Why Virtual Reality Has the Potential to Transform Education as We Know It

January 7th, 2017

BY MATTHEW LYNCH, Edvocate

Virtual reality has been on the radar since Morton Heilig’s Sensorama in the 1950s, and head mounted versions of the technology were even around in the 1960s. But it wasn’t until recently that its use has become less of a novelty and more of a commonality. Console games and smartphone adapters have brought the potential of virtual reality into the lives of everyday people. And soon, that technology will enter the classroom. Now, the big question is how these emerging technologies will transform education as we know it. While that question might not be fully answered for some time, it is easy to see the potential.

http://www.thetechedvocate.org/why-virtual-reality-has-the-potential-to-transform-education-as-we-know-it/

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2016: The Year That Deep Learning Took Over the Internet

January 7th, 2017

by Cade Metz, Wired

Neural networks are the machine learning models that identify faces in the photos posted to your Facebook news feed. They also recognize the questions you ask your Android phone, and they help run the Google search engine. Modeled loosely on the network of neurons in the human brain, these sweeping mathematical models learn all these things by analyzing vast troves of digital data. Google trains these neural networks by feeding them massive collections of existing translations. Some of this training data is flawed, including lower quality translations from previous versions of the Google Translate app. But it also includes translations from human experts, and this buoys the quality of the training data as a whole. That ability to overcome imperfection is part of deep learning’s apparent magic: given enough data, even if some is flawed, it can train to a level well beyond those flaws.

https://www.wired.com/2016/12/2016-year-deep-learning-took-internet/

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Music training speeds up brain development in children

January 6th, 2017

by Assal Habibi, University of Southern California

Over the past two decades, several investigators have reported differences in the brain and behavior of musicians compared to nonmusicians. Music training has been found to be related to better language and mathematical skills, higher IQ and overall greater academic achievement. Also, differences between musicians and nonmusicians have been found in areas of the brain related to hearing and movement, among others. Our findings suggest that music training during childhood, even for a period as brief as two years, can accelerate brain development and sound processing. We believe that this may benefit language acquisition in children given that developing language and reading skills engage similar brain areas. This can particularly benefit at-risk children in low socioeconomic status neighborhoods who experience more difficulties with language development.

http://www.theedadvocate.org/music-training-speeds-brain-development-children/

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Building an App Store for Learning Tools

January 6th, 2017

By David Raths, Campus Technology

Rather than rely on a single LMS to manage all aspects of teaching and learning on its 17 campuses, the University of North Carolina system created an app store that gives faculty a chance to experiment with cutting-edge tech. Matthew Rascoff has a name for the enterprise learning management system: a “Swiss Army Knife of mediocrity.” As vice president of learning technology and innovation at the University of North Carolina General Administration, which oversees 17 university campuses with almost 225,000 students, Rascoff has observed that the most innovative faculty members at his institution use the LMS the least. Many professors working on experimental efforts hate the LMS and have sidestepped it, he noted.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/12/21/building-an-app-store-for-learning-tools.aspx

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How to Solve 6 of the Biggest Classroom Problems with EdTech

January 6th, 2017

By Matthew Lynch, The Tech Edvocate

Some of the biggest problems in education occur in the classroom and consequently, are issues that need to be sorted out by teachers. These issues broadly fall into two categories: student problems and parental problems. Did you know that EdTech can help to resolve many common in-classroom problems? No matter what type of problems you are facing in the classroom; EdTech can assist in the following ways.

http://www.thetechedvocate.org/how-to-solve-6-of-the-biggest-classroom-problems-with-edtech/

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Discovery Ed Adds Virtual Reality to Civil War Lessons

January 5th, 2017

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

Although Discovery Education is known for hosting virtual field trips, the company has now begun to build virtual reality (VR) experiences into its digital content. Recently, the company announced the addition of three new VR components to its social studies products. Both Discovery Education Streaming Plus and Techbook will use content from a new, six-part American Heroes Channel series, “Blood and Fury: America’s Civil War” to enable students to explore Civil War themes through the eyes of soldiers. In “Desertion,” students will learn why soldiers deserted before they reached the battle and what could happen to them when they abandoned their posts.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/12/22/discovery-ed-adds-virtual-reality-to-civil-war-lessons.aspx

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What does a flipped classroom look like at each grade level?

January 5th, 2017

by AARON SAMS AND JUSTIN AGLIO, eSchool News

Although the term “flipped learning” is almost universally recognized, teachers apply it in many forms, in all grades levels, and in various school environments. If you are a teacher using flipped learning, the chances are that you share some similarities with other teachers who flip—as well as some differences. However, the major commonality among all flipped learning teachers is that every one of them is creating personal learning experiences for each student. We asked three flipped teachers — one from an elementary school, one from a junior high, and one from a high school — to describe what learning looks like in their world.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2016/12/19/10-flipped-classroom/

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New partnerships are helping support women as they pursue STEM careers

