Tuscaloosa City Schools to get online courses for some middle and high school students

May 13th, 2015

by Jamon Smith, Tuscaloosa News

In April, system leaders signed a one-year $50,000 agreement with Edmentum Online Learning Programs for Educators to provide online courses for students. According to its website, Edmentum is a leading provider of online learning programs designed to drive student achievement for academic and career success. The agreement allows students to take online classes in core subject areas, advanced placement, electives, career technical, remedial courses and standardized test preparation. All online courses will be taught by Alabama-certified teachers. Though the selection of available courses are abundant, all students won’t be able to take online classes.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20150505/NEWS/150509843/1007?Title=Tuscaloosa-City-Schools-to-get-online-courses-for-some-middle-and-high-school-students

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3-D Fossil Scans, Virtual Visits To Archeological Sites And Simulated Excavations Are Highlights In Wellesley edX Course

May 13th, 2015

by Wellesley College

Wellesley biological anthropologist Adam Van Arsdale, who instructs Anthropology 207X, said the virtual fossil library is a new course feature that excites him most. “Students will have access to a library of 3D fossil scans, giving them–and me–greater ability to examine and compare specimens we are discussing in the course of the class, as well as independently explore fossil morphological variability,” he said. Van Arsdale, associate professor of anthropology at Wellesley, developed the course and is teaching it for the second time. Anthropology 207X, which was first offered in September 2013 and has been available in the edX archive since, has welcomed over 22,000 learners. “One of the things that most amazed and surprised me about the course’s first run was the extent to which some students organized face-to-face meetings and events with other students in the course,” Van Arsdale said. “When people think of online learning they often associate it with one person sitting alone with their computer, but it does not have to be that way.”

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/3-d-fossil-scans-virtual-visits-to-archeological-sites-and-simulated-excavations-are-highlights-in-wellesley-edx-course-300077274.html

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What’s The Secret To Effective Learning?

May 13th, 2015

by Nick Morgan, Forbes

What’s the secret to effective learning? A recent study by a group of neuroscientists from the University of California, the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University found that the less you work your brain when learning, perhaps, the better. The researchers studied subjects learning a simple game over a six-week period. Those who used the part of the brain least associated with conscious planning, the frontal cortex, did the best. It’s better, it turns out, just to practice and not over-think what you’re doing. You learn faster. The results were published in the journal Nature Neuroscience recently, and one of the researchers noted, “It’s the people who can turn off the communication to these parts of their brain (the frontal cortex) the quickest who have the steepest drop-off in their completion times. It seems like those other parts are getting in the way for the slower learners. It’s almost like they’re trying too hard.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2015/05/05/whats-the-secret-to-effective-learning/

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Arkansas launches $13M school broadband upgrade

May 12th, 2015

By Colin Wood, eSchool News

Arkansas started investing in technology for its K-12 system in the early 1990s through the development of the Arkansas Public School Computer Network. The network linked schools together, but in 2015, broadband internet connectivity is lacking. Recently elected Gov. Asa Hutchinson recognized a need for its students to get connected and the state is now launching an upgrade–totaling about $13 million annually–to its fiber infrastructure that will bolster education efforts and provide a stepping stone for further broadband development in the state.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/05/04/arkansas-broadband-upgrade-958/

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University develops cyber security curriculum for middle, high schools

May 12th, 2015

By Julie Ferrell, Ames Tribune

Free program aims to increase students’ awareness about security threats. Researchers at Iowa State University are hoping to bring the subject of cyber security to grade school classrooms. The team is releasing the nation’s first computer literacy curriculum aimed at middle and high school students, and it is expected to be ready as early as this fall. Teachers were introduced to the free program during a workshop at the IT-Olympics computer competition on ISU’s campus.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/05/05/university-cyber-security-784/

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Quiz Scores Go up When Students Feel Physics

May 12th, 2015

By University of Chicago

Students who physically experience scientific concepts understand them more deeply and score better on science tests, according to a new study. Brain scans showed that students who took a hands-on approach to learning had activation in sensory and motor-related parts of the brain when they later thought about concepts such as angular momentum and torque. Activation of these brain areas was associated with better quiz performance by college physics students who participated in the research.

