UT Austin Offers Teachers Free Computer Science Certification Course

June 19th, 2016

by Julia McCandless, Center for Digital Education

When we think about our greatest resources, we often forget one of the most critical assets to our nation’s future development: teachers. As demands for technology continue to rise, there is an increasing need for teachers and educators in all facets of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). To address this growing demand, the University of Texas at Austin Center for STEM Education is launching a free online computer science certification preparation course to drive professional development opportunities for teachers across the state of Texas. Designed for teachers who have prior experience in programming or coding, the course covers key topics across software design and development, programming language, and technology applications. Once educators complete the course, they are eligible to take the certification test to teach computer science to grades 8-12.

http://www.centerdigitaled.com/higher-ed/UT-Austin-Offers-Teachers-Free-Computer-Science-Certification-Course.html

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Survey Says, It’s the Dawn of a New Era in Professional Learning

June 19th, 2016

By Lisa Schmucki, EdSurge

Ask school leaders what is needed to help teachers integrate technology into teaching and learning, and they’ll tell you that teachers need more professional learning and support. At a recent Consortium for School Networking’s (CoSN) conference, educational consultant and retired superintendent Gabe Soumakian summed it up concisely, “It’s not about the tech, it’s about the professional learning.” We’re at the dawn of a new era in professional learning, one brought on by the creation of social networking, content-sharing, and collaborative technology. Providing teachers—and all educators—with the professional learning they need is a daunting task. Online professional development may hold the key.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-06-13-survey-says-it-s-the-dawn-of-a-new-era-in-professional-learning-plus-6-favorite-pd-resources-for-teachers

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Machine learning could help companies react faster to ransomware

June 19th, 2016

By Lucian Constantin, CSO Online

File-encrypting ransomware programs have become one of the biggest threats to corporate networks worldwide and are constantly evolving by adding increasingly sophisticated detection-evasion and propagation techniques. In a world where any self-respecting malware author makes sure that his creations bypass antivirus detection before releasing them, enterprise security teams are forced to focus on improving their response times to infections rather than trying to prevent them all, which is likely to be a losing game. Exabeam, a provider of user and entity behavior analytics, believes that machine-learning algorithms can significantly improve ransomware detection and reaction time, preventing such programs from spreading inside the network and affecting a larger number of systems.

http://www.csoonline.com/article/3082657/security/machine-learning-could-help-companies-react-faster-to-ransomware.html

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MIT graphene breakthrough could make chips one million times faster

June 18th, 2016

By Liam Tung, ZD Net

US Army-funded researchers at MIT believe an optical equivalent of a “sonic boom” created using graphene could make chips a million times faster than they are today. Researchers at MIT and several other universities have discovered that graphene can be used to slow light down below the speed of electrons to create an intense beam of light. The researchers call the effect an “optic boom”, since it is similar to the sonic boom caused by shock waves when a jet breaks the speed of sound. In graphene, an electron “spews out plasmons” when it moves faster than the speed of the trapped light. The researchers believe this new way of converting electricity into light could pave the way for light-based circuits in ultra-compact computing devices.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/mit-graphene-breakthrough-could-make-chips-one-million-times-faster/?ftag=TRE17cfd61&bhid=21336272792489785584654629872153

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Campus rape stats rankings stir controversy

June 18th, 2016

By Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

The Washington Post recently compiled a statistical ranking of colleges and universities based upon the number of reported on-campus rapes filed in 2014. The compilation suggests that a high number of reported rapes, with Brown University and the University of Connecticut topping the list with 43 reported cases, could indicate that resources are in action to encourage the reporting of sexual assault crimes and proper reporting to federal crime databases managed by the U.S. Department of Education. Public safety and sexual assault researchers say the ranking creates a false picture of campuses being unsafe, does not factor for incidents which occur off campus and does not separate “reported assaults” versus “actual assaults.”

http://www.educationdive.com/news/campus-rape-stats-rankings-stir-controversy/420831/

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Ed Dept targets predatory, financially risky colleges

June 18th, 2016
by Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

U.S. Department of Education officials announced massive monitoring and sanctioning guidelines for colleges and universities posting negative outcomes in student loan defaults and employability. Schools deemed to be “fraudulent” or “financially risky” may have to pay a portion of Title IV funds to the DOE to cover student loan disbursements, will be required to publicly disclose and to inform prospective students of their shaky financial status, and may now be subject to class action lawsuits filed by students and graduates who deem their degrees to be “worthless.” Monitoring will be tied to accreditation status, lawsuits filed by individuals or government, and public information.
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Worldwide PC Market Expected to Slump in 2016 and 2017

June 17th, 2016

By Richard Chang, THE Journal

Worldwide PC shipments are expected to decline by 73 percent year over year in 2016, according to a recent forecast by the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) “Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.” The outlook continues to predict progressively smaller declines through 2017, followed by stable volume in 2018. However, growth in 2016 is now expected to be about 2 percent below earlier projections, as conditions have been weaker than expected. Growth in the first quarter of 2016 came in at -12.5 percent, below IDC’s forecast of -11.3 percent. Impediments such as weak currencies, depressed commodity prices, political uncertainty and delayed projects continue to constrain shipments.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/06/13/pc-market-expected-to-slump-in-2016-and-2017.aspx

