Educational Technology

Udacity and Google team up for new Senior Web Developer Nanodegree program

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 11/22/2015 - 00:32

by NATE SWANNER, The Next Web

Udacity has partnered with Google to bring another Nanodegree program to the fold: Senior Web Developer. The program builds on the Front End Web Developer Nanodegree curriculum, much like Udacity’s duo of iOS Developer degree programs do. Here’s how a Udacity spokesperson explained it to us: The Senior Web Developer Nanodegree program is a natural progression from the Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree program. Like all Nanodegree programs, The Senior Web Developer degree will cost $200 per month, which Udacity says can be achieved in 10-12 months’ time.

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Are Learning Styles Useful?

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 11/21/2015 - 00:40

By Kristen Hicks, Edudemic

Every teacher already knows that each student learn differently from his or her peers. In the last couple of decades a theory emerged that a few key learning styles could explain and define some of those differences in how children learn. We even published this infographic here a couple of years ago that explored the idea. The seven learning styles described are based on Howard Gardner’s idea of multiple intelligences. In defense of his work, Gardner himself emphasizes that what he described in his original work weren’t learning styles, but rather different facets of how each mind works. Nonetheless, his ideas have gone on to inspire discussions, infographics, teaching theories and quizzes all based around trying to pin down a clearer understanding of the different ways people learn.

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Even With Flipped Classrooms, Teachers Still at Head of The Class

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 11/21/2015 - 00:36

by Jane Swift, Huffington Post

Digital learning–online or classroom-based–is not a revolution in education, it’s the evolution of education. For all the talk of the flipped classroom, digital tools have not turned education on its head. But it does provide teachers with more resources and tools to help students and applies learning in a way that helps these digital natives connect with the subject matter. However, we are seeing the strongest growth in the blended learning model, which keeps the teacher at the front of the classroom. That gives teachers a lot of say over which products succeed and fail. This reality should spur edtech providers to bring teachers into the development process. Even if you win a contract at the district level, you need to show value at the classroom level or you won’t see future growth or long relationships with customers. But if you can engage teachers and add value for them, they will embrace your product and provide advice to make it better.

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Parents fire back at report critical of online charter schools

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 11/21/2015 - 00:32

By Moriah Costa, Education Watchdog

The scathing report from CREDO found that students in online charter schools learn less in their first year than students in a traditional public school. It also found students had less one-on-one time with teachers. Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said she was “disheartened to learn of the large-scale underperformance of full-time virtual charter public schools.” While online charter schools “are meaningful and beneficial options for some students,” authorizers of these schools need to hold them accountable, she said. “While we know that this model works for some students, the CREDO report shows that too many students aren’t succeeding in a full-time online environment,” she said.

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HBCUs Developing Online Programs with the University of Phoenix to Survive

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 11/20/2015 - 00:40

by Manny Otiko, Atlanta Black Star

Faced with a changing education landscape, some Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are looking at online education, reported BuzzFeed. Several HBCUs are partnering with the for-profit University of Phoenix, which seems to have developed a good track record for graduating Black students. According to BuzzFeed, almost a third of the students at the five largest for-profit colleges, who provide mainly online classes, are Black. In 2013, for-profit colleges had 275,000 black students out of a total of 877,000 enrollees. In that year, HBCUs enrolled 311,000 students. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which supports most of the country’s public HBCUs, said Black schools have been slow to adopt online education, but it’s the future.

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Why I’m Against the Online Lecture

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 11/20/2015 - 00:35


The venerable lecture has few allies today. While many in the humanities have long preferred seminar-style instruction, our friends in the sciences have begun to give the lecture a second look. A growing body of research suggests that lectures simply are not that effective, especially when compared to active-learning models. In a recent meta-analysis of some 225 studies of undergraduate STEM teaching methods, Scott Freeman, principal lecturer in biology at the University of Washington, and his colleagues found that active-learning methods both reduced failure rates and increased exam performance. However, reports of the death of the lecture may be exaggerated, to paraphrase a famous writer. Several recent pieces have advocated for the lecture as a source of active learning. While that might apply to some traditional college courses, it is far from the case among massive open online courses (MOOCs) where video lectures remain ubiquitous, to the detriment of learners.,2817,2494971,00.asp

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Lawrence educator named Blended and Online Learning Teacher of the Year

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 11/20/2015 - 00:30

By Rochelle Valverde, Lawrence Journal-World

After having taught using traditional teacher-led instruction for 30 years, Lawrence elementary school teacher Paula Barr was about to try a different method — called blended learning — that also uses online material and individual or small-group work. “As a traditional teacher, all my 25 sponges sat at their desks and I poured into them everything that I thought they needed to know — I decided when, how and how much,” Barr said. “As a blended learning teacher, I take my sponges and throw them in the pool.”

