Robots tighten gap in distance learning

September 4th, 2015

By KIRK PINHO, Crain’s Detroit

Christine Greenhow, assistant professor of counseling, educational psychology and special education at Michigan State University’s College of Education is bringing the concept of telecommuting to the academy using robotic technology. During a spring course in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology Ph.D. program, 13 of 15 students participated using iPads affixed on top of either a stationary robot that swivels to interact with another student or a robot that moves around the classroom to do the same. Greenhow, who used the robot technology that was developed by the College of Educational Psychology and Special Education/College of Education Design Studio, said she saw the need for a virtual classroom after Ph.D. students taking most of their classes online “felt a sense of distance” between themselves and the teacher, as well as their fellow students. “Online and on-campus students recorded that when their colleagues were in robot form, each group felt more physically there.”

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20150830/NEWS/308309996/robots-tighten-gap-in-distance-learning

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Student success in open, distance and e-learning

September 4th, 2015

by Karen MacGregor, University World News

Student success is crucial to the purposes of open, distance and e-learning – but challenging to achieve compared with selective post-secondary systems – a study for the International Council for Open and Distance Education, or ICDE, found. Good practices include whole-institution strategies for student success and the mitigation of drop-out at course, qualification and institutional levels, solid data, honest admissions policies and accountability. Student Success in Open, Distance and e-Learning was published in April and draws on research findings from a survey of 53 ICDE member institutions. It was produced by a task group led by Professor Alan Tait of The Open University, UK.

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20150828121436196

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Report: How Millennials Use Mobile Devices at College

September 4th, 2015

by D. Frank Smith, EdTech

A new study on the mobile device habits of college students shows they’re leaving their desktops behind and venturing out into an increasingly mobile landscape — one in which higher ed infrastructure will have to evolve to accommodate. The survey from cloud provider Domo polled 2,228 higher ed students to see how they’re using their mobile devices on campuses. Although the survey found that millennials spend more time browsing the Internet on their mobile phone than on their desktop, cellphone web surfing won by only a 2 percent margin (45.7 percent versus 43.4 percent for laptops or desktops).

http://www.edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2015/08/report-how-millennials-use-mobile-devices-college

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Penn State Berks adopts free online textbook for effective speech course

September 3rd, 2015

by Penn State University

The Penn State Berks communication arts and sciences (CAS) program is blazing a trail toward an initiative in higher education by adopting a free online textbook, which can also be downloaded and printed, for all sections of the course Effective Speech (CAS100A). This online textbook, “The Public Speaking Project,” will be used in the University Open Educational Resources (OER) textbook pilot initiative. The adoption of this free text has a positive impact on every academic program at Penn State Berks, as all students are required to take Effective Speech. Many universities and colleges have been working to reduce textbook costs for students, while state legislatures are encouraging colleges and universities to find ways to limit costs for students.

http://news.psu.edu/story/367038/2015/08/27/academics/penn-state-berks-adopts-free-online-textbook-effective-speech

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Minecraft in the Classroom

September 3rd, 2015

By Chris Havergal, Times Higher Education

In lists of the next big higher education technology trends, Minecraft may not figure too highly. But that could be about to change, with a series of projects at the University of Hull, in Britain, demonstrating the pedagogical potential of the world-building computer game. “Excavating” a medieval village and building public understanding of the work of a renowned Yorkshire architect are among the ways in which Minecraft has been used at the institution. Joel Mills, Hull’s technology enhanced learning adviser, has also run a massive open online course about the use of the game in teaching, which attracted 3,000 participants.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/08/28/university-hull-demonstrates-pedagogical-potential-world-building-game

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Higher education funding needs an innovation makeover–here’s how

September 3rd, 2015

by eCampus News

How can states and institutions redesign funding models to better support student outcomes and new innovations in practice and services? From an in-the-trenches perspective, Paige Francis of Fairfield University argues that nowhere is innovation most prevalent, or critical, than in IT, and that only when institutional budgeting transitions from capital expenditures to operational dollars will funding be “as nimble as the technology it supports,” and able to support innovation:

http://www.ecampusnews.com/funding/education-funding-innovation-572/

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E-Texts and the Future of the College Bookstore

September 2nd, 2015

By Rand Spiwak, Campus Technology

The acceptance and adoption of digital content in the classroom has been a slow, but, progressing evolution. Until all of the components of a successful conversion were available to higher education, adoption had been limited and digital content experiences less than desirable. Now, these components (interactive digital content, fully functional learning-experience platform software, hardware, connectivity and affordability) are readily available and are being piloted and implemented at increasing rates of acceptance and success. Students are demanding lower-cost alternatives to the current printed textbook and are seeking those alternatives through various means. Out of a hundred students, 50 percent or more don’t acquire a textbook because of cost, rather than availability; another 30 to 35 percent seek less expensive used textbooks from college bookstores, online sources, other students or anywhere they find a source.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/08/26/e-texts-and-the-future-of-the-college-bookstore.aspx

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Can Blended Learning Solve the US Teacher Drought?

