Educational Technology

The Practical Value of a Liberal Education

Educause - Connect, Technology In Academia - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 20:50

Author: James J. Koelbl, D.D.S., M.S., M.J.

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Future Ready summit tackles how to plan for tomorrow’s ed tech

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 00:39

By Ann McMullan, eSchool News

A recent regional summit brought superintendents together to discuss the future of education. 43 school district leadership teams from states up and down the West coast and Hawaii gathered together on May 4 and 5 at the Computer History Museum in northern California for this year’s seventh Future Ready Schools Regional Summit. Despite a focus on using technology to prepare for education’s future, discussions about specific devices or applications were completely absent. Instead, the agenda—the same for all Future Ready Regional Summits— focused on each of the seven gears of the Future Ready Framework that are essential for any school district technology plan: curriculum, instruction, and assessment; professional learning; technology, networks, and hardware; budget and resources; data and privacy; use of time; and community partnerships. The Future Ready Summit in Northern California was the seventh out of thirteen Regional Summits scheduled for 2015.

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Oregon Trail and the true value of immersive gaming in the classroom

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 00:35

By Suzi Wilczynski, eSchool News

What is it about Oregon Trail that had such a profound impact on us that we clearly remember the experience years later? Part of the answer lies in the way in which social studies is often taught. Despite the best efforts of teachers, history classes cover so much material that often the only choice is to focus on major events, dates, and important people. Not surprisingly, many kids find that sort of rote memorization boring and never truly engage with the material. That affects both comprehension and retention. Long after the test, students might remember the date of the Battle of Hastings, but the context and significance is often lost. Oregon Trail stemmed from the realization that kids learn more when they are learning about real people doing real things. Deeper learning happens when teachers show life and culture. If history is taught in this way, students can learn to analyze, categorize, process and communicate, and evaluate the motivation behind an action.

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Two bills aim to bring online schooling to all Maine students

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 00:30


Following the opening of two virtual charter schools in Maine, state officials are trying to find a way to offer a state-sponsored version that would offer online texts and courses for all Maine students. But testimony on two virtual education bills Thursday highlighted the disagreements over how best to do it. “I think almost all Maine schools are (already) accessing online content to some extent,” said Rep. Brian Hubbell, D-Bar Harbor, sponsor of one of the bills, L.D. 39. Hubbell’s bill would have the Maine Department of Education work to develop state-backed online learning resources and possibly create a state-sponsored virtual school. It also requires the state to partner with New Hampshire, so Maine students could enroll in that state’s online school, the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, by this fall.

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Five Great Google Education Tools

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 00:40

By Sarah Muthler, Edudemic

You probably already use Google daily, either for Web searches, email, or maps. The tech company is increasingly involved in modernizing education, and it has developed several ventures to encourage an interest in science and computer programming. Some of these ventures are contests, and some are designed for use by afterschool or summer programs. But you can access this great content even if you don’t officially participate in a program. Many of these activities use art, music, and social awareness to make technical lessons more appealing. Take a look at these activities, and start thinking outside the little Google search box.

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Want Free Online Education? Visit These Sites

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 00:27

By Menchie Mendoza, Tech Times

While it’s true that YouTube also features educational videos on a number of interests, including language, cooking and even hacking, online education sites offer lessons that are more interactive and student-focused. Feedback is generous and students can even gain lifetime access to the lessons. EdX, MIT OpenCourseware, CodeAcademy, Coursera and Moz are just some of the popular online education sites that offer not only quality and university-partnered courses but also lessons that are absolutely free of charge.

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Students’ class notes available online for a fee

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 00:20

By Teresa Mackin, WISH TV

It was named one of the 12 companies “transforming education” to watch this year by Forbes. is a start-up company started several years ago that allows students to buy and sell their notes from classes online. It’s one of several note-sharing websites. As finals week wraps up at many Indiana colleges, company officials say when those exams are done, officials say students can actually make money off the work they did this semester. Some Indiana University-Bloomington and Purdue University students are among thousands of students participating across the country. In March, Barnes and Noble invested in the fast-growing company. officials say it’s another way to share original notes by students taken in class, essentially a “student to student” marketplace. Students set a price to sell their notes and earn 70 percent of those sales.

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Tuscaloosa City Schools to get online courses for some middle and high school students

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 00:40

by Jamon Smith, Tuscaloosa News

In April, system leaders signed a one-year $50,000 agreement with Edmentum Online Learning Programs for Educators to provide online courses for students. According to its website, Edmentum is a leading provider of online learning programs designed to drive student achievement for academic and career success. The agreement allows students to take online classes in core subject areas, advanced placement, electives, career technical, remedial courses and standardized test preparation. All online courses will be taught by Alabama-certified teachers. Though the selection of available courses are abundant, all students won’t be able to take online classes.

