Techno-News Blog

March 31, 2014

7 Ways To Use Google Tools To Maximize Learning

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By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

There are a boatload of awesome Google tools that we use every day. And they’re free, too, which tends to be a big winner for teachers and students. Free is probably the number one reason for giving Google’s tools a try – you haven’t lost anything but a bit of time if you decide you don’t like the tool. All of the tools also integrate well with one another, have similar user interfaces, and are pretty darned easy to use, so if you can use one, you’re sure to feel right at home using many of the other tools, too. While Google’s search may be their ubiquitous tool, there are a lot of others that you may have not heard about yet. Keep reading at the URL below to learn about the tools and some ideas to use them in your classroom.

http://www.edudemic.com/ways-use-google-tools-maximize-learning/

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Online Course Provider’s Data Shows Low Women in Engineering

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by Shawn Wasserman, IMT

Coursera, which partners with major universities, shows female enrollment in science and engineering e-courses is dragging. Its study, however, notes that the proportion of women engaging in online learning is growing overall. March 8 marked International Women’s Day this year. In response to the festivities, Coursera, a for-profit educational technology company offering massive open online courses (MOOCs), released data on female interactions within its MOOCs. The results, for the most part, are promising. Overall, about 40 percent of Coursera’s users are female and the numbers are climbing, though work is still needed to bring women to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) courses.

http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/2014/03/20/online-course-providers-data-shows-low-women-in-engineering/

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Entrepreneurship Can Be Taught, & MIT is Prepared to Prove It

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by Bill Aulet, BostInno

To all who ask, “Can entrepreneurship be taught?” MIT is here to say, “Yes.” And who better to educate the masses than the school producing alumni and students collectively starting anywhere between 900 and 1,000 companies annually?The Institute unveiled a new massive open online course on the MITx platform, called “Entrepreneurship 101: Who is Your Customer?” The class, now open for registration, is being taught by Bill Aulet, managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, and already has a proven track record of success.

http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2014/03/20/mitx-15-390x-course-entrepreneurship-101-who-is-your-customer/

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March 30, 2014

Focus on high-demand courses in UC online education

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by Alexandra Tashman, Daily Bruin

To accomplish the goal of decreasing overcrowding on a long-term basis, the initiative should be targeted toward General Education requirements on all UC campuses. That way, the program would serve as a means of cutting costs because different professors and teaching assistants wouldn’t have to be teaching the same or similar classes at every UC. As it stands, for UCLA students, many of the classes that will be offered through the new program will only count as units toward their degree, as opposed to major or GE requirements. By focusing on the latter, the UC can maximize the impact of the initiative. The Innovative Learning Technology Initiative is a step in the right direction toward providing a better educational experience for students who would otherwise have to enroll in overcrowded classes, or wouldn’t be able to enroll at all.

http://dailybruin.com/2013/11/13/alexandra-tashman-focus-on-high-demand-courses-in-uc-online-education/

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Shai Reshef is bringing the university to the people

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By Gregory M. Lamb, Christian Science Monitor

The online University of the People has an immodest goal: Bring higher education to everyone on the planet – and at little or no cost. This spring it’s passing two significant waymarks on the way: Earlier this year, the UoPeople, as it’s called, earned accreditation from the Distance and Education Training Council. And on April 2 the first seven students (four from the United States and one each from Nigeria, Jordan, and Syria) will formally graduate. The nonprofit, online-only university, which began operation in 2009, seeks to reach millions of potential learners worldwide who would otherwise have little or no chance of earning a two-year or four-year college degree.

http://news.yahoo.com/shai-reshef-bringing-university-people-192543885.html

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Wisdom of massive open online courses now in doubt

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By Meghan Drake-The Washington Times

