UW moving to online course evaluations to save paper, money

April 25th, 2014

by Doree Armstrong, U Washington

The University of Washington is expanding online course evaluations to reduce its use of paper. The online evaluations are expected to save the university tens of thousands of dollars every year in paper costs while giving faculty and administrators more direct access to evaluation results. The UW’s Information School and Law School, and UW Tacoma, have been using online evaluations for two years as part of a pilot project. Last quarter, more than 600 courses at the Seattle campus were evaluated online. The Office of Educational Assessment is advertising the service to the entire campus this quarter. The current total cost of paper evaluations at UW Seattle is about $150,000 annually.

http://www.washington.edu/news/2014/04/18/uw-moving-to-online-course-evaluations-to-save-paper-money/

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CHS to pilot virtual PE classes

April 25th, 2014

by Daily Progress

Charlottesville High School freshman Stephanie Thrift was scratching her head over how to juggle daily classes, afterschool sports and the physical education program she has to take next year when she stumbled upon a solution — she overheard a friend talking about a proposed online P.E. class. “I got really excited because early-morning gym is hard to get up for because athletes are up at night doing homework,” she said. After asking the friend a few questions, it was a matter of running to her guidance counselor to verify that the computer course was real, and then signing up for it as fast as she could. A test course will run during summer school to work out the kinks and a full course is set to officially kick-off for the fall semester.

http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/chs-to-pilot-virtual-pe-classes/article_03e1e2d4-c694-11e3-b1af-0017a43b2370.html

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New Minnesota school blends online learning with in-class teachers

April 25th, 2014

By Melissa Turtinen, Bring-me-the-news

A new kind of school set to open in the south suburbs this fall is part of a relatively small movement toward schools that blend online learning with live in-school teachers. The approach offers students personalized web-based curriculum with the teacher support many of them need, the concept’s supporters say. “Learning is really a social experience and we want to take what that online learning opportunity has, but really reinforce it and support it with strong instruction from a classroom teacher,” Greg Gentle, who will be principal of Flex Academy in Richfield this fall, told KSTP.

http://www.bringmethenews.com/2014/04/17/blended-learning-new-minnesota-school-brings-online-courses-to-the-classroom/

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Do Multi-Touch Displays Actually Work In Education?

April 24th, 2014

By Mark, Edudemic

The actual school system suffers from various drawbacks. Teaching nowadays includes one-way delivery of knowledge from teachers to students wherein students participate or interact rarely. Learning programs and activities in a traditional classroom are designed with a “one-size-fits-all” approach where no personalized activity is involved based on student’s traits. Even educational processes are restricted by physical boundaries of classrooms and do not involve social relationships with other students. Multi-touch displays and various technology-based solutions are now getting credence over the traditional teaching model since they aim to stimulate students’ engagement and participation in the classroom itself.

http://www.edudemic.com/multi-touch-displays-education/

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Why (And How) To Improve STEM Education In The U.S.

April 24th, 2014

By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

Pete Conrad was a pretty awesome guy. That’s why the handy infographic linked below uses him as an example of why more students should be studying STEM subjects. Among other things, he was the third man to walk on the moon, and he commanded the first manned Skylab mission and received a Congressional Space Medal of Honor. Encouraging students to study STEM subjects may be helped by pointing out some of the awesome folks who have done cool stuff because of their STEM backgrounds.

http://www.edudemic.com/stem-infographic/

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How Technology Is Creating Super-Teachers of the Future

April 24th, 2014

by John Friend, Huffington Post

In the coming years, a lot of the legwork, and the burdensome aspects of teaching will be assisted by technology. Some may think that a gloomy prospect. Certainly there are people concerned that technology in the classroom may diminish the role of the teacher. But I think this is due to a lack of understanding of the things technology brings to the classroom. As a developer of education software, I have seen first hand what an incredibly empowering thing technology can be for both students, teachers, and parents too. Technology can enable a teacher to oversee a greater number of pupils, to know how well or poorly they are progressing, and even design lessons to give them the right amount of challenges. If pupils are given work that is too easy, or too hard, they will inevitably lose interest or get frustrated. But with tailored lessons, everybody gets to learn at just the right level.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/john-friend/how-technology-is-creating-super-teachers-of-the-future_b_5165283.html

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No, Not Everyone Needs to Learn to Code – But Here’s What They Should Know

April 23rd, 2014

by Greg Pollack, Huffington Post

Not everyone is meant to be a coder though–or has the motivation to code. This has left a huge part of the population wondering how to respond to the “learn to code” movement, and what actually makes sense for them to do. It’s one of the reasons why I believe the “learn to code” conversation is distracting us from a much more important question, which is this: “What should everyone know about code, even if they don’t learn to program?” In my view, the answer is basic code literacy, which ultimately boils down to knowing enough to successfully communicate in the technology-powered environment we live in. If your occupation requires you to speak to or email programmers, you’ll have a leg up if you have a basic knowledge of code.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gregg-pollack/no-not-everyone-needs-to-_b_5155549.html