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NSF funds research on math software

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 00:37

by eSchool News

The National Science Foundation has granted $800k to North Carolina State University to use data mining techniques to study the game-based ST Math software program that’s currently used in 2,500 schools across the country. Researchers hope the findings will help improve MIND Research Institute’s ST Math and other digital learning platforms that have cropped up in a number of classrooms.

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8 characteristics of good online video

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 00:35

By Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

Instructor-led video is a must in online learning, but not all videos are successes. Here are eight tips to help educators create effective online videos for their courses. video-online-learningAccording to a report published in the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, instructor-generated video can have a positive influence on student satisfaction with, and engagement in, online courses. But not all videos are created equal. Research conducted by the American Academy of Neurology also reveals that “watching videos helps boost brain plasticity,” or the ability of the brain to undergo physical changes at any age. Learners who were trained to perform a particular task through videos performed better than those who learned through images and text, the researchers found—and they concluded that video has a “higher impact on the brain.”

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Internet of Things devices will exceed 6 billion

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 00:31

By Laura Devaney, eCampus News

Gartner, Inc. estimates connected devices in 2016 will jump 30 percent internet-of-things. Estimates indicate that 6.4 billion “connected things” will be used across the globe in 2016–a 30 percent increase from 2015, according to IT research firm Gartner, Inc. In 2016, approximately 5.5 million new “things” will become connected each day. Gartner also forecasted that the number of connected things would jump to 20.8 billion in 2020. Share on Facebook

It’s Not the Device; It’s What the Device Can Do

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 00:40

By Daniel Owens, THE Journal

When choosing the right computer for your district, our expert suggests focusing on what you need rather than what you want. The potential for technology to improve K-12 education in the United States is immense, though this change can only happen at scale with a focus on the right priorities. Devices for eduction have become symbolic of the efforts to transform education through blended and personalized learning. Desktops, laptops and tablets are quickly becoming ubiquitous in education. They are tangible examples of change and, with the exception of few dazzling products, nearly indistinguishable. When we are shown images that are supposed to reflect how technology is enhancing education, they are rarely pictures of particular software or data systems. They are students smiling and holding devices. Devices are crucial as a conduit for content; however, they do not directly improve learning outcomes.

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Google Just Open Sourced TensorFlow, Its Artificial Intelligence Engine

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 00:35

by Cade Metz, Wired

The app uses an increasingly powerful form of artificial intelligence called deep learning. By analyzing thousands of photos of gravestones, this AI technology can learn to identify a gravestone it has never seen before. The same goes for cats and dogs, trees and clouds, flowers and food. The Google Photos search engine isn’t perfect. But its accuracy is enormously impressive—so impressive that O’Reilly couldn’t understand why Google didn’t sell access to its AI engine via the Internet, cloud-computing style, letting others drive their apps with the same machine learning. That could be Google’s real money-maker, he said.

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Opinion: To online, or not to online? That is the question

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 00:30

by Rivka Saydman, Lariat

It really is a small world, after all. Technology has opened windows and doors connecting just about everyone, especially students. When it comes to learning about foreign languages and cultures, the Internet has helped a great deal. Statistics show that by 2018, one in four students will enroll in an online foreign-language class. In a quantitative study conducted in 2012 by the NEAD, it showed 80 percent of students achieved a B or higher and a concurrent qualitative study showed students felt confident in reading, writing and speaking the foreign-language. However, a recent survey by U.S. News of professors shows that “nearly half of those who had taught an online course felt that online students received an inferior education” compared to lecture-based courses.

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The shape of classrooms to come

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 00:40

By Beth Marlowe, Washington Post

These days, education is swinging from intimate in-person seminars to massive online open courses. Georgetown University’s come up with something in between. The school’s master of science in finance (MSF) program, which launched in 2014, uses what faculty call a “blended classroom” to teach students either in-person and online — or both. The result is a program with many of the community and networking aspects of a traditional classroom, but one that students can access from anywhere. “We started utterly from scratch,” says Allan Eberhart, a finance professor who leads the program. He and colleagues started planning for it in early 2012. “We never had the MSF here before. It’s an entirely new program and we certainly had never done anything like this, technology-wise.”

