Techno-News Blog

March 24, 2017

Smartphones Outpacing Humans in Literacy

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By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

“Illiterate people are more likely to be poor, lack education, miss out on opportunities to participate fully in society and the workforce,” Project Literacy stated on its website. “Sadly, their choices in life are far too limited.” Currently, 758 million adults around the world and 32 million Americans are illiterate, according to a new report issued by the project, “2027: Human vs. Machine Literacy.” These are individuals who are unable to read “a road sign, a voting form or a medicine label.” At the same time, technological advances in artificial intelligence and voice recognition will soon enable more than two billion smartphones to read and write. Natural language processing capabilities will “begin to outpace the reading skills of millions of people,” asserted the authors.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/03/09/smartphones-outpacing-humans-in-literacy.aspx

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Understanding the Faculty Role in Digital Accessibility

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By Doug Lederman, Inside Digital Learning

The decision last week by the University of California, Berkeley, to take years’ worth of video and audio lectures out of the public realm because of federal requirements on accessibility for people with disabilities was decried by many accessibility advocates. In the context of Berkeley’s decision, Inside Digital Learning asked a group of digital accessibility experts how they balance the essential goal of making digital courseware accessible while respecting faculty independence and avoiding deterring professors who may already be daunted by the prospect of creating digital academic materials. Among the questions we asked them to address are: *Are there practices that you have found work (and don’t) in assuring the creation of accessible digital materials? *Are there decisions to be made about what you have faculty members themselves do, versus the institution’s technology specialists? *What issues should administrators and faculty members alike be thinking about as they navigate this terrain?

https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2017/03/15/digital-accessibility-experts-discuss-how-they-approach-faculty

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Shmoop Releases Side-by-Side Translations of Shakespeare Online

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By Richard Chang, THE Journal

One website aims to make sense of the Bard’s poetic yet perplexing lines in modern English for contemporary young readers. Shmoop’s site, Shakespeare in Modern English, is designed to give students the best of both worlds: Reading the original text online right alongside a modern English translation and summary. Shmoop is known for its all-inclusive guide to Shakespeare, called Shmooping Shakespeare, which includes everything students could ever want to know about the Bard of Avon: in-depth summary and analysis of every single one of his plays and many of his poems; an extensive biography; an entire section devoted to his most famous quotes and another devoted to the words he coined; and Shmoop’s well-known Shakespeare Translator, which lets users turn their everyday language into eloquent Shakespearese.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2017/03/10/shmoop-releases-side-by-side-translations-of-shakespeare-online.aspx

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March 23, 2017

The Past, Present and Future of Big Data in Higher Ed

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by Steve Burrell, Evolllution

Beyond these student success examples, there lies another world of opportunities to leverage Big Data to improve the operational efficiencies and effectiveness of our institutions. Rapid technological advancement in computational power, prescriptive analytics, image processing, sensors and beacons, data storage, systems integration tools, and advanced search capabilities among other key advances provide insights into systems performance, process bottlenecks, hidden dependencies, and other user-, event-, and device-based data in near real time.

http://evolllution.com/technology/metrics/the-past-present-and-future-of-big-data-in-higher-ed/

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This heroic non-profit is providing free university education to refugees

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By Jack Boulton Roe, Techly
How best to offer education to displaced people? An important question and one that Kiron, a German non-profit, has attempted to answer with their two-year, refugee-targeted, online education programme. The proliferation of the internet has given rise to online learning platforms all over the world – take a look at MOOC-list for an idea of just what, and how much of it, is out there. What sets Kiron apart is their focus on refugees.  A loss of education may not be the first thing that occurs in the case of a misplaced person, but when considering that 25 per cent of Syrians between 18-24 years old were in education before the war started, it becomes clear that this is vital work.

https://www.techly.com.au/2017/03/13/heroic-non-profit-providing-free-university-education-refugees/

This heroic non-profit is providing free university education to refugeesBy Jack Boulton Roe, Techly
How best to offer education to displaced people? An important question and one that Kiron, a German non-profit, has attempted to answer with their two-year, refugee-targeted, online education programme. The proliferation of the internet has given rise to online learning platforms all over the world – take a look at MOOC-list for an idea of just what, and how much of it, is out there. What sets Kiron apart is their focus on refugees.  A loss of education may not be the first thing that occurs in the case of a misplaced person, but when considering that 25 per cent of Syrians between 18-24 years old were in education before the war started, it becomes clear that this is vital work.

