President Calls on Country to Deliver CS Education to All Students

February 8th, 2016

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

President Obama said he wants to see a stronger commitment to computer science in American schools, and he’s laid out a new initiative to make that a reality. The “Computer Science for All” program will seek Congressional funding to add CS at all levels of K-12, the use of resources at federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) to expand CS training for teachers and public and private support for promoting CS education. “In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill — it’s a basic skill, right along with the three ‘Rs,’” Obama said during his weekly Saturday morning address, in which he announced the initiative.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/02/01/obama-calls-on-country-to-deliver-cs-education-to-all-students.aspx

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EdTech: Why Digital Is The Future Of Business Education

February 8th, 2016

by Seb Murray, Business Because

2016 looks set to be a year of further disruption and digitization in the business ed space. Online programs have exploded, prompted by the rise of innovative online learning companies like Coursera or edX and the growing appetite for digital degrees from young managers who are questioning the cost and value of a campus course. But what is the future of online learning? Will the university as we know it be upended by tech-savvy challengers? Will MBA students study from their sofas instead of multi-million dollar bricks-and-mortar facilities?

https://www.businessbecause.com/news/mba-distance-learning/3756/why-digital-is-future-of-business-education

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AP biology classes flipped on head as part of new teaching method

February 8th, 2016

By Angela Deines, The Capital-Journal

Mike Steinert and Ryan Pfeifer, honors and AP biology instructors at Washburn Rural High School, implemented a “flipped” or “blended” teaching model at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year. The model turns the traditional method on its head, having students listen to lectures online outside of class while classroom work is devoted to more interactive learning. Steinert and Pfeifer said while there was resistance to the new model at first, student and parent attitudes have since shifted and higher test scores from previous years have resulted.

http://m.cjonline.com/news/2016-01-31/washburn-rural-honors-ap-biology-classes-flipped-head-part-new-teaching-method

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Savannah-Chatham public schools moving away from textbooks

February 7th, 2016

By Jenel Few, Savannah Now

The teacher sends a text alert about an upcoming test. The parent instructs the child to pull out her books. They’re going to review key points from the chapter. The study session goes downhill from there. There is no textbook. However, the links to the study guide won’t open. She can’t remember her online login to access the PowerPoint presentation, and she didn’t take notes in class because the teacher usually posts them on his website. “We’re in the beginning of that new age — the transition zone — and it’s creating difficulty for parents and even some teachers who want books and specific learning materials provided for them,” said Savannah-Chatham Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Lockamy. “They want to go page by page through a textbook. But when their students go to take the state test, they find that the standards are all over the place. You just can’t teach the old way anymore.”

http://savannahnow.com/news/2016-01-30/savannah-chatham-public-schools-moving-away-textbooks

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Never mind classrooms, Dubai kids being taught in ‘blended learning plazas’

February 7th, 2016

by Nadeem Hanif, The National UAE

A school in the emirate is changing the way lessons are taught by changing the layout of classrooms. Gems Wellington Academy in the Silicon Oasis has merged 12 classrooms into a “blended learning plaza”. The new space has a conference area and corners where pupils can use computers to enhance their learning. Furniture can be rearranged to suit lesson requirements. “It’s a huge, open space and we have soft furnishings as well as wall screens that pupils can use to write and work on,” said Tracy Moxley, the school’s associate principal. The switch to a “third teacher” concept is to provide space to eliminate distractions and improve learning. The concept prioritises children’s learning environment.

http://www.thenational.ae/uae/education/never-mind-classrooms-dubai-kids-being-taught-in-blended-learning-plazas

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Students favour online technology in ‘flipped’ classroom models

February 7th, 2016

by Sarah Muller, Sydney Morning Herald

As school kicks off for another year, an increasing number of teachers are ditching traditional teaching models for “flipped” classroom programs, which rely on engagement with online learning content at home. In a “flipped” class structure, students complete the traditional aspects of schoolwork at home through online technologies such as videos, podcasts and interactive forums. In fact, students across Australia are increasingly relying on various online technologies for study, according to a report published by the NBN last week. Three-quarters of parents surveyed by the NBN said their children use online programs for learning at home, while more than half watch video tutorials for homework help.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/students-favour-online-technology-in-flipped-classroom-models-20160126-gme25y.html

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Unlocking the Code for Robotics in the Classroom

February 6th, 2016

by Julia L. Dwek, Edutopia

In President Obama’s final State of the Union address, he expressed the importance of “helping students learn to write computer code.” In a recent YouTube video for Code.org, Obama spoke to students, urging them to “master the tools and technology that will change just about everything.” Obama is correct. Our students’ focus must shift from passive purveyors of technology to creators of programs, apps, and inventions. We must push them past low levels of static reception into a dynamic mindset, highlighting and nourishing thought and imagination to improve our world.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/unlocking-code-robotics-in-classroom-julia-dweck

