eLearning Program Could Bring End to Snow Days

January 27th, 2016

By Sarah Schulte, ABC 7 Chicago

A new e-learning program could mean the end of snow days for some students. The program being tested in three school districts brings a virtual classroom into students’ homes on days when the weather prevents them from going to school. While there haven’t been any snow days for Chicago area students this year, that wasn’t the case the past two winters, when school was canceled several times. Parents say it wasn’t good for their kids. Avoiding the books on snow days won’t be an option this year for Leyden High School District 212. The western suburban school district is one of three in the Chicago area chosen for a new pilot program that allows students to take classes online at home during snow days.

http://abc7chicago.com/education/e-learning-pilot-program-could-bring-end-to-snow-days/1168785/

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Google Offers New Deep Learning Course on Udacity

January 27th, 2016

By A.R. Guess, Dataversity

Jordan Novet reports in VentureBeat, “Google today announced that it’s bringing a deep learning course to massively open online course (MOOC) provider Udacity. Deep learning is an increasingly popular type of artificial intelligence. Generally speaking, it involves training artificial neural networks on lots of data — like pictures — and then getting them to make inferences about new data based on what they know.

http://www.dataversity.net/google-offers-new-deep-learning-course-on-udacity/

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EdTech: Wharton Launches Big Data, Entrepreneurship Moocs With Silicon Valley’s Coursera

January 27th, 2016

by Seb Murray, Business Because

Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has announced it will offer two new online programs through Silicon Valley-based online learning start-up Coursera. The digital courses, focusing on entrepreneurship and financial modelling, are the latest in a stream of tie-ups between elite US business schools and Mooc, or massive open online course, providers. Online learning platforms have delved deeper into entrepreneurial education in recent years, as start-up founders seek the flexibility not afforded by costly, full-time, campus programs.

http://www.businessbecause.com/news/mba-distance-learning/3732/wharton-launches-new-moocs-with-coursera

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Google Expeditions Takes Students on VR Tours of Great Barrier Reef, Buckingham Palace

January 26th, 2016

By David Nagel, THE Journal

Google has added two new virtual reality tours to its Google Expeditions Pioneer Program, a VR platform designed specifically for classroom use and available free for schools. The two new programs include tours of Buckingham Palace and the Great Barrier Reef. The GBR program was developed by David Attenborough and Alchemy VR, which provides a 360-degree tour of the reef and the marine life it supports. For the Buckingham Palace Expedition, Google has also released a YouTube 3D video that’s accessible to the public (seen below). When viewing on a mobile phone, the user can change the point of view of the video fluidly in 360 degrees simply by moving the device around. Settings also allow for stereoscopic 3D for a more immersive experience.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/01/20/google-expeditions-takes-students-on-vr-tours-of-great-barrier-reef-buckingham-palace.aspx

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How to really erase any drive — even SSDs — in 2016

January 26th, 2016

By Robin Harris, ZD Net

You may already know that “deleting” a file does nothing of the sort. Securely erasing drives before you sell a computer keeps your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. Good news: it’s easier than ever to fully erase data. There are easier and safer methods for erasing hard drives – including SSDs – than 10 years ago. Windows has two easy methods and Mac OS X has another. They are built into the operating system and are free to use. But I also include another method for regulated industries or frequent erasures.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-really-erase-any-drive-even-ssds-in-2016/

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Mozilla co-founder unveils Brave, a browser that blocks ads by default

January 26th, 2016

by Sebastian Anthony, Ars Technica

Brave will replace blocked ads with its own ads, taking a 15% cut of revenues. Brendan Eich, co-founder of Mozilla and creator of the JavaScript programming language, has unveiled his latest project: Brave, a Web browser that blocks ads by default… and then replaces those blocked ads with its own ads. Brave Software, the company behind the eponymous browser, will take a 15 percent cut of the ad revenue generated in this way. Brave is an open-source Web browser. If you want to try out Brave, you have to download and build the browser from a GitHub repo. You can sign up to be a beta tester, which presumably grants you some pre-built binaries, but there’s currently a waiting list.

http://arstechnica.com/business/2016/01/mozilla-co-founder-unveils-brave-a-web-browser-that-blocks-ads-by-default/

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EdTech: Mooc Platforms Force B-Schools To Embrace Blended Online/Campus Learning

January 25th, 2016

by Seb Murray, Business Because

In biz ed, the New Year brings fresh obstacles for the decades’ old institutions trying to stay relevant in a hyper-connected educational landscape. Further disruption beckons for even the world’s top business schools, who face a cocktail of threats from online challengers like Lynda.com, whose whizzy tech platforms are snatching students away from traditional degree programs. The rise of online learning has b-school bosses vexed and excited in equal measure.

http://www.businessbecause.com/news/mba-distance-learning/3729/mooc-platforms-force-bschools-to-innovate

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Lubbock ISD offers some high school classes online

