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Introducing the Connect Thinking E-Learning Academy


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Calculus kids exposed to math problems in real-life settings

Elizabeth Barrett, Editor of the Gothenburg Times in Gothenburg Nebraska writes, "From Monsanto to the superintendent’s office at Gothenburg Public Schools, high school calculus students are learning how math works in the real world."

MONSANTO EXPERIENCE: Gothenburg High School calculus students recently visited the Monsanto breeding building where they learned how employees use trigonmetery with a global positioning system (GPS) to track and plant different hybrids of corn. Pictured during a presentation are Remmy Rocha (left) and Amanda Kowalewski.

Recently, the class visited Monsanto where they listened to how employees use trigonometry to track and plant the different hybrids of corn.

From using satellites and connecting to maybe 18 of the 24 satellites available in the solar system, math teacher Sharise Scherer said they find the coordinates of the plots of corn exactly.

“So someone in St. Louis working for Monsanto can plug in these same coordinates on their iPhone, iPad or computer and see the plot of the hybrid of corn they want to collect data from,” Scherer explained. “They can also run and/or see the equipment that plants corn from these GPS systems and be very exact in the placement of the crop.”

Because the class is interested in real-life activities, Scherer invites the public to let her know other possibilities. She can be contacted at

Source: Gothenburg Times

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SAS and Capella University Help Adult Learners Fill Analytics Skills Gap

With the demand for analytical talent projected to outpace supply by 60 percent in the next few years, and a persistent shortage of female analytic experts, new educational options are required to help address these needs. SAS and Capella University are helping adult learners jump-start careers in the hot field of analytics with two minor degrees.

Capella University, a regionally accredited* online university, is now offering a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology minor in data analytics and a Bachelor of Science in Business minor in business intelligence. Capella University offers online degree programs that help working adults advance their careers. Students in the new minors gain free access to SAS Self-Paced e-Learning courses to prepare for SAS Certified Base Programmer professional certification.

Capella's collaboration with business analytics leader SAS provides students with SAS knowledge and the high-demand competencies that address the nation's analytics skills gap.

"Students benefit from an interactive, collaborative learning environment that blends theory with practical application, including sophisticated SAS tools accessible from their desktops," said Sue Talley, EdD, Capella's Dean of Technology. "Working with SAS lets Capella provide a well-rounded, foundational education in data as well as a deep dive into specific skill areas."

Talley described Capella's efforts to increase the participation of women in analytics at this week's Analytics 2014 conference and will revisit the topic at The Premier Business Leadership Series. Women represent only 24 percent of US IT professionals, and just 22 percent of 2013 graduates in computer and information sciences.

A revolutionary new path to a degree.

Both female and male data analysts interested in becoming SAS experts may find they are well on the way to a Capella University degree, thanks to the university's FlexPath learning option. FlexPath is a self-paced style of learning that allows students to move more rapidly toward their degrees by directly demonstrating competences, regardless of how they learned them. This can also leave more time to work through new or more challenging material. FlexPath's self-defined deadlines, robust and timely faculty feedback, and responsive support structures can result in decreased time to degree and lower tuition costs. Degrees earned through the FlexPath option are the same as those received through Capella's traditional, credit-bearing programs.

"Employers are clamoring for analysts that can turn data into knowledge. Capella and SAS help adult learners combine workforce experience with new analytics skills to seize lucrative jobs," said Emily Baranello, Director of the SAS Education Practice.

Career opportunities fuel popularity of SAS Analytics U.

Collaboration with colleges and universities is pivotal to SAS Analytics U, a broad academic initiative that includes free software, university partnerships and engaging user communities that support the next generation of SAS users.

Driven by rising employer demand for analytics talent, more people than ever before are pursuing SAS skills, aided by free SAS software and training. SAS University Edition has been downloaded more than 111,000 times since its launch in May. It provides free access to foundational SAS software faster and more easily for students, professors and adult learners.

Source: Broadway World

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Davenport launches online competency-based MBA degree

"Program puts more emphasis on business experience than classroom time." continues Grand Rapids Business Journal.  

Business professionals interested in earning an MBA can now be graded based on their proficiency of material rather than time spent in a classroom.