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1344919-quiz-scores-students-feel-physics/

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Lawmakers eye options for virtual education

May 11th, 2015

by NOEL K. GALLAGHER, Portland Press Herald

Proposed bills would establish fee-based or free access to online learning resources for Maine’s teachers and students. State legislators are considering various ways to offer online school resources to Maine teachers and students, from fee-based individual courses to creating an entirely state-run virtual academy that would be open to all Maine students for free. “We have a lot of poorer districts that can’t afford to provide a range of courses,” said Rep. Brian Hubbell, D-Bar Harbor, who is sponsoring L.D. 391, one of two virtual education bills up for public hearings Thursday before the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. “This might be a less expensive way for those districts to offer that content. In some cases, it might be accessing a course for several hundred dollars as opposed to hiring a full-time staff person.”

http://www.pressherald.com/2015/05/04/lawmakers-eye-options-for-virtual-education/

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Has the Flipped Classroom already become the norm?

May 11th, 2015

by Rebecca Paddick, Education Technology

The first well-documented flipped classroom rang into session only back in 2007, when a pair of chemistry teachers began looking for a way to provide lecture materials for students who had to miss class. Using simple screen recording software to capture their PowerPoint slides, the two then uploaded the recordings to YouTube for every student in the class to review. Right away the two teachers noticed the tenor of the classroom had shifted. Students came to class prepared with a better understanding of the day’s material. Right away, class time began to shift away from passive lecturing and toward increased student interaction and greater discussion of the details of the lesson and how the subject related to other lessons. In short order a new pedagogy was born — and its adoption throughout the world of education has been nothing short of astonishing.

http://edtechnology.co.uk/Article/has-the-flipped-classroom-already-become-the-norm

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UK’s Most Popular MOOC

May 11th, 2015

by Rebecca Paddick, Education Technology

The British Council’s Exploring English MOOC has so far received more sign-ups than any other online course on the FutureLearn platform. Chris Cavey, Open Learning Manager at the British Council, tells us the secret to its success. The British Council has been involved in English language teaching for more than 70 years and has very successful websites for learners and teachers that attract around five million users a month, so we already have a large online audience. We decided to make the course about UK culture as well as English language because we’re aware, from the work we do, of the huge interest in UK culture around the world. We also thought it was a good idea to focus on an area where everyone who joined the course would have something to share – their opinion about the UK and something about their own culture.

http://edtechnology.co.uk/Article/how-do-you-create-the-most-popular-mooc

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How 3 prominent universities are becoming video trailblazers

May 10th, 2015

By Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

How three institutions are championing collaboration through interactive and streaming video across the academic world. Integrate with your LMS, go mobile-friendly and, above all, make sure it’s user-friendly. These were just three common must-haves when implementing a video platform across campus, cited by three massive universities during Internet2’s 2015 Global Summit on the topic “Collaboration through interactive and streaming video across the academic world.” Purdue University, Arizona State University, and University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill all utilize different video platforms, but their basic requirements are the same: integrate with the university LMS, allow for all device, have a user-friendly structure, and allow for collaboration on campus and off-campus.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/technologies/university-video-internet2-281/

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South Carolina District Taps Partners To Launch Home Internet Access Pilot

May 10th, 2015

By Joshua Bolkan, THE Journal

Spartanburg School District Seven has teamed with a local housing authority and two private partners in a project that will provide home Internet access for students living in public housing. For two years, the district has been providing students in grades 3-12 iPads or MacBook Airs. Following a survey, the district estimated that half its students didn’t have home Internet access and began partnering with local organizations such as businesses and churches to provide Wi-Fi access in the community for those students. Some students, however, were not even able to access those locations. As a result, Spartanburg School District Seven, Spartanburg Housing Authority, Novatel Wireless and Kajeet have partnered to launch a pilot project that will “provide students in public housing with filtered Internet connectivity to access online textbooks, apps, emails, documents and Web sites, as well as communicate with their teachers,” according to a news release.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/05/01/south-carolina-district-taps-partners-to-launch-home-internet-access-pilot.aspx

