Techno-News Blog

September 26, 2018

Students can go around the world and beyond through virtual reality

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By Addie Fairley, The State Press
Virtual reality could be a dream come true, or a nightmare in the flesh. It could be anything that it is programmed to be with no real limitations. ASU, with its everlasting call to innovation, has started to utilize VR goggles for an online biology lab. ASU has partnered with Google and Labster, a virtual lab simulation company specifically dedicated toward education STEM subject matters, to give students in an online Biology 181 class the ability to view traditional lab situations. The students can purchase their own VR headsets or borrow a pair from the school. There are currently 30 students in the course, and there’s potential for expansion.

http://www.statepress.com/article/2018/09/spscience-class-on-the-moon-the-future-of-virtual-reality-in-education

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Equity Problems with Technology Persist Despite Adoption Gains

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By Sara Friedman, THE Journal
When it comes to preparing students for the future, two-thirds of parents endorse the idea of digital tools in the classroom, but 51 percent of parents are concerned that technology varies too much from teacher to teacher, class to class or subject to subject, according to a new report. These findings come from the Project Tomorrow’s 2017 Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning, which surveyed 340,927 students, 34,833 teachers and 23,159 parents. The report was released at a Sept. 12 Congressional briefing where students, teachers and administrators spoke about how they use technology in their classrooms. The survey was conducted between October 2017 and January 2018. “Our real objective is to be an engine of change in schools and districts. We want to stimulate new ideas in schools and districts. We want to have actionable knowledge that people can use,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow and lead researcher on Speak Up.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2018/09/13/equity-problems-with-technology-persist-despite-adoption-gains.aspx

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Coursera’s CEO on the Evolving Meaning of ‘MOOC’

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By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

What we see is just a huge blending. Right now we offer MOOCs, we offer specializations (packages of those single courses), we offer master tracks, which are those modules that count towards a degree. We only have three right now, but we’re going to be building up that library. And then we have degrees now. I talk to people who take who take a MOOC on blockchain. All they wanted was about 10 hours of very high-quality instruction. They didn’t need a degree. They literally just wanted to learn the material. Those kinds of people are not going to buy a degree. Then there are people who get a degree, and you’re like, “Why didn’t you take a bunch of MOOCs?” Because the degrees help them get a better job. So long as we believe there will be a range of needs from very, very rigorous and that ends up in a high-pedigreed credential to smaller learning that nevertheless teaches you something that’s really important, there’s absolutely no reason that MOOCs won’t exist and degrees won’t exist with a link between them. I think it’s going to be a continuum.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2018/09/12/courseras-ceo-on-the-evolving-meaning-of-mooc.aspx

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September 25, 2018

Federal court rules against Betsy DeVos in student loan lawsuit over for-profit colleges fraud cases

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by Maria Danilova, Associated Press
A federal court has ruled that it was “arbitrary and capricious” for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to delay an Obama-era rule meant to protect students swindled by for-profit colleges. The decision is a significant blow to the Trump administration’s attempt to ease regulations for the industry. A judge in the nation’s capital ruled on Wednesday in favor of Democratic attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia and former students. They had sued DeVos over her decision last year to postpone the rules finalized under President Barack Obama.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-betsy-devos-student-loan-lawsuit-for-profit-colleges-fraud-20180913-story.html

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Education is not preparing students for a fast-changing world

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By Ann Kirschner and Dana Born, Boston Globe

VUCA stands for “volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous,” a handy shortcut used by the military to describe these uncertain times, and a framework to shape its leadership programs. We have a graduation gap, an employment gap, and a skills gap. These are global trends but perhaps most acute in the United States, where we have championed college education for all at the same time that we have not paid enough attention to the link between learning and earning. The false choice between vocational training and the lofty devotion to the life of the mind is particularly damaging to first-generation college students with no parental safety net or networks of their own. Career services remain the Siberia of most college campuses, visited rarely and woefully under-resourced.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/09/12/education-not-preparing-students-for-fast-changing-world/96vTGowaDypumwyLtPtLjP/story.html