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Digital disruption lowers the cost of expensive masters degrees

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by Tim Dodd, Financial Review

A round of price-cutting has broken out in the market for high-priced masters degrees with four Australian universities offering students a pathway to complete part of the degree online at a steep discount. In a sign of digital disruption hitting higher education, the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Adelaide and Curtin University are offering students the chance to do a quarter of a full masters degrees at low cost through US-based massive open online course (MOOC) provider edX which gives them a new credential called a MicroMasters. Students can then complete the degree at the regular cost, giving them at least a 20 per cent discount overall.

http://www.afr.com/leadership/management/business-education/digital-disruption-lowers-the-cost-of-expensive-masters-degrees-20170310-guv6pf

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March 22, 2017

Project Tech class gears students up for technology-driven futures

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by Lainie Steelman, McDonough County Voice

Walk into the Project Tech class at Macomb Senior High School, and you won’t see students taking notes while the teacher lectures. What you will see is students directing their own learning, either independently or in small groups. The Project Tech class, offered at the high school for the first time this semester, lets students choose and complete a technology-based project. Students learn as they go along and solve problems as they arise. Among the students’ projects are an RPG (Role Playing Game), a website that collects the school district’s sports records, an exoskeleton and a comparison of two computer programming languages. Often, the projects are in response to a problem a student wants to solve.

http://www.mcdonoughvoice.com/news/20170311/project-tech-class-gears-students-up-for-technology-driven-futures

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Top 20 virtual reality apps that are changing education

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BY MATTHEW LYNCH, tech Edvocate

Virtual reality is one of the hottest edtech trends. Not only are students allowed the opportunity to emerge themselves into a subject but can travel the world from their desk chairs. While not readily available in every classroom, programs such as Google Cardboard aim to make VR headsets cheap and accessible. The majority of students in the USA own a cell phone, and with many of these educational apps available on both iOs and the iTunes-enabled devices, they are becoming more accessible to more students. Educationally, these VR apps allow students to visualize concepts that were confined to the pictures in a textbook. Linked below are 20 Virtual Reality Apps that are changing education.

http://www.thetechedvocate.org/20-top-virtual-reality-apps-that-are-changing-education/

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Coding, Robotics and the Jobs of the Future

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BY MATTHEW LYNCH, tech Edvocate

IT jobs will grow by 22% through 2020 and jobs in STEM are said to see similar growth. Educators are expected to equip their students with skills that will translate into careers and yet they have no idea what these skills should be. So, what are the jobs of the future and how can be best prepare students for them? Programming jobs are growing 50 percent faster than the market overall. With such a rapidly growing market, it is important to note that not all coding jobs fall within the technology sector. Health care, manufacturing, and finance are in need of coders as is the tech industry. Coding is the backbone of many technologies, and in the future, it will be an important tool for entrepreneurs and innovators.

http://www.thetechedvocate.org/coding-robotics-and-the-jobs-of-the-future/
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March 21, 2017

Texas A&M Brings Gaming to Art History

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By Sri Ravipati, Campus Technology

Texas A&M University has teamed up with game-based learning company Triseum to introduce gaming into art history survey courses, in an effort to help students better understand the world in which works of art were created. Through a three-year agreement announced Friday, the university will integrate the company’s ARTé: Mecenas, an immersive art history video game that transports students to the Italian Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries. They can experience the political, social and economic factors of that time period through taking on the role of a merchant or banker within the Medici family. For example, students are tasked with balancing relationships between stakeholders in that time period (merchant factions, the Catholic Church, etc.) to build and maintain a financial empire.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/03/10/texas-a-m-brings-gaming-to-art-history.aspx

