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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Mobile Learning Tipping Point by DR. ALLEN PARTRIDGE

Follow on Twitter as @shanhassa

"mLearning has been a buzzword in eLearning for decades. Nearly every year someone speculates that the time for mLearning has finally arrived – and just about that often we discover that still – very few people actually are producing their learning content for mobile devices. You can imagine then that it is with some trepidation that I enter into the arena, to echo voices that have often proclaimed a start to the mobile land-rush." reports Allen Partridge.

Nonetheless, the landscape is clearly changing all around us. 
A recent (2012) study from Sterling Brands and Ipsos, commissioned by Google, found that Americans (participants were from Boston, Austin and Los Angeles) engage with screens (computer, tablet, television & smart phones) 90% of the time. Participants reported that only 10% of their daily interactions with media were with printed publications. It’s a paradigm altering realization when you consider that all but a few interactions with media, are with rich – screen based media. We are truly a screen interfacing nation. The same study went on to identify staggering numbers of individual daily interaction with various devices, and reported that Americans typically spend a lot of time interacting with the screens on their devices and watching their televisions.

According to the same study, we spend an average of 4.1 hours each day interacting with screens. About a quarter of our interactions (24%) are spent on a personal computer, while nearly 4/10 (38%) of those screen interactions are with our smart phones. 9 % of daily interactions are with a Tablet, and the remaining time is spent before a television. Interestingly, the study also revealed that we are attempting to multi-task much of that time. The study found that 77% of TV viewers are using a smart device while they watch television.

It makes sense in this context to also examine the potential of mLearning to add value to learning overall. Just as the behavior of people has changed to adapt to the presence of mobile devices (consider obsessive texting and facebooking over lunch for example) it is also an open door to consider expanding the opportunity for learning content because it is unhinged from the traditional office environment and because of the additional tools that are exposed thanks to the tablet and smartphone capabilities.

You could summarize this enhanced capacity as follows;
  • Mobile learners are free to learn anywhere.
  • Mobile learners are free to learn anytime.
  • Mobile learners are able to move while learning.
  • Mobile learners can be tracked physically – the location of their learning becomes a potential learning tool.
  • Mobile learners can make use of the conventions of touch computing, including gestures and pinch zooms for example.
  • Mobile learners can interact with their devices in unexpected ways – like tilting or flipping a phone to communicate an idea or give an instruction.
  • Mobile learners can communicate with others using their devices.
  • Mobile learners can create images and video with their devices.
So have we reached the tipping point at which mobile learning developers will finally start producing content that leverages the power of mobile learning?
Read more... 

Related links

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The Scout Report: Research and Education - July 25, 2014

Check out these highlights from The Internet Scout Project.

  July 25, 2014 -- Volume 20, Number 28

US Environmental Protection Agency: Students for the Environment

Working with students who are eager to know more about the environment? You'll want to make a beeline to the EPA's Students for the Environment site. The helpful site consists of three primary sections: Students K-12; Educators and Parents; and News and Deadlines. In the first section, visitors can look over games and quizzes that tie educational guidelines to thoughtful explorations on water quality, insects, and more. A variety of Homework Resources can also be found in this section, featuring a range of external links and information. Moving on, the Educators and Parents area brings together information about evaluating the "greenness" of schools, along with a raft of lesson plans dealing primarily with environmental science and the like. The last area includes news updates on science education and exciting new resources.
Read more... 

Technopanics: Moral Panics about Technology

Why is everyone all a-panic about the Internet and the (sometimes) deviant behavior it might seem to enable? This fine OpenCourseWare offering from Professor Marcella Therese Szabiewicz takes a look at a "number of technopanics" of late. The course begins by looking at how similar panics about "old" media (books, films, and the like) set historical precedents for these current fears. Visitors can look over the syllabus, check out the full course calendar, and also download all of the course materials in one fell swoop. A selection of the readings are available online for free and visitors will appreciate the detailed nature that the syllabus offers.
Read more... 

Community College Pathways: Summative Assessments and Student Learning

How do students learn on community college campuses? It's a great question and one that forms the basis of this Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching report. Released in July 2014, this report from Scott Strother and Nicole Sowers looks at how students in community colleges work to complete developmental mathematics courses. The Pathways program created by the Carnegie Foundation is the primary subject of their inquiry and the authors were charged with researching the program's effectiveness. An executive summary along with a host of findings based on rigorous statistical analysis and interviews are featured here.
Read more... 

Source: Internet Scout Project

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Current Site and App of the Week - eSchool News July 30, 2014

Current Site of the Week 

"A new free solution directly addresses the Common Core implementation challenges looming ahead for K-12 schools and districts around the country." writes eSchool News.

Edulastic is a web-based formative assessment platform that helps teachers prepare and deliver effective Common Core curricula by simultaneously improving the assessment creation, assignment, and grading processes.

Edulastic helps educators achieve their Common Core curriculum objectives in several ways:

  • Provides meaningful homework solutions and daily assessments for evaluating and supporting student mastery of Common Core standards.
  • Enables teachers to craft standards-aligned formative assessments with highly interactive, freeform questions defined by Smarter Balanced & PARCC.
  • Offers free curated content that includes thousands of standards-aligned questions crafted by other teachers.
  • Provides insights into student proficiency at an aggregate and individual level, enabling teachers to identify areas where a student needs personalized instruction, intervention or remediation.
  • Facilitates the adoption of benchmarked standardized assessments through a collaborative evaluation process that can be applied across districts and within broader learning communities.
Edulastic allows teachers to use day-to-day assessment insights to shape learning outcomes. By giving teachers a new level of pedagogical ownership, Edulastic uses homework and in-class assignments as the basis for continuous and comprehensive evaluations.