Davenport MBA students are tested for their understanding of materials, which could shave time off their degree track.  
Courtesy Davenport

Davenport University announced Oct. 6 that its Donald W. Maine College of Business is launching an online competency-based Master of Business Administration program in January 2015 that is tailored for experienced business professionals.

The competency-based MBA allows students to earn credit based on their proficiency of a certain subject matter through online assessments to complete the curriculum at a self-motivated pace.

Designed for experienced professionals, prospective students are required to have at least three years of experience in a business field. Depending on transfer credits and prior experience, a student is able to earn an MBA in less than a year, according to the press release.

Irene Bembenista, interim dean of the college of business, said the competency-based MBA is a completely different approach to graduate education and is the first of its kind in Michigan.

“We are eager to offer this online program to business professionals wherever they may be, helping them prepare for accelerated career advancement in a more cost-effective way,” said Bembenista in the release.

Brian Miller, vice president of IT services, chief information officer and interim dean for Davenport Online, said the program allows the university to measure a student’s proficiency and provide credit based on knowledge rather than time spent in a classroom.

“The competency-based program allows us to coach a student through the learning process — however much of that learning they need to get to a certain level of competency — and then we assess their progress and knowledge,” said Miller. “When they can prove they have mastered a certain subject or certain proficiency, then we can give them credit.”

With a framework of more than 80 modules comprising 14 competency areas, students will work with a faculty coach to help design a customized degree plan, and receive topic materials and related information from a modular facilitator. The 14 competencies were identified as core subject areas of a MBA program, such as leadership and management, according to Miller.

Source: Grand Rapids Business Journal

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Impacts of MOOCs on Higher Education

"An international group of higher education institutions—including UT Arlington, Stanford University, Hong Kong University and Davidson College—convened by learning researcher and theorist George Siemens gathered last week to explore the impacts of MOOCs on higher education (full list of participating institutions below)." according to Inside Higher Ed (blog).

The takeaway? Higher education is going digital, responding to the architecture of knowledge in a digital age, and MOOCs, while heavily criticized, have proven a much-needed catalyst for the development of progressive programs that respond to the changing world.


After sharing challenges, key innovations and general impacts, we were collectively awed by our similarities. Sure, Harvard and Stanford have larger budgets and teams, and the Texas system is, well, a system, while Davidson College enrolls a little under 2,000 students; yet, these fundamentally different institutions voiced similar challenges in their transitions to digital environments.

During a wide-ranging, engaging conversation, participants focused on themes that have to do with organizational change, the state of higher education, and what it is we want our purpose to be—collectively—over the coming years.

Here are a few of the effects MOOCs have had on our colleges or universities:
  • Increased institutional consciousness around the future of digital. Not surprisingly, the most prevalent topic of conversation was that our institutions are increasingly thinking, debating and dreaming about the role of MOOCs—and digital education more broadly—in defining future models of higher education. Four years ago, many of our faculty senates and upper level administrations infrequently engaged deeply with questions pertaining to the higher education in the digital era. Today, those conversations populate strategy documents, capital campaign materials, and inform decision-making and exchanges between students, staff and faculty on a daily basis.

Source: Inside Higher Ed (blog)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Free webinar on social-academic learning

Join Harvey “Smokey” Daniels and Nancy Steineke, authors of Teaching the Social Skills of Academic Interaction for a free webinar on teaching students the language and behaviors of getting along. 
The added bonus? You’ll score better on classroom-engagement rubrics!

Teaching the Social Skills of Academic Interaction Presented by Harvey "Smokey" Daniels and Nancy Steineke
October 27, 2014, 3:00pm PST/6:00pm EST

Today's standards and classroom-engagement rubrics call for highly interactive classrooms where students work regularly and effectively with various peer partners and groups. But kids aren't born knowing how to collaborate with others; the social skills of academic interaction need to be explicitly taught. 
In this webinar, collaboration gurus Harvey "Smokey " Daniels and Nancy Steineke share the highlights of a systematic, yearlong program that introduces, models, builds, and reinforces collaborative classroom behavior, using curricular topics, not decontextualized exercises, as its focus.

Register Here!

Enjoy this free webinar!

