Educational Technology

Forget everything you believe about online courses

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 10/13/2016 - 00:35

by Jessica Whitesel, the Peak

I’ve never been one for classroom learning. I hate the concept of just sitting in a lecture hall that is either too hot or too cold, being talked at for what seems like forever. The worst is when the lecture content comes directly from the textbook that I had to buy for the class anyways. It just seems counterintuitive. That’s why online courses work for me: they cut out the middleman. I’ve had some good professors, but it seems like I’ve had more bad ones. I’ve realized the professors I think are bad might actually be good, but I can’t learn from them. Their teaching style just doesn’t match my learning style. Online courses are reading intensive, but that’s why I like them so much. I can just sit down, read, synthesize some information, and move on to the next thing. It makes the process of learning much more active, and there’s just something about being able to combine homework and lecture that makes learning feel that much more time-efficient.

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The best online study tools: students give their verdict

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 10/13/2016 - 00:30

by Peter McGuire, Irish Times

Online supports are revolutionising learning and they may even be making learning more enjoyable. Students are taking control of their own learning. Where once it was all school, homework and grinds, the online world has revolutionised learning. In recent years, Leaving and Junior Cert pupils are taking to Khan Academy,,, the Eir Study Hub and more to complement what they learn in class. And – whisper it – some of these websites, they say, are making learning more enjoyable. But what are the best resources out there and how are they assisting with teaching, learning and revising? We asked the most independent and authoritative critics of all: students.

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Newest NMC/CoSN Horizon K-12 Report Emphasizes Kids as Creators

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 10/12/2016 - 00:40

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

Over the next year K-12 will be placing more emphasis on coding as a form of literacy and on students as creators. Schools that don’t already have makerspaces will want to get them and online learning will start to look like something that’s typical rather than out of the norm. Those are the “short-term” trends and technologies that surfaced in the 2016 K-12 Edition of the NMC/CoSN Horizon Report. The move to spur students as creators is an attempt to shift the gaze of students away from display screens as consumers and help them become creators. As the report noted, “Many educators believe that honing these kinds of creative skills in learners can lead to deeply engaging learning experiences in which students become the authorities on subjects through investigation, storytelling and production.”

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What they’re doing: Coach certification

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 10/12/2016 - 00:36

by Andy Abeyta, QUAD-CITY TIMES

Once upon a time, almost anyone could coach football at the youth-league level. You needed to know the game, of course, but no special training or certification was necessary. Those days are gone, at least in the Quad-Cities. Every local youth football league in the metro area requires coaches to have some degree of training and certification before they can set foot on the field. Many local programs subscribe to Heads Up Football, a series of online courses to help educate coaches on proper tackling techniques and other fine points. Heads Up Football started in 2013 and was funded by a $45 million grant from the NFL.

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Zombies Help Stretch Innovative Teaching at Revere High School

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 10/12/2016 - 00:30

By Seth Daniel, Journal

Flesh-eating Zombies have been slowly taking over one Revere High School (RHS) classroom this school year, but there isn’t anyone fighting it, and in fact the educational experiment has become celebrated. In response to the hugely-popular, Zombie-laden television show, ‘The Walking Dead,’ among students at RHS, teacher Nancy Barile has capitalized on that enthusiasm to use the show as a way to pound home concepts like character development, elements of fiction and essay writing – things teens in almost any classroom would grimace at the mere mention. But Barile said her new ‘Walking Dead’ class, which is for juniors and seniors, has taught students just those very things that many teachers struggle to convey using conventional methods. Now, she said her students are enthusiastically analyzing the popular television show, which features a team of young people fighting to remain human and not being turned into a ‘Walker,’ or flesh-eating Zombie.

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How one district improved its personalized learning by failing forward

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 10/11/2016 - 00:40


After failing to create usable Individualized Learning Plans, teachers refined it until it worked. Isn’t that what we want from our students? In the MSD of Wayne Township, there are several blended and online opportunities available for students. Perhaps the same is true in your district, but how many of those same opportunities are available to teachers as well? Recently, the teachers in one particular program in the district inspired a personalized approach to professional development. The Ben Davis Extended Day (BDED) blended learning program is an extension of one of the district’s high schools, Ben Davis High School. The program operates in the evenings and serves students who, for one reason or another, are not able to attend during the day.

