Techno-News Blog

November 30, 2013

The Internet of Things, Unplugged and Untethered

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By Rachel Metz, Technology Review

The iPhone wouldn’t stop chirping. On a recent morning I was riding in a car through Silicon Valley with three people from a startup called Iotera. A small tracking tag was attached to the passenger-side sun visor. Our mission was to see how far we could drive from Iotera’s office building before the tag would stop transmitting its location to a small base station on the building’s roof—which meant the location-logging app on the phone would go silent. It took several miles. That’s good news for Iotera, which is developing tracking technology that can work throughout cities without requiring access to a commercial wireless network or even a short-range wireless protocol like Bluetooth. The system uses GPS-embedded tags that can last for months on a single charge, occasionally sending their coordinates over unlicensed wireless spectrum to small base stations with a range of several miles.
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/521811/the-internet-of-things-unplugged-and-untethered/

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Innovative Grammar Mind Map Is Perfect For Teaching English

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By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

I tend to be an extremely linear thinker, so I don’t always love mind maps. Even though each branch can be fairly linear, something about the whole branching visualization of it doesn’t usually speak to me. I ran across this one today, and despite its many branches, I really like it. The graphic below breaks down basic English grammar into eight branches, and then breaks down each branch a bit further. Despite my chronic linear thinking issue, I find that it is quite easy to understand. It might be a useful tool for your classroom, or even for yourself!

http://www.edudemic.com/grammar-mind-map/

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Bill Gates-backed history course now free online

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by Tim Dodd, Financial Review

The Big History Project, the story of the past on the largest possible canvas, is now available as a free online course. Big History was originally a university course taught at Macquarie University by its inventor, historian David Christian. It spans the history of the universe from the big bang until now, explaining how galaxies, stars and planets came to be, and then how life evolved and eventually led to humanity. It also glimpses into where our future history may be heading. Five years ago, when Bill Gates heard about it, he paid for the development of a big history high- school course, which is now being piloted in schools in Australia and the US. His support has led to this MOOC, which is pitched at a level suitable for junior high school and older.

http://www.afr.com/p/national/education/bill_gates_backed_history_course_nsvX8VLdaka7×8NbKjuSmO

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November 29, 2013

Royal award for e-learning innovation

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by University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s excellence in distance learning has been recognised with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. The award – widely regarded as the highest national honour in UK education – has been given for a set of five online courses, aimed at aspiring surgeons. The University has developed this innovative method of teaching in collaboration with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd). It allows trainee surgeons to continue practicing, while utilising online platforms to learn at a time and place convenient for them. By using virtual patient case-studies for discussion, students learn how to make better clinical decisions. They can discuss patient scenarios with fellow e-learners, while under the guidance of a supervisor based in Edinburgh.

http://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2013/royal-221113

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UM System sees 26 percent jump in number of students taking online courses

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By KARYN SPORY, Columbia Tribune

The number of students taking online courses across the University of Missouri System increased by 26 percent over the past year, and officials expect much more growth in the future. Hank Foley, executive vice president for academic affairs for the UM System, told the UM Board of Curators during its meeting Thursday that the number of students taking online courses has increased to 27,996 students in fiscal year 2013 from 22,151 last year. Currently, 32 percent of students are taking at least one online course, which is on par with the national average, which is also 32 percent, said Foley.

http://www.columbiatribune.com/a/por/um-system-sees-online-classes-riseum-system-sees-percent-jump/article_1702b94c-5407-11e3-befe-10604b9f6eda.html

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The Developing World Shouldn’t Fear MOOCs

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By Jamie Hodari, Slate

So in much of Africa, as is the case across the developing world, people have looked with hope to massive open online courses, or MOOCs, to help increase the scalability, quality, and affordability of university education. Sometimes that hope is unreasonable: No matter how much we all might want to believe it, a student in Uganda cannot now get a Stanford-quality education with little more than a laptop and 3G Internet. But MOOCs do hold enormous promise for the developing world, in part because they are forming the catalyst for a series of experiments to reinvent the modern university, experiments that very well might leapfrog existing models in the very places that need them most.

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/11/kepler_spire_the_developing_world_should_embrace_moocs.html?wpisrc=burger_bar

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November 28, 2013

Kickstarter Project cloudBoard Brings Tactile Learning To The iPad

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By Jeff Dunn, Edudemic

If you have an iPad or use one in a classroom, then listen up. There’s a new Kickstarter project that, as of this writing, is still in need of some funding. It’s a fascinating take on the classic video game controller. The new project being called cloudBoard (lower case ‘c’ apparently) lets students create sequences to try and solve problems. They do this by playing adorably educational video games that require critical thinking and careful planning. It’s like learning to play chess but, you know, with iPads and video games. So, win-win.

http://www.edudemic.com/cloudboard-ipad-controller/

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5 Great #EdTech Twitter Chats

