Techno-News Blog

November 29, 2017

Making blended learning work in your classroom

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by Matthew Lynch, tech Edvocate

With the importance of technological literacy rising in colleges and workplaces, it’s about time primary and secondary educators took notice. To prepare students for life after high school, we need to start teaching them in a more futuristic fashion. Incorporating technology along with traditional face-to-face interaction is a practice known as blended learning. There are multiple benefits to adopting this relatively new technique. First, the inclusion of various learning models can help students retain information better. As a result, there have been marked improvements in the test scores of students using blended models. You can also experience easier progress tracking, remediation, and student communication. The question is, how can you make this new approach work for your classroom?

http://www.thetechedvocate.org/making-blended-learning-work-classroom/

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November 28, 2017

Textbooks optional: What unbundling and BYOD mean for learning technology

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BY MATTHEW GLOTZBACH, eSchool News

The days of overhead projectors and chalkboards are behind us. Today’s educators are looking to Chromebooks, smartphones and maker spaces to enhance their teaching. Other tools going the way of the overhead projector? The traditional textbook and workbook combination, complete with a #2 pencil. As digital natives, today’s students have grown up with technology integrated into every aspect of their lives, and education is no exception. When it comes to middle schools and high schools, the average classroom looks more like a typical startup office than the traditional classroom of the past.

https://www.eschoolnews.com/2017/11/20/textbooks-unbundling-byod/

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Continuum of Learning: Creating life-long learners

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By Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane,  AFNS

Keesler Air Force Base’s 336th Training Squadron has begun developing multiple initiatives aimed at improving the learning experience of Airmen who are fresh out of basic military training. Air Education and Training Command’s Continuum of Learning initiative is a shift to better focus how Airmen learn by integrating education, training and experience in ways that allow them to learn anytime, anywhere throughout their careers. The end goal of the continuum is to create a culture of life-long learners. “What this does, is transform our industrial-age pipeline production system into a modern-age, learner-centric model,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, AETC commander. According to Rick Harmon, 336th TRS communications and information flight chief, the squadron is laying the foundation for innovative ways of conducting modulated training that is current and relative at any stage in their career.

http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1377370/continuum-of-learning-creating-life-long-learners/

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Eastern Michigan faculty worry about new online-only degrees

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By Martin Slagter, MLive

Online degrees offered by Eastern Michigan University with marketing help from an out-of-state private firm are drawing criticism from faculty members who believe the program could reduce the quality of education students receive. Leaders of unions representing faculty and full-time and part-time lecturers at EMU announced a print and advertising campaign Wednesday, Nov. 15, calling for a temporary halt to the new marketing partnership with Texas-based firm Academic Partnerships. The unions also created an online petition calling for the university to send its contract with the firm to EMU faculty for a thorough review.

http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2017/11/emu_faculty_critical_of_new_on.html

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November 27, 2017

UW Endowed Professor Shares Online Teaching Advice with Inside Higher Ed

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by University of Wyoming

Leigh A. Hall, Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair Professor in Literacy Education at the University of Wyoming, shared her advice on how to build relationships with students and help them overcome the feeling of isolation in an online learning environment with Inside Higher Ed. “If we want online learning to be truly interactive, then part of our job as teachers is to foster communities where students can become connected,” she explains.

http://www.uwyo.edu/uw/news/2017/11/uw-endowed-professor-shares-online-teaching-advice-with-inside-higher-ed.html

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How Online Can Save Small, Private Colleges from Going Under

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By Robert Ubell, EdSurge

One strategy for these colleges to avoid extinction is to diversify—to avoid a precarious reliance on residential students. And one way to do that is by adding online programs to the mix. The challenge for many small colleges is that they see online courses as at odds with their very identity. After all, these institutions embrace intimacy as central to their mission, with close, mentoring relationships between faculty and students, and deep, comradely connections among students—essential ingredients of highly engaged learning. For many, online fails to meet these crucial education ambitions. Instead, they reject virtual instruction as alienated learning, with isolated faculty and students coldly facing inert computer screens—not one another.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-11-21-how-online-can-save-small-private-colleges-from-going-under

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Browser Extension Helps Identify Fake News Accounts on Twitter

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By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

Two undergraduate computer science students at the University of California, Berkeley have undertaken a job Twitter has been struggling with: figuring out when incendiary tweets have come from a bot instead of a real person. Ash Bhat and Rohan Phadte recently released Botcheck.me, a Google Chrome browser extension that places a button onto every Twitter profile and tweet. By clicking the Botcheck.me button, a user can tell whether the account is likely run by a person or an automated program. As the duo explained in a report published in Medium, they undertook the work specifically to address political propaganda bots, which are intended to weaken and subvert American political discourse.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2017/11/15/browser-extension-helps-identify-fake-news-accounts-on-twitter.aspx

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November 26, 2017

Online learning can prepare students for a fast-changing future – wherever they are

