nearly 261,000 students were in operation across the country. In addition, students can take online courses from virtual schools to augment their brick and mortar classroom. Online learning offers school districts, teachers and students access to courses and resources that might not be available in their school.

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3 Principles for Student Devices in the Classroom

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 00:30

By Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

A consistent challenge faced by anyone teaching college today is how students use their technology during class. As Carl Straumsheim writes in his 1/26 article on Digital Distractions: “Students waste about one-fifth of class time on laptops, smartphones and tablets, even though they admit such behavior can harm their grades….” I’d like to suggest 3 principles that can help us think about classroom technology policies and educator choices. By starting with principles, my hope is that our community can find progressive and flexible responses to the challenge of technology distraction during class time.

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Apps Are Free for a Reason

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 00:40

By Patrick Peterson, THE Journal

Introducing an educational app to the classroom can be dangerous, and the danger can be revealed at surprising times with startling images. “Watch out for someone in a bathing suit washing a car,” Kristy Sailors, director of educational technology at Blue Valley School District in Kansas, told audience members during a workshop at FETC 2016 in Orlando this month. A free app might provide an unexpected message that a teacher would prefer students miss. Parents will disapprove of their children being exposed to unwanted advertising, racy images or violent themes, so teachers should avoid introducing apps until they have been carefully checked out. Apps are expensive to create, so someone is paying for them. Remember the old saying, “If the app is free, you are the product being sold.”

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College classes for middle school students? It’s happening in Hayward

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 00:35

By Susan Frey, EdSource

Instructors at Hayward’s Chabot College teach classes at the middle schools ranging from Early Childhood Development to Engineering to Music. Each of the five middle schools in the Bay Area school district offers one class per semester. Although the instructors adjust their teaching to be more appropriate for middle school students, the content is the same as courses offered at Chabot. The credits earned are transferable to community colleges and four-year universities. Offering college classes for 12-year-olds might seem like another example of putting pressure on students at ever-younger ages, but the impetus for the program is quite different, Hayward administrators say. Middle school occurs at a critical juncture for students, who face peer pressure as they try to form their own identity and envision their future.

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Six Steps to Building High-Quality Open Digital Badges

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 00:30

by Gina Howard, Evolllution

Though it can be difficult to build high-quality, evidence-rich badges, there are certain affordances that can help streamline the process. Building on an earlier EvoLLLution article, “Recognizing, Supporting, and Attracting Adult Learners with Digital Badges,” which takes a “macro” approach to badging, we now propose a framework to work through the technical aspects of building and supporting badges in a thriving ecosystem. This includes information about the appearance of the badge, what information the badge should contain, and how the contents of the badge should be shared.

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7 Tips for Creating Memorable Learning Experiences

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 00:40

By Patrick Peterson, THE Journal

Memorable learning, said Rushton Hurley, is outside the book, the school bus and the campus; and it’s hands on and engaging and involves talking, being creative and taking risks. “It’s the stuff that sticks. We have a lot of days when things do not,” Hurley said during a workshop at FETC 2016 in Orlando. “Much of what happens in classes is sitting and listening and trying not to fall asleep.” He’s all about Great Projects! Many of those projects involve video.

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Ithaca College discusses moving course evaluations online

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 00:35

By Grace Elletson, the Ithacan

As Ithaca College advances discussions about moving all course evaluations online, there is doubt in local and national conversations on the effectiveness of using course evaluations to judge a professor’s skill. A preliminary discussion was held at the Dec. 1, 2015, Faculty Council meeting about the positives and negatives of conducting course evaluations online collegewide. Benjamin Rifkin, provost and vice president for educational affairs, advocated for the switch. He said moving evaluations online provides more instant feedback for professors, students’ handwriting wouldn’t give away their identity, and the college would save money. Rifkin said the previous school he worked at, The College of New Jersey, had a successful switch to conducting evaluations entirely online.

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Integrating Technology into My On-campus Course

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 00:29

by Brian J. Bushee, UPenn Almanac

In my new approach, I post my video lectures for the day’s topics to Canvas and ask the students to watch the videos prior to class. I also require that they take a five-question multiple choice quiz on the video material prior to class. The quizzes motivate them to watch the videos and provide them with immediate feedback on their understanding of the material in the videos. The quizzes also provide me with feedback on the student’s understanding of the material. I review the quiz results prior to class and start class by covering any questions that the students struggled with. Through this process, I am able to reduce the “lecture” part of class from 20-25 minutes to less than five minutes. Now, I have 20 minutes of extra class time that I can use for more in-depth coverage of advanced material, for additional real-world applications, or for more extensive discussions of complicated issues with students.

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What a Million Syllabuses Can Teach Us

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 00:40


Over the past two years, we and our partners at the Open Syllabus Project (based at the American Assembly at Columbia) have collected more than a million syllabuses from university websites. We have also begun to extract some of their key components — their metadata — starting with their dates, their schools, their fields of study and the texts that they assign. This past week, we made available online a beta version of our Syllabus Explorer,, which allows this database to be searched. Our hope and expectation is that this tool will enable people to learn new things about teaching, publishing and intellectual history.

