5 Free (or Low-Cost) Tools for Flipped Learning

May 16th, 2015

By Dennis Pierce, Campus Technology

From screencasting to interactive presentations, here are some resources to get a flipped class off the ground. Flipping the classroom typically requires the use of certain technology tools, whether for recording lecture content or for orchestrating classroom discussion. Jon Bergmann, a pioneer of the flipped classroom and co-creator of FlippedClass.com, categorizes these tools into four different groups: video creation tools, like screencasting software; video hosting tools; interactive tools that help professors check for understanding and foster discussion among students; and learning management systems for tying all of this together. Some products and services perform more than one of these functions — and a few do all four.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/05/06/5-free-or-low-cost-tools-for-flipped-learning.aspx

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6 Creative Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom

May 16th, 2015

By Kristen Hicks, Edudemic

The old adage that “you get what you pay for” seems increasingly outdated in the age of free technologies that provide real value. Like Google’s free tools and all the main social media platforms, Skype is one more free and infinitely useful tool that educators can add to their toolbox. You’re probably already familiar with Skype; the free service for calls and chat has become ubiquitous in recent years. It’s revolutionized how people around the world communicate with each other. Friends and families living far away now have an easy, affordable way to communicate. Businesses have used it to increase the possibilities of remote work and collaboration between offices. And teachers have started to explore the opportunities it brings to education as well.

http://www.edudemic.com/skype-in-classroom/

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5 Ways to Extend Tablets Beyond the Screen

May 16th, 2015

By David Raths, THE Journal

As tablets move from novelty items to staples in the classroom, teachers are finding new ways to make them more than just another screen for students to look at. According to Sam Patterson, a technology integration specialist at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, a K-8 school in Palo Alto, CA, “What we are seeing is technology becoming more and more transparent.” Years ago, if you had a computer for every student in the class it would look like a computer lab. And then each student had a laptop, and it was a classroom full of screens, he noted. “Now students have the ability to connect to other things in the room, so that when we are collecting data we can do it directly and do observations,” he said. “It is amazing that in a seventh-grade science class, you can import data and it is in a spreadsheet already. You can start to work with that data without having to teach the students how to build a spreadsheet.”

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/05/06/5-ways-to-extend-tablets-beyond-the-screen.aspx

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Future Ready summit tackles how to plan for tomorrow’s ed tech

May 15th, 2015

By Ann McMullan, eSchool News

A recent regional summit brought superintendents together to discuss the future of education. 43 school district leadership teams from states up and down the West coast and Hawaii gathered together on May 4 and 5 at the Computer History Museum in northern California for this year’s seventh Future Ready Schools Regional Summit. Despite a focus on using technology to prepare for education’s future, discussions about specific devices or applications were completely absent. Instead, the agenda—the same for all Future Ready Regional Summits— focused on each of the seven gears of the Future Ready Framework that are essential for any school district technology plan: curriculum, instruction, and assessment; professional learning; technology, networks, and hardware; budget and resources; data and privacy; use of time; and community partnerships. The Future Ready Summit in Northern California was the seventh out of thirteen Regional Summits scheduled for 2015.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/05/08/future-ready-160/

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Oregon Trail and the true value of immersive gaming in the classroom

May 15th, 2015

By Suzi Wilczynski, eSchool News

What is it about Oregon Trail that had such a profound impact on us that we clearly remember the experience years later? Part of the answer lies in the way in which social studies is often taught. Despite the best efforts of teachers, history classes cover so much material that often the only choice is to focus on major events, dates, and important people. Not surprisingly, many kids find that sort of rote memorization boring and never truly engage with the material. That affects both comprehension and retention. Long after the test, students might remember the date of the Battle of Hastings, but the context and significance is often lost. Oregon Trail stemmed from the realization that kids learn more when they are learning about real people doing real things. Deeper learning happens when teachers show life and culture. If history is taught in this way, students can learn to analyze, categorize, process and communicate, and evaluate the motivation behind an action.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/05/07/immersive-gaming-839/

