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By ALAN FARNHAM, GOOD MORNING AMERICA
There’s a reason why nearly 10 million kids a month come to Shmoop to get help with test-prep and studying: The site is funny — funny in an adolescent way — their way. Why the yuks? Because Shmoop surveyed students and found that what they disliked most about conventional test-prep and online learning was that it’s boring. So, Shmoop adds jokes, word-play, sarcasm and whimsy. Its philosophy is best summed up by a quip from its introduction to SAT-prep: “Why learn about geometry without ninjas when you can learn about it with ninjas?” The company is on track to offer some 2,200 educational videos by year’s end on topics ranging from Victorian fiction to the periodic table of elements. Its learning guides cover math, science, social science, literature, the arts and music. It offers test prep for the ACT, the SAT, AP exams and more. The one thing tying together this multiplicity of offerings is Shmoop’s irreverent, sophomoric sensibility.Share on Facebook
By Jay Halfond, the Evolllution
In just a few years, digital learning has emerged front-and-center as the critical component of the future of higher education, and schools are scurrying to figure out their strategy for entering this sphere. This visibility and prominence has led to clashes over who will lead these now-important efforts, what direction should be taken and how this will impact the traditional mainstream order. Despite its newness, this controversy resurrects century-old unresolved conflicts within the academy. The online factor is simply the current nuance for otherwise perpetual dilemmas. Should online education be run professionally or professorially? Should it run through a centralized structure or remain respectful of a more decentralized model? What should be the incentives and priorities for faculty? How should scarce resources be distributed? What is the proper division of labor for new online initiatives?Share on Facebook
By Leila Meyer, THE Journal
Google has announced a shortlist of 34 cities in nine metropolitan areas that could be next to receive Google Fiber, and the company may also provide free gigabit Internet service to some schools in those cities. Google Fiber is the company’s fiber optic Internet infrastructure being implemented in select cities throughout the United States. According to information on the company’s site, it provides connection speeds of up to 1 Gbps, also known as gigabit Internet, which is “100 times faster than today’s basic broadband.” Homes in the neighborhoods served by Google Fiber can subscribe to the company’s gigabit Internet and TV services. The company also provides free basic Internet service of 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speed to anybody in the areas served by Google Fiber.Share on Facebook
By D ROBERT CURRY NewsStar
Reaching out to get kids excited about learning by connecting sports with science education, NASA may have hit a home-run of its own with its innovative online educational program. Dubbed the “NASA STEM Mania”, this online distance-learning educational program allows teachers and students to learn, among other things, the science behind scoring a touchdown, making a slam-dunk or a hitting a homerun.Share on Facebook
By Katie Lepi, Edudemic
Short, watchable snippets of useful information, thought provoking questions, personal stories, inspiration, and learning. While I always take something away from every TED talk that I watch, some stick with me more than others. That said, most don’t come with a specific list of takeaways meant to help you with your everyday life. This talk, from David Pogue, offers 10 time saving tech tips. Most are for technologies that we use every day. They’re simple, easy-to-do, they’ll save you time, and make you feel like a suave tech person who can (seemingly) make their technology do whatever they need it to do with little effort. The video is embedded in the link below, but we’ve typed out the handy list also at the link below for you to reference later.Share on Facebook
By Katie Lepi, Edudemic
The drivers of blended learning was sort of buried towards the bottom of the infographic, and we thought it could use a little spotlight of its own, so we’ve taken that part of the original infographic and are showcasing it on its own below. Why? Because there are really good reasons to give it a shot. If you look at the ten reasons listed below, we’re pretty sure you’ll find at least a couple that you’ll benefit from, or are already trying to do in another way. If you read each item as a sort of question to yourself, they can also serve as a handy little go-to list that you should be asking when you’re implementing anything new in your classroom.Share on Facebook
By Nikolaos Chatzopoulos, Edudemic
The basic premise behind app smashing, sometimes referred to as “app synergy”, is to find a number of key apps that “play well” with other apps and can communicate information across platforms. Some of the native iPad apps have this capacity. Also, Explain Everything, arguably one the most comprehensive, Swiss-Army type apps ever created, is ideal for such tasks. However, the app that is the most powerful and is used in almost every app smashing activity is Apple’s Camera App. It allows the user to store pictures, video, and sound files, which can be accessed later by other apps, which is what makes app smashing possible.Share on Facebook
By shanehaggerty, Edudemic
There are some educators out there that make classroom technology integration look easy. For most of us, it’s a daunting task: converting your paper-and-folder, marker-and-poster classroom systems to mobile devices and the cloud. And the ones who dig right in, despite their reservations, to equip their students with the educational technology experiences they need for a 21st century education seem to have an invincible air about them. So what’s different about these teachers? What key traits do they have in common that make them stand out as leaders and technology whizzes in their communities?Share on Facebook
On February 25, EDUCAUSE, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and the American Library Association (ALA) submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission regarding the Agency’s possible actions in response to the Verizon v FCC decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
by Donald Clark, TES Connect
At the EMOOC (European MOOC) conference in Lausanne last week, the real buzz was about the way MOOCs have burst out of higher education into vocational learning. VOOCs (Vocational Open Online Courses) have arrived. The data shows that the vast majority of the millions of MOOCers are not undergraduate-age students, but older, life-long learners; people who work in corporates, government and other sectors. They are largely professionals who are learning for the sake of learning or up-skilling. Udacity has moved wholly into this market and Coursera and EdX are following suit. This is NOT about 18-year-old undergraduates, it is about almost everyone else.Share on Facebook
The recently released sixth annual State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada report finds the total number and proportion of K-12 students enrolled in blended and online learning courses and programs continues to increase from year to year, with British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba leading the way. The annual report provides a unique and valuable insight into what is happening across Canada in each jurisdiction. In addition to provincial and territorial profiles, this year’s report provides several brief issue papers that shed light on some of the successes and challenges facing educators and government leaders as they continue to embrace technology-supported education.