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Creating a Collaboration Hub

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 00:35

By Michael Hart, Campus Technology

It took some time as well as a lot of planning and discussion, but Ribble and his colleagues got what they wanted when the new Center for Sciences and Innovation opened in early 2015. The $127-million, five-story, 280,000-square foot building is home to eight academic departments, the McNair Scholars Program, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship — and “The Cube.” The official name of “The Cube” is the Innovation Center, an approximately 10,000-square-foot glass-enclosed space that ostensibly is the site of the university’s engineering science and computer teaching lab. However, it is best known as the hub of the entire building, a place that Chemistry professor Nancy Mills said offers students and faculty a rare opportunity.

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College admissions now using social media like never before

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 00:31
by Ron Bethke, eCampus News A new survey reveals that college admissions officers’ use of resources like Facebook and Google to gather more information on applicants has reached an all-time high. According to the results of a new Kaplan Test Prep survey, a higher percentage of United States college admissions officers visit the social media pages of applicants in order to learn more about them.For the 2015 survey, 387 admissions officers from the nation’s top national, regional and liberal arts colleges and universities were polled by telephone between July and August 2015. It was found that 40 percent of admissions officers visit applicants’ social media profiles to research them more in depth, which represents a record high that is also quadruple the percentage of affirmative respondents from when Kaplan first explored the trend in 2008. Share on Facebook

14 Tips to Make BYOD Programs Work for You

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 01/31/2016 - 00:40

By Patrick Peterson, THE Journal

Schools that experiment with bring-your-own-device policies have reduced their costs but must cope with a variety of student devices, some of which don’t meet minimum standards for computer instruction. And if a student misuses a device, it could be taken away from him or her, creating the exact opposite situation that benefits education. Naturally, the student who is prone to misuse a device is often a student who needs the device most. Textbooks don’t generate such tricky issues. “How many teachers take away a textbook because students are misbehaving with it?” said West Coast-based educator Susan Brooks-Young, one of a trio of experts who conducted a BYOD workshop at FETC 2016 in Orlando. The educators who attended the workshop listed the pros and cons of having students supply their own computers for schoolwork.

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New professional development focuses on engagement through gaming

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 01/31/2016 - 00:35

by eSchool News

The ever-increasing omnipresence of digital media in student’s lives can be challenging for teachers as they compete for kid’s attention in and out of the classroom. With this in mind, Teach n’ Kids Learn (TKL) and DimensionU have teamed up to create a robust Online Professional Development course that supports teachers’ instruction in mathematics and language arts through gamification, quickly and easily. Included for K-12 educators who enroll in the course by February 15, 2016, is a free DimensionU Class License (for up to 30 students), through the remainder of this school year.

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6 apps to help parents and teachers communicate

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 01/31/2016 - 00:30

By Laura Devaney, eSchool News

Educators know that students’ home lives play an integral role in their academic success. Communication between teachers and parents makes it easier for educators to understand the outside challenges students may deal with, and it helps parents understand how they can better support their children in school.

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Wiki Education says 2016 is the Wikipedia Year of Science

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 01/30/2016 - 00:40

by  John Timmer, Ars Technica

We recently published a bit of a rant about many Wikipedia science entries leaving a lot to be desired. In response, we were informed that an effort to improve that situation was already brewing. In fact, we’re now happy to point out that the Wiki Education Foundation has declared 2016 the Wikipedia Year of Science. A variety of activities aim to beef up the encyclopedia’s science content. The Wiki Education Foundation is a nonprofit that helps provide teachers and college-level instructors with the tools they need to get their students engaged in projects intended to improve Wikipedia. For example, the teachers could assign a class to improve entires in a specific topic area and use materials provided by the foundation to help the students edit entries and provide proper references.

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Going The Distance: Part-Time Online Learning Lacking

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 01/30/2016 - 00:35

By AARON SCHRANK, Wyoming Public Radio

At Powell High School, students can blend their classroom learning with an online course or two. “They could be taking a foreign language such as German that we don’t offer,” says Park County Superintendent Kevin Mitchell. “They could be taking science classes that we don’t offer.” The District offers online classes through Florida Virtual School, which serves more than 200,000 students worldwide—most of them part-timers. Mitchell says his district spends about $88,000 a year on online learning—and it’s worth it, not only for the new subject matter, but also because students are learning how to learn online.

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Samsung Opening VR Production Studio in New York

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 01/30/2016 - 00:30


Step one: Make virtual reality headset. Step two: Make virtual reality experiences people can enjoy using said headset. Step three: Sit back and profit. It’s a simple version of what’s likely Samsung’s plan, we’ll admit, but it’s probably pretty close to the truth. According to a new report from CNET, Samsung executives appearing at this year’s Sundance film festival annonuced that the company is going to be opening up a special studio in New York that will be tasked with creating new virtual reality content.,2817,2498343,00.asp

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Personalized Learning: Creating a Relevant Learning Culture for the Next Generation

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 00:39

by Center for Digital Education

Personalized learning – where students take ownership of their learning and collaborate with instructors to design an education plan that works for them – is enticing education leaders as a way to transform the traditional education model, increase student engagement and improve achievement. But while personalized learning is certainly promising, a recent CDE survey of 215 IT leaders in K-20 education shows the concept has not been widely implemented in K-12 or higher education. Just 20 percent of K-12 respondents and 15 percent of higher education respondents reporting having created a personalized learning culture.

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