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The Great Wall of Collaboration

June 17th, 2016

By Jessi Toups, Karen D. Owens, THE Journal

Two educators tell stories of how using a widescreen interactive learning system gets students excited about sharing their work with their classmates. Every 21st-century teacher wants to encourage her students to collaborate. There are a slew of theories about how best to get students working together, but one key catalyst to collaboration is often overlooked: simple physical space. Here, two educators recount how their teaching and their students’ learning changed when they all started using a 102-inch-wide interactive learning system.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/06/08/the-great-wall-of-collaboration.aspx

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MITx Grant Program selects innovative digital learning projects

June 17th, 2016

by Lisa Eichel, MIT

New projects emphasize using digital methods not possible in traditional classes, leveraging research-based teaching practices, and measuring student learning. The MIT Office of Digital Learning (ODL) recently announced the recipients of its Spring 2016 MITx Grant Program. The program funds the development and operation of online modules that leverage the edX platform for both global and residential audiences, in support of the digital learning strategies of MIT schools and departments.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/ed-tech-leadership/mitx-grant-program-selects-innovative-digital-learning-projects/

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Free, Online Summer Learning Camp Launched for Kids and Families

June 16th, 2016

by National Center for Families Learning

The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), with support from Better World Books, launched a new edition of Camp WonderopolisTM, the free online summer-learning destination, at Camp.Wonderopolis.org. The virtual camp provides families with 42 interactive learning modules. Questions like “How Much Blood Is in Your Body?” and “Why Do Bananas Bruise?” come equipped with explanations, vocabulary words, and easy at-home experiments that allow for imaginative conversations and deeper exploration designed to improve background knowledge, reading comprehension, and vocabulary skills.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/free-online-summer-learning-camp-launched-for-kids-and-families-300283554.html

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Are effective retention strategies dependent upon ed tech?

June 16th, 2016

By Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Ed Tech Magazine reports the six-year cohort entering college in 2009 graduated just 53% of its students, a number which demonstrates the need for effective retention strategies, perhaps centered around tech solutions.According to a recent Eduventures survey, 60% of responding institutions said technology was a part of their retention strategy, with more than 80% using an external resource. But only 38% of respondents indicated satisfaction with the technology’s help in improving completion rates. Institutions have a responsibility to work more closely with IT in retention tech implementation, but vendors should look to partner more effectively with institutions in developing retention solutions.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/are-effective-retention-strategies-dependent-upon-ed-tech/420772/

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Grad says online learning better prepared her for college

June 16th, 2016

By Wes Beckstead, Mail Tribune

For many high school seniors, this time of year can create mixed emotions of excitement and apprehension — as they close one chapter of their lives and open another. That’s why it’s nice to hear that our online public school, Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), has given many of our students the tools they need to succeed in life. The other day we heard from Taylor Ambrosio Wood, formerly of Ashland and a member of the ORCA graduating class of 2011. She was able to graduate from our school a year early at age 17 because she was able to work at her own pace and move ahead of her peers in required credits. When it came to education and music, Taylor followed her own beat. At 9 years old, she started playing a Zimbabwean marimba and her musical interests grew from there. Last year, she received her bachelor’s degree in music from the Boston Conservatory and next month, at 22 years old, Taylor hopes to finish her master’s degree in Spain. Research shows graduates who’ve experienced online education are often better prepared for college.

http://www.mailtribune.com/article/20160612/OPINION/160619919

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Teaching Kids to Code and the Digital Divide

June 15th, 2016

By Ryann Vargas, NBC Bay Area

Thousands of kids and teens are being taught coding skills at public schools and private academies across the Bay Area. Yet these skills are out of reach for a number of bay area kids, creating a digital divide. Reading, writing and arithmetic used to be the three basics of a solid education. But in this age, more kids are learning to code as well. Thousands of kids and teens are being taught coding skills at public schools and private academies across the Bay Area. “Coding is an essential, basic technique that teaches kids how to think and how to problem solve,” said Wayne Teng, co-founder of The Coder School. The school has three locations in Cupertino, Palo Alto and San Mateo. “We definitely think it’s a very essential and basic skill.”

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Coding-The-Digital-Divide-382410061.html

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The Top Benefits of Online Learning

June 15th, 2016

by SWNS

In recent years, online learning has rapidly grown as an effective alternative to attending classes at a physical school, college or university. Thanks to advances in Internet technology such as cloud computing, it has become much easier for students to complete their courses solely online. In fact, as online learning has grown in popularity, more and more students agree that this alternative method of study is actually more effective and better than traditional methods. If you are considering furthering your career and want to take classes to gain extra qualifications, read on to learn more about why online learning could be the best choice for you.

http://swns.com/news/the-top-benefits-of-online-learning-73562/

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When I Buy Edtech Products, Our Teachers Don’t Use Them… What Do I Do?