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What is Personalized Learning? A Free Report Available Online Only

While the level of challenge has never been higher, there has never been a better opportunity to help more students succeed.

In the introduction to The Future of Learning: Personalized, Adaptive, and Competency-Based Tom Vander Ark writes, "We are in the midst of a revolution in K–12 education, represented by the shift to digital, highly personalized learning. Students, educators, parents, and policymakers are finding compelling ways to use multiple modalities and technologies to enrich learning and personalize instruction.

Download the FREE white paper

The use of technology-powered blended learning holds great promise as a cost-effective and egalitarian means to help greater numbers of young people accelerate their learning, graduate, and meet challenges in a competitive world.

The key to making personalized learning work for the greatest number of students is adaptive digital environments and experiences, particularly Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ with its ability to precisely adjust to the individual learner. By recalibrating with every interaction to maintain appropriate challenges, learners stay in their optimal learning zone and are enabled to meet their full learning potential. This exciting advance in education has the potential to be the “equalizer” that provides greater access and opportunity for students in our society, regardless of their backgrounds or zip codes."

In this white paper, you’ll learn:
  • The reason technology is a valuable tool to implement the Common Core 
  • How Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ approximates human levels of coaching for ultimate personalized learning 
  • Why "show what they know" is the best metric for evaluation, not seat-time or birthdate
Download the FREE white paper

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Everything About The Way We Teach Math Is Wrong

Photo: Andy Kiersz
Andy Kiersz, quant reporter at Business Insider writes, "Mathematics is one of humanity's most creative and poetic endeavors.
And it is a disaster that it isn't taught this way to students."

"A Mathematician's Lament" is a classic polemic (later expanded and published as a book) written by math teacher Paul Lockhart. The essay is a devastating and passionate assault on the mechanistic way mathematics is taught in most of our schools. 

A 3-D representation of a 4-D shape called a 24-cell polychoron.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Student's Nightmare

Lockhart begins with a vivid parable in which a musician has a nightmare in which music is taught to children by rote memorization of sheet music and formal rules for manipulating notes. In the nightmare, students never actually listen to music, at least not until advanced college classes or graduate school.
The problem is that this abstract memorization and formal-method-based "music" education closely resembles the "math" education that most students receive. Formulas and algorithms are delivered with no context or motivation, with students made to simply memorize and apply them.
Part of why many students end up disliking math, or convincing themselves that they are bad at math, comes from this emphasis on formulas and notation and methods at the expense of actually deep understanding of the naturally fascinating things mathematicians explore. It's understandable that many students (and adults) get frustrated at memorizing context-free strings of symbols and methods to manipulate them.
This goes against what math is really about. The essence of mathematics is recognizing interesting patterns in interesting abstractions of reality and finding properties of those patterns and abstractions. This is inherently a much more creative field than the dry symbol manipulation taught conventionally.
Read more... 

Source: Business Insider

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Educationists tout e-learning and e-teaching

The Public Authority for Applied Education and Training held here on Tuesday a conference on incorporating e-learning and e-teaching in its educational mission, said the Authority's director Dr. Ahmad Al-Atheri in a speech opening the conference.


He said the first stage of the incorporation process has been successfully concluded in consort with the Authority's intention to keep up with the latest changes in education at the post-high school level.
He added that it was incumbent on the Authority to take up digital education so that to be able to train others on this new technology.

The next stage in education requires the Authority to fully use the internet as a learning and teaching tool, since more so than at any time in the past, the conventional teaching method based on a book and a teacher is becoming progressively obsolete, said Dr. Eissa Al-Meshaie, deputy director of academic affairs at the Authority, in a speech at the conference.

The importance being given to e-education is within the national plan to upgrade education in the country and to resort to the latest technologies that boost learning and teaching at the same time, said e-education director at the Authority Dr. Khalid Al-Kandari in a similar speech.

E-learning is the use of electronic media, educational technology and information and communication technologies in education. E-learning includes numerous types of media that deliver text, audio, images, animation, and streaming video, and includes technology applications and processes such as audio or video tape, satellite TV, CD-ROM, and computer-based learning, as well as web-based learning.

Source: Kuwait News Agency

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Current Site and App of the Week - October 22, 2014

Current Site of the Week

All-day virtual professional development event set for Oct. 25.