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Orcs, robots and more in new School District 60 online courses

February 6th, 2016

by Bronwyn Scott, Alaska Highway News

Biotechnology, early childhood education, Lord of the Rings, and women’s studies are some of the new course offerings senior secondary students can take from the comfort of their own home. During Monday’s board meeting, School District 60 trustees approved 12 new online classes that will be added to the Northern B.C. Distance Education (NBCDE) course catalogue. The new courses include Art in World Cultures, Cosmetology: Cutting Edge Styles, Introduction to Agriscience, Lord of the Rings: Films and their Literary Influences, as well as some practical offerings for the Peace Region such as Working in the Resource Sector. Robotics 12 was also approved for implementation at North Peace Secondary School.

http://www.alaskahighwaynews.ca/fort-st-john/orcs-robots-and-more-in-new-school-district-60-online-courses-1.2161738

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Obama wants $4B to help students learn computer science

February 6th, 2016

by Carlene Superville, Associated Press

President Barack Obama said Saturday he’ll ask Congress for billions of dollars to help students learn computer science skills and prepare for jobs in a changing economy. “In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill. It’s a basic skill, right along with the three Rs,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. Obama said only about one-fourth of K-12 schools offer computer science instruction, but that most parents want their children to develop analytical and coding skills.

http://www.fosters.com/article/20160130/NEWS/160139961

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Move Your Labs Online

February 5th, 2016

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

As more classes go online, schools need a workable approach for giving students access to high-demand software. Virtual desktops provide the answer. Virtualized desktops now provide an experience for students comparable to walking into that physical computer lab. But approaches differ. In IU’s case, the technologists have integrated components developed internally and externally to create a virtual desktop solution with “zero logistical overhead,” as David Goodrum, director of teaching and learning technologies, put it. Capella, on the other hand, has outsourced the work to a service provider that specializes in delivering virtual environments for just about any purpose.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/01/28/move-your-labs-online.aspx

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Free educational websites, online learning activities for toddlers, preschool

February 5th, 2016

by Marilisa Sacteleben, the Examiner

Here are 16 safe, school approved free educational websites for young children. These sites are child-friendly, family-oriented and have lots of educational games and free printable activities for young learners.

http://www.examiner.com/article/free-educational-websites-online-learning-activities-for-toddlers-preschool

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Why we all need time to tinker with tech

February 5th, 2016

By JASMINE ESCALANTE, eSchoolNews

Tinkering rolls personalized learning and critical thinking into one powerful package. Tinkering in the modern context is a process of trying something to figure out what works or doesn’t to find your way to the best solution, often going through many iterations, or changes, along the way. Tinkering is more a philosophy than a single practice and thus can be applied to many forms of learning for all learners. In a blog post discussing their work, authors Hunter Maats and Katie O’Brien discuss the science behind making mistakes and becoming experts. Experts are not made by practice alone, instead they deliberately tinker to determine which strategies are working or not working, and strategically develop areas that need improvement.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2016/01/28/why-we-all-need-time-to-tinker-with-tech/

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4 paths to gain buy-in for analytics projects

February 4th, 2016

By Georgia Mariani, eCampus News

Higher education analytics leaders speak out on building support. Have you ever had a great idea for an analytics project only to see it end up in approval purgatory? Or maybe you’ve had some initial successes with analytics and you’re ready to expand a program, but are struggling with new funding? I talked to four analytics leaders in higher education to get their advice on how to gain buy-in for analytics projects.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/technologies/gain-buy-analytics-166/

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School Districts Turn to Virtual Learning to Fulfill Curriculum Requirements, Address Staffing Gaps

February 4th, 2016

by Judy Verses, Huffington Post

Thanks to technological advances made over the last two decades, students are no longer limited to learning in traditional classroom environments. Online education options have proliferated, with significant growth occurring at state-sponsored virtual schools allowing students and parents to choose virtual schooling as a viable educational option. During the 2012-2013 school year, 400 full-time virtual schools enrolling nearly 261,000 students were in operation across the country. In addition, students can take online courses from virtual schools to augment their brick and mortar classroom. Online learning offers school districts, teachers and students access to courses and resources that might not be available in their school.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judy-verses/school-districts-turn-to-_b_9077528.html

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3 Principles for Student Devices in the Classroom

February 4th, 2016

By Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

A consistent challenge faced by anyone teaching college today is how students use their technology during class. As Carl Straumsheim writes in his 1/26 article on Digital Distractions: “Students waste about one-fifth of class time on laptops, smartphones and tablets, even though they admit such behavior can harm their grades….” I’d like to suggest 3 principles that can help us think about classroom technology policies and educator choices. By starting with principles, my hope is that our community can find progressive and flexible responses to the challenge of technology distraction during class time.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/3-principles-student-devices-classroom