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Teaming Up to Get Workers Ready for Technology of the Future

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By Ellen Rosen, The New York Times

The partnership is one of 14 across the country focusing on emerging technologies and industries addressing an increasingly important and frequently vexing question: how to prepare workers at all levels — technicians as well as people with doctoral degrees — for new technologies, like integrated photonics, that are in development, but only at the very early stages of commercial use. “Because the jobs don’t exist yet, we need to train students in the skills that are relevant today so they can get a job, but at the same time, very selectively, begin to supplement the training relevant to new industries,” said Sajan Saini, the education director of the AIM Photonics Academy, which is based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/11/business/training-tech-workers-for-future.html

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September 24, 2018

Get on board with data integration

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BY REGINA KUNKLE, eSchool News
With rising competitive pressures, digital transformation can mean the difference between losing and improving institutional reputation.  The modern, public university is arguably facing more strain than ever before—both from outside and inside its walls. Marked by new competitors and declining funding, the state of today’s higher-ed marketplace has driven more public universities to turn to technology as a holy grail for readying them to compete. Universities are complex systems, comprised of thousands of departments, specialty schools, and student groups. They’re facing competition from for-profit institutions and tech startups, and the state funding for public universities is declining year over year.

Get on board with data integration

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Campus faculty: Give us more classroom tech

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BY LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

Campus digital learning leaders–those who supervise online education or instructional technology–overwhelmingly support more technology use in classrooms. Data from various research projects shows 97 percent of digital learning leaders have high support for more ed-tech on campus. Sixty-two percent of faculty have high support more classroom ed-tech, with 30 percent displaying medium support.  The support for more campus ed-tech has two clearly-defined motivators: 80 percent of digital learning leaders and 68 percent of faculty say they like to experiment with new teaching methods or tools, while 85 percent of digital learning leaders and 66 percent of faculty say they have succeeded with ed tech before.

 

Campus faculty: Give us more classroom tech

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Make Sure Everyone on Your Team Sees Learning as Part of Their Job

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Kristi Hedges, Harvard Business Review

The reality is that most people are not set up to take advantage of development opportunities. Many organizations view learning as something extra, something to fit in on top of the regular work. But to create a culture that encourages employee growth, managers need to make learning an expectation — not an option. Learning helps people keep a broad perspective. When we feel expert at something, sociologists have shown, the earned dogmatism effect sets in, causing us to be more close-minded and to disregard new ideas and perspectives. For managers, suggesting that team members go to a training or take an online course isn’t enough; for many professionals, that’s just more work on their plates. Instead, managers need to encourage continual learning with supportive behaviors that, in turn, will shape their company culture. Be a vocal role model. Managers should frame learning as a growth opportunity, not as a quid pro quo for promotion.

https://hbr.org/2018/09/make-sure-everyone-on-your-team-sees-learning-as-part-of-their-job

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September 23, 2018

Machine Learning Applications in E-Learning: Bias, Risks and Mitigation

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by Stella Lee, Chief Learning Officer
In recent years, there has been a lot of focus on adaptive e-learning, fueled by the advances of machine learning and artificial intelligence. As the one-size-fits-all approach of e-learning loses its appeal and online course attrition rates continue to rise, there is a move toward more personalized and adaptive learning to engage learners and achieve better learning outcomes. Personalized and adaptive learning has the ability to change learning content or the mode of delivery on the fly and to provide real-time feedback to learners. The origin of adaptive learning came from the research of intelligent tutoring systems, recommender systems and adaptive hypermedia. The advent of machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques have helped the plethora of platforms and tools that support adaptive learning flourish.

https://www.clomedia.com/2018/09/12/machine-learning-applications-in-e-learning-bias-risks-and-mitigation/

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RMIT Online launches AR and VR courses using Amazon Sumerian