On October 25, Discovery Education will be hosting the eighth annual Discovery Education Streamathon, a live, day-long virtual professional learning event.
This is one of Discovery Education’s annual community events with an average attendance of 3,500 educators from all around the world. Since 2006, the Streamathon has provided attendees with effective ways to integrate digital media into instructional practice.
Hosted by Discovery Education’s Hall Davidson, this free, idea-sharing marathon will offer participating educators proven strategies for integrating digital media into classroom instruction to improve student engagement and achievement. Discovery Education experts will host informative sessions exploring a variety of topics, including:

• New instructional strategies for differentiating instruction
• How to create a book trailer using iMovie and Discovery content
• Developing interactive formative assessments
• Engaging students with videos, images and audio.
Featured speakers include:
• Discovery Education’s VP of Learning Communities and Instructional Implementation Lance Rougeux
• Discovery Education’s VP of Education Partnerships Matt Monjan
• Community manager for Discovery Education Canada, Dean Shareski
• Sandi Dennis, Library Media and Instructional Technology Specialist at City Schools of Decatur (GA)
• Tray Carpenter, Instructional Technology Coordinator at Archdiocese of Baltimore (MD)
• Education pioneer Dr. Lodge McCammon

Attendees will also hear from students who are using Discovery Education to learn and explore.
Read more... 

Apps of the Week

Tons of kid-friendly activities  

App name: KidQuest

What is it? Doing fun activities with your kid shouldn’t be hard. KidQuest makes it easy with dozens of free things to make and build, with step by step illustrated guides.
Best for: Students, parents, and teachers
Price: Free
Requirements: iOS 7.0 or later

Features: KidQuest makes it easy to find and do the perfect activity. Digital scrapbooks of your creation are automatically created and ready to share with friends and family.
  • Engineer the best fort ever with nothing but newspaper and tape
  • Create a table-top soccer game that will be the hit of the party
  • Build an awesome bird feeder with stuff found in your kitchen and backyard
  • Make your own mind-blowing lava lamp
  • Create delicious and healthy frozen kiwi treats
  • Find the perfect activity by filtering for age, type, and time-required.
  • Audio instructions available for every step of every activity.
  • Shareable online galleries with pictures and videos of all your creations.
  • Earn badges with each quest you complete
Related links  

Source: eSchool News     

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

You’re never too old for a Cambridge education

Three miles west of Cambridge, in the village of Madingley, lies the imposing Madingley Hall. Built in the 1540s and previously used as student accommodation for a young Edward VII, it is now owned by the University of Cambridge, and serves as home to the Institute of Continuing Education.

Madingley Hall, home of the Institute of Continuing Education

The institute is the university's main hub for learning outside of the traditional college system, and offers residential, online and part-time courses, in a bid to widen access to the university's teaching and expertise.

While term at Cambridge's colleges is just getting started, the institute's director Dr Rebecca Lingwood is already hard at work after a busy summer.

She said: "What we do is, broadly speaking, adult education, which covers short courses and part time courses.

"That's everything from one and two-day courses, all the way through to two-year part-time master's degrees from the university, and almost everything in between.

"We cover a really broad subject range, and courses that might be for personal interest, though to things which are very much more professional-orientated, for people who want to move into a new field or develop skills in the field they are already in."

The range of courses offered is varied, with some resulting in a formal University of Cambridge qualification, while others are often used as 'taster courses', before enrolling fully at the University.

The structure of the courses also differs greatly, with one and two-day courses, weekend sessions, online courses and two-year part-time programmes.

Dr Lingwood said: "Some result in a university qualification, and some are purely for the learning.

"We also offer fully online and blended courses, so we can meet the needs of people that are not necessarily based locally, and able to travel frequently to Cambridge.

"Then in the summer we have our international summer schools, which bring well over 1,000 people from over 60 countries to Cambridge.

"The feedback we get is it's really transformational, and that's in lots of ways. It's about stimulating thought processes that haven't previously been there, enabling them to progress in their careers."

Over 6,000 students are currently enrolled with the institute, on over 600 different courses, which are overseen by a team of 13 academic staff.
For more about the courses available at Madingley, see
Read more... 

Source: Cambridge News

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