June 15th, 2016

By Jin-Soo Huh, EdSurge

As the school year winds down, some educators have spent numerous hours finding the right online products for the 2016-2017 school year by taking demos from vendors, piloting programs, and soliciting feedback. Others went to a conference, saw something shiny, and bought it for their entire school or district. But, even with a significant dedication of time and funds, many of these product licenses will not come close to hitting their teacher or student usage goals. In a study of 49 schools, Lea(R)n Trials found that 37% of purchased online literacy and math program licenses were never even activated; an additional 28% of licenses were activated, but usage goals were never hit. In fact, only 5% of users “fully” hit all usage goals, as shown below.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-06-08-when-i-buy-edtech-products-our-teachers-don-t-use-them-what-do-i-do

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Gates Foundation provides snapshot of today’s American college student

June 14th, 2016

By Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation offers a statistical profile of college students in America and includes details that may surprise some administrators about who they are serving. The report found 62% of students are working full- or part-time while pursuing their degrees, and nearly as many (59%) are commuting to class from off-campus residences. Two-thirds of all college students are full-time, non-Pell Grant eligible students who attend four-year institutions. The number of students who exclusively take courses online (13%) may also be surprising to some.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/gates-foundation-provides-snapshot-of-todays-american-college-student/420587/

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Fitness Craze: Streaming workout classes online

June 14th, 2016

by Leigh Spann, WFLA

“85 percent of people in this country will never step foot in a gym and cannot afford the cost in the average fitness industry,” said Keith Kochner, Co-founder of LiveStreamingFitness.com and Chief Visionary Officer. “What they’ve done very well is that they’ve leveraged the part of the population that can afford to pay the average cost,” said Kochner. He and his company saw an opportunity to bring much-needed fitness and health resources to the rest of the country. For $9.90 a month, LiveStreamingFitness.com offers various workout classes, nutritional education and cooking demonstrations for an entire family. You just log in and see which classes you want to take and when. The classes are taught on what seems to be a one-on-one basis. It can even be interactive. You can write a comment or question on the wall of the site, and a producer will relay that to the trainer who can answer your question.

http://wfla.com/2016/06/10/fitness-craze-streaming-workout-classes-online/

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Classroom tech may become question of what to wear

June 14th, 2016

vy Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

New research suggests wearable technology may grow by 46% in the next four years, and that colleges and universities may be among the largest consumer group for the technology in an effort to bolster student living and learning experiences. Schools like Oral Roberts University currently require first-year students to purchase and wear Fitbit devices to track fitness and activity levels. The school uses the synced data to build profiles of student academic, personal achievement. The projected boom in wearable technology presents additional challenges for campus IT officials, with potential threats to network security and data privacy increasing with the number of personal enterprise devices on campus.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/classroom-tech-may-become-question-of-what-to-wear/420584/

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Moodle Releases K-12 Edition of LMS

June 13th, 2016

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

Moodle has introduced new fee-based packaging versions of its cloud-based learning management system intended specifically for K-12 schools. Moodle for School comes in three plans, with basic variations on the number of users licensed to access the cloud service and the amount of file upload space. Moodle is an open source learning platform with functionality that can be developed with “plug-ins.” These are used like blocks that work together to create a custom version of the application.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/06/02/moodle-releases-k12-edition-of-lms.aspx

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TechSmith Updates Snagit with GIF, Panoramic Features

June 13th, 2016

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

TechSmith has updated its inexpensive screen, video and audio capture tool, Snagit. Version 13 for Windows and version 4 for Mac add personalization capabilities, a panoramic feature for capturing images that go beyond a single display, new tools in the editor and the ability to create animated GIF files. The latest releases give users the ability to configure many aspects of the utility’s functionality, including how captures are depicted and how the user toolbar is laid out. A “panoramic” feature lets the user capture an entire web page, large Excel spreadsheet or other tall or wide displays that stretch beyond what can be viewed on a single screen.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/06/09/techsmith-updates-snagit-with-gif-panoramic-features.aspx

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Ed Tech Companies Examine Impact of Digital Content in Personalized Learning

June 13th, 2016

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

An education technology accelerator is working with an ed tech company to collaborate on a project to understand how teachers and students interact with digital content and whether that personalization makes a difference on student engagement. Jefferson Education announced the deal with Fishtree, which includes a financial investment. Jefferson Ed was created by the foundation that supports the University of Virginia Curry School of Education with the intention of identifying and helping to scale promising education innovations. The accelerator provides mentoring, analysis, networking opportunities, access to financing and evaluation of products and services to companies in the education sector at the “growth” stage. Support also includes connections with researchers embarking on relevant education research projects.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/06/09/ed-tech-companies-examine-impact-of-digital-content-in-personalized-learning.aspx

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