Wyoming Teachers Look To Boost Effectiveness of Assistive Technologies

April 10th, 2014

By Joshua Bolkan, THE Journal

Some teachers in Wyoming are learning how to better use assistive technologies thanks to a new program launched by the University of Wyoming’s (UW) Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND). Dubbed Echo-University of Wyoming (Echo-UW), the initiative builds on the University of New Mexico’s Project Echo by focusing on “the use of technology to leverage scarce resources; improving outcomes by reducing variations in care and sharing ‘best practices’; case-based learning; and monitoring of outcomes,” according to a UW news release.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/03/31/u-wyoming-launches-project-to-improve-assistive-technology-use-at-wyoming-schools.aspx

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Bandwidth for All

April 10th, 2014

By Greg Thompson, THE Journal

With more and more students using mobile devices for learning, districts are finding creative ways to provide enough bandwidth for everyone to do their work outside of school. The Internet has reached virtually every American school, but problems of bandwidth and connectivity persist. Despite more than 17 years of government subsidy via E-rate, a recent Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) survey revealed that a whopping 99 percent of districts still “needed more bandwidth.” Rich Kaestner, project director for Washington, DC-based CoSN, attributed the bandwidth shortfall to a relentless need to feed the digital beast. Digital curricula, 1-to-1 programs, bring your own technology (BYOT) initiatives and Common Core textbooks are driving a growing crowd of students and teachers online, both at school and at home. But what can schools do about those homes that don’t have Internet connectivity?

http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/03/27/bandwidth-for-all.aspx

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Technology and the Future(s) of the University

April 10th, 2014

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Introducing innovation in education is easier when the institution is new. Founders can construct their programs however they want to imagine them. That’s not so easy to accomplish, however, when the school has been around for decades or even centuries. Faculty and staff practices and processes tend to get entrenched, and introducing too much change can simply lead to internal revolt. Yet that is the conundrum that must be faced by nearly every university and college in the country that wants to thrive in a new world order where learning can take multiple forms and students have numerous options for achieving formal education. Georgetown University is calling on its entire campus community to explore what the institution of 2030 will look like and to experiment with new ways of educating students. The impact of its discoveries may ultimately end up being felt throughout American higher ed.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/04/01/technology-and-the-futures-of-the-university.aspx

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New Strategy would Drop College Textbook Costs to Zero

April 9th, 2014

By CARRIE WELLS, McClatchy News

Unlike electronic versions of textbooks sold by publishers, open-source textbooks are made up of materials gathered from various sources and are not protected by copyright. They are often designed to be interactive, with links to source material and multimedia elements. The materials are licensed openly, so anyone with an Internet connection can access them. A pilot program, which the Maryland university system estimates is saving 1,100 students a combined $130,000, is the latest in a shift on the nation’s campuses toward digital learning. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the California State University system and the Washington State college system are among those that have built libraries of free online course materials in recent years. Still, open-source textbooks, which have been around for several years, face challenges and have not caught on broadly.

http://www.centerdigitaled.com/news/New-Strategy-would-Drop-College-Textbook-Costs-to-Zero-cde.html

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Throwing the book at the high costs of college textbooks

April 9th, 2014

By Sarah Rohrs, Times-Herald

The high cost of textbooks is a problem, which adds to debt and other financial loads students must carry, according to the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG). Meanwhile, as costs of textbooks continue to soar, a CALPIRG study at UC Davis showed that 65 percent of student have opted out of buying a college textbook due to high prices. Further, nearly half say textbook costs often dictate whether students take a course of not. Over the past decade textbook prices have increased by 82 percent, or at three times the rate of inflation, according to CALPIRG. The organization recommends federal government, states and individual campuses to support and invest in alternatives, including open textbooks. These are books written by faculty members but free online, free to download and affordable in print.

http://www.timesheraldonline.com/news/ci_25464834/throwing-book-at-high-costs-college-textbooks

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5 Ways To Do EdTech On A Shoestring Budget

April 9th, 2014

By Dawn Casey-Rowe, Edudemic

The word “technology” often send shivers down the spine of the budget office, because it has the potential to be one of the biggest line items on the budget. It’s true, a school needs dollars for dongles to make it all work, but it doesn’t have to break the bank or get put on the back burner when competing choices include “leaky roof,” “broken heating system,” and a million other infrastructure expenses that pop up. Tech doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to go by the wayside. Technology is increasingly becoming personal, mobile, and affordable. Most connected people rely on smartphones and tablets rather than desktops and laptops. My smartphone is more powerful than my first computer. Because of this, it’s possible to integrate technology on a shoestring budget.

http://www.edudemic.com/edtech-on-a-shoestring-budget/

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Group urges checks on online learning at MIT

April 8th, 2014

By Leon Lin, the Tech – MIT

Concerned about the pace of change brought about by online learning, an Institute subcommittee is now preparing to recommend a “face-time” degree requirement, strong oversight of on-campus MITx experiments, and a “conservative initial approach” to awarding credit for edX classes. “We’re not against it. Just go slow, and see what’s going to happen,” Professor Susan S. Silbey said of digital learning experiments in MIT classes. Silbey, who heads the anthropology department, is the chair of the subcommittee.