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By Helen O’Sullivan, Econo Times
Take a moment to think back to the first classroom you ever entered, whether it was at school, or nursery, chances are there was a blackboard, with coloured chalk where you focused most of your attention. You were probably working from a booklet or on paper using pencil and crayons and drawing pictures by hand. Now fast forward to the classroom of 2017 and everything has changed. Gone are the chalks and the crayons – which have been replaced by screens, social networks, cloud computing and augmented reality. Technology has changed the way classrooms work, not just at school, but right throughout the education system. So from nursery to university, students these days engage with online learning from day one. And yet, despite this increased growth in technological advances, higher education institutions are operating in an increasingly competitive and unstable market.

https://www.econotimes.com/Online-learning-can-prepare-students-for-a-fast-changing-future–wherever-they-are-1015869

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Luther to switch from Mac to PC

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by Kristen Wuerl, Luther Chips

In January 2017, Luther College’s Information Technology Services (ITS) began implementing changes to update faculty and staff work computers issued by Luther.
ITS will complete two important changes over the course of this current refresh cycle, which began during the 2016 academic year and will last three to four years. ITS is transitioning faculty and staff from Apple Mac computers to Dell computers where they consider it beneficial, and is supercharging computers that the faculty and staff currently have. Supercharging a computer involves increasing its random access memory (RAM) to eight gigabytes and replacing hard drives with faster 240 gigabytes Solid State Drives (SSDs). The supercharged computers will physically look the same but will have better performing processors.

https://www.lutherchips.com/4534/news/luther-to-switch-from-mac-to-pc/

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How to fix EdTech’s diversity problem

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by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

There’s one problem in EdTech that just won’t go away—the diversity problem. Or rather, the lack of diversity. This problem has two fronts—gender and race. In fact, the tech industry as a whole is dominated by white men. According to Mashable, White people make up about 83% of tech executives. A similar number of tech executives are men. The gender problem is less pronounced in the EdTech field, but it’s still there.  Kimberly Bryant, founder of the non-profit Black Girls Code, argues that the real problem is something she calls a leaky pipeline. There are plenty of women and people of color who begin a career in EdTech, she says. But along the way, they decide it’s not for them. Figuring out why this happens, and addressing the issue, is the real key to fixing EdTech’s diversity problem.

http://www.thetechedvocate.org/fix-edtechs-diversity-problem/

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November 25, 2017

3 reasons to introduce kindergarteners to robots

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BY LYNNE MAY LIM, DIANA TRAYLOR, AND ROBIN RICKETTS, eCampus News
The children we teach were born with technology as a part of their lives. They don’t know a world without touchscreen phones and computers in every room. In today’s world, saying that subjects like coding and robotics “are for ‘big kids’” is like saying “reading is for ‘big kids.’” Children need to actually touch, manipulate, and experiment with objects in order to fully understand them. Robots bring this physical interaction to the potentially intimidating process of understanding engineering and programming. If we add in the social interaction of working with friends, we can deepen the understanding through conversation and the sharing of ideas.

https://www.eschoolnews.com/2017/11/17/introduce-kindergarteners-robots/

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10 habits of tech-savvy teachers

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by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

The start of each new school year brings a barrage of new apps and skills for educators to master. Keeping up with it can feel very overwhelming! But it’s not the apps you use or the skills you’ve mastered that make you truly “tech-savvy.” Rather, it’s a whole attitude of mind. Here are the 10 most essential habits of tech-savvy teachers.

http://www.thetechedvocate.org/10-habits-tech-savvy-teachers/

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Statewide and Online Only in California

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By Ashley A. Smith, Inside Higher Ed
California community colleges look to create a new statewide​, online-only college that will focus on helping adult students earn credentials. More than two million Californians have attended college but don’t have a degree, which is a problem the state’s two-year system is trying to help solve with a new statewide, online-only college. Today the system will submit three options for the college to its Board of Governors. “What we’re trying to do is provide access to a population we’re not serving,” said Jose Fierro, president of Cerritos College and co-chair of the group that developed the three online options. “We’re trying to look to the future to provide as many options for upward mobility given the changes in the economy and population in the state.”

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/11/13/california-mulls-three-options-new-online-community-college

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November 24, 2017

Nontraditional students gaining steam in higher ed discussions

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By Patti Zarling and Shalina Chatlani, Education Dive

A new higher education advocacy group — Higher Learning Advocates — has emerged to specifically focus on nontraditional students and federal education policies addressing them.  Among some of the concerns cited by the group at its first public event is tuition affordability for older students that don’t qualify for scholarship, but are working full-time and raising families — recommending federal financial aid standards to address that.  With federal statistics showing 75% of U.S. college students did not begin their higher education directly out of high school and nearly half of them are over 25, with the number expected to grow, nontraditional student advocates argue institutions ought to reconsider their business models to be more flexible.

https://www.educationdive.com/news/nontraditional-students-gaining-steam-in-higher-ed-discussions/510865/