September 2nd, 2015

by Vinoth Chandar, EdSurge

In education, technology is being proposed as a possible solution to the widespread teacher shortages reported across the country. While some propose higher pay to encourage more of America’s brightest college graduates to enter the profession, others are looking for answers in blended learning, asking how districts can use online technologies to refashion classrooms and make the teachers we already have more effective. One supporter of the latter idea is Mallory Dwinal, a fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute, a nonprofit think tank that conducts research on education innovation. In a report published earlier this year (PDF), she argues “disruptive technologies” can make the classroom more flexible, productive, and perhaps even more attractive to young professionals.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-08-26-can-blended-learning-solve-the-us-teacher-drought

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Codementor is Changing the Landscape of Online Education with the Launch of Live Classes

September 2nd, 2015

by Codementor

“Unlike existing MOOCs where students learn via pre-recorded videos, Codementor Live Classes enable students to learn how to code with a live instructor in a small group setting,” said Weiting Liu, Founder & CEO of Codementor. “With Live Classes, we’re expanding our product line beyond more than just 1:1 mentoring. Students can now learn new technologies from a live code mentor at a much more affordable price range, starting from $99 for an 8-hour class series.” Codementor Live Classes are now available in some of the most popular programming languages today. In the Live Classes, students will receive live instruction and hands-on coding exercises. Students will also have the opportunity to ask questions and participate in discussions for more enhanced and effective learning.

http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2015/08/27/codementor-changing-landscape-online-education-launch-live-classes#axzz3k2gJeRht

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Americans are Learning Online

September 1st, 2015

by YouGov

The national US student loan debt currently stands at around 1.2 trillion dollars and the cost of a college degree continues to rise. Online learning may be a way to keep down those costs. 36% of Americans have embarked on an online learning course, the number driven primarily by millennials at 46% but more than a quarter of the over 55s (28%) have also participated in some form of online learning. 35% of all Americans would consider taking an online course in the next 12 months. Of those adult Americans who have taken an online learning course more than half (57%) have taken single classes outside of a full program but 40% have taken a full program leading to accreditation. 20% have taken a full online program leading to a degree or post-graduate degree.

https://today.yougov.com/news/2015/08/26/americans-are-online-learning/

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Pixar teaches kids the math behind the movies through online course

September 1st, 2015

By Jonathan Bloom, KGO

Pixar created films like “Toy Story” and “Monsters Inc.” but the latest production from the Emeryville-based animation studios stars a different cast of characters, ones like algebra and trigonometry. It’s the first chapter in a new effort to get kids, who are excited about Pixar’s movies, to be enthusiastic about learning. Working with the online educators at Khan Academy, they built a free online course that’s truly interactive. “They’re simplified versions of tools that artists use here at Pixar,” Derose said. The lectures are given by Pixar animators. They start with the basics and get into the nitty-gritty.

http://abc7news.com/education/pixar-teaches-kids-the-math-behind-the-movies-in-online-class/958656/

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Knewton opens up its $100M+ learning platform that discovers how you learn

September 1st, 2015

by BARRY LEVINE, Venture Beat

For all those students who have had trouble wrapping their heads around a subject — and who hasn’t? — a New York City-based company called Knewton has a free solution. It will wrap the subject around your head. The seven-year-old company is today opening up for free its adaptive learning platform. Previously, it was available only via licensing deals that utilized textbook content from over two dozen publishers. Now, any teacher, student, parent, or other learner can learn — at no cost — K-12 math, English, science, and history, with other subjects coming.

http://venturebeat.com/2015/08/26/knewton-opens-up-its-100m-learning-platform-that-discovers-how-you-learn/

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Penn professors teach millions of students worldwide through Open Learning classes

August 31st, 2015

By SYDNEY SCHAEDEL, Daily Pennsylvanian

While Penn professors teaching Open Learning classes have to dedicate a lot of their time and resources to millions of online learners, the opportunity to contribute to the future of education is incentive enough. “It’s been a great experience,” said Director of the Lauder Institute and Wharton Professor Mauro Guillen. “It’s wonderful to connect with so many people around the world…. The students are primarily aged 16 to 26,” said Guillen. “It’s a little surprising there are so few people over the age of 60, but that might be because they have to access it on the computer.” With their classes so widely viewed, Open Learning professors have become academia’s equivalent of celebrities. Guillen said that once when he visited New York City, someone stopped him on the street and said he recognized him from the course. “He said, ‘You’re the one from the videos!’”

http://www.thedp.com/article/2015/08/penn-professors-find-value-in-teaching-open-learning-classes