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Two bills aim to bring online schooling to all Maine students

May 15th, 2015

BY NOEL K. GALLAGHER, Press Herald

Following the opening of two virtual charter schools in Maine, state officials are trying to find a way to offer a state-sponsored version that would offer online texts and courses for all Maine students. But testimony on two virtual education bills Thursday highlighted the disagreements over how best to do it. “I think almost all Maine schools are (already) accessing online content to some extent,” said Rep. Brian Hubbell, D-Bar Harbor, sponsor of one of the bills, L.D. 39. Hubbell’s bill would have the Maine Department of Education work to develop state-backed online learning resources and possibly create a state-sponsored virtual school. It also requires the state to partner with New Hampshire, so Maine students could enroll in that state’s online school, the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, by this fall.

http://www.pressherald.com/2015/05/07/two-bills-aim-to-bring-online-schooling-to-all-maine-students/

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Five Great Google Education Tools

May 14th, 2015

By Sarah Muthler, Edudemic

You probably already use Google daily, either for Web searches, email, or maps. The tech company is increasingly involved in modernizing education, and it has developed several ventures to encourage an interest in science and computer programming. Some of these ventures are contests, and some are designed for use by afterschool or summer programs. But you can access this great content even if you don’t officially participate in a program. Many of these activities use art, music, and social awareness to make technical lessons more appealing. Take a look at these activities, and start thinking outside the little Google search box.

http://www.edudemic.com/5-great-google-education-tools/

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Want Free Online Education? Visit These Sites

May 14th, 2015

By Menchie Mendoza, Tech Times

While it’s true that YouTube also features educational videos on a number of interests, including language, cooking and even hacking, online education sites offer lessons that are more interactive and student-focused. Feedback is generous and students can even gain lifetime access to the lessons. EdX, MIT OpenCourseware, CodeAcademy, Coursera and Moz are just some of the popular online education sites that offer not only quality and university-partnered courses but also lessons that are absolutely free of charge.

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/51072/20150506/want-free-online-education-visit-these-sites-edx-mit-opencourseware-codeacademy-coursera-and-moz.htm

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Students’ class notes available online for a fee

May 14th, 2015

By Teresa Mackin, WISH TV

It was named one of the 12 companies “transforming education” to watch this year by Forbes. Flashnotes.com is a start-up company started several years ago that allows students to buy and sell their notes from classes online. It’s one of several note-sharing websites. As finals week wraps up at many Indiana colleges, company officials say when those exams are done, officials say students can actually make money off the work they did this semester. Some Indiana University-Bloomington and Purdue University students are among thousands of students participating across the country. In March, Barnes and Noble invested in the fast-growing company. Flashnotes.com officials say it’s another way to share original notes by students taken in class, essentially a “student to student” marketplace. Students set a price to sell their notes and earn 70 percent of those sales.

http://wishtv.com/2015/05/07/students-class-notes-available-online-for-a-fee/

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Tuscaloosa City Schools to get online courses for some middle and high school students

May 13th, 2015

by Jamon Smith, Tuscaloosa News

In April, system leaders signed a one-year $50,000 agreement with Edmentum Online Learning Programs for Educators to provide online courses for students. According to its website, Edmentum is a leading provider of online learning programs designed to drive student achievement for academic and career success. The agreement allows students to take online classes in core subject areas, advanced placement, electives, career technical, remedial courses and standardized test preparation. All online courses will be taught by Alabama-certified teachers. Though the selection of available courses are abundant, all students won’t be able to take online classes.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20150505/NEWS/150509843/1007?Title=Tuscaloosa-City-Schools-to-get-online-courses-for-some-middle-and-high-school-students

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3-D Fossil Scans, Virtual Visits To Archeological Sites And Simulated Excavations Are Highlights In Wellesley edX Course

