6 Ways Social Media Can Change Your Classroom

March 31st, 2015

By Amanda Ronan by Amanda Ronan, Edudemic

Remember when schools had policies outlawing cell phones in the classroom? Teachers used to tell students, “Keep it in your locker, in your backpack, in your car, or at home, just don’t bring it in here. Your phone is a distraction.” Yet here we are, a handful of years later handing out laptops and tablets to every student, holding Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) days, and encouraging students to engage in class work online in ways we never imagined tolerable, or even possible. Today, many forward-thinking teachers are embracing gadgets and social media as a way to connect with students, families, and other classrooms.

http://www.edudemic.com/twitter-college-lecture/

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Everything you never knew about using Google in the classroom

March 31st, 2015

By Stephen Noonoo, eSchool News

Did you know you can see all your copy/paste history in Chrome in a click? Bookmark all your browser tabs at once? Create choose your own adventures in Google Slides? More than half a dozen Google Certified Teachers recently descended on Palm Springs to share their favorite tips, tricks, add-ons, and extensions during a packed session at the Annual CUE 2015 conference. Each presenter shared a micro-presentation honing in on their top ways for teachers and students to make the most out of the Google ecosystem.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/03/24/google-classroom-978/

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Google Glass headset isn’t dead, says Eric Schmidt

March 31st, 2015

By Charlie Osborne, ZDNet

The Explorer program, a scheme which allowed interested parties to apply for a headset, ended abruptly in January. At the time, Google said the program was being closed so its developers could “focus on what’s coming next,” and there will be “future versions of Glass when they are ready.” The Google Glass project has now moved out of the Google X research lab, where the headset was first developed, and is now a stand-alone unit overseen by Tony Fadell, the leader of Google’s Nest connected devices and Internet of Things (IoT) division. Nest was acquired by Google last year for $3.2 billion.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/google-glass-headset-isnt-dead-says-schmidt/

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Digital literacy for folks with autism and other learning disabilities

March 30th, 2015

by MICHAEL HINKELMAN, Philadelphia Daily News

Michele McKeone, 33, of Fishtown, is founder and CEO of Autism Expressed, an online learning system that teaches digital literacy to students with autism and other learning disabilities. Autism Expressed won a $20,000 prize from Educational Services of America and was Geekadelphia Startup of the Year for 2013, when it launched publicly. It’s software-as-a-service, both B2C and B2B. Parents can subscribe and pay monthly, quarterly or yearly. Public and private schools and service providers that work with individuals with cognitive disabilities pay an annual license fee per student. For a parent it’s about $30 a month. For an organization it depends on the number of students.

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150323_Digital_literacy_for_folks_with_autism_and_other_learning_disabilities.html

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Online Learning Service Platzi Wants To Teach You Useful Tech Skills

March 30th, 2015

by Jon Russell, TechCrunch

A couple of things about online learning service Platzi immediately set it apart from the other companies in Y Combinator’s latest batch. First, it is from Latin America — Colombia to be precise. Second, it is profitable. That’s right, it’s already making money. Online learning is hardly a new concept, but two-year-old Platzi is taking a different approach that’s interesting for a couple of reasons. Rather than broadening the availability of the traditional education experience using the Internet, like most MOOC (massive open online course) services, it’s focused on developing tangible skills. They also include a stream of notes from students, which are later gathered together to provide an overview of each session.

http://techcrunch.com/2015/03/20/platzi/

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Free college classes available to students in grades 7-12 this fall if they notify a counselor by April 1

March 30th, 2015

By Karen Farkas, Northeast Ohio Media Group

The program enables students in grades 7-12 can earn college and high school credits at the same time by taking college courses at no charge from community colleges or universities. Students who obtain college credit at no cost have a better chance of completing college and graduating with less debt, research has shown. Under the program, a student can earn up to 30 credits in a school year and 120 credits overall. In most cases, students will travel to the institution for classes or take online courses. In some cases, courses will be taught in the school district. The cost of tuition, books and fees is covered at public institutions. There may be some costs for private colleges. School districts may have agreements with local colleges, but students can take courses from any college.