http://tech.mit.edu/V134/N15/mitx.html

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Social Media Vital to Professional Development

April 8th, 2014

By Debra Beck, Evolllution

Formal degree and training programs provide the foundation for our career paths, but long-term professional success depends largely on the quality of our personal learning networks (PLNs). We all have basic PLNs, whether or not we recognize them as such. They typically encompass a diverse set of relationships that provide information, understanding and context for personal and professional development questions. Many of our key PLN relationships are with individuals we know and interact with on a regular basis. But adult learners are no longer limited to face-to-face interactions, thanks to a range of technology-driven environments that facilitate international networking and sharing.

http://www.evolllution.com/opinions/social-media-vital-professional-development/

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Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free

April 8th, 2014

by Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Librarians love to get free books into the hands of scholars and students who need them. Publishers love it when their books find readers—but they also need to cover the costs of turning an idea into a finished monograph. Now a nonprofit group called Knowledge Unlatched is trying out a new open-access model designed to make both librarians and publishers happy. Here’s how the “unlatching” works: Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money to pay publishers a title fee for each of those books. The title fees are meant to cover the cost of publishing each book; publishers calculate what they think is fair and share those estimates with the Knowledge Unlatched group.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/libraries-test-a-model-for-setting-monographs-free/51455

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Most Schools Delivering BYOD Programs, Training Teachers in Mobile Devices Usage

April 7th, 2014

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

Implementation of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs in school districts has exploded since last year, spreading from 22 percent to 56 percent. BYOD primarily shows up in high school grades (84 percent), followed by middle school grades (74 percent). But even the majority of Pre-K through third grade schools also offers users the opportunity to use their personal mobile devices in schools. Strategies regarding mobility in districts encompass professional development for teachers on the use of mobile devices and apps for instruction (88 percent), the use of student-owned devices in the classroom (83 percent), and encouraging the use of mobile apps for instruction (81 percent). Two thirds of districts provide mobile apps for student use and have structures in place to physically protect district-owned devices.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/03/27/report-most-schools-delivering-byod-programs-training-teachers-in-mobile-devices-usage.aspx

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This Is What We Share On Tablets

April 7th, 2014

By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

Not long ago, we looked at typing speed on iPads vs laptops. The studies cited found that on average, users typed 2-5 words per minute faster on an iPad than on a traditional keyboard. A couple of years ago, my mother got her first piece of “real” technology. It was an iPad. She was completely tech-illiterate when she bought it, and she felt too intimidated by a desktop or laptop, but felt comfortable enough after playing around with my iPad that she was confident she could learn to navigate it easily enough. Those are just two examples demonstrating why iPads (and other tablets) are so darned popular – they’re super easy to use (among many other things). And as the handy infographic below shows us (brought to you by the awesome guys over at Maz!), social sharing on tablets is huge. But what is actually getting shared? And on what types of social networks? Keep reading at the link below to learn more.

http://www.edudemic.com/tablet-sharing/

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Why (And How) Students Are Learning To Code

April 7th, 2014

By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

Coding is more important now than ever before. With computer related jobs growing at a rate estimated to be 2x faster than other types of jobs, coding is becoming an important literacy for students to have and a more integral part of education and curricula. The handy infographic below takes a look at some of the interesting statistics about coding and computer science jobs. So if you aren’t yet sure why learning to code is important, you’ll find out below. Keep reading at the link below to learn more!

http://www.edudemic.com/teaching-students-to-code/

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NetMath 25 Years Old

April 6th, 2014

By Reema Abi-Akar, Daily Illini

For 25 years, the NetMath program has been breaking down distance barriers in education and making University-based math courses more widely available for students around the world. NetMath is a web-based distance learning interface that is accessible to high school students, college students and anyone else wishing to expand their mathematical knowledge. It provides University credit through a variety of 16-week math courses, from 100-level and below to 400-level courses. Headed by Randy McCarthy, program director of the department of mathematics, the program teaches about 1,000 students per year and comprises over 50 lecturers, TAs, undergraduate mentors and personnel. “The pedagogy is a little different than traditional online classes in that the students are actively engaged with the software,” McCarthy said. “So instead of sitting back and passively watching a video of someone else doing (the exercises and problems), the machine helps you experiment and do it so you can learn by doing.”

http://www.dailyillini.com/lifeandculture/article_a7534ee8-b862-11e3-bf40-001a4bcf6878.html

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Three Factors Influencing Persistence and Withdrawal for Part-Time Adult Graduate Students

April 6th, 2014

By Marian Cohen and Scott Greenberg, Evolllution

In 2011, we looked into institutional and external factors that promoted or hindered the persistence of part-time adult students who completed or were currently matriculated in a master’s degree program at a public state university (The Struggle to Succeed: Factors Associated with the Persistence of Part-time Adult Students Seeking a Master’s Degree). When asked whether they had withdrawn or seriously considered withdrawing from the program at any time, students who answered affirmatively cited three leading reasons:

  1. Feeling overwhelmed by the workload
  2. Problems with faculty/curriculum
  3. Family issues

In this article we explore these factors and suggest how institutions might address them.

http://www.evolllution.com/research/factors-influencing-persistence-withdrawal-part-time-adult-graduate-students/

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Harvard and MIT invite high schools to create their own Moocs

April 6th, 2014

By: William Stewart, TES magazine

Schools will soon be able to offer courses directly to millions of learners through two of the world’s most prestigious universities, TES can reveal. EdX, the massive open online course (Mooc) provider run by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, has already helped to revolutionise higher education by offering courses to anyone with an internet connection. It is now poised to do the same for schools, with plans to offer high-school-level lessons. In an interview with TES, edX president Anant Agarwal said this could include courses designed by individual schools.