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WiFi on Wheels Puts Two Districts on the Fast Track to 24/7 Access

May 10th, 2015

By Bridget McCrea, THE Journal

Internet-enabled school buses keep students connected on the road, in school parking lots and in their own neighborhoods. School buses used to serve one purpose: getting students to and from school. But driven by a mandate to provide Internet connectivity to all students, some creative districts have deployed mobile wireless technology to transform their buses into moving WiFi zones, stationary hotspots or both. Among the students at Coachella Valley Unified School District (CA), 24/7 Web access is not a given. According to Superintendent Darryl Adams, “Only about 60 percent of the student population has Internet access at home.” To solve the problem, he put his own spin on the concept of mobile learning. “They’re putting WiFi in cars now,” he said, “so I thought, ‘Why not put it on a school bus?’ ”

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/04/30/wifi-on-wheels.aspx

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Turn Your Students Into Data Sleuths With Geographic Information Systems

May 9th, 2015

By Brittni Brown, Edudemic

Geographic information systems are essentially large databases that are able to connect entered data to a geographical reference point. More than that though, the program can be used to display data visually, which allows scientists and GIS specialists to quite literally see connections that were previously hidden in the data. It isn’t just a classroom tool used to aid in teaching the subject matter; GIS professionals can be found in almost every modern industry ranging from police departments using map data to find crime hot spots, to epidemiologists tracking diseases like Ebola in Africa, to insurance companies determining natural disaster risk. Integrating GIS into a STEM curriculum enables students to learn professional job skills before ever graduating.

http://www.edudemic.com/data-sleuths-geographic-systems/

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The Four Negative Sides of Technology

May 9th, 2015

By Pamela DeLoatch, Edudemic

We live in a high tech world—with high tech classrooms. We embrace the benefits of using iPads during class, integrating tweets during presentations, and teaching students while using smart TVs. We know the many benefits of incorporating technology while teaching, such as adding diversity to lessons, increasing student interaction, and to bringing new perspectives and knowledge to the class. But there can be a negative side resulting from inappropriate or overuse of technology, and that negative side can have serious and long-term consequences. To make the best out of tools of technology, teachers and parents must also recognize their downsides and how to avoid them.

http://www.edudemic.com/the-4-negative-side-effects-of-technology/

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Online Peer Reviews Improve Literacy Instruction

May 9th, 2015

by Chris Sloan, Literacy Daily

English language arts teachers have long recognized the critical role meaningful feedback from peers has in process-writing classrooms. However, one limitation of traditional face-to-face peer response I noticed in my own teaching is that I never knew who was engaged with others and at what level. I didn’t have an efficient way of knowing who was giving (and who was getting) good feedback. Over the past few years, peer feedback has been integrated into learning management systems like Canvas, Blackboard, and Turnitin. Stand-alone applications like Peerceptiv and Eli Review are online peer review systems that provide data never possible in traditional face-to-face settings. I’ve recently begun incorporating Eli Review into my teaching and am excited about the potential for learning and literacy development.

http://www.reading.org/literacy-daily/classroom/post/engage/2015/05/01/online-peer-reviews-improve-literacy-instruction

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McDonalds Celebrates First Employee Graduate of Cengage Learning’s Career Online High School

May 8th, 2015

by IT Business Net

Juan Garcia today was recognized as the first McDonald’s graduate of Cengage Learning’s Career Online High School (COHS), a unique education program being offered to qualifying employees working in company-owned and franchise-owned restaurants. A graduation ceremony honoring the achievement was held at McDonald’s during a district manager’s meeting. Through its partnership with Cengage Learning, up to 1,000 employees of McDonald’s or its independent franchisees are expected to complete an elective course and move on to complete the entire Cengage Learning COHS diploma program. “We are so proud of Juan and his achievement, which marks the first of many celebrations to come here at McDonald’s,” said Rob Lauber, Chief Learning Officer at McDonald’s. “As part of our Archways to Opportunity education strategy, we are pleased to be working with Cengage Learning’s Career Online High School to make a high school diploma possible for our people — along with our other robust education and life skills building opportunities.”