“There is a lot of speculation that [MOOCs] were going to change the face of higher education. That’s not what’s happening,” said Jeff Seaman, co-director of Babson Survey Research Group. Mr. Seaman and fellow Babson researcher I. Elaine Allen conducted a survey charting fresh doubts about MOOCs as long-term higher-education supplements. Their study, which polled chief academic officers at 2,831 colleges and universities about online education, reported that 39 percent say they do not believe that MOOCs are sustainable models for their schools — up from 26 percent in 2012. “There still is not a clear business model to why I should do this,” Mr. Seaman said. Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng notes that half of MOOC students who complete the first homework assignment wind up completing the entire course. But skeptics say the virtues of MOOCs also are emerging as vices. “Two words are wrong in ‘MOOC’: massive and open,” Stanford President John Hennessy said in a widely noted interview with the Financial Times.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/9/big-plan-on-campus-is-dropping-out/

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March 29, 2014

U Arizona Boosts Site Accessibility with Audio Internet

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By David Nagel, Campus Technology

One academic department at the University of Arizona is boosting Web accessibility for its students by providing audio navigation tools on its site. UA’s Department of Management Information Systems, which operates out of the Eller College of Management, has adopted Audio Internet Platform 5.0, a cloud-based tool from AudioEye that analyzes site content, normalizes it and then reads information aloud to visitors. It also provides related navigational tools, such as pause and skip, arrow-based navigation, audio prompts for navigation (such as “This carousel contains X items, press left or right to scroll through them”)and optional reader display mode.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/03/20/u-arizona-boosts-site-accessibility-with-audio-internet.aspx

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Change the Homework, Improve Student Achievement

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By David Nagel, Campus Technology

A new study from Rice University and Duke University researchers identified a relatively non-invasive approach to improving student achievement — one that doesn’t involve gutting the curriculum or reinventing pedagogy. The researchers found that implementing subtle, technology-based changes to homework resulted in improvements in student performance on tests. The changes included the adoption of a software tool developed at Rice called OpenStax Tutor. According to the researchers, the software is similar to other tools on the market that fall into the broad category of cognitive science-based digital tutors, tools that are designed to differentiate instruction based on the needs of individual students.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/03/20/change-the-homework-improve-student-achievement.aspx

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What the 26 Billion-Thing Internet of Things Portends for IT

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By David Nagel, THE Journal

There will be 26 billion “things” making up the Internet of Things within six years, according to a report released by Gartner. The implications for IT are profound — in particular for data center operations. “IoT threatens to generate massive amounts of input data from sources that are globally distributed,” said Joe Skorupa, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, in a statement released to coincide with the report. “Transferring the entirety of that data to a single location for processing will not be technically and economically viable. The recent trend to centralize applications to reduce costs and increase security is incompatible with the IoT. Organizations will be forced to aggregate data in multiple distributed mini data centers where initial processing can occur. Relevant data will then be forwarded to a central site for additional processing.”

http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/03/18/what-the-26-billion-thing-internet-of-things-portends-for-it.aspx

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March 28, 2014

The Future of Education: It’s More Sci-Fi Than You Think

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By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

The equipment that will be available to students may soon be nearly unrecognizable. While laptops and tablets are in some classrooms now, in the future, each child could well have a wrist-mounted computer. More conveniently, students might have a computer chip implanted somewhere on their person that could communicate with whatever serves as the equivalent of the internet in their decade. In such an environment, teachers will need to figure out how to do more than merely direct students to websites for facts and then ask them to regurgitate them. Teachers will need to be able to teach kids how to think critically and apply the information that is available to them in solving problems. With any luck, and the right preparation, the kids of the future will go on to solve world problems such as hunger, environmental degradation, and geopolitical conflict.

http://www.edudemic.com/future-education-sci-fi-think/

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How Has Technology Changed Younger Students?