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storyCode=6420246

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US State Department to Offer Massive Online Course for English Language Educators

April 5th, 2014

by IVN

The U.S. Department of State announces the launch of Shaping the Way We Teach English, a massive open online course (MOOC) for English as a foreign language (EFL) educators. The ten-week university-level course was developed by the University of Oregon and is currently available on the Coursera platform. By strengthening the quality of English teaching around the world, the Department hopes to open economic opportunities in science, business, technology, and higher education for more of our international partners and offer skills for a better future. Designed both for professionals already working in the area of EFL and for those pursuing the field as a career, the MOOC aims to assist EFL educators worldwide in updating and augmenting their teaching methods. When educators employ the teaching methods and technologies learned throughout the course, they improve leaning outcomes for their students and build leadership among their peers.

http://www.imperialvalleynews.com/index.php/news/jobs/7835-department-of-state-to-offer-massive-online-course-for-english-language-educators.html

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Online classes surge in popularity among Michigan K-12 students

April 5th, 2014

By Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press

The number of K-12 students taking online courses in Michigan surged 52% in the last three years, according to a report released this week that provides a first-of-its-kind — but limited — look at the effectiveness of online learning in the state. During the 2012-13 school year, 55,271 students took at least one online course, up from 36,348 during the 2010-11 school year. The overall number of courses taken surged from 89,921 to 185,053 during that period.

http://www.freep.com/article/20140326/NEWS06/303260121/Michigan-students-online-classes

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Digital learning transforming education and learning

April 5th, 2014

by UK Virtual College

Digital learning technologies are transforming how education views itself and how students learn – to the extent that the sector 20 years ago probably wouldn’t even recognise itself today. That is according to a discussion forum held in the US by Penn State University, in which expert educators discussed the sea change in methods that has been brought about by the rise of the internet. From online learning courses to social media and other such technologies, education has been transformed around the world and subsequently the role of both teachers and students is changing. As such, educators are thinking about pedagogy (the science of learning) more than they ever have before, seeking to identify the next in a line of innovations to change how students learn – be that in physical environments or virtual ones.

http://www.virtual-college.co.uk/news/Digital-learning-transforming-education-and-learning-newsitems-801707456.aspx

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The Top 5 Things Hiring Managers Look For On Social Media

April 4th, 2014

by MARIANNE STENGER, Lifehacker

The key to landing any job is to present yourself professionally, and these days that includes how you come across online as well. More employers have started using sites like Twitter, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn in the hiring process, and according to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 43 per cent of hiring managers now use social media to screen candidates. Career advisor Matt Tarpey explains that most employers don’t necessarily visit your online profiles looking for a reason not to hire you, but if they do happen to find one it will almost certainly take you out of the running. Knowing exactly what employers are after when they scrutinise your online persona can help you scrub up your image and hopefully get bumped to the top of the list.

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/03/the-top-5-things-hiring-managers-look-for-on-social-media/

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College Textbooks May Become Free at the University of Maryland

April 4th, 2014

by Andy Diaz, Guardian LV

A successful student campaign in the University of Maryland served as a catalyst for changing the way college textbooks are sold on campus by making them free. Students wrote on a whiteboard explaining the costs of their textbooks some claiming they paid over one hundred dollars for one book while another student paid near a thousand dollars for a semester of books. Stories like this are common across the country where college prices are rising exponentially. The University of Maryland has taken the student’s complaints into consideration and have begun a pilot program to transition all needed course material to an open source electronic textbooks. Open source textbooks are not protected by copyright and therefore available to all who have an internet connection. A similar program has been done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California State University, and the Washington State College, but went beyond just textbooks and created the “open courseware” program to allow anyone who wants to get an education in a variety of topics.

http://guardianlv.com/2014/03/college-textbooks-may-become-free-at-the-university-of-maryland/

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The Top 10 Google Glass Myths

April 4th, 2014

by Google

Myths can be fun, but they can also be confusing or unsettling. And if spoken enough, they can morph into something that resembles fact. (Side note: did you know that people used to think that traveling too quickly on a train would damage the human body?) In its relatively short existence, Glass has seen some myths develop around it. While we’re flattered by the attention, we thought it might make sense to tackle them, just to clear the air. And besides, everyone loves a good list – see the link below.

https://plus.google.com/+GoogleGlass/posts/axcPPGjVFrb

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