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Course evaluation could go public

April 23rd, 2014

By Meghan Holden, Minnesota Daily

University of Minnesota students may get access to their peers’ course evaluations when registering for classes next year. Some faculty members, administrators and students have pushed for years to make teacher and course evaluations more accessible. The course assessments, at least, could finally be made public when the University Faculty and Student senates vote on the issue in May. “I think it’s good for faculty, and I think it’s really good for students,” Faculty Senate Consultative Committee Chair Will Durfee said.

http://www.mndaily.com/news/campus/2014/04/15/course-evals-could-go-public

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Why rural schools need online courses

April 23rd, 2014

by David Kaplan, WDBJ7.COM

It’s an online, Spanish language learning program that students at Highland County High School took for a spin. Whether it’s shrinking budgets, lack of interest, or a combination of the two, some smaller rural school districts like Highland County don’t have full-time foreign language teachers. That means students take some of these courses online. School leaders expect this new program to take learning to the next level. “I’m very excited about this. This is an awesome opportunity,” said Sophomore Cesar Ruiz. Through the eyes of the rural Virginia student interested in taking spanish, this is exciting stuff.

http://www.wdbj7.com/news/local/why-rural-schools-need-online-courses/25499962

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Online course materials to reduce costs for Alberta students

April 22nd, 2014

By Caley Ramsay, Global News Canada

The cost of post-secondary education can be overwhelming for many Alberta students, and the additional hundreds or thousands of dollars spent on textbooks can weigh heavily on their wallets. Now, the Alberta Government is launching a new initiative, offering more educational resources online. After fees for the semester have been paid and school supplies have been bought, there’s one cost to Canadian university students that can often weigh heavy on their wallets. Downloading textbooks thrifty but dubious. The Open Educational Resources Initiative has been in the works for a few years. Through the initiative, more educational resources such as textbooks, modules, lesson plans, and multi-media materials will be made available for students online.

http://globalnews.ca/news/1268281/online-course-materials-to-reduce-costs-for-alberta-students/

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High-tech teaching breaks down time and distance

April 22nd, 2014

by Ken Strmiska, Sheboygan Press

Alvin Toffler, futurist and author of “Future Shock” and “The Third Wave,” boldly predicted, “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Today, with human knowledge estimated to be doubling every one to two years, Toffler appears to be correct in his assumption that to thrive in a rapidly changing world will require continuous engagement in learning. For the past several hundred years, the medium between knowledge and learning at all levels has been a place-based educational institution.

http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20140413/SHE04/304130156/Voices-High-tech-teaching-breaks-down-time-distance?gcheck=1&nclick_check=1

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Say goodbye to snow days as classrooms go virtual

April 22nd, 2014

by Amanda Oglesby, Asbury Park Press

Public schools are not yet permitted under New Jersey regulations to hold virtual classes as official make-ups to snow days. However, St. John Vianney — because it is private — is one of a handful of schools leading the way in the new online learning initiative, where students can watch instruction, hand in homework, and engage in class discussion with their Holmdel-based high school teachers. But many public schools across the state are hoping to emulate the model in the future. As technology makes virtual classrooms possible, the state Department of Education is reconsidering the rule that defines instructional days as having students and teachers in the same room.

http://www.app.com/article/20140414/NJNEWS15/304140015/Say-goodbye-snow-days-classrooms-go-virtual?gcheck=1&nclick_check=1

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Why successful consortia for online learning are so difficult

April 21st, 2014

BY TONY BATES, Online and Distance Ed Resources

It would seem obvious that there would be great advantage in building consortia for online courses, so that courses could be shared between institutions, thus saving institutions the cost of developing new courses that are already being offered by other institutions. In particular, when you have a single state system of universities and two year colleges, it seems even more obvious. This is basically the idea behind the new Ontario Online initiative, for universities (Ontario already has a collaborative system, OntarioLearn, a partnership of 24 Ontario community colleges that have pooled their resources to increase online learning options.)

http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/04/12/why-consortia-for-online-learning-are-so-difficult-to-form/

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Bridging the miles: Distance learning helps students earn degrees locally

April 21st, 2014

by Carrie Hoppe, Sheboygan Press

UW-Sheboygan and other UW colleges campuses have also been able to increase the breadth of curriculum offered to students through the use of UW colleges online courses. Currently, 10 percent of UW-Sheboygan students utilize online coursework as a complement to live instruction in traditional classrooms on the campus. “The various distance modalities available at our UW Colleges campuses allow us to offer a much broader range of course offerings to our students than would otherwise normally be available on campuses or colleges the size of UW-Sheboygan,” said Dr. Jacquelyn Joseph-Silverstein, UW-Sheboygan dean and CEO. “Technology allows us to provide expanded educational opportunities to students in Sheboygan County, including baccalaureate degrees offered through our UW four-year partners.”

