Online literacy challenge excites students

July 30th, 2016

by Brett Henebery, the Educator

Based on a gamified digital word building exercise, Word Mania tests various literacy skills, including phonemes, morphemes, spelling, word recognition, vocabulary and word knowledge. Players have three minutes and 15 randomly generated letters to create as many words as possible, with points based on word accuracy and complexity. A week after registrations opened students at more than 600 schools had started practising. Now, with one week to go until the competition rounds start on Monday, 1 August, more than 1,900 schools and 190,000 students have registered to participate. Students have spent more than one million minutes building more than nine million words, with up to 49,000 games played in a single day.

http://www.educatoronline.com.au/news/online-literacy-challenge-excites-students-220198.aspx

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Grant aims to launch drone courses at community colleges

July 30th, 2016

By Yann Ranaivo, Roanoke Times

Over the next two years, the faculty training workshops will extend to all community colleges in Virginia, including New River Community College in Dublin and Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke, Carter said. The drone operation courses at those schools will likely launch a year after the faculty workshops, he said. While the exact curriculum is still far from being set, Carter said, he envisions something along the lines of 18 to 30 credit hours’ worth of courses that will most likely lead to a certificate program. “This is a job that is not very prevalent out there right now, and we’re gearing up to prepare,” he said. Drone operating itself is a job the consortium still needs to learn more about, Carter said. The program plans to meet soon with about a dozen technicians in the field and survey them about the occupation.

http://www.roanoke.com/news/education/higher_education/nrcc/grant-aims-to-launch-drone-courses-at-community-colleges/article_26e43560-3163-5a87-8e75-59590ef12ed3.html

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Easy for online students to get off-track without parent supervision

July 30th, 2016

by Maureen Downey, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Online classes in Georgia originally were designed to accommodate ambitious students in rural areas who lacked options for AP or accelerated classes. Now, many struggling students are flocking to virtual schools. Online learning is growing rapidly in Georgia, although it does not work for all students. The state’s largest online high school has a graduation rate of 66 percent, 13 percentage points below the state average. But students in online courses, unless self-directed and independent, will need motivated parents who will ensure they sit down every day at their computers, attend their classes and get their work done. Some parents don’t understand that critical role.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-education/easy-for-online-students-to-get-off-track-without-/nr4kw/

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Web-Based Learning in Rural Areas Gets Federal Financial Lift

July 29th, 2016

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

A United States Department of Agriculture grant program will fund 45 projects intended to connect rural communities in 32 states with educational experts via videoconferencing. The same funding stream is also being applied to healthcare projects for connecting patients with medical professionals. On the education side, in Alaska Copper River School District, for example, will use nearly $500,000 to provide distance learning to five primary schools in extremely remote Alaskan villages. The schools will share curriculum and professional development. Three of the sites are on Native Alaskan trust lands. Across the country in West Virginia the Roane County Schools will use its $500,000 grant to place videoconferencing equipment in 19 schools.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/07/18/web-based-learning-in-rural-areas-gets-federal-financial-lift.aspx

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Microsoft Official Courses (MOC) Now Online and On-Demand

July 29th, 2016

by Ed Tittel, Go Certify

Microsoft now offers its official courses at your convenience via MOC On-Demand. These courses match the content that Microsoft has long offered as part of its official curriculum for classroom training, itself now available in both physical and virtual forms. These training materials combine video-based instruction, text-based reading materials, hands-on labs accessed online, and ongoing “knowledge checks” (questions to answer, and problems to solve) to make sure that students are successfully learning the materials and grasping key concepts, practices, and principles. The on-demand nature of the offering means that students can proceed at their own pace (within limits: most MOC On-Demand offerings provide 90 days of access to course materials), on their own schedules, and using their own PCs or laptops wherever they want to use them.

http://www.gocertify.com/articles/microsoft-official-courses-now-online-and-on-demand

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The Possibilities for VR to Transport Students Appeal to Teachers

July 29th, 2016

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

1-to-1 programming up and running? Check. Blended learning in place? Check. Then maybe it’s time to add virtual reality to the classroom too. In a recent survey more than 9 in 10 teachers (93 percent) said they believe the use of VR would “excite” their students, and 8 in 10 (83 percent) say it might improve learning outcomes. The survey was run by a market research firm on behalf of Samsung, which sells its own VR headgear. Among the findings: Although only two percent of teachers reported having tried VR in the classroom, 60 percent said they would like to add it to their learning technology arsenal. Almost 8 in 10 respondents (77 percent) said they believe that VR could help students gain a better understanding of learning concepts, as well as increase collaboration (71 percent) and help motivate students in the classroom (84 percent).