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/03/free_college_classes_available.html

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Gamifying Learning in My Classroom

March 29th, 2015

by Liz Kolb, Edutopia

Every week for 17 years, I’ve heard my students ask, “What do I need to do to get an A?” Historically, many have focused on their grade rather than on fundamental skills. My attempt to change this mindset started two years ago when I gamified learning in my classes. After researching gamification and its potential to help students master skills and processes, I used the 3DGameLab and then Gradecraft to develop and implement game-based learning. In each class, students could choose “quests” that, if completed successfully, earned them badges and experience points. Each open-source badge was developed using Badg.us so that students could take them into the digital universe (e.g. attach to resumes, ePortfolios, etc.) and — unlike grades on a transcript — document skills they’ve mastered.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/epic-fail-win-gamifying-learning-liz-kolb

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JWCC sees success and growth in online education

March 29th, 2015

by KHQA

The percentage of students utilizing online courses at John Wood Community College have doubled in the last five years from 12 percent of classes being delivered online to nearly 24 percent. Due to high demand, the college launched a program in the fall that allows students to take two classes at a time and complete their degree in two years.

http://www.connecttristates.com/news/story.aspx?id=1180735#.VQ787PzF-Rs

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Online courses may help universities recruit students

March 29th, 2015

By: Kevin Carey, Winnepeg Free Press

Technology is poised to shake up the admissions game in a way that will level the playing field for students in America and abroad. Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, offered by dozens of elite colleges, give students a chance to prove that they’re ready for a university — and in turn, the institution gets an accurate measure of whether a student is prepared for its academics, helping refine what is quite an imprecise science. But this new way to assess prospective students isn’t great for everyone. It could become harder for U.S. students with certain social and economic advantages — children of alumni, and those who can afford the top high schools, SAT prep classes and tutors — to get into elite colleges.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/Online-courses-may-help-universities-recruit-students-297041041.html

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10 ways to ensure maximum tech effectiveness at your institution

March 28th, 2015

By Andrew Barbour, eSchool News

With an abundance of tech solutions and tools, IT must ensure systems support their institutions’ goals effectively and affordably. Here’s how. Just two years ago, higher ed CIOs were scrapping for a seat at the table. Now they’re firmly in the hot seat. In that short span, IT has become so central to campus operations that its performance has a direct impact on the quality of teaching and learning. Furthermore, with the consumerization of IT, faculty and student expectations have risen dramatically, leaving IT little room for error, whether in the wireless network or the LMS interface. To thrive within this cauldron, IT must develop policies and best practices to help it evaluate, implement, and then re-evaluate the systems on campus.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/technologies/maximum-tech-effectiveness-569/

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Want to personalize learning? Try personalizing PD first

March 28th, 2015

By Dennis Pierce, eSchool News

At a special Blended Learning Summit, Connecticut’s Meriden Public Schools shared its keys to ed-tech success. One of these is to tailor staff development to individual teachers’ needs. In Meriden, Conn., school district leaders are rethinking traditional approaches to instruction. For the past five years, the district has had a “no zero” grading policy to encourage the completion of all student work. Middle school students can take online courses for high school credit, and high school students can design their own studies with the help of a faculty advisor. “We put students at the center of everything we do,” said Superintendent Mark Benigni.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/03/20/personalize-learning-pd-905/

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Why and how communicators should create infographics

March 28th, 2015

By Tess Pajaron, ragan.com

Visual storytelling captures attention and delivers messages that stick in viewers’ minds. Here are some fundamental approaches, along with tools to streamline the process. Together with the predicted rise of content marketing, it’s likely that during the next couple of years we’ll witness a growing interest in brand infographics. Infographics are a smart content feature. They provide lots of valuable information and tips in a visually inspiring form. How can you create great infographics that will captivate your audience and clearly communicate your message?

http://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/49461.aspx

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Report: To Unlock Potential of Ed Tech, Use a ‘Closed-Loop’ Instructional Approach

March 27th, 2015

By Joshua Bolkan, THE Journal

A new report from the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group finds skills gaps in language arts, math science, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and curiosity among a range of countries and income levels and suggests that technology could help address the issue. The report argues “that for technology to reach its greatest potential it needs to be better integrated into an instructional system we call the ‘closed loop.’” The closed loop system suggested in the report includes creating learning objectives, developing curricula and instructional strategies, delivering instruction, embedding ongoing assessment, providing appropriate interventions, tracking outcomes and learning, then feeding the results back into creating new learning objectives.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/03/16/report-to-unlock-potential-of-ed-tech-use-a-closed-loop-instructional-approach.aspx

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Instructional Designers by the Numbers

March 27th, 2015

By Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

CNN Money says that being an Instructional Designer is the 38th best job in America. According to CNN Money (2012) there are 217,700 Instructional Designers. Expected job growth over 10 years is 28.3 percent. Payscale.com says that Instructional Designers rate a 5 out of 5 in the “extremely satisfied” category. 70 percent of Instructional Designers have been on the job less than 10 years, 38% less than 4. Women outnumber men 61% to 39% The national average salary for an Instructional Designer is $61,000. The highest paid Instructional Designers are in San Francisco (a 23% wage premium), Washington (22%), Los Angeles (18%) and Seattle (16%). The most senior Instructional Designers, those with 10 to 20 years of experience, have average salaries between $70,000 and $80,000.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/instructional-designers-numbers

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Does The New ClassDojo Have Mass Mojo?