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3 Ideas for Closing the Tech Skills Gap

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By Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

According to a recent survey from the Career Advisory Board, only 11 percent of employers believe higher education is very effective in meeting the skill needs of their organization. More than half (57 percent) said it is common for job applicants to lack technology skills deemed important for success. And 77 percent of respondents said their company’s competitive advantage relies on a workforce that can use applied tech skills to solve problems. These issues and more were discussed in a session this week at SXSWedu in Austin The panel offered three solutions to help close the tech skills gap: Create dedicated industry advisory boards for educators; Move toward a vision of “any time, anywhere” education for students; and Provide students and employees access to the latest technologies.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/03/10/3-ideas-for-closing-the-tech-skills-gap.aspx

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Mining Data Across the Campus

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By David Raths, Campus Technology

An increased focus on data at Clemson University is impacting decision-making in finance, operations, facilities and more. At Clemson University (SC), data architects and business teams are developing a multidimensional database about campus facilities. By merging in data from financial systems, Brett Dalton, vice president for finance and operations, can see the size of rooms and their condition and can ask questions about the university’s costs associated with them. “We are creating a robust picture of an asset, how it is managed and what it produces in terms of bottom-line productivity,” he said. “We can be more strategic in targeting preventative maintenance dollars and renovation dollars. Some things come to life when you look at them in an integrated fashion. We might decide we need to tear a building down.”

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/03/09/mining-data-across-the-campus.aspx

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March 20, 2017

Report: Higher ed still woefully unprepared against cyber attacks

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BY LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

Report indicates that of all sectors, education is the most at-risk when it comes to the ability to defend against cyber attacks of all kind. Twenty-six percent of education respondents in a new survey reported daily or weekly cyber attacks in 2016, and 98 percent of all responding organizations experienced cyber attacks in 2016. The 2016-2017 Global Application & Network Security Survey from cyber security company Radware reveals that while cyber ransom proves the easiest and most lucrative tool for cyber criminals, almost all ransom events have a different attack vector, technique or angle. Ransom attacks are the most prevalent, increasing from 25 percent of attacks in 2015 to 41 percent of attacks in 2016. The report attributes the increase to the lucrative nature of such a “business.”

http://www.ecampusnews.com/it-newsletter/higher-ed-unprepared-cyber-attacks/

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The surprising new way students are paying for college

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BY LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

Social fundraising is enabling many students to meet their tuition goals in order to attend college. In the face of rising college costs comes a somewhat surprising funding trend: students are increasingly turning to GoFundMe, a social fundraising platform that allows anyone to contribute to funding campaigns on the site. Since 2014, more than 130,000 GoFundMes have raised $60 million from over 850,000 donations for college tuition and related campaigns. Among the top states where students raise college funds on GoFundMe are California, with 15,338 campaigns raising $8.3 million; Texas, with 10,152 campaigns raising $4.6 million; and New York, with 6,844 campaigns raising $4.2 million.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2017/03/09/getting-blended-learning-right/

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5 tips for getting blended learning right

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BY MERIS STANSBURY, eSchool News

Tool integration, teacher teams are just some of the ways schools can ensure successful blended learning initiatives. When implementing a blended learning model, it is important for schools to be aware of key components and steps to integrate into their plan. In “Five Tips for Getting Blended Learning Right,” hosted by edWeb.net and sponsored by Achieve3000, Julia Freeland Fisher, director of Education at the Clayton Christensen Institute, gave schools the tips they need to successfully implement blended learning.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2017/03/09/getting-blended-learning-right/

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March 19, 2017

Online alternative high school puts St. Louis students on path to graduation, but rigor questioned

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By CAMILLE PHILLIPS, St.Louis Public Radio