January 5th, 2017

BY LAURA ASCIONE DEVANEY,eCampus News

Women are sorely lacking in the IT industry, and universities are taking notice and taking action with an influx of trending partnership-based programs designed to help get women in STEM–and help them stay there. When it comes to STEM, many women report experiencing negative stereotypes in class, and many say they lack female role models. Two-thirds of women in a recent CDW-G survey said they struggled with confidence. The survey included 300 women who are current STEM college students, recent graduates, and those who chose to leave technology, science and math programs. Forty-eight percent of survey respondents said being a woman in STEM made their higher education experience harder, and 46 percent said they considered switching fields in college.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/stem/trend-women-university-stem/

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4 Ways to Carve Out Study Time for Online Courses

January 4th, 2017

By Allie Mitchell, Uloop

Online classes have their downsides of course. When it comes to online classes you need to be able to have a way to remember your assignments. That is quite possibly the number one downfall of students who take online courses — they simply forget that things are due or that the window to take a test is closing soon. Setting reminders for yourself would always be a good thing to do, even if you aren’t taking online classes. Online courses do pose a challenge for students, though. They tend to have students thinking that it is like taking the easy way out of taking regular classes. In reality, online courses can actually be much harder and require a little bit more attention. You don’t have someone teaching you face to face every other day and ALL of the work is truly on you. There may not be much buffer in your grade when it comes to online classes and usually courses that can be done from home usually require a good bit of writing.

http://www.uloop.com/news/view.php/223061/4-Ways-to-Carve-Out-Study-Time-for-Online-Courses

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Survey: Student success tops institutional priorities for 2017

January 4th, 2017

by Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

A new survey from University Business shows that an overwhelming number of college leaders have worked to strengthen student success capacity in the last year, and that it will remain among their top institutional priorities in 2017. The survey reveals student success among participants’ top four priorities for the upcoming year, with specific emphasis on recruiting and retaining low-income students, boosting graduation rates, increasing financial literacy and providing career development services for graduates. These areas outpaced controlling institutional costs and philanthropic development among more than 60 presidents and provosts from colleges around the country.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/survey-student-success-tops-institutional-priorities-for-2017/433035/

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What Does a ‘Modern Classroom’ Look Like—and What Should Educators Leave Behind?

January 4th, 2017

By Mary Jo Madda, EdSurge

Erin Bown-Anderson: As far as a modern classroom goes, I would say that the biggest factor… has to do with mindset. It has to do with who is controlling the information in the classroom. Truly embracing student agency. Amplifying under-represented voices is incredibly important, and technology helps us to do that. To me, the modern classroom really is a shifting of roles and responsibilities and control.

John Phillips: I think there are two key things that I hope to share as best practices for you all today. First, a modern classroom is actually messy. It’s loud and it’s fun. The other thing that I see that is starting to really cascade around the globe is related to teachers. You may peek in the room, and you may not be able to see them.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-12-21-what-does-a-modern-classroom-look-like-and-what-should-educators-leave-behind

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Colleges announce tech trends for 2017

January 3rd, 2017

by University Business

Campus technology leaders report significant new investment to come this year in the area of academic tech tools such as lecture capture, AV equipment and active classroom initiatives. It’s the third year in a row academic technology led the list of top significant investments in a UB survey. But while investment in internet/Wi-Fi infrastructure has been the second largest spending area in past years, network/data security grabbed that slot for 2017. Nearly three in 10 respondents say their institution suffered a cyberattack in the past year. Cloud computing/storage tied for second in anticipated spending for 2017, followed by internet/Wi-Fi.

https://www.universitybusiness.com/article/academic-tools-will-top-tech-spending-again-2017

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Interpret the Future with Analytics and Machine Learning

January 3rd, 2017

by ZAHL LIMBUWALA, Information Management Online

What’s the average click-through rate of our email campaigns? How did our company website perform this month? These questions show how familiar we have become with analytics in our lives. Algorithms, sensors and smarter data analysis enable us all to monitor our health, assess personal productivity and measure professional performance. Companies such as Amazon have long been analyzing our online and offline behavior, improving our shopping experiences and better understanding their sales. In the workplace, business intelligence and analytics applications are transforming every department.

http://www.information-management.com/news/data-management/interpret-the-future-with-analytics-and-machine-learning-10030549-1.html

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STEM TO STEAM: MORE THAN JUST A GOOD IDEA

January 3rd, 2017

BY MATTHEW LYNCH, Tech Edvocate

Why Should Schools Transition from STEM to STEAM? The answer is a ‘no brainer.’ Sure, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are basic academic subjects and are important aspects of many careers, but they are subjects that favor the left, or analytical, side of the brain. It is the brain’s right side that adds the ‘A,’ or Arts. to STEAM. This is the side of the brain that deals with spatial awareness, visual imagery, art, music, and creativity – all attributes that support and enhance the application of STEM in the real world. Allen McConnell, in an article in Psychology Today, contends that “creation of strong and effective neural networks is a product of more than just [left brain] focused … lessons.” We need both. A study released on October 4, 2013, for example, found Albert Einstein’s brilliance may be linked to the fact that his brain hemispheres were extremely well-connected. The ability to use right brain creativity and left brain logic simultaneously may have been what made Einstein a genius.