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By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

Twitter chats are probably the aspect of Twitter that I find to be the most interesting and most useful. I follow a lot of different people on Twitter for a lot of different reasons (I can easily find out what’s going on in town, what cool restaurants are opening, if my favorite online shop is having a sale, etc), Twitter chats give you the chance to focus on a specific topic with a like-minded group of people. Especially for professional development, this can be immensely helpful. You can connect with other educators around the globe who are doing what you’re doing. You can learn from their mistakes, share your experiences, get advice, and quite generally, learn from everyone around you. There are about a gazillion educational Twitter chats that happen regularly, but we thought we’d give you some information on a few of the big ones.

http://www.edudemic.com/great-edtech-twitter-chats/

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UWF online students can access robots remotely through Robo Explore Lab

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by Rhema Thompson, PNJ

A new initiative is allowing University of West Florida students in Networking and Telecommunications online courses to conduct experiments remotely. UWF’s Robo Explore Lab, launched over the summer as part of the College of Professional Studies Emerge Program, will allow students to apply and test their knowledge online in ways similar to a classroom environment, according to the university. The interactive laboratory was developed by Lakshmi Prayaga, assistant professor in the UWF Department of Applied Science, Technology and Administration, through the physics department. It is among the nation’s first to utilize tele-robotics in an online classroom setting, according to a UWF release.

http://www.pnj.com/article/20131119/NEWS01/131119012/UWF-online-students-can-access-robots-remotely-through-Robo-Explore-Lab?nclick_check=1

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November 27, 2013

$500K budget cut keeps some Ohio State faculty and staff members from new computers

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 by Dan Hope, the Lantern

A quarter of Ohio State’s College of Arts and Sciences faculty and staff were scheduled to receive new computers this academic year, but when the nearly $500,000 funding was cut, some programs were left scrambling. The college paused its annual Computer Refresh Program, which grants funding to replace 25 percent of full-time faculty and staff members’ computers each year, for the 2014 fiscal year in September. The program had created a four-year refresh cycle for the faculty and staff in each of its departments and schools by providing a yearly financial allocation. With the program paused, that cycle has been pushed back a year. “The decision to pause the program was necessary to address two critical needs,” said John Nisbet, chief administrative officer in the College of Arts and Sciences, in an email to The Lantern. Those critical needs, Nisbet said, were a “major firewall refresh” budgeted at $200,000, and a budget of approximately $204,000 to cover the cost of OSU’s agreements with Microsoft, Adobe and Box.

http://thelantern.com/2013/11/500k-budget-cut-keeps-ohio-state-faculty-staff-members-new-computers/

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With new MOOC, Silicon Valley schools the world on business ethics

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by Lauren Hepler, Silicon Valley Business Journal
    
Santa Clara University is getting into the Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, field with a new class on real-world business ethics. The new course is part of a broader push to bolster the university’s brand in the rapidly-evolving world of online education.  The future of education is changing as traditional educational institutions embrace new teaching techniques like Massive Open Online Courses. Santa Clara University isn’t pushing into the online education market in a traditional academic subject like math, or even Silicon Valley’s signature computer science disciplines. Instead, the university is wading into a crowded market with a course on “Business Ethics in the Real World.”

http://upstart.bizjournals.com/news/technology/2013/11/16/mooc-schools-teach-ethics.html?page=all

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10 Surprising Social Media Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Your Social Strategy

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by BELLE BETH COOPER, Fast Company

If you’re managing social media for your business, it might be useful to know about some of the most surprising social media statistics this year. Here are 10 that might make you rethink the way you’re approaching social media.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3021749/work-smart/10-surprising-social-media-statistics-that-will-make-you-rethink-your-social-stra#!

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November 26, 2013

14 Web Tools For Teaching Without Student Logins

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By talslome, Edudemic

As a result of my occasional frustration with web 2.0 tools that require the creation/ability to remember usernames and passwords, I’ve decided to start building a list of websites which can be used in the classroom without these. It is not that I am against usernames/passwords – they can often be extremely useful for tracking student progress, online safety etc, but here are some links that do not require these for teacher and student use.

http://www.edudemic.com/web-tools-for-teaching-without-student-logins/

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Quick Feedback, Engaged Students

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by: Kevin Brown, Magna

We often wonder what we can do to help students engage with the material so they can learn it at a deeper level. Students don’t make that an easy task. They arrive in class having not read the material or having not thought about it in meaningful ways, and that keeps them from being engaged in class. Several years ago, I read George Kuh’s article “What Student Engagement Data Tell Us about College Readiness,” in which he writes, “Students who talk about substantive matters with faculty and peers are challenged to perform at high levels, and receive frequent feedback on their performance typically get better grades, are more satisfied with college, and are more likely to persist” (Peer Review, January 1, 2007, p. 4). Here are three ways I try to provide feedback that engages students and not overwhelm myself with grading tasks in the process.