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/06/28/the-possibilities-for-vr-to-transport-students-appeal-to-teachers.aspx

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What 10 Years of K-12 Online Professional Development Taught New Hampshire

July 28th, 2016

By Stan Freeda, EdSurge

Educators, especially those of you in rural communities—you shouldn’t have to go out and find good professional development on your own. Your state should provide it. But where do state administrators start? In the rural state of New Hampshire, online professional development empowers educators to take ownership of their own growth and learning. Through consistent support and feedback and flexibility in scheduling, the OPEN NH program, run by the Office of Educational Technology at the New Hampshire Department of Education since 2005, offers high-quality, seven-week online professional development courses that focus on content and pedagogical knowledge, and emphasize active learning. By 2011, about 10% of NH teachers had participated in the 175 courses offered by OPEN NH—and currently, the program has expanded to offer over 300 courses.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-07-23-what-10-years-of-k-12-online-professional-development-taught-new-hampshire

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Beaumont teen tries online public school program

July 28th, 2016

by Leah Durain, KBMT

A Beaumont teen, who’s an aspiring actress, says taking high school classes online has created great flexibility in her schedule. Isabelle Scott is a remarkable 16-year-old. She’s already published two children’s books and added big projects to her acting resume like ABC’s American Crime and an NBA app commercial. Scott wants to be get into the film industry one day and she’s hitting the pavement hard now Recently, the teen was met with a dilemna: how to juggle classes at Hamshire Fannett High School and make it to acting gigs. “I kept missing school for acting,” said Scott.

http://www.12newsnow.com/news/local/beaumont-teen-tries-online-public-school-program/279786843

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Classblox Takes on Khan Academy, Kaplan With Live Online Classes

July 28th, 2016

by Karis Hustad, Chicago Inno

Shaily Baranwal’s startup, Elevate K12, focused on providing digital instruction and online resources to the millions of at-risk students across the US. And it worked–since launching in 2008, Elevate K12 provided over 1 million hours of online instruction and had an average of 35 percent increase in student test scores. Now she’s taking lessons learned from instructing at-risk students and going after the millions of non-at-risk students around the country. Her latest product is called Classblox, and it offers on-demand, online classes taught by a real teacher. Students take hour long virtual, interactive classes from vetted teachers in subjects ranging from Chinese to ACT prep. Her aim is to reach middle class students, especially in rural and under-resourced suburbs, who are seeking additional learning opportunities that they may not have access to close to home.

http://chicagoinno.streetwise.co/2016/07/22/classblox-takes-on-khan-academy-kaplan-with-live-online-classes/

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Amazon’s New Market? Student Loans

July 27th, 2016

By Andrew Kreighbaum, Inside Higher Ed

The online retail giant’s promise to provide “discounted” student loans through a new partnership with Wells Fargo elicits concerns from consumer advocates about possible duping of students. Search “student loans” on Amazon.com and the results include titles like The Student Loan Scam and The Student Loan Mess: How Good Intentions Created a Trillion-Dollar Problem. Now the online retail giant is becoming involved in the student loan sector itself through a partnership with Wells Fargo. On Thursday, Amazon and the banking and financial services company announced a partnership through which Amazon Prime Student members will be eligible for a 0.5 percentage point reduction on their interest rate for private student loans taken out through Wells Fargo Education Financial Services.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/07/22/amazon-wells-fargo-partnership-private-student-loans-troubles-consumer-advocates

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Stanford Course Prepares Educators For The New School Year