http://www.itbusinessnet.com/article/McDonalds-Celebrates-First-Employee-Graduate-of-Cengage-Learnings-Career-Online-High-School-3875230

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Final 28 Corinthian Colleges to close

May 8th, 2015

By Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

Corinthian Colleges Inc. will close its remaining campuses in California, Arizona, New York, Hawaii, and Arizona, effective today, on the heels of fines levied against it by the U.S. Department of Education. After already shuttering or selling nearly a hundred campuses last year, the for-profit college chain had 28 remaining under Heald, Everest, and WyoTech names. The Associated Press reports that a statement from Corinthian issued Sunday said the company would help current students continue their educations elsewhere.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/final-28-corinthian-colleges-to-close/391108/

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Idaho has room to improve its stagnated online education

May 8th, 2015

By PG Veer, Watchdog Arena

Technology has “creeped in” everywhere these days, including the classroom. To many this is a good thing, because breaking technological barriers means that education is more accessible and also personalized.The Foundation for Excellence in Education, founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in 2010, aims at showing our politicians the benefits of such a transformation because “access to high-quality, customized learning experiences should be available to all students, unbounded by geography or artificial policy constraints,” as they state in their just-released report, which looks at 2014. This year, Idaho ranks 23rd, tied with New Mexico and Arkansas, at the lower end of the C grading. While not stellar, the classification is an improvement from last year.

http://watchdog.org/214649/idaho-online-education/

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Alabama to Offer Online Courses to All High School Students

May 7th, 2015

by EdSurge Newsletters

Starting in the 2016-2017 school year, all public high school students in Alabama will have the option to take courses online, if Gov. Robert Bentley signs a bill passed by the state legislature. Over 27,000 Alabama high school and middle school students currently take online courses through the ACCESS distance learning program, which uses live video feeds of teachers and web-based assignments. Schools will have the option to offer ACCESS programs or contract with outside vendors.

https://www.edsurge.com/n/2015-04-28-alabama-to-offer-online-courses-to-all-high-school-students

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Goldwater Institute calls for update to Arizona’s online learning laws

May 7th, 2015

by  Sonoran News

A new report says online learning has the potential to give Arizona students access to world-class teachers and classes, but that the state laws governing online schools and classes are woefully out of date. “Online learning provides educational flexibility and customizes learning by giving families access to the best teachers and coursework available, regardless of where they live or the quality of public schools in their neighborhood,” said Jonathan Butcher, the education policy director at the Goldwater Institute. “This past session, lawmakers considered a number of reforms to the state’s education laws. A growing number of students aren’t attending a brick-and-mortar school at all, and next legislative session, more should be done to improve the governance of and access to online learning.”

http://www.sonorannews.com/archives/2015/150429/news-goldwater.html

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Flipping learning around: Students watch lectures online at home, do hands-on work in class

May 7th, 2015

By Julie Anderson, World-Herald

Before he began “flipping” his classroom several years ago, Contreras would have begun class by delivering a classroom lecture, then launching students on a lab activity, and, finally, sending them home with homework. Instead, the students this day quickly broke into small groups and rotated among microscopes trained on samples of different tissues, from bone to cartilage. Students consulted with one another about what they were viewing. Contreras worked the room. He pointed out that fat cells look clear because they resist stains used to make structures visible and praised a student who compared loose connective tissue, the hardest to identify, with a fishnet.

http://www.omaha.com/news/education/flipping-learning-around-students-watch-lectures-online-at-home-do/article_a40947e0-f7fa-5cd5-8307-c146e36a848a.html

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