http://www.thetechedvocate.org/stem-to-steam-more-than-just-a-good-idea/

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How to Teach High-School Students to Spot Fake News

January 2nd, 2017

By Chris Berdik, Slate

Northport, N.Y., High School seniors look for examples of direct evidence and verified information in news stories. High school seniors in Northport, New York, look for examples of direct evidence and verified information in news stories. When the AP United States history students at Aragon High School in San Mateo, California, scanned the professionally designed pages of minimumwage.com, most concluded that it was a solid, unbiased source of facts and analysis. They noted the menu of research reports, graphics and videos, and the “About” page describing the site as a project of a “nonprofit research organization” called the Employment Policies Institute. But then their teacher, Will Colglazier, demonstrated how a couple more exploratory clicks—critically, beyond the site itself—revealed the Employment Policies Institute is considered by the Center for Media and Democracy to be a front group created by lobbyists for the restaurant and hotel industries.

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2016/12/media_literacy_courses_help_high_school_students_spot_fake_news.html

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Pepperdine U to Establish International Network of Makerspace Clubs

January 2nd, 2017

By Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

A four-year project at Pepperdine University will work to establish a network of 12 makerspace clubs in the United States, Europe and Africa. Led by Eric Hamilton, professor and interim associate dean of education at the university, the effort received a $1.72 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, a funding program that “seeks to advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; and advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments,” according to the NSF website.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/12/20/pepperdine-u-to-establish-international-network-of-makerspace-clubs.aspx

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What’s Working: Harnessing the Power of Information to Improve Education

January 2nd, 2017

by Allan Golston, President, U.S. Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Forward movement in education, like any type of progress, happens in waves. And as we approach the end of the year, I’ve been thinking a lot about how access to good data and smart uses of it can lead us to the next wave of progress.We are fortunate to live in an era awash in information of all kinds. Our challenge is to ensure we are best utilizing that information to close gaps in education and help all students succeed. We’re inspired and encouraged by the work our partners, leading institutions and programs, and educators have done throughout 2016 to make information accessible, actionable, and relevant to improving education for all students, and we look forward to continuing these efforts in 2017 and beyond.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allan-golston-/whats-working-harnessing_b_13721372.html

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The Blurry Definitions of Adaptive vs. Personalized Learning

January 1st, 2017

By A.J. O’Connell, Campus Technology

In June of 2015, leaders in adaptive learning hashed out the definitions of personalized and adaptive learning at a summit in Santa Fe, NM, hosted by WCET (the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s Cooperative for Educational Technologies). And now, more than a year later, the adaptive learning community has moved on. The terms have been defined: “personalized learning” is any customization of learning by an instructor, while “adaptive” refers to technology that monitors student progress in a course and uses that data to modify instruction in real time. The formal discussion of what those terms mean, at least among experts, is over.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/12/20/the-blurry-definitions-of-adaptive-vs-personalized-learning.aspx

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Global Interactive Whiteboard Market to Grow 7% Through 2020

January 1st, 2017

By Richard Chang, Campus Technology

The global interactive whiteboard (IWB) market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of almost 7 percent from 2016 through 2020, according to a recent report issued by London-based tech market research firm Technavio. The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global IWB market for 2016-2020. To determine the market size, the study considered revenue generated from the pre-K–12 and higher education sectors of the market.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/12/20/global-interactive-whiteboard-market-to-grow-7-percent-through-2020.aspx

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U of Charleston Outfits Innovation Center with LCD Video Walls

January 1st, 2017

By Sri Ravipati, Campus Technology

The university’s Innovation Center, which opened earlier this month, aims to enhance the sports viewing experience with attention-grabbing, easy-to-use LCD displays from Advanced, an audiovisual and collaborative communications company based in Orlando, FL. Advanced installed two Planar LCD video walls, one of which hangs as a 6- by 1-panel welcome banner at the building’s entrance. The other serves as the 3- by 3-panel central display fixture in an “entertainment hub” space, according to a press release. Additionally, the company installed a Crestron Control System that allows staff to easily control the displays from a 7-inch touchpanel located at the center’s reception area

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/12/20/u-of-charleston-outfits-innovation-center-with-lcd-video-walls.aspx

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If the U.S. Won’t Pay Its Teachers, China Will

December 31st, 2016

by Bloomberg News

VIPKid has raised $125 million and signed up 50,000 kids to study English, math and science online. Cindy Mi leans forward on a couch in her sun-filled Beijing office to explain how she first got interested in education. She loved English so much as a child that she spent her lunch money on books and magazines to practice. By 15, she was good enough that she began to tutor other students. At 17, she dropped out of high school to start a language-instruction company with her uncle. Today, Mi is 33 and founder of a startup that aims to give Chinese kids the kind of education American children receive in top U.S. schools. Called VIPKid, the company matches Chinese students aged five to 12 with predominantly North American instructors to study English, math, science and other subjects. Classes take place online, typically for two or three 25-minute sessions each week.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-19/if-the-u-s-won-t-pay-its-teachers-china-will

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