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Apps Are Free for a Reason

February 3rd, 2016

By Patrick Peterson, THE Journal

Introducing an educational app to the classroom can be dangerous, and the danger can be revealed at surprising times with startling images. “Watch out for someone in a bathing suit washing a car,” Kristy Sailors, director of educational technology at Blue Valley School District in Kansas, told audience members during a workshop at FETC 2016 in Orlando this month. A free app might provide an unexpected message that a teacher would prefer students miss. Parents will disapprove of their children being exposed to unwanted advertising, racy images or violent themes, so teachers should avoid introducing apps until they have been carefully checked out. Apps are expensive to create, so someone is paying for them. Remember the old saying, “If the app is free, you are the product being sold.”

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/01/26/apps-are-free-for-a-reason.aspx

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College classes for middle school students? It’s happening in Hayward

February 3rd, 2016

By Susan Frey, EdSource

Instructors at Hayward’s Chabot College teach classes at the middle schools ranging from Early Childhood Development to Engineering to Music. Each of the five middle schools in the Bay Area school district offers one class per semester. Although the instructors adjust their teaching to be more appropriate for middle school students, the content is the same as courses offered at Chabot. The credits earned are transferable to community colleges and four-year universities. Offering college classes for 12-year-olds might seem like another example of putting pressure on students at ever-younger ages, but the impetus for the program is quite different, Hayward administrators say. Middle school occurs at a critical juncture for students, who face peer pressure as they try to form their own identity and envision their future.

http://edsource.org/2016/college-classes-for-middle-school-students-its-happening-in-hayward/93885

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Six Steps to Building High-Quality Open Digital Badges

February 3rd, 2016

by Gina Howard, Evolllution

Though it can be difficult to build high-quality, evidence-rich badges, there are certain affordances that can help streamline the process. Building on an earlier EvoLLLution article, “Recognizing, Supporting, and Attracting Adult Learners with Digital Badges,” which takes a “macro” approach to badging, we now propose a framework to work through the technical aspects of building and supporting badges in a thriving ecosystem. This includes information about the appearance of the badge, what information the badge should contain, and how the contents of the badge should be shared.

http://evolllution.com/programming/credentials/six-steps-to-building-high-quality-open-digital-badges/

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7 Tips for Creating Memorable Learning Experiences

February 2nd, 2016

By Patrick Peterson, THE Journal

Memorable learning, said Rushton Hurley, is outside the book, the school bus and the campus; and it’s hands on and engaging and involves talking, being creative and taking risks. “It’s the stuff that sticks. We have a lot of days when things do not,” Hurley said during a workshop at FETC 2016 in Orlando. “Much of what happens in classes is sitting and listening and trying not to fall asleep.” He’s all about Great Projects! Many of those projects involve video.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/01/27/7-tips-for-creating-memorable-learning-experiences.aspx

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Ithaca College discusses moving course evaluations online

February 2nd, 2016

By Grace Elletson, the Ithacan

As Ithaca College advances discussions about moving all course evaluations online, there is doubt in local and national conversations on the effectiveness of using course evaluations to judge a professor’s skill. A preliminary discussion was held at the Dec. 1, 2015, Faculty Council meeting about the positives and negatives of conducting course evaluations online collegewide. Benjamin Rifkin, provost and vice president for educational affairs, advocated for the switch. He said moving evaluations online provides more instant feedback for professors, students’ handwriting wouldn’t give away their identity, and the college would save money. Rifkin said the previous school he worked at, The College of New Jersey, had a successful switch to conducting evaluations entirely online.

https://theithacan.org/news/ithaca-college-discusses-moving-course-evaluations-online/

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Integrating Technology into My On-campus Course

February 2nd, 2016

by Brian J. Bushee, UPenn Almanac

In my new approach, I post my video lectures for the day’s topics to Canvas and ask the students to watch the videos prior to class. I also require that they take a five-question multiple choice quiz on the video material prior to class. The quizzes motivate them to watch the videos and provide them with immediate feedback on their understanding of the material in the videos. The quizzes also provide me with feedback on the student’s understanding of the material. I review the quiz results prior to class and start class by covering any questions that the students struggled with. Through this process, I am able to reduce the “lecture” part of class from 20-25 minutes to less than five minutes. Now, I have 20 minutes of extra class time that I can use for more in-depth coverage of advanced material, for additional real-world applications, or for more extensive discussions of complicated issues with students.

http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v62/n20/talk-about-teaching.html

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