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Annual list identifies educators pioneering, supporting the flipped learning movement

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 10/11/2016 - 00:35

by eSchool News

Educators searching for flipped learning inspiration can now find it in a list of 100 people who are innovating and inspiring others in their pursuit of flipped instruction. The Flipped Learning Global Initiative (FLGI), a worldwide coalition of educators, researchers, technologists, professional development providers and education leaders, published the FLGI 100, an annual list identifying the top 100 innovative people in education who are driving the adoption of the flipped classroom around the world. “The FLGI 100 list includes some of the most experienced and innovative flipped learning people on the planet,” Bergmann said. “The value of their collective insight into flipped learning is immeasurable and we’re excited to identify them as role models for those new to flipped learning.” The FLGI list will be updated annually and the complete FLGI 100 list can be seen at

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Rutgers launches open textbook project

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 10/11/2016 - 00:30


A new open textbook project from Rutgers University includes a grant program administered by Rutgers University Libraries that will give incentives to faculty or department groups that replace traditional textbooks with free, low-cost or open alternatives. The Open and Affordable Textbook Project (OAT) has the potential to save students across the university as much as $500,000 within its first year. At least one Rutgers course is proactively moving in this direction, business librarian Mei Ling Lo said. “Students taking the course Aggregate Economics are using our e-books this semester and the savings are substantial,” Lo said.

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Faculty on the Fence About Providing Computing Devices to Students

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 10/10/2016 - 00:39

By Dian Schaffhauser, Rhea Kelly; Campus Technology

According to our Teaching with Technology survey, 55 percent of faculty support the idea of their institutions providing computing devices to all students, while 67 percent like the “bring your own device” approach. About a quarter of faculty (23 percent) fully support the idea of their institutions providing computing devices to all students. And another 30 percent are in favor of device handouts, but with reservations. These insights and more were part of Campus Technology’s first-ever Teaching with Tech survey, which polled faculty members across the country about their use of technology for teaching and learning, their wish lists and gripes, their view of what the future holds and more.

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How to Steal an AI

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 10/10/2016 - 00:35

by Andy Greenberg, Wired

In the burgeoning field of computer science known as machine learning, engineers often refer to the artificial intelligences they create as “black box” systems: Once a machine learning engine has been trained from a collection of example data to perform anything from facial recognition to malware detection, it can take in queries—Whose face is that? Is this app safe?—and spit out answers without anyone, not even its creators, fully understanding the mechanics of the decision-making inside that box. But researchers are increasingly proving that even when the inner workings of those machine learning engines are inscrutable, they aren’t exactly secret. In fact, they’ve found that the guts of those black boxes can be reverse-engineered and even fully reproduced—stolen, as one group of researchers puts it—with the very same methods used to create them.

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Udacity’s self-driving car engineering degree lures over 11,000 hopefuls

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 10/10/2016 - 00:29

By Alexandria Sage and Paul Lienert, Reuters

Silicon Valley online education platform Udacity has already received more than 11,000 applicants for its so-called nanodegree in self-driving car engineering, Udacity president and Google X founder Sebastian Thrun said. The high number of applicants – for 250 spots in the course – underscores the pressing need for talent by technology leaders such as Alphabet’s Google and Apple, traditional car companies and automotive start-ups, as they race to develop production-ready autonomous-driving vehicles within the next decade. High-profile, costly acquisitions driven by the desire to acquire talent, such as General Motors Co’s purchase of automotive start-up Cruise, or Uber Technologies [UBER.UL] buying self-driving trucking start-up Otto, have marked the sector over the past year. “Self-driving car engineers are extremely in demand,” Thrun told Reuters in an interview.–finance.html

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Lifeliqe Debuts VR Museum

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 10/09/2016 - 00:39

By Richard Chang, THE Journal

Lifeliqe, a visual learning platform incorporating virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and interactive 3D content, is today launching Lifeliqe VR Museum, its first fully VR experience. The free version will be available exclusively on Viveport, HTC Vive’s content platform, with the premium version coming soon. HTC Vive is the third platform Lifeliqe is launching on after iOS and Windows 10. Lifeliqe VR Museum is built on more than 1,000 interactive 3D models that are already available in Lifeliqe’s mobile version. Users can get engaged in two ways: VR can take them to a virtual world, where they can roam freely among dinosaurs or visit ancient housing; and the Explore function enables users to study interactive 3D models from K–12 sciences in a virtual lab, allowing them to learn about different parts in great detail.

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School district to expand distance learning

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 10/09/2016 - 00:36


Elko County schools have received grant funds to improve distance learning and provide telemedicine to students. Elko County School District was recently notified it would receive $431,255 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The grant requires an involved partnership between Great Basin College, the White Pine County School District, and Communities In Schools. Elko County School District Superintendent Jeff Zander said the telemedicine will come in the form of online counseling that will be available to students in Elko and White Pine County. “Communities In Schools will provide mental health counseling for students. We’re going to be able to use that counseling and it will be distributed to all the high schools and combined in Elko County and White Pine County,” he said. “In outlying areas we don’t have 4-year degreed nurses in some cases, so if they have a child who’s having some issues out there, they can call into here and have a nurse get on the interactive system and diagnose that kid long distance.”