http://www.magnapubs.com/blog/teaching-and-learning/quick-feedback-engaged-students/

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Udacity Introducing Big Data Courses and Paid Enrollment

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by Sue Gee, I-programmer

Udacity has announced two new initiatives – a new Data Science and Big Data Track and Paid Course Enrollment. The link between them is a focus on improving career prospects. When Sebastian Thrun announced the Open Education Alliance formed by Udacity with a group of industry partners in September, he stated that its focus would be to develop career readiness and to provide education that is relevant to employment opportunities. Now Udacity has announced both a new track and a new personal coach option for students who enroll in courses, and pay a monthly fee, rather that just follow the free online content comprising information, lectures and auto-graded exercises.

http://www.i-programmer.info/news/150-training-a-education/6608-udacity-introducing-big-data-courses-and-paid-enrollment.html

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November 25, 2013

iPad Air: Best tablet ever made?

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By James Kendrick, ZD Net

I love tablets. I’ve used hundreds of them over the past decade, from the early Tablet PCs to the latest and greatest. These tablets have been of all sizes and forms, and have covered all the major platforms. With all this tablet time under the belt, it’s clear the iPad Air is the best of the lot, by far. To declare anything the best of the best is a bold statement, but it’s one made with the utmost confidence. Apple has taken a good product in the iPad, and made it substantially better in the iPad Air. Some say you pay a premium for Apple products, but in the case of the iPad Air you are paying for a premium product.

http://www.zdnet.com/ipad-air-best-tablet-ever-made-7000023225/

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The repairable PC is dead

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by Jason Perlow, ZD Net

This trend in the PC industry towards more appliance-like, non user-servicable devices and systems and away from those that are friendly to the home brewer/PC is analagous to how the automobile industry has also evolved, where component integration has driven down manufacturing costs. This has come at the expense of being able to self-service vehicles as well as no longer being able to repair or recondition many parts, and an increased dependency on dealership and authorized service center expertise. The car has become, in effect, an appliance as well.  It’s not just the PC, Apple products are following the same path.  As we have learned recently, maxxing out a commodity Mac and using Apple’s latest OS doesn’t necessarily yield optimal results.

http://www.zdnet.com/its-not-about-windows-the-repairable-pc-is-dead-7000023214/

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Traditional Styles of Obtaining Education are Dying – What matters now is Online

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by Kerry Watson, Hastac

It’s news that the percentage of internet users is rising with absolute rapidity. Since the year 2000 till now, over 2.6 billion people have been found to be getting solely dependent on computers and mobile devices. In fact, the massive developments in technology have made it clear that books are no more going to be the priority in classrooms. Rather, the brick and mortar institutions are facing threats from online learning providers who have been found to be quite successful in making new age learners complete their curriculums with the help of kindles and even smartphones.  

http://www.hastac.org/blogs/kerry-watson/2013/11/15/traditional-styles-obtaining-education-are-dying-%E2%80%93-what-matters-now-on

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November 24, 2013

Online ‘classrooms’ break the MOOC language barrier

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by Colleen Kimmett, University World News

China is the number one country worldwide in terms of growth potential for massive open online courses, or MOOCs. This is something the largest North American MOOC platforms know well, and the past year has seen a flurry of activity to capture this market. Tsinghua University became the first in mainland China to create online courses, available through the US-based platform edX since October – the same month that rival platform Coursera announced a partnership with National Taiwan University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. But the question of translation – how to make the selection of predominantly English-language courses accessible to a global audience – is a problem these industry pioneers are still grappling with. Providers like Coursera, edX and Khan Academy have brought Ivy League teaching to the world, but cultural and language barriers remain.

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20131112160706778

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Udacity Creates Data-Science Career Track

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by All Things D

Udacity is launching a data-science curriculum with the support of companies including Cloudera, MongoDB and AT&T, who hope to equip potential hires and/or train existing employees with skills for dealing with big data.  Starting in January, Udacity plans to offer paid options for its data-science classes that include mentoring, code reviews and the potential for a completion certificate, in addition to the free course materials.

http://allthingsd.com/20131114/udacity-creates-data-science-career-track-with-courses-built-with-cloudera-and-mongodb/?refcat=news

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Microsoft, Washington state partner to offer free IT courses

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by Tom Sowa, The Spokesman-Review

Microsoft Corp. has expanded its online technology training program so that people can take courses for free through more than 380 public libraries. The new education partnership between one of the Northwest’s major tech companies and Washington state was announced Wednesday. During a media event at Spokane’s downtown library, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman said the partnership with Microsoft will make 250 online courses available and allow participants to take those courses at their own pace.

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/nov/14/microsoft-washington-state-partner-to-offer-free/

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