March 27th, 2015

By Mitch Fairchild, Edudemic

Using the ClassDojo reward system, I was able to award points to students for good behavior, or deduct points for poor choices. I was also able to let my parents follow the classroom management habits of their children via the app. The students responded positively and ClassDojo gave parents a way of keeping up with their student’s classroom behavior without having to communicate directly with me. Jump ahead to January of 2015. ClassDojo is releasing their newly redesigned app, and it promises to be faster, sleeker, and easier to use. I have to admit, I now teach secondary classes and I don’t use the app for the older students. But my curiosity got the better of me, and I had to check it out for myself. So, being the inquisitive sort, I quickly downloaded the new version and began investigating. After examining this version versus the old version, I observed the following.

http://www.edudemic.com/does-the-new-classdojo-have-mass-mojo/

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New Free Guide Offers Expert Advice for Achieving Competency-Based Ed

March 26th, 2015

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

A new report from two organizations that focus on converting schools and districts to the use of blended learning and the competency model lays out a roadmap to help school leaders begin the transformation. “Maximizing Competency Education and Blended Learning: Insights from Experts” from CompetencyWorks and the International Association of K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), culls advice from 23 experts who attended a workshop specifically to discuss “how to accelerate the transformation of districts and schools to personalized, competency-based, blended learning models.”

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/03/19/new-free-guide-offers-expert-advice-for-achieving-competency-based-ed.aspx

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Building University-Wide IT Accessibility

March 26th, 2015

by David Raths, Campus Technology

While many higher ed institutions focus mostly on Web accessibility or rely on a disability resources center to serve students in need, Temple University has ramped up its accessibility efforts across the board. Here’s how.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/03/18/building-university-wide-it-accessibility.aspx

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The Secret Is the Blend

March 26th, 2015

By Tanya Joosten, Inside Higher Ed

Blended learning allows us to better meet the needs of students. It provides them flexibility in their lives since they don’t have to come to campus as much through instructors’ effective use of technology to facilitate learning activities appropriate for the online medium. For instance, one can use the online environment to deliver content rather than f2f lecture, which is partly why flipped instruction attracted new attention. Most importantly, many would claim that blended learning is more effective than f2f or online because you have the luxury of both worlds, f2f and online. Hence, we hear blended learning is the “best of best worlds” quite often around our circles. Research has documented blended as the more effective mode of delivery (e.g., Means,Toyama, Murphy, Bakia, & Jones, 2009). Furthermore, for other instructors, programs, and institutions who are reluctant to make the move online or have no need to meet the needs of students at a distance but feel the train of the future is leaving the station without them; blended instruction feels like the safe alternative that is in-line with their campus culture.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/higher-ed-beta/secret-blend

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Britannica® and Merriam-Webster® Announce Free English Learning App and Site for Spanish Speakers

March 25th, 2015

by Merriam-Webster

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Inc. are pleased to announce the launch of Nglish—a free English language learning app and site designed especially for Spanish speakers. In addition to full bilingual text translation, Nglish offers a unique and tailored learning experience that allows users to learn the words they want to learn, on their own schedule, wherever they are. Nglish includes a comprehensive Spanish-English dictionary with hundreds of thousands of example sentences in English, synonyms, and audio pronunciations by native speakers. Word and sentence translation is available from Spanish to English and English to Spanish. Automatic language detection makes translation fast and easy, with one single search box for both languages.

http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/-britannicareg-merriam-websterreg-announce-free-english-learning-app-/2015/03/18/8161241.htm

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Using Voxer to Streamline School Communication

March 25th, 2015

by Alejandro Rivera, Edutopia

Voxer is described as a free app that combines the best of voice, text, and photo messages into a high-tech walkie-talkie, creating a powerful, modern, personal and team messaging tool. As the administrative team at Northern Parkway Elementary School in Uniondale, New York, we’ve found that Voxer has served as a simple yet effective way to improve the following administrative practices.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/using-voxer-streamline-school-communication-alejandro-rivera

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From home to Huntsman: Wharton’s online course offerings will draw MBA applicants

March 25th, 2015

By BRYN FERGUSON, Daily Pennsylvanian

Taking Wharton classes online may not earn Coursera students a degree, but it may draw them to Huntsman Hall. Wharton has recently expanded its offerings of Massive Open Online Courses on Coursera with the introduction of the Business Foundations Specialization. The program combines the introductory business classes that were released in 2013 with a new Capstone Project that users complete after successfully finishing the Foundations classes. The top 50 students will have their application fees to the Wharton MBA program waived and, if accepted into Wharton, the top five students will be granted a $20,000 scholarship. “We are hoping someday we can have sponsors to increase the size of the grant,” said Managing Director of the Innovation Group Don Huesman.

http://www.thedp.com/article/2015/03/wharton-expands-online-course-offerings-on-coursera

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