The school — Workforce High — uses the same online curriculum as the district’s three alternative schools and four credit-recovery programs. But some experts question whether at-risk students are learning what they need to by watching video lessons and taking online quizzes at a rapid pace. It’s hands-on support that sets Workforce High apart, says Alice Prince, who helps oversee the school. “It’s the exact same rigor,” said Prince, a director at SLATE. “I ask our students what is the difference, and they say ‘Well it’s a family atmosphere. The education mentors care if you get it or not.”

http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/online-alternative-high-school-puts-st-louis-students-path-graduation-rigor-questioned

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Projections see 7.2% expansion in e-learning by 2027

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by Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Online learning platforms and devices are likely to follow a trend set by wearable technology, gaming and other digital industries, with a new report suggesting that instructional tech will grow by just over 7% in the next ten years. Report Linker makes its projections based upon the rise of technology use in instructional design, content created for web-based production and consumption, and the growth of virtual reality and artificial intelligence as academic support tools. Authors say that the report is based upon the revenue performance of several leading tech companies with impact in the educational industry, and trends in domestic and international institutional business models.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/projections-see-72-expansion-in-e-learning-by-2027/437819/

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3 Lessons Learned About Taking Online Courses

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By Olena Reid, US News

Building relationships virtually is challenging, but not impossible for online students. Before deciding to pursue a two-year, rigorous online MBA program, I completed eight short free online classes. My go-to platforms were Coursera and FutureLearn, but there are many more options now that offer high-quality lectures and materials. These online courses combined with my online MBA program taught me a few lessons about learning virtually that might help a prospective or current online student answer their questions and know what to expect in an online program.

https://www.usnews.com/education/online-learning-lessons/articles/2017-03-10/3-lessons-learned-about-taking-online-courses

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March 18, 2017

How to create a Makerspace in any space

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by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

Makerspaces are spaces for hands-on interactive learning. These spaces have become popular in many communities, schools, and libraries due to their emphasis on creative learning and STEAM subjects. The primary aspect of any makerspace is the fact that creative hands-on learning opportunities are provided to users. One important fact regarding makerspaces is that there is no perfect model or formula that must be followed. In fact, it is not necessary to have a space set aside solely for use as a makerspace. If there are available study rooms, meeting rooms, or classrooms that are not always in use they can easily be converted into a makerspace. Converting a room into a temporary makerspace can be easily accomplished by bringing in the equipment for the maker activities.

http://www.thetechedvocate.org/how-to-create-a-makerspace-in-any-space/

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A new technology is fundamentally changing learning–here’s how

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BY CHRISTOPH SCHELL, eSchool News

Middle school students across the U.S. are learning how the body works by studying the anatomy of a frog, a vertebrate with an organ system similar to that of humans. But unlike school lab work that uses real specimens or images of a virtual frog on a screen, a new approach to this standard experiment is taking the act of learning to a unique interactive level, thanks to the use of technology known as blended reality. Blended reality combines the physical and digital with augmented reality that takes sensory inputs – sounds, scents, sites and haptic or “touch” feedback–to blur the lines between the real and virtual worlds.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2017/03/08/technology-changing-learning/

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Unexpected advantage I saw taking online classes

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By Jager Robinson, Newsday

The next shift in higher education is coming online. Whether it be through full online programs or select courses offered as part of an on-campus degree, online learning is taking large steps toward becoming a mainstream approach to higher education. Contrary to common beliefs, early results provide no data to suggest that accredited online degrees, like Georgia Tech’s, teach less than their in-person counterparts: Several Harvard economists, who studied GA Tech’s program, concluded students “finish their courses with at least as much knowledge as their in-person counterpart.” With the introduction of prestige into the affordable online environment, online learning is taking a shift for the best. Whether it be fully online, or a hybrid degree, colleges and universities across the country are taking the necessary steps to provide for an increasingly online world.

http://www.newsday.com/opinion/commentary/unexpected-advantage-i-saw-during-online-classes-1.13227353

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