http://www.itbusinessnet.com/article/Sixth-Annual-State-of-the-Nation:-K-12-Online-Learning-Reports-Continued-Expansion-of-Online-and-Blended-Learning-in-Many-Provinces-and-in-First-Nations-Metis-and-Inuit-(FNMI)-Programs–3073620Share on Facebook
by CBC News
School snow days should be turned into e-learning days with students attending class online, a Halifax education expert says. Paul Bennett, director of Schoolhouse Consulting and adjunct professor of education at Saint Mary’s University, said the “throw away” days hurt students’ education. He said in 2008/09, Nova Scotia had a record high number of snow days — and test results fell in every board. Bennett said the lack of make-up days means students miss about two weeks of learning each year. In the U.S., some districts have introduced e-lesson days when snow days pile up. In Ohio, it kicks in after five snow days in one year.Share on Facebook
Guest Bloggers: Lisa Ho, Matt Wolf, and Erika Donald, University of California, Berkeleyspywear.jpg Antique.jpg Dumb-Dumber.jpg radical-students.jpg social.jpg
In January’s “Trending Now: Postsecondary” post, Kristen Vogt called attention to a Center for American Progress (CAP) report that pointed to competency-based credentials as a way to provide employers with more confidence in the capabilities of higher education graduates.
By David Nagel, Campus Technology
Smart phones running on Google’s Android OS will approach 1 billion units by the end of this year, according to a new forecast from market research firm Gartner. In 2013, Android phones accounted for 78.4 percent of all smart phone sales to end users worldwide, or 758.7 million units. In 2013, total worldwide smart phone sales were 967.8 million, by Gartner’s reckoning. (Note that we have reported different smart phone statistics in the last couple weeks. Gartner and International Data Corp. both provide worldwide statistics on technology shipments and sales, but the two often differ on their final numbers. IDC had total 2013 shipments at slightly more than 1 billion, with Android phones accounting for 793.6 million units. IDC reported “unit shipments,” while Gartner reported “sales to end users.” Not all devices that are shipped by manufacturers wind up being sold to end users, which may account for some of the variance in the figures reported by the two firms.)Share on Facebook
By Toni Fuhrman, Campus Technology
Once banned in the classroom, mobile devices are becoming more accepted as a teaching and learning tool. Yet teaching methods have not caught up with mobile’s potential, according to Ron Yaros, assistant professor of new media and mobile journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. “Under the current methods of teaching in higher education, a mobile device can be a distraction rather than a helpful tool,” said Yaros. “Nobody seems to be looking at how to teach with smart devices, while keeping students engaged.” His assertion is backed up by a recent University of Central Florida survey on mobile learning practices in higher education: Among students who owned a tablet, 82 percent said they used the device for academic purposes. But to improve mobile learning effectiveness, the study advised, “students and instructors need help adopting more effective learning and teaching practices across content areas.”Share on Facebook
by Sramana Mitra, Huffington Post
Working with a team of 25 speech therapists and nearly 300 children, the Invention Labs team initially developed a tablet and then an application called Avaz that helped children with autism communicate by replacing words with pictures. FreeSpeech, on the other hand, represents information in a pictorial ‘map’ that captures meaning in a language-independent structure. A FreeSpeech sentence can be fed into a software algorithm called the “FreeSpeech Engine” to convert it into grammatical, well-formed, and meaningful English sentences. It could well revolutionize how language is taught to children with special needs. When Avaz is integrated with FreeSpeech, it addresses the problems not just of children with autism but also those with dyslexia or even aphasia.Share on Facebook
by Jonathan Harper, Language Magazine
The tools for language training are changing. Electronic media, such as online translators and individualized learning programs, are reshaping the learning environment. But for the global industry of language instruction, the nuances of language and culture often require more human interaction and mentorship to be successful. Not only are the tools for teaching language modernizing, the methods through which we train our future instructors are also evolving. One degree program that has stepped up to the demands of an increasingly digital educational landscape is American University’s TESOL Program. In response to the growing needs of an international student body, it has recently launched an online TEFL master’s degree.Share on Facebook
BY MEGAN ERBACHER, Evansville Courier & Press
A digital tattoo, just like a real tattoo, lasts forever and never goes away, even after pressing the delete button. That was a reminder DeLyn Beard delivered during a recent meeting of the Digital Divas, a girls only eLeader Academy club centered on young girls’ needs and interests. Beard, eLeader founder, coach and fourth-grade teacher at Oak Hill, told the girls ages 9 to 11 that the digital footprint is permanent and never leaves, so be aware of what you’re doing online. Throughout the course, Digital Divas will be encouraged to explore computer science-related careers and hobbies, including new techie tools, Internet safety, cyber bullying, Internet literacy and computer programming.Share on Facebook
by Natalie Houston, Chronicle of Higher Ed
If you teach a discussion-based course, you know that sooner or later, there comes a day when you notice that your students’ once-enthusiastic participation seems to have vanished. You can’t know exactly when that day might happen (though flu season and midterms both can be influential factors) so you will have prepared your course material and in-class activities as you always do. And nothing you try to do seems to be working. So what do you do next? Here are a few strategies I think of as akin to the jumper cables in the trunk of my car.Share on Facebook
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