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By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

As mobile device usage has exploded, some people are questioning the proper use of these devices among children. Most teachers and parents agree that this technology is a valuable tool—but are students too “plugged in”? How much screen time is too much. Although schools sometimes struggle to manage smartphone usage in class, they are also embracing the technology as 17% of schools require the use of tablets or other devices in the classroom. Parents seem supportive of the technology with 90% saying that mobile devices make learning fun and 76% believe that tablets encourage curiosity. Even though 71% of parents believe mobile devices provide irreplaceable learning opportunities for their children, 43% still say they need help finding the best apps for education, and 62% worry about the devices as distractions when not used properly.

http://www.edudemic.com/how-has-technology-changed-younger-students/

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It’s Time To Start Teaching About Sustainable Technology

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By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

There’s also lots of green technology out there. That is, technology devoted to alternative resource use, or items being designed to use as little energy and physical pieces as possible. But what about the materials that go into our beloved technology? And what about recycling them? Technology changes so rapidly these days. Our need and desire for the latest model sometimes cause us to quickly discard our once trusted devices for the next best thing or the newer model, leaving outdated gadgets with a shelf life in some cases of a matter of months.The handy infographic linked below takes a look at how our love of technology is affecting our environment and why is it important we alter our recycling habits.

http://www.edudemic.com/sustainable-technology/

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March 27, 2014

Understanding the Learning Personalities of Successful Online Students

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by Tena B. Crews, Sradha Narendra Sheth, and Tamlyn M. Horne; EDUCAUSE

Long studied as a way to help people better understand themselves and others, personality research and theory has evolved to include the use of assessment tools to identify various personality types and temperaments.

These tools have been used in education to identify learning styles, teaching strategies, and opportunities to increase success for both students and teachers.

Building on studies of traditional students, this study uses the True Colors model of personality characteristics to identify characteristics common to successful online students as well as strategies for improving how online courses are designed and taught to better meet the needs of all students.

http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/understanding-learning-personalities-successful-online-students

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The Revolution is not being MOOC-ized

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By Gayle Christensen and Brandon Alcorn, Slate

At least in their early stages, these courses are not providing the revolution in access that proponents claim. Two-thirds of participants come from the developed world—the United States and other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the club of leading industrialized countries. This is despite the fact that these 34 countries only account for 18 percent of the world population. And 83 percent of MOOC students already have a two- or four-year diploma or degree, even in regions of the world where less than 10 percent of the adult population has a degree. Meanwhile, 69 percent of them are employed. Furthermore, 56 percent are male, rising to 68 percent in the emerging BRICS nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, and to 62 percent in other developing countries. Even more alarming, the gap between male and female participation is far greater for these courses than in traditional education. The 36 percent gap between male and female uptake in BRICS countries is nearly three times as large as in traditional higher education there. The United States is one exception, where males and females participate in equal numbers in both.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/new_scientist/2014/03/mooc_survey_students_of_free_online_courses_are_educated_employed_and_male.html

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Catching a Cheater Online

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by JESSICA LAHEY, the Atlantic

Universities are scrambling to keep up with the novel methods students have found to cheat on these courses. Given that online courses do not require face-to-face student-teacher interactions, colleges have had to resort to all sorts of other safeguards in order to prevent academic dishonesty. Schools are using signature-tracking services and software that identifies a student’s typing speed and style, thereby preventing someone else from typing on a students’ behalf. While these technological safeguards may help catch cheaters, Kimberly Williams, a teaching support specialist at Cornell and longtime professor of education, points out that the key to preventing cheating in the first place, lies in the teaching itself. “We need to make sure what we teach is meaningful to students so that they actually want to learn it or see value in their own learning of it,” she said. “If they don’t, then we’re sunk and they are wasting their time anyway. It is a wake-up call for higher education that we need to teach better and in more meaningful ways so that learners want to learn.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/03/catching-a-cheater-online/284461/

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March 26, 2014

Five Up-And-Coming Tech Trends For Entrepreneurs

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By Robert Sofia, Forbes

Business is evolving online with breakneck speed. Enterprising and forward-thinking entrepreneurs will follow the hottest trends and find ways to capitalize on them. Every great tech company in existence today is there because someone saw an opportunity and capitalized on it, and the future promises to bring many more great companies to fruition. Whether you’re interested in building an online empire yourself, or in investing in progressive companies, here are five trends that offer limitless potential.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2014/03/17/five-up-and-coming-tech-trends-for-entrepreneurs/

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The Future of Brain Implants