January 25th, 2016

By Karen Michael, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the school day, but Lubbock Independent School District offers options for motivated students through its Online School for Advancement. The online school is available to all students who have completed the eighth grade. Students from other districts are also able to take the courses, with 20 classes ranging from professional communication to physical education to Web technologies.

http://lubbockonline.com/education/2016-01-20/lubbock-isd-offers-some-high-school-classes-online

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Robert Burns: Literary lovers offered free online poetry course

January 25th, 2016

by STV

Robert Burns: University launches a free online course. A new free online Robert Burns course is being launched by the University of Glasgow on Burns Day. Around 5000 people from five continents have already signed up for the university’s new syllabus on January 25. The Robert Burns Poetry and Song Legacy online course allows literary students to work in their own time. The course takes place over three weeks but learners can take longer to complete if required. Professor Gerard Carruthers, director of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow, said: “The course is essentially an introduction to Burns and it covers three broad areas: poetry, song and then what we are calling afterlife which relates to Burns’ reputation after death and the way in which he becomes an icon. So it is the life and times and also the afterlife.”

http://news.stv.tv/scotland/1339640-thousands-across-the-globe-sign-up-for-universitys-online-burns-course/

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BOE talks online classes to cover snow days

January 24th, 2016

by CONOR GRIFFITH, TheDPost.com

The Monongalia County Schools Board of Education (BOE) has started working on the calendar for the 2016-’17 school year. The board reviewed details of its annual calendar survey used to gauge the opinions of students’ parents during its Jan. 19 night meeting. One notion being considered for next year is using online lessons to make up for up to five days of missed classes. The survey is asking parents if they would support this measure and if they could provide home Internet to make this happen. Superintendent Frank Devono said if this comes to pass, students would not have to make up a snow day if it was covered via online content. Parental and student feedback plus any changes in state policy by the next school year would factor into whether or not online lessons will be used to make up snow days.

http://thedpost.com/BOE-talks-online-classes-to-cove

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Polk School District getting busy with robots, online learning plans

January 24th, 2016

by Kevin Myrick, Polk County Standard Journal

Students at Rockmart Middle School have kept their creations a bit more grounded and practical, using the Legos Mindstorms kits to put together robots that can bark and walk like a dog and balance on two wheels. The middle school’s robotics connection, taught by Geoffrey Sharpe who also organized the school’s robotics team, brought students from the program to the Polk County Board of Education meeting to show off their skills with bringing their Legos-based drones to life. Sharpe explained during a presentation to the board for their Jan. 12 session how the class has worked so far, and how the robotics competition works. It involves giving students pre-determined challenges and courses, and they have to figure out on their own how to build and program robots to achieve tasks put before them.

http://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/polkfishwrap/news/local/learning-lessons-in-tech-polk-school-district-getting-busy-with/article_1d676f7c-bec6-11e5-8522-7bcf4efb5c34.html

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Ramping Up for the 2016 Mobile Explosion With Wave 1 and Wave 2

January 24th, 2016

By Toni Fuhrman, eCampus News

Lorraine Abraham, CIO and library director of Emory and Henry College (VA), is not taking any chances. “We’re replacing the entire network infrastructure,” she said, noting that E&H will be fully prepared by installing the latest WiFi technology: 802.11ac Wave 2. “When you only upgrade every eight years,” she asserted, “you have to get the latest and greatest.” E&H decided to start now by installing the technology of the future – some of which will not come into play for about a year. With a campus that’s small (1,100 students) and remote (“Our neighbors are cows”) in the beautiful Appalachian Highlands, E&H has to work harder to accommodate its students – 85 percent of whom live on campus. Sean O’Connor, assistant CIO for Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA), is also opting for Wave 2, but for different reasons. “We want to be more agile for students and faculty,”

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/01/12/ramping-up-for-the-2016-mobile-explosion-with-wave-1-and-wave-2.aspx

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Tablets to See Slower-Than-Expected Resurgence

January 23rd, 2016

By David Nagel, Campus Technology

Tablet sales declined substantially in 2015, but they aren’t down for good, according to one market research firm. Nevertheless, their short-term growth will be slower than previously expected. Although the outlook for tablets has turned slightly grim of late — with sales in 2015 dropping to about $55 billion compared with $68 billion in 2014 — market research firm ABI Research is still calling for a compound annual growth rate of about 3 percent through 2020.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/01/19/tablets-to-see-slow-resurgence.aspx

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Families encouraged to get learning online to boost self-confidence and increase employability

January 23rd, 2016

by the Dorset Echo

Families are switching onto learning in a new programme. Making robots on a 3D printer, blogging and creating animated videos are just some of the tools a new approach to digital inclusion in Dorset is using to boost self-confidence and increase employability. Digital Families Programme engages parents and children in fun ways of using technology together as a family that also supports learning and teaches basic digital skills. As many as 30 per cent of local families lack access to skills, equipment or funds they need to feel connected and engaged in their communities.