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Purdue offers free online course for high school students

August 31st, 2015

by Austin Miller, WLFI

Purdue University is offering a free online class for high school students. Registration is available for the Purdue Department of Computer Science’s placement course. The eight-month program teaches students about various computer science topics. This is the second year the department has offered the course. Last year, nearly 200 high school students took part in the online program. K-12 Outreach coordinator Phil Sands said it’s a great way for students to get an idea of a typical college course.

http://wlfi.com/2015/08/25/purdue-offers-free-online-course-for-high-school-students/

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How High Schoolers Spent Their Summer: Online, Taking More Courses

August 31st, 2015

By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS, New York Times

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, were originally intended as college-level work that would be accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. But among the millions of people who have signed up for these classes, there are now an untold number of teenagers looking for courses their high schools do not offer and often, as a bonus, to nab one more exploit that might impress the college of their dreams. College admissions directors, as well as administrators of the Common Application used by many schools, say that such online classes — for which students are not likely ever to see credit — are popping up on college applications, adding to the list of extracurriculars, like internships and community service projects, that have helped turn summer vacation into a time of character and résumé building.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/26/nyregion/online-summer-courses-attracting-college-bound-high-schoolers.html?_r=0

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3 Ways Mobile Technology Is Transforming Learning Spaces

August 30th, 2015

By Dennis Pierce, THE Journal

To support creativity and collaborative learning with digital tools, schools are creating flexible environments that give students ownership of the space and their learning. From the outside, Barrow Elementary School in Athens, GA, looks like any traditional school building built in the 1920s. Inside, it looks completely different. Instead of desks arranged in tidy rows, the classrooms have tables that can be reconfigured in seconds by the students themselves, depending on what an assignment calls for. There are spaces where students can work together in teams, and comfortable chairs for individual study. Nooks tucked off hallways enable teachers and students to gather in small groups, and wireless access points allow them to use portable digital devices anywhere in the building.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/08/25/3-ways-mobile-technology-is-transforming-learning-spaces.aspx

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MSU’s online graduate courses for science teachers open for fall registration

August 30th, 2015

by MSU News Service

Montana State University’s online graduate courses for science teachers are now open for fall registration. The courses are all part of MSU Extended University’s National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN). Most courses start Sept. 14 or Sept. 28. Fall courses include 13 offerings in microbiology, biology, physics, earth science, land resources and environmental sciences (LRES) and education and curriculum and instruction (EDCI). The courses are open to all teachers and informal educators. Participants can take courses for professional development or start working toward an online graduate certificate or master’s degree.

http://www.montana.edu/news/15685/msu-39-s-online-graduate-courses-for-science-teachers-open-for-fall-registration

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8 Tips and Tools for Teaching Digital Citizenship

August 30th, 2015

By Cory Hurst, THE Journal

Digital citizenship must be taught from a young age, and from many different angles. Teaching students every aspect of online behavior and etiquette can be daunting. To make this necessary process less intimidating, I have compiled a list of four tips and four tools that will allow every educator to create lessons and units that can help make all of your students better digital citizens. First, the tips.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/08/04/8-tips-and-tools-for-teaching-digital-citizenship.aspx

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5 ways to expand federal educational OER

August 29th, 2015

By Laura Devaney, eSchool News

In a letter sent earlier this month, a group of ed-tech stakeholders urged the Obama administration to make federally-funded educational materials available as Open Educational Resources (OER). Creating OER, which are free to use, share, and edit, would help increase educators’ access to educational, training, and instructional materials, according to the more than 85 stakeholder organizations that signed the letter. The letter was a response to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s request for suggestions around how to strengthen the U.S. Open Government National Action Plan.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/08/24/open-educational-resources-095/

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A helpline for schools tackling cyberbullying

August 29th, 2015

By Bridget McCrea, eSchool News

With a reported 55 percent of all teens on social media witnessing outright bullying via that medium, and with 95 percent of those youngsters who witnessed bullying on social media choosing to simply ignore the behavior, K-12 districts are growing increasingly concerned about the impact that such activities can have on their students. This concern is warranted according to the advocacy site NoBullying.com, which reports that just one of out of every six parents are even aware of the scope and intensity involved with cyber bullying and that the victims are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and to consider suicide as a result.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/08/24/helpline-cyberbullying-485/

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Secure online learning for prisoners

August 29th, 2015

by New Zealand Government

Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga today attended the launch of Secure Online Learning for prisoners at Rimutaka Prison. Secure Online Learning (SOL) will be implemented nationwide after a successful six-month pilot with young prisoners at Christchurch Men’s Prison. It allows carefully selected prisoners to securely access 12 educational websites. No other websites are available to them. SOL will replace paper based-assessment and learning processes which are prone to inaccuracies.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1508/S00213/secure-online-learning-for-prisoners.htm

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