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3-D Fossil Scans, Virtual Visits To Archeological Sites And Simulated Excavations Are Highlights In Wellesley edX Course

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 00:35

by Wellesley College

Wellesley biological anthropologist Adam Van Arsdale, who instructs Anthropology 207X, said the virtual fossil library is a new course feature that excites him most. “Students will have access to a library of 3D fossil scans, giving them–and me–greater ability to examine and compare specimens we are discussing in the course of the class, as well as independently explore fossil morphological variability,” he said. Van Arsdale, associate professor of anthropology at Wellesley, developed the course and is teaching it for the second time. Anthropology 207X, which was first offered in September 2013 and has been available in the edX archive since, has welcomed over 22,000 learners. “One of the things that most amazed and surprised me about the course’s first run was the extent to which some students organized face-to-face meetings and events with other students in the course,” Van Arsdale said. “When people think of online learning they often associate it with one person sitting alone with their computer, but it does not have to be that way.”

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What’s The Secret To Effective Learning?

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 00:28

by Nick Morgan, Forbes

What’s the secret to effective learning? A recent study by a group of neuroscientists from the University of California, the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University found that the less you work your brain when learning, perhaps, the better. The researchers studied subjects learning a simple game over a six-week period. Those who used the part of the brain least associated with conscious planning, the frontal cortex, did the best. It’s better, it turns out, just to practice and not over-think what you’re doing. You learn faster. The results were published in the journal Nature Neuroscience recently, and one of the researchers noted, “It’s the people who can turn off the communication to these parts of their brain (the frontal cortex) the quickest who have the steepest drop-off in their completion times. It seems like those other parts are getting in the way for the slower learners. It’s almost like they’re trying too hard.”

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Postsecondary Trending Now: Unbundling

Educause - Connect, Technology In Academia - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 21:04

Until the last decade or two, “going to college” was shorthand for sitting in classrooms several times a week, course by course and semester by semester, for two to four years, and endeavoring to understand the material covered well enough to pass the tests. Taking center stage in each of those classrooms was a faculty member responsible for providing it all: curricular design, lectures, evaluation design, grading, advice and help to all students, and generally running the show.

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Arkansas launches $13M school broadband upgrade

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 00:40

By Colin Wood, eSchool News

Arkansas started investing in technology for its K-12 system in the early 1990s through the development of the Arkansas Public School Computer Network. The network linked schools together, but in 2015, broadband internet connectivity is lacking. Recently elected Gov. Asa Hutchinson recognized a need for its students to get connected and the state is now launching an upgrade–totaling about $13 million annually–to its fiber infrastructure that will bolster education efforts and provide a stepping stone for further broadband development in the state.

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University develops cyber security curriculum for middle, high schools

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 00:35

By Julie Ferrell, Ames Tribune

Free program aims to increase students’ awareness about security threats. Researchers at Iowa State University are hoping to bring the subject of cyber security to grade school classrooms. The team is releasing the nation’s first computer literacy curriculum aimed at middle and high school students, and it is expected to be ready as early as this fall. Teachers were introduced to the free program during a workshop at the IT-Olympics computer competition on ISU’s campus.

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Quiz Scores Go up When Students Feel Physics

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 00:30

By University of Chicago

Students who physically experience scientific concepts understand them more deeply and score better on science tests, according to a new study. Brain scans showed that students who took a hands-on approach to learning had activation in sensory and motor-related parts of the brain when they later thought about concepts such as angular momentum and torque. Activation of these brain areas was associated with better quiz performance by college physics students who participated in the research.

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New Report on Facing the Challenges of Innovation

Educause - Connect, Technology In Academia - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 21:21

Innovation is an oft-prescribed solution to a growing problem in academia: sustainability.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Get It Wrong on the Way to Getting It Right

Educause - Connect, Technology In Academia - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 06:00

Diana G. Oblinger

Thomas Edison said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Those are wise words for all managers to remember.

We want to avoid “failure.” We want our projects to turn out well, be on-time, be in-budget, and have satisfied customers. We want our careers to have a predictable path, progressing enough at each step to warrant being entrusted with more responsibility. And, we don’t ever want to be asked a question for which we don’t already know the answer.

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Lawmakers eye options for virtual education

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 00:40

by NOEL K. GALLAGHER, Portland Press Herald

Proposed bills would establish fee-based or free access to online learning resources for Maine’s teachers and students. State legislators are considering various ways to offer online school resources to Maine teachers and students, from fee-based individual courses to creating an entirely state-run virtual academy that would be open to all Maine students for free. “We have a lot of poorer districts that can’t afford to provide a range of courses,” said Rep. Brian Hubbell, D-Bar Harbor, who is sponsoring L.D. 391, one of two virtual education bills up for public hearings Thursday before the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. “This might be a less expensive way for those districts to offer that content. In some cases, it might be accessing a course for several hundred dollars as opposed to hiring a full-time staff person.”

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Has the Flipped Classroom already become the norm?

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 00:35

by Rebecca Paddick, Education Technology

The first well-documented flipped classroom rang into session only back in 2007, when a pair of chemistry teachers began looking for a way to provide lecture materials for students who had to miss class. Using simple screen recording software to capture their PowerPoint slides, the two then uploaded the recordings to YouTube for every student in the class to review. Right away the two teachers noticed the tenor of the classroom had shifted. Students came to class prepared with a better understanding of the day’s material. Right away, class time began to shift away from passive lecturing and toward increased student interaction and greater discussion of the details of the lesson and how the subject related to other lessons. In short order a new pedagogy was born — and its adoption throughout the world of education has been nothing short of astonishing.

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