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By GARY MARCUS and CHRISTOF KOCH, Wall Street Journal

What would you give for a retinal chip that let you see in the dark or for a next-generation cochlear implant that let you hear any conversation in a noisy restaurant, no matter how loud? Or for a memory chip, wired directly into your brain’s hippocampus, that gave you perfect recall of everything you read? Or for an implanted interface with the Internet that automatically translated a clearly articulated silent thought (“the French sun king”) into an online search that digested the relevant Wikipedia page and projected a summary directly into your brain? Science fiction? Perhaps not for very much longer. Brain implants today are where laser eye surgery was several decades ago. They are not risk-free and make sense only for a narrowly defined set of patients—but they are a sign of things to come.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304914904579435592981780528

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Flexible web-based classes are empowering for women

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by Patricia Moore, Arizona Central

The landscape has changed significantly for women since the feminist movement of the 1970s. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, women now outpace men in educational attainment. Women are not only welcome, but sought after in skilled-career paths such as technology and health care, and they experience a much lower wage gap in those fields. While education is a recognized tool for those seeking equality, access to education can be difficult for women for a variety of reasons. Women often take on the role of caregiver for children or aging parents, and, according to a 2013 report from the Pew Research Center, women are increasingly taking on the responsibility of sole or primary wage-earner. Balancing family and work can make it difficult for women to find time for regularly scheduled classes.

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2014/03/17/flexible-online-classes-empowering-women-tempes-rio-salado/6528123/

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March 25, 2014

Is OLPC Dead or Alive?

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By Christopher Piehler, THE Journal

Eight years ago, One Laptop Per Child started on its quest to provide computers to the developing world. This Tuesday, OLPC News posted an article called “Goodbye One Laptop Per Child.” In it, author Wayan Vota wrote, “With the hardware now long past its life expectancy, spare parts hard to find, and zero support from the One Laptop Per Child organization, its time to face reality. The XO-1 laptop is history. Sadly, so is Sugar. Once the flagship of OLPC’s creativity in redrawing the human-computer interaction, few are coding for it and new XO variants are mostly Android/Gnome+Fedora dual boots…. OLPC is dead.” On Wednesday, Giulia D’Amico, Vice President of Business Development for the OLPC Association, the Miami-based group focused on XO sales, responded that “OLPC’s mission to empower the world’s children through education is far from over.” As evidence of this, she pointed to a recent strategic alliance with the Zamora Teran family to deliver XO laptops to Central America, South America and Africa.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/03/14/whats-new-with-olpc.aspx

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Technology Leadership Evolved

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By David Raths, THE Journal

Four K-12 technology leaders explain how they’re changing the way they work with educators to meet the new demands of 21st century schools. They also offer up some of their trade secrets for building consensus, overcoming poor morale and generally keeping the peace between IT and academic staff. Years ago, typical K-12 IT leaders came up through the administrative ranks and focused on keeping computers and business applications running. Whether they were called CTOs or CIOs, they had compartmentalized skill sets that tended to favor technology over teaching. In 2014, however, the role of chief information officer or chief technology officer is just as likely to go to a former teacher or principal with an interest in finding new ways to harness technology to collaborate with curriculum and assessment leaders.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/03/13/technology-leadership-evolved.aspx

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March 24, 2014

Working adults plug into online education

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by BPT, LA Times

Many working adults begin using technology from the moment their alarm clocks go off. From checking emails on a tablet over morning coffee, to sending out social media posts from a smartphone before they get into the office, technology allows people to be efficient and stay connected anytime, anyplace. This same technology is now playing an important role for individuals seeking alternative learning environments to continue their educations or grow their careers. According to a national survey from University of Phoenix, 87 percent of working adults say there are benefits to online learning. Another survey reveals that 54 percent indicate they’ll go back to school in the future and 48 percent are interested in taking an online class. So it is no surprise that universities are adjusting their online classroom offerings to cater to the technology working adults are currently using.

http://www.latimes.com/features/aranet/living/ara-8075450606-20140310,0,426245.adstory

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