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The Promise (and Perils) of Digital Textbooks

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 00:35

by David Raths, THE Journal

The New Media Consortium’s 2014 Horizon Report K-12 Edition noted that although digital textbooks have become a mainstay in higher education, they have been slower to infiltrate K-12. The report’s authors added, however, that the “financial and educational benefits of digital learning materials will eventually outweigh the outdated paper textbook dependence in K-12 education, and gradual adoption of digital textbooks is expected.” THE Journal recently spoke with teachers and administrators in several districts that are experimenting with digital versions of textbooks from traditional publishers as well as those curating digital material to compose new, more personalized texts for their students.

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Google Creates Tech Entrepreneur Nanodegree to Help Indies Learn to Scale

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 00:30

by RICHARD HARRIS, App Developer Magazine

Google has partnered with Udacity to create a new Tech Entrepreneur Nanodegree which is designed to help indie app publishers learn what it takes to design, validate, prototype, monetize, and market app ideas from the ground up and grow them into a scalable business. The program takes 4-7 months to complete and offers access to industry app veterans to provide students with a battle-tested perspective. Included will be Geoffrey Moore, author of “Crossing the Chasm”, Pete Koomen, co-founder of Optimizely; Aaron Harris and Kevin Hale, Partners at Y-Combinator; Nir Eyal, author of the book “Hooked: How to build habit forming products” and co-founder of Product Hunt; Steve Chen, Co-Founder of YouTube, rapid prototyping company InVision and plus others.

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Continuously Improving Online Course Design using the Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 11/16/2015 - 00:40

by Elizabeth A. Gazza, JOLT

Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) is a continuous improvement process that can be used to inform practice in online education. This article describes how the PDSA cycle was used to enhance a new online health policy course in an accelerated online Registered Nurse to-Bachelor of Science (RN-BS) program at one Southeastern University. A goal of course development and delivery was to ensure that students could access and understand all directions and guidelines included in the new online course.  Recommendations for course enhancement are useful to individuals who design and/or teach online courses and reflect use of data in the decision-making process.

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Universal Design in Online Education: Employing Organization Change

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 11/16/2015 - 00:35

by Katherine J. Kirkpatrick, JOLT

With the rise in online education, universal design is an emerging trend aimed at providing available education opportunities to all students, accommodating for all disabilities. However, universal design in online education remains an ambiguous and lofty goal for an academic organization to undertake. This case analysis employs an organization change theoretical framework via archival document analysis to examine a failed universal design change initiative at a 1,500-student college. This analysis unpacks the complications inherent in the failed initiative via elucidation of the college’s actions comparatively with foundational tenets of organization change, particularly the diffusion of innovations model. Elicitations from this analysis include possibilities for future universal design change initiatives, as well as an overarching call for academic organizations to consider organization change tenets in organizational decision-making.

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What Do Current College Students Think about MOOCs?

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 11/16/2015 - 00:30

by Andrew W. Cole and C. Erik Timmerman, JOLT

Faculty, administrators, and media outlets express a range of opinions about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). As any adoption of MOOCs should ultimately be done to benefit students, this study examines current college students’ understandings of MOOCs. Thematic analysis on qualitative data reveal a pattern of student perceptions that MOOCs can contribute to lifelong learning but are inferior to traditional “for credit” college courses. Student attitudes toward MOOCs revolve around 6 primary themes: reliability, accessibility, content, learning, communication, and outcomes. As the themes identified in the current data mirror previously published MOOC commentaries in many ways, pedagogical discussion of MOOCs should move beyond polarized evaluations and incorporate student perspectives in further empirical investigation of MOOCs as a learning environment.

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Saint Xavier U Transforms Classrooms Into Learning Studios

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 11/15/2015 - 00:35

By Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

Saint Xavier University is reimagining the classroom with “learning studios” designed for collaboration. Three learning spaces at the institution’s Chicago campus have been outfitted with café-style furniture, flat-panel displays and the Christie Brio content sharing platform. A key requirement for the university was the ability for students to connect their mobile devices to the classroom displays. “We started off looking at other products and all of them had their limitations of whether they could connect with Mac, iOS, Android or PC,” explained Chris Zakrzewski, assistant provost for technology and instructional innovation at Saint Xavier, in a statement. “Brio was the product that had the most breadth in its ability to connect these and other devices wirelessly to monitors that are in our rooms.”

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