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Learning to make a positive online footprint

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 10/09/2016 - 00:30

by DEIRDRE KELLY, The Globe and Mail

When a student saw compromising images a classmate had posted of herself on Instagram she did what she had been taught to do: She alerted a teacher. “We do a lot of talking to girls in the school to get them to understand what constitutes appropriate behaviour online,” explains Jan Sullivan, vice-principal, student life, at Bishop Strachan School in Toronto. “The result is that the girls are now policing themselves. They have learned quickly what is good and what might be very bad to post about yourself on social media.”

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Deep learning boosts Google Translate tool

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 10/08/2016 - 00:40

by Davide Castelvecchi, Nature

Google’s online translation service, Google Translate, will soon be using a new algorithm that is entirely based on deep learning, the company announced on 27 September. The algorithm, which is also described in a paper posted to the preprint server arXiv1, is the first widely-available computer system for translating languages that relies on the increasingly popular AI technique. Compared to the firm’s existing service, the algorithm reduces errors by around 60%, Google computer scientists say. A Chinese-to-English service that uses the algorithm is now being used on the Google Translate mobile and web-based apps, and Google says that it will roll out other languages over the next few months.

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A new “MicroMasters” online learning program offered by major universities

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 10/08/2016 - 00:33

by NICHOLE DOBO, Hechinger Report

A new kind of credential has entered the crowded market for online learning. EdX, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that provides online courses, announced last week the creation of 19 “MicroMasters” courses, a new type of online educational program. These courses are tailored master’s degree-level classes that can help students hone skills that will be immediately useful in the workplace. “I think the MicroMasters is a big next step in the evolution of education,” Anant Agarwal, the CEO of edX and an MIT professor, said in an interview last week. These courses – offered through 14 universities including Columbia, Arizona State University and the University of Michigan, as well as some in Australia, Europe and India – are open to anyone who wants to take them. No transcripts or prerequisites required. Students don’t even need a GED to enroll.

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LAUSD credit recovery vendor finds strong demand for online makeup courses nationwide

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 10/08/2016 - 00:30

by Craig Clough, LA School Report

Ever since LA Unified vaulted from a looming graduation crisis to potentially breaking its graduation record last school year after implementing a wide-scale online credit recovery program, questions have been raised about how much students are actually learning. The apparent ease with which the district was able to substantially boost the number of diplomas it handed out through a $15 million credit recovery program turned heads and has some asking if the online courses are rigorous enough. Board President Steve Zimmer has questions, as did the Los Angeles Times editorial pages and some academics.

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Digital Textbook Codes As Costly As Traditional Course Materials

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 00:41

By Sri Ravipati, Campus Technology

Textbook costs are a sore subject for many college and university students, with increasing textbook prices prompting students to look for less expensive options. Digital textbooks may be seen as a cost-friendly alternative, but the access code model commonly used by publishers can make this option just as pricey for students. That is the main analysis within “Access Denied: The New Face of Textbook Monopoly,” a new report from Student PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups). In prior reports, Student PIRGs found that nearly 50 percent of students factor in textbook costs when deciding which and how many courses to take, while 33 percent use financial aid to purchase their textbooks. The latest study investigates and compares the costs of online access codes in college classes.

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Reinventing Learning in the age of technology

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 00:35

By Debeshi Gooptu, eGov Innovation

Online Learning is not just offline learning taken online, by simply digitizing content. There is a lot of scope to use technology to make learning better & more effective. In an interview with Enterprise Innovation, Byju, Founder & CEO, BYJU’s, explains how his learning app helps make learning contextual and visual, and not just theoretical. BYJU’s is an Ed-tech company whose K12 learning app offers adaptive, engaging and effective learning programmes. Launched in 2015, the app makes use of original content, rich animations, interactive simulations and engaging video lessons from India’s best teachers.

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Interactive lecture halls enhance higher ed: Active learning in the large classroom in higher ed

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 00:30

by Sherrie Negrea, University Business

Gone is the stadium-style seating. Now the room, used for a wide range of courses, has 100 rolling swivel chairs with adjustable tables and nine mounted video screens. After associate professor Lois Boynton gives a mini-lecture or shows a video, student teams of four to six work on an ethical journalism dilemma. Then they regroup to present their conclusions to the full class. “I love the open teaching space,” says Boynton, who taught in the hall, Greenlaw 101, before it was renovated. “We can all see each other and interact much more effectively than in a lecture hall with fixed seats.”

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