July 27th, 2016

by Stanford

A three-week online course specifically designed to help K-12 teachers and administrators foster a culture of productive and respectful communication in their classrooms starts August 2016. The standards particularly describe the importance of students understanding the reasoning of others and engaging in meaningful conversations using critical thinking. Stanford University’s world renowned Graduate School of Education has launched a short online course designed specifically to help educators create rich and meaningful opportunities for communication within the classroom. The course, Effective Conversation in the Classroom, launches this August with three online sessions. K-12 classroom instructors, instructional coaches, and educational administrators are invited to enroll.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/stanford-course-prepares-educators-for-the-new-school-year-300299709.html

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15 Things You Should Know Before Learning to Code Online

July 27th, 2016

by SKILLCRUSH, AlleyWatch

There are some questions you need to ask yourself before you decide if learning to code online is right for you (it probably is! But I might be biased…), and more importantly, what kind of online class is going to be the most likely to lead to success. There are online subscriptions, mentorship programs, resource libraries, and everything in-between. And there isn’t a single right way to learn to code online. While one person might need a structure and schedule to stay on track, another person might want unlimited access to move at her own pace. If you’re not sure how to decide which online course is right for you, then ask yourself these fifteen questions to get a better handle on the kind of learning environment you need to be successful.

http://www.alleywatch.com/2016/07/15-things-know-learning-code-online/

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Raleigh adult learners to take classes in Google startup hub

July 26th, 2016

By Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Shaw University has announced the placement of an continuing education center in Durham’s American Underground entrepreneurial development facility, a Google for Entrepreneurs authorized tech hub. The university’s Center for Alternative Programs in Education (CAPE) placement in the entrepreneurial working space will allow adult and non-traditional students to have access to Durham’s burgeoning startup community, and provide engagement with employers and potential investors. With eight sites established throughout North Carolina, the CAPE initiative has graduated more than 4,000 non-traditional students from North Carolina metropolitan and rural communities since 1994.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/raleigh-adult-learners-to-take-classes-in-google-startup-hub/422978/

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Facebook Commits $15 Million to Code.org to Diversify Computer Science Education

July 26th, 2016

By Sri Ravipati, THE Journal

Facebook is pledging $15 million over the next five years to Code.org to enable the nonprofit to expand access to computer science education, in an effort to improve diversity in the technology industry. The news comes after Facebook released a report on the diversity of its own employees earlier today. Data indicates the company still has a long way to go before it has a diverse employee base, particularly for its senior leadership and technical employees. For senior leadership, 27 percent are women, 3 percent are African American and 3 percent are Hispanic. Only 17 percent of technical workers are women, 3 percent are Hispanic and 1 percent is African American.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/07/14/facebook-commits-$15-million-to-code.org-to-diversify-coding-education.aspx

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Former Resident Helps Bridge Language Barrier With Online Classes

July 26th, 2016

By Katrina Fuller, Post-Journal

A classroom at Sinclairville Elementary School and a teacher in Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, have connected in a new way, thanks to Homeschool Spanish Academy. The pilot program coordinated by former area resident, Connor Sitzenstatter, in cooperation with the Cassadaga Valley Central School District and Martha Pashley’s second-grade classroom, offers students a six-week Spanish language vocabulary online class taught by a teacher located in Guatemala. Pashley, Sitzenstatter’s mother, said she couldn’t be happier with the program or more proud of her son.

http://www.post-journal.com/page/content.detail/id/696465/Former-Resident-Helps-Bridge-Language-Barrier-With-Online-Classes.html?nav=5192

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Indiana CIO Brad Wheeler Provides Update on Unizin