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By Asha McLean, ZDNet

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Online will now be offering short courses in artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), thanks to a new partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). RMIT’s newly launched courses — Developing AI Strategy, Developing AR and VR Strategy, and Developing AR and VR Applications — are adapted from the AWS Educate global program and are designed to address tech-driven changes in the workplace, AWS added. “They are intended to provide embedded pathways for professionals to gain AWS Cloud computing skills and prepare them to gain micro-credentials and AWS certifications,” the cloud giant continued. According to RMIT Online CEO Helen Souness, the short course offerings are expected to help address the skills gaps in the AI and AR/VR fields.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/rmit-online-launches-ar-and-vr-courses-using-amazon-sumerian/

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States’ decision to reduce support for higher education comes at a cost

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by Jeff Selingo, Washington Post

At the beginning of last decade, college students who went to public universities paid for about one-third of their education. Today, in more than half the states, they pay for most of it. In that time, the College Board has found that the average price of tuition, room, board and fees at public institutions has risen more than 60 percent, to $20,770. Research by Douglas Webber, an associate professor in economics at Temple University, has found that colleges raise tuition by about $300 for every $1,000 in funds cut by the state.  The rapid disinvestment by states this century in public higher education happened not because of one event, but a confluence of factors that has made it more expensive for students and their families to attend most state colleges. First, funding levels failed to keep up with the influx of students to public campuses last decade because of the rising numbers of high school graduates. Second, the Great Recession of 2008 decimated state budgets. While after previous downturns higher education eventually recovered those dollars, not this time. In only six states have higher education budgets returned to or surpassed their pre-recession levels; in 19 states, expenditures per student are at least 20 percent lower than before the recession.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2018/09/08/states-decision-reduce-support-higher-education-comes-cost/

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September 22, 2018

University students want profs to consider free options over textbooks

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by Kate Bueckert, CBC

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) has relaunched it’s #TextbookBroke campaign to highlight the high cost of textbooks and urge professors to choose free alternatives. The group initially launched the campaign in January, and during it, students shared stories about how not being able to afford textbooks impacted their education. “We saw students were spending about an average of $500 on textbooks,” said Shannon Kelly, vice president of student affairs for the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union and vice president of finance for OUSA. “Some students had to pick and choose between what textbooks they felt that they actually needed and could afford.”

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/university-waterloo-wilfrid-laurier-textbook-broke-free-1.4817656

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You Need to Understand Learning Analytics to Personalize Learning

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by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

Personalized learning refers to the effort to teach each individual student. Historically, most teachers have had little choice save to teach to the average. Of course, no one student is perfectly average. This means that teaching was often not appropriate for many students, who struggled as a result. But personalized learning reframes instruction by using the most appropriate tools, approaches, and content for each individual student. Of course, this is extremely difficult to accomplish without edtech tools. And one of the keys to implementing a quality personalized learning approach—one that is more likely to result in improved student learning outcomes—is a focus on data analytics. In other words, you need to understand learning analytics in order to personalize learning.

 

You Need to Understand Learning Analytics to Personalize Learning

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3 Myths of Using Digital Tools in the Higher Education Classroom

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by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

College professors account for a sizeable portion of educators who, though they appreciate the value of digital tools and materials, do not use them to teach. All too often, faculty members see digital tools and materials as the ‘second best’ options when compared to traditional ones. Why is there such apathy or resistance toward edtech in the higher education classroom? I believe the answer lies in the deep-seated misconceptions and outright fears that some higher education professionals have towards technology.