May 13th, 2015

by Wellesley College

Wellesley biological anthropologist Adam Van Arsdale, who instructs Anthropology 207X, said the virtual fossil library is a new course feature that excites him most. “Students will have access to a library of 3D fossil scans, giving them–and me–greater ability to examine and compare specimens we are discussing in the course of the class, as well as independently explore fossil morphological variability,” he said. Van Arsdale, associate professor of anthropology at Wellesley, developed the course and is teaching it for the second time. Anthropology 207X, which was first offered in September 2013 and has been available in the edX archive since, has welcomed over 22,000 learners. “One of the things that most amazed and surprised me about the course’s first run was the extent to which some students organized face-to-face meetings and events with other students in the course,” Van Arsdale said. “When people think of online learning they often associate it with one person sitting alone with their computer, but it does not have to be that way.”

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/3-d-fossil-scans-virtual-visits-to-archeological-sites-and-simulated-excavations-are-highlights-in-wellesley-edx-course-300077274.html

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What’s The Secret To Effective Learning?

May 13th, 2015

by Nick Morgan, Forbes

What’s the secret to effective learning? A recent study by a group of neuroscientists from the University of California, the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University found that the less you work your brain when learning, perhaps, the better. The researchers studied subjects learning a simple game over a six-week period. Those who used the part of the brain least associated with conscious planning, the frontal cortex, did the best. It’s better, it turns out, just to practice and not over-think what you’re doing. You learn faster. The results were published in the journal Nature Neuroscience recently, and one of the researchers noted, “It’s the people who can turn off the communication to these parts of their brain (the frontal cortex) the quickest who have the steepest drop-off in their completion times. It seems like those other parts are getting in the way for the slower learners. It’s almost like they’re trying too hard.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2015/05/05/whats-the-secret-to-effective-learning/

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Arkansas launches $13M school broadband upgrade

May 12th, 2015

By Colin Wood, eSchool News

Arkansas started investing in technology for its K-12 system in the early 1990s through the development of the Arkansas Public School Computer Network. The network linked schools together, but in 2015, broadband internet connectivity is lacking. Recently elected Gov. Asa Hutchinson recognized a need for its students to get connected and the state is now launching an upgrade–totaling about $13 million annually–to its fiber infrastructure that will bolster education efforts and provide a stepping stone for further broadband development in the state.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/05/04/arkansas-broadband-upgrade-958/

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University develops cyber security curriculum for middle, high schools

May 12th, 2015

By Julie Ferrell, Ames Tribune

Free program aims to increase students’ awareness about security threats. Researchers at Iowa State University are hoping to bring the subject of cyber security to grade school classrooms. The team is releasing the nation’s first computer literacy curriculum aimed at middle and high school students, and it is expected to be ready as early as this fall. Teachers were introduced to the free program during a workshop at the IT-Olympics computer competition on ISU’s campus.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/05/05/university-cyber-security-784/

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Quiz Scores Go up When Students Feel Physics

May 12th, 2015

By University of Chicago

Students who physically experience scientific concepts understand them more deeply and score better on science tests, according to a new study. Brain scans showed that students who took a hands-on approach to learning had activation in sensory and motor-related parts of the brain when they later thought about concepts such as angular momentum and torque. Activation of these brain areas was associated with better quiz performance by college physics students who participated in the research.

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1344919-quiz-scores-students-feel-physics/

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Lawmakers eye options for virtual education

May 11th, 2015

by NOEL K. GALLAGHER, Portland Press Herald

Proposed bills would establish fee-based or free access to online learning resources for Maine’s teachers and students. State legislators are considering various ways to offer online school resources to Maine teachers and students, from fee-based individual courses to creating an entirely state-run virtual academy that would be open to all Maine students for free. “We have a lot of poorer districts that can’t afford to provide a range of courses,” said Rep. Brian Hubbell, D-Bar Harbor, who is sponsoring L.D. 391, one of two virtual education bills up for public hearings Thursday before the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. “This might be a less expensive way for those districts to offer that content. In some cases, it might be accessing a course for several hundred dollars as opposed to hiring a full-time staff person.”

http://www.pressherald.com/2015/05/04/lawmakers-eye-options-for-virtual-education/

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Has the Flipped Classroom already become the norm?