July 25th, 2016

By David Raths, Campus Technology

Unizin’s co-founder describes the consortium’s focus on content, learner interaction platforms and analytics, and what it hopes to achieve this year. During a July 14 Future Trends Forum video chat hosted by consultant and futurist Bryan Alexander, Wheeler described Unizin’s focus on giving institutions control over their own content and data. “It is pretty exciting that we can go from faculty-authored content delivered through a platform owned by the academy to all the digital tracks coming off of it into repositories owned by the academy that are available for IRB-approved research,” he said. “We don’t have to ask for our data back. It is our data, and our students’ data. That is an important thing for the future. We are hoping to enable the means of improving digital education through the institutions being able to assert a much greater degree of control around content, learner interaction platforms and analytics.” By the end of the calendar year, Wheeler added, Unizin anticipates that researchers from different institutions will be able to coordinate research efforts with cross-institutional data sets.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/07/18/indiana-cio-brad-wheeler-provides-update-on-unizin.aspx

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Stanford Debuts Online Communication Course for Teachers

July 25th, 2016

By Joshua Bolkan, Campus Technology

Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education has launched a new online course, Effective Conversation in the Classroom, designed to help educators learn to create rich and meaningful conversations in their classrooms. “Each session includes expert video screencasts, classroom video clips, readings and resources and assignments that will help participants create a strong foundation of communication within the classroom,” according to a news release. “The course has been developed by Understanding Language/SCALE, a Stanford research and practice center focused on K-12 language and performance assessment. The teaching team consists of Stanford Professor Emeritus Kenji Hakuta, Senior Researcher Dr. Jeff Zwiers and Lecturer Dr. Sara Rutherford-Quach.”

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/07/19/stanford-debuts-online-communication-course-for-teachers.aspx

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Delft University attracts one million students for its online courses Education

July 25th, 2016

by DutchNews.nl

Delft University of Technology has signed up its one millionth student for its online lectures or Massive Open Online Course programme. The university launched its first courses, on solar energy and water treatment, in September 2013. It now offers 36 different MOOCs, ranging from ‘leadership for engineers’ to aerospace. There is even a programming class, in Dutch, geared towards children ages 8 and up Students can select which courses to take via edX, a non-profit platform for online education that is also used by MIT, Harvard and other universities to make their courses available to anyone on the planet with access to the internet. Some 20% of Delft’s subscribers hail from the United States and 13% are based in India. The most popular course so far has been solar energy, which has drawn 131,000 enrolments. Creative Problem Solving, the second most popular, has attracted 113,000.

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/07/delft-university-attracts-one-million-students-for-its-online-courses/

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Considering a mobile app for your institution? Keep these 5 things in mind

July 24th, 2016

By Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Understanding the goal of how to best help students is one of several points to consider in developing an institutional mobile app. Researching best practices among peer institutions, gathering intel on price point and maintenance, and testing strategies are vital considerations before selecting a developer for an app creation and launch. Branding the app presents an ideal opportunity to dive into institutional photo repositories and to engage students in creating and designing the function and appeal of the app.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/considering-a-mobile-app-for-your-institution-keep-these-5-things-in-mind/422932/

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Hack the Classroom

July 24th, 2016

by Microsoft

Small steps to big impact: Teaching in the 21st century classroom. As the world changes and is moving more rapidly, it can feel overwhelming to know what and how to incorporate new technology into your classroom. Hack the Classroom is an exciting online live event designed to inspire and enable you to incorporate new ideas and tools into your classroom so your students can achieve more. The key is to start with just a few small steps. By attending Hack the Classroom online event, you will:

Hear from inspiring speakers and thought leading educators

Learn from teachers by taking a glimpse into their classrooms to see how small changes, result in huge student impact

Engage, interact, and pose questions with speakers and other educators

Gain access to professional development resources and tools to get started

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/events/hack-the-classroom/default.aspx

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Tulsa City-County Library launches three new services for expanded online learning and entertainment

July 24th, 2016

by Skaitook Journal

In an effort to connect library customers with more digital options for education and entertainment, Tulsa City-County Library is unveiling three new services that are free to use with a library card. Beginning today, eBook readers, future musicians and gamers will have the opportunity to expand their use of library services with more resources for learning. Each new added service is in response to customers’ suggestions and will be of interest to all library customers.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/communities/skiatook/news/communitynews/tulsa-city-county-library-launches-three-new-services-for-expanded/article_4dce02c2-2a8c-5511-a8c3-859ae75009c8.html

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