http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/14212471.display/

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Tulia ISD looks to lead online learning effort

January 23rd, 2016

by Aaron Davis, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

“We were quite surprised, but really excited that we have the opportunity to learn about this,” said Daniel Keith, director of instructional design for Tulia ISD. “It was a big deal to be in the top 10.” Of the 10 finalists, five districts will be chosen in April to receive up to $500,000 to bring technology into their classrooms. Inspired by the book “Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools,” the Raise Your Hand Texas initiative is an effort to equip districts with technology in hopes of inspiring other Texas schools to use what the book calls “blended learning.”

http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2016-01-18/tulia-isd-looks-lead-online-learning-effort

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New platform assesses students with cognitive disabilities

January 22nd, 2016

by eSchool News

Open-source assessment system is based on alternate achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Breakthrough Technologies and the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) have partnered on and completed development of an online delivery platform for a new assessment program for students with cognitive disabilities. The NCSC alternate assessment evaluates knowledge of Common Core Math and ELA (reading and writing) standards at grades 3-8 and 11. NCSC’s goal is to ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for postsecondary options. To achieve this goal, it applies lessons learned from the past decade of research to alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AAAAS) to develop a multistate comprehensive assessment system for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2016/01/15/new-platform-assesses-students-with-cognitive-disabilities/

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A Spanish immersion program makes full use of technology in the classroom

January 22nd, 2016

BY SCOTT SPENCER, eSchool News

The thought of preparing our students for their 21st century futures conjures up a number of different ideas. There’s imparting the necessary technology skills students will need to thrive in their careers, as well as interpersonal skills such as collaboration and communication and making sure students can function in an increasingly globalized world. On that last point, my school, Shiloh Elementary School in Monroe, N.C., wondered if we were doing enough. Wouldn’t teaching fluency a foreign language be the ultimate means to prepare students for a diverse and multicultural world? Since 2012, Shiloh has been very proud to have hosted what we call the SPLASH Spanish immersion program.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2016/01/15/inside-the-school-that-immerses-students-in-spanish-and-technology/

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6 Teaching Tools for Black History Month

January 22nd, 2016

by Matt Davis, Edutopia

Black History Month provides a great opportunity for students to explore and learn more about a variety of issues. But it’s important that teachers “reinforce that ‘black history’ is American history,” writes Pat Russo in Do’s and Don’ts of Teaching Black History Month. Russo’s article is a great place to start when determining how to best incorporate black history into your lesson plans. Really, it’s a topic that should be incorporated throughout the year, Russo writes, but in February, teachers can dig deeper, provide students with more context, and connect the past to the present.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/black-history-month-teaching-resources-matthew-davis

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What’s Hot, What’s Not in 2016

January 21st, 2016

By Greg Thompson, THE Journal

Our expert panelists weigh in on education technology to give us their verdict on which approaches to tech-enabled learning will have a major impact, which ones are stagnating and which ones might be better forgotten entirely. The four panelists in THE Journal’s annual end-of-year survey hit full consensus on just two of 11 topics — giving the “hot” label unanimously to “blended learning” and “student data privacy concerns.” Meanwhile, e-portfolios garnered the least amount of enthusiasm, with two panelists opting for “losing steam” and two for “lukewarm.” Other topics formed a mixed bag, with the “lukewarm” rating suggesting that many technologies/techniques are holding steady, if not exactly lighting the education world on fire.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/01/14/4-trends-that-will-recharge-higher-ed-it-in-2016.aspx

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Rethink How You Teach Romeo and Juliet with These 4 Apps

January 21st, 2016

By Graphite by Common Sense Media, THE Journal

A look at three apps and an iBook that aim to take the stress out of The Bard’s iambs and bring a measure of accessibility to his meter. Graphite is a free service for teachers from Common Sense Media that helps educators find the best digital learning tools by presenting them with independent ratings and reviews based on rigorous rubric that evaluates learning potential.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/01/11/rethink-how-you-teach-romeo-and-juliet-with-these-4-apps.aspx

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Oswego High Schools Students May be Able to Take Online P.E. Classes

January 21st, 2016

by Jared Schaefer, WSPY News

At a special meeting Tuesday night, the Oswego District 308 Board of Education approved a state waiver submission application to the Illinois State Board of Education to give eleventh and twelfth grade students at the two Oswego High Schools the opportunity to take physical education courses online. The submission was approved by a 4-0 vote. Board members Mike McDowell, Greg O’Neil and Jared Ploger were absent from the meeting. Attorney Laura Weizeorick told the board that this waiver is a way to better serve certain students with the alternative physical education format.

http://www.wspynews.com/news/local/oswego-high-schools-students-may-be-able-to-take-online/article_444c15ac-bade-11e5-adde-c7da30e40d7f.html

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