May 11th, 2015

by Rebecca Paddick, Education Technology

The first well-documented flipped classroom rang into session only back in 2007, when a pair of chemistry teachers began looking for a way to provide lecture materials for students who had to miss class. Using simple screen recording software to capture their PowerPoint slides, the two then uploaded the recordings to YouTube for every student in the class to review. Right away the two teachers noticed the tenor of the classroom had shifted. Students came to class prepared with a better understanding of the day’s material. Right away, class time began to shift away from passive lecturing and toward increased student interaction and greater discussion of the details of the lesson and how the subject related to other lessons. In short order a new pedagogy was born — and its adoption throughout the world of education has been nothing short of astonishing.

http://edtechnology.co.uk/Article/has-the-flipped-classroom-already-become-the-norm

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UK’s Most Popular MOOC

May 11th, 2015

by Rebecca Paddick, Education Technology

The British Council’s Exploring English MOOC has so far received more sign-ups than any other online course on the FutureLearn platform. Chris Cavey, Open Learning Manager at the British Council, tells us the secret to its success. The British Council has been involved in English language teaching for more than 70 years and has very successful websites for learners and teachers that attract around five million users a month, so we already have a large online audience. We decided to make the course about UK culture as well as English language because we’re aware, from the work we do, of the huge interest in UK culture around the world. We also thought it was a good idea to focus on an area where everyone who joined the course would have something to share – their opinion about the UK and something about their own culture.

http://edtechnology.co.uk/Article/how-do-you-create-the-most-popular-mooc

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How 3 prominent universities are becoming video trailblazers

May 10th, 2015

By Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

How three institutions are championing collaboration through interactive and streaming video across the academic world. Integrate with your LMS, go mobile-friendly and, above all, make sure it’s user-friendly. These were just three common must-haves when implementing a video platform across campus, cited by three massive universities during Internet2’s 2015 Global Summit on the topic “Collaboration through interactive and streaming video across the academic world.” Purdue University, Arizona State University, and University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill all utilize different video platforms, but their basic requirements are the same: integrate with the university LMS, allow for all device, have a user-friendly structure, and allow for collaboration on campus and off-campus.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/technologies/university-video-internet2-281/

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South Carolina District Taps Partners To Launch Home Internet Access Pilot

May 10th, 2015

By Joshua Bolkan, THE Journal

Spartanburg School District Seven has teamed with a local housing authority and two private partners in a project that will provide home Internet access for students living in public housing. For two years, the district has been providing students in grades 3-12 iPads or MacBook Airs. Following a survey, the district estimated that half its students didn’t have home Internet access and began partnering with local organizations such as businesses and churches to provide Wi-Fi access in the community for those students. Some students, however, were not even able to access those locations. As a result, Spartanburg School District Seven, Spartanburg Housing Authority, Novatel Wireless and Kajeet have partnered to launch a pilot project that will “provide students in public housing with filtered Internet connectivity to access online textbooks, apps, emails, documents and Web sites, as well as communicate with their teachers,” according to a news release.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/05/01/south-carolina-district-taps-partners-to-launch-home-internet-access-pilot.aspx

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WiFi on Wheels Puts Two Districts on the Fast Track to 24/7 Access

May 10th, 2015

By Bridget McCrea, THE Journal

Internet-enabled school buses keep students connected on the road, in school parking lots and in their own neighborhoods. School buses used to serve one purpose: getting students to and from school. But driven by a mandate to provide Internet connectivity to all students, some creative districts have deployed mobile wireless technology to transform their buses into moving WiFi zones, stationary hotspots or both. Among the students at Coachella Valley Unified School District (CA), 24/7 Web access is not a given. According to Superintendent Darryl Adams, “Only about 60 percent of the student population has Internet access at home.” To solve the problem, he put his own spin on the concept of mobile learning. “They’re putting WiFi in cars now,” he said, “so I thought, ‘Why not put it on a school bus?’ ”

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/04/30/wifi-on-wheels.aspx

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