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A Seat at the Coursetable

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by Jordan Powell, Yale Herald
I, too, arrived on campus, wondering what it would be like to sit in a classroom with Claudia Rankine, or daydream in the back of Akhil Amar’s lecture after months of hearing my father gush over his favorite legal scholar. And I was bemoaning the fact that I’d have to wait until the spring to take “Death” with Shelly Kagan when my friend told me over a plate of Yale Mac ‘n Cheese that Kagan’s lectures had been available online for the past 10 years. Indeed this is true: lectures by the university’s most notable faculty from Jonathan Holloway to David Blight can be found online, accompanied by required course materials such as readings, exams, and homework on a platform known as Open Yale Courses (OYC), started by program director and Dunham Professor in the History of Art Diana E.E. Kleiner in 2001. The goal of the program is to expand the accessibility of a Yale education to the general public through an online platform.

https://yaleherald.com/a-seat-at-the-coursetable-4e362b6dd6d7

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Online learning can prepare students for a fast-changing future – wherever they are

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by Helen O’Sullivan, the Conversation

Technology has changed the way classrooms work, not just at school, but right throughout the education system. So from nursery to university, students these days engage with online learning from day one. And yet, despite this increased growth in technological advances, higher education institutions are operating in an increasingly competitive and unstable market. It is clear then that online programmes can and should be viewed as an innovative platform through which access to higher education can continue. This is important because online learning breaks down barriers that are otherwise difficult to overcome and helps to share knowledge across the globe.  But, for this to happen, higher education institutions must continue to adapt, and develop new ways to deliver programmes and courses.

http://theconversation.com/online-learning-can-prepare-students-for-a-fast-changing-future-wherever-they-are-80497

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November 23, 2017

Building a Three-Dimensional Record of Student Learning

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by David Raths, Campus Technology

According to Helen Chen, director of e-portfolio initiatives in Stanford’s Office of the University Registrar, that dissatisfaction with the limitations of the basic transcript has spurred the university to launch several projects to explore new representations of the student record that might do a better job of conveying a student’s learning as well as co-curricular activities. One prototype sought to organize the student record not chronologically, but according to learning outcomes. “Our general education courses define learning outcomes,” Chen said. “What if you could organize the student record according to those outcomes rather than an emphasis on courses and grades?” Another effort called “Edusalsa” wondered what would happen if students could color-code their transcripts based on interests, strengths and weaknesses, to facilitate internal advising conversations.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/11/15/building-a-three-dimensional-record-of-student-learning.aspx

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5 reasons why analytics tech is a game-changer for universities

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BY GEORGIA MARIANI, eCampus News

Nine years ago, like many university IR offices, Alabama’s was manually pulling information, printing it on pieces of paper, and transcribing that information into spreadsheets that were distributed as responses. It was a tedious and time-consuming process. Now, the OIRA team monitors things like the graduation rates of our students, and the fail and withdrawal rates associated with specific courses. They look at time-to-degree information, faculty teaching loads and salary analyses for Alabama compared to peer institutions. In addition, they receive 500 to 600 information requests annually, which they attempt to answer within 10 working days. Much of the time, they respond within 24 hours because many requests seek similar information.

https://www.ecampusnews.com/campus-administration/analytics-game-changer/

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AI Boosts Personalized Learning in Higher Education

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by David Hutchins, EdTech

Personalized learning, which tailors educational content to the unique needs of individual students, has become a huge component of K–12 education. A growing number of college educators are embracing the trend, taking advantage of data analytics and artificial intelligence to deliver just-right, just-in-time learning to their students. Data-driven insights are becoming integral to business and financial decision-making by institutional leaders, and educators are quickly finding ways to leverage analytics to increase student retention. Applying data analytics to adaptive learning programs is proving to be another smart application. In adaptive learning, educators collect data on various aspects of student performance — from engagement with course content to exam performance — and tailor material to each student’s knowledge level and ideal learning style.

https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2017/11/ai-boosts-personalized-learning-higher-education

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November 22, 2017

How Online Instructors Can Avoid ‘Burnout’

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By Tina Nazerian, EdSurge

There’s a correlation between burnout and health-care costs, Stout said. But burnout also leads to low employee morale, a reduced likelihood that an instructor will stick with an institution and a lesser likelihood that an instructor will be engaged. Disengaged instructors are less likely to care about their students. And what’s more, a burnout might result in an instructor objectifying students. “That person is no longer a person, it’s just a name on a screen,” Stout said. Stout told the audience about the Maslach Burnout Inventory test, which quantifies burnout into three subscales: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and (reduced) personal achievement. It’s the most-commonly used instrument to measure burnout, she said, and there’s even one that’s tailored to measure burnout among educators.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-11-16-how-online-instructors-can-avoid-burnout

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How Udacity Localizes to Meet the World’s Booming Demand for Technical Skills

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by Eden Estopace, Slator

Leah Wiedenmann, Udacity’s Marketing and Communications Manager in Europe, told Slator that all courses are available in English but select courses are available in Brazilian Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, and Arabic. “Students across Europe and India take Udacity’s courses in English. In China and Brazil, nanodegree programs and courses are translated into Mandarin Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese, respectively,” she says. “Udacity also has widespread localized course offerings in Arabic, Bahasa, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. [More importantly,] beyond localization of content, we also localize our services.”

https://slator.com/features/udacity-localizes-meet-worlds-booming-demand-technical-skills/

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