3 Myths of Using Digital Tools in the Higher Education Classroom

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September 21, 2018

About a quarter of rural Americans say access to high-speed internet is a major problem

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BY MONICA ANDERSON, PEW Research
Roughly one-in-four rural residents say access to high-speed internet is a major problem in their areaFast, reliable internet service has become essential for everything from getting news to finding a job. But 24% of rural adults say access to high-speed internet is a major problem in their local community, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year. An additional 34% of rural residents see this as a minor problem, meaning that roughly six-in-ten rural Americans (58%) believe access to high speed internet is a problem in their area.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/10/about-a-quarter-of-rural-americans-say-access-to-high-speed-internet-is-a-major-problem/

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The Evolving Transactional Nature of Credentialing: Alternative Credentials Today

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by Jonathan Finkelstein , the Evolllution

As the distinction between learning at colleges, universities and workplaces continues to erode, credentials are supplanting the traditional role of the degree in terms of skills verification. Unlike the degree, credentials offer individuals the opportunity to showcase all aspects of “life-wide” learning, providing substantially more detailed insight into a person’s transferable abilities for both the classroom and the workforce. In Part One of this two-part interview, Jonathan Finkelstein discusses traditional postsecondary approaches to credentialing, and argues that the increasingly transactional nature of credentials justifies a more granular approach to skills verification.

 

The Evolving Transactional Nature of Credentialing: Alternative Credentials Today

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Many College Courses Are Either Overloaded or Underfilled. That May Be Hurting Retention.

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By Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge

Crafting an efficient schedule of college course offerings means solving a complex puzzle. And more colleges these days are turning to algorithms to help reduce the number of classes that are either overloaded or full of empty seats. A study out last week of about 200 colleges found that many course schedules are “unbalanced,” with 45 percent of courses analyzed filled to less than 70 percent capacity and 23 percent of courses classified as “overloaded,” meaning more than 95 percent full. That inefficiency is having an impact on retention, the study found. The greater the inefficiency of the course catalog, the lower the graduation rate at the institutions analyzed.  But even if an AI system can show college leaders where they need to create more courses, there’s still a bigger problem: The college may not have the resources to hire additional faculty to create those sections.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-09-11-many-college-courses-are-either-overloaded-or-underfilled-that-may-be-hurting-retention

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September 20, 2018

Integrating Makerspaces Throughout the Curriculum

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By Joshua Bolkan, THE Journal
The makerspace isn’t just a fixed space where kids come and go to complete busywork. It’s an extension of a well-established approach to educating students that has applications and deep implications across disciplines. As makerspaces start to pop up in schools across the country, some educators, particularly those teaching non-STEM subjects, may be wondering what exactly they’re supposed to do with them. Policymakers and administrators, meanwhile, want to make sure the spaces and resources are well utilized and are providing as much educational bang for the buck as possible. Luckily, integrating makerspaces throughout the curriculum is fairly easy with the right frame of mind.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2018/09/04/integrating-makerspaces-throughout-the-curriculum.aspx

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College students predicted to fall by more than 15% after the year 2025

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by Jill Barshay, Hechinger Report

Only a handful of states, colored in blue, are predicted to see an increase in the number of students attending regional four-year colleges and universities between 2012 and 2029. The rest will see declines in students. In the red-colored states, the drop in students will exceed 15%. The dots represent large metropolitan areas. These urban college markets, such as San Diego, may diverge from their state’s or region’s trends. Nathan D. Grawe, Carleton College.  What does the declining birthrate mean for colleges and universities and the students who hope to get a college degree a decade from now? The answer depends on where you live in the United States and how selective the college is. For most colleges and universities, the outlook is grim. But that could be a good thing for their future students.

 

College students predicted to fall by more than 15% after the year 2025

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How Audio Feedback Via Social Media Can Drive Engagement and Enhance Instruction

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By Henry Kronk, eLearning Inside

While online learning excels in certain areas, it chronically suffers in others. Among the latter, student engagement, personal connection, and student-teacher interaction have been areas of focus for educators and researchers practically since the birth of the digital learning environment. Engagement in all learning environments, furthermore, is a topic of ongoing concern. A recent study conducted by Yueting Xu, a researcher at the School of English and Education, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guanghzhou, China, purports to have found a piece of the puzzle. An instructor of a university level English language course decided that, instead of providing written feedback, she would use a popular social media platform WeChat to record her comments on student assignments verbally.

How Audio Feedback Via Social Media Can Drive Engagement and Enhance Instruction

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