http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20140412/SHE04/304120345/Bridging-miles-Distance-learning-helps-students-earn-degrees-locally?nclick_check=1

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Virtual learning lab could change learning landscape

April 21st, 2014

By Attiyya Anthony, Sun Sentinel

“If we’re not teaching these kids technology then we are doing them a disservice,” said Principal Jeff Silverman. Last month, the school was chosen as one of four schools in the nation, along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to be featured in a French documentary called “School of the Future.” The blended classroom is called ‘Christa’s Launch Pad’ and teaches eighth-grade students United States history, not in the traditional method, but with every student glued to a computer. This is no typical classroom — instead of chairs, there are yoga balls and video game rockers. Students plug in their headphones and work on online modules provided by the Florida Virtual Learning School on topics ranging from the French and Indian War to Women’s Suffrage. Two teachers are there to help and ensure the kids stay on task.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/palm-beach/boynton-beach/fl-boynton-beach-school-techno-lab-20140410,0,7401544.story

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How Google Has Changed Student Research

April 20th, 2014

By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

You know how some days, you feel older than others? I always tend to feel old when I look at education trends and examine just how far technology has come since I was in graduate school (which really doesn’t feel that long ago). Even though I was in graduate school during the late 2000′s, many things still had not made the jump to being technology based. Many things were tech based, but some of the big stuff – like research- had only come about halfway. While I certainly wasn’t sifting through paper records to find out what library had the books I needed for a lit review, I still had to call the library to order them (they didn’t let you request interlibrary loan online at that time), wait for the physical books to arrive, and then schlep them home to sift through them. I’m sure many of you have the same reaction to this as I do – blech.  The handy infographic linked below takes a look at how Google has changed student research with a special focus on graduate students.

http://www.edudemic.com/google-student-research/

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Salman Khan and Daphne Koller among Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship

April 20th, 2014

by US Dept of Commerce and White House

The Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between 11 of America’s most inspiring and prominent entrepreneurs, the White House, the Department of Commerce, and our Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development partners. Our goal is to harness their energy, ideas, and experience to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs both at home and abroad.

http://beta.commerce.gov/PAGE

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Would You Send Your 7-Year-Old to an Online Elementary School?

April 20th, 2014

By Suzi Parker, Takepart.com

“The reasons for enrolling in an online school depend on each student,” Allison Powell, vice president for new learning models for iNACOL, says. “They could have started in home schooling and now want a teacher. Some students travel a lot. Others have been physically bullied and are afraid to go to school. Sometimes, students need to have that freedom to work at their own pace.” According to iNACOL, 31 states and Washington, D.C., have statewide full-time online schools. Each state funds online schools differently, and many of them are considered spin-offs of charter schools. Teachers are state certified, and curriculum is created based on state standards. Online elementary schools have been slower to grow because of their integrated curricula. Each subject closely ties to another, unlike in secondary school—an eighth-grade civics class or a high school physics class can be taught as stand-alone courses.

http://news.yahoo.com/send-seven-old-online-elementary-school-204809847.html

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Love Video Games? Then It’s Time To Love Math

April 19th, 2014

By MathNook

This isn’t your average “how gaming can be used to teach and reinforce math” article. I think and hope by now that it is common knowledge that gaming and math go hand in hand. This article specifically addresses the amount of math that is used in a simple computer game and helps answer the big “why do I need math” question that I hear so often.

http://www.edudemic.com/love-video-games-time-love-math/

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Sports for the Mind: From PlayStation to Active Learning

April 19th, 2014

by Junaid Khan, Edutopia

My class, which is called Sports for the Mind (SFTM), is a learning space built into Quest schools in which students engage with project-based learning assignments that are focused on design thinking and systems thinking. Students are exposed to a variety of different digital media tools and use their skills to express themselves within the parameters of a given project. Using LBP2 in our SFTM curriculum was a no-brainer. The culminating learning experience and performance assessment for my sixth grade class is a digital storytelling project. After analyzing stories and their various structures, brainstorming story ideas and storyboarding a narrative, students were tasked with bringing a classic fable, fairy tale or myth to life within the world of LBP2.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/design-thinking-little-big-planet-junaid-khan

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Building a Blended School

April 19th, 2014

By Dan Gordon, THE Journal

Rich Kiker is the director of online learning at Palisade School District (PA). In the video linked below he talks about how he helped build an online learning environment that offers expanded choice for students and plenty of professional development and support for teachers. All of this isn’t about changing education; it’s about improving it. We should never leave behind the face-to-face instructional strategies that have been wonderful for the last 50 years. If you have a great diorama project in your fourth-grade classroom, don’t stop doing that. But now we can add to these pieces. First we provide the access and bandwidth for on-site devices, then we give students autonomy in how they become proficient with the material — navigating and building supports for the classroom, but letting the inquiry and discovery happen. When you put those things together, you’re creating the space for students to build amazing things and find what’s awesome.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/04/09/innovator-rich-kiker.aspx

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