“We’ve placed an emphasis on making it easy for teachers to create, share and adopt proven assessment strategies,” said Madhu Narasa, CEO of Edulastic. “We want to accelerate student learning—and help relieve stress associated with assessments and the Common Core implementation process—while delivering timely and useful information for students, educators, parents, and policymakers.”
Read more... 

Apps of the Week

Name: Global Shark Tracker

What is it? An app for tracking and observing navigational patterns of sharks

Best for: Students and teachers

Price: Free

Requirements: iOS 5.1 or later; Android 2.2 and up

Features: OCEARCH’s Global Shark Tracker lets you observe the navigational pattern of sharks that have been tagged with satellite tracking technology all for the purpose of shark conservation. OCEARCH facilitates unprecedented research by supporting leading researchers and institutions seeking to attain groundbreaking data on the biology and health of sharks, in conjunction with basic research on shark life history and migration.

Related links
Visit iTunes to buy and download apps  
Google play

Source: eSchool News

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Book: How Not To Be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life by Jordan Ellenberg

Follow on Twitter as @evelynjlamb
"How Not to Be Wrong, the first popular math book by University of Wisconsin-Madison math professor Jordan Ellenberg, just hit the shelves. In addition to a Ph.D. in math, Ellenberg has an MFA in creative writing and has been writing about math for popular audiences for several years. Unsurprisingly, the book is witty, compelling, and just plain fun to read." writes


Roots of Unity (Blog)

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A virtual analysis by Michael Patrick Rutter, Harvard Correspondent

"A new analysis of four blended-format courses taught last fall offers practical guidance for faculty members interested in fresh pedagogical approaches." continues Harvard Gazette.

Photo: Harvard Gazette

The pilot study led by the Bok Center for Teaching and Learning and released today after months of checks and balances showed that students responded most to lesson structure and execution, placed a premium on person-to-person interaction, and found redundancies between in-class and online instruction.

While the variability among the four College courses made general interpretations a challenge, the student assessments did reveal some commonalities that were not necessarily course- or instructor-specific. 

Among the key findings: 
  • Students tended to conflate the teaching approach with the blended format, responding more to the teaching itself than to how specific online or blended elements worked.
  • Students appreciated the quality of the HarvardX materials, and most found them interesting and engaging.
  • For the most part, students spent roughly the same amount of time on homework and preparation for the blended class as they did for a traditional Harvard course.
  • Students valued the increased flexibility and ability to learn at their own pace, but still wanted in-person interactions with faculty and among themselves. They said that sections — small-group discussions outside the class ― were especially vital, enabling feedback, time for Q&A, meaningful collaborations, and a deeper sense of intellectual community.
  • The most common student complaint was that online learning opportunities were often redundant with in-class components, as faculty experimented with how to best use class time and encourage participation. In-class activities worked best when they were well-structured, such as when students were given discussion questions, problem sets, or worksheets in advance.
  • In any setting, students cut corners to save time, earn participation points, or get through required assignments or assessments. Many adopted efficiency strategies while watching the online lessons, causing some to integrate the materials in less-than-meaningful ways.
With the findings in mind, Bergeron’s research team developed a set of recommendations for faculty who are planning to blend existing courses, designing new ones, or are interested in critically assessing new teaching approaches.
Read more... 

For the full Bok Center report, you can contact

Source: Harvard Gazette

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The launch of the Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World report

The launch of the Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World report, from the UK Digital Skills Task Force led by Maggie Philbin.

Maggie Philbin, Chair of the independent UK Digital Skills Taskforce said:

“Britain is in the midst of another industrial revolution and only by engendering the spirit that allowed us to thrive so well in the first will we succeed in the second. For this to happen we need our young people to see technology and related applied sciences as a future that they can help create. If you have the right skills, if you have the right network, if you have the right attitude, this is a time of opportunity. We have to make sure we equip everyone in the UK for the digital revolution. Not just a fortunate few.”
Digital Sklls for Tomorrow’s World puts forward recommendations for government but  also for what students, parents, schools, communities and businesses can do immediately to make sure people of all ages benefit from the opportunities offered by the acquisition of digital skills. Business, education and government really do need to work together right now  to make a difference. We don’t need to wait until the 2015 election to start acting on some of the great ideas and thinking which has been shared with us.

The independent report of the UK Digital Skills Task Force Beta Edition July 2014.

Download the independent report
For the past seven months, the UK Digital Skills Taskforce has engaged with hundreds of organisations to look at what needs to be done to nurture home-grown talent to meet the needs of Britain’s modern economy.
The result is Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World

Related links
New study shows rising need for digital skills and training in UK business (Virtual College)
Welcome to the UK Digital Skills Taskforce 
Uk Digital Skills Task Force 


Source: UK Digital Skills Taskforce and UK Digital Skills Task Force Channel (YouTube).

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Six great ed-tech resources on YouTube

"These YouTube resources can help educators improve learning and deliver instruction more effectively, and enhance the student experience." continues eSchool News.

Educators and students are using social media to improve learning and deliver instruction more effectively.

Photo: eSchool News 

This learning dynamic can occur by creating educational websites, communicating about assignments and classroom discussion on Twitter, and engaging with multimedia by posting Vine videos.
Embracing mobile technology and social media in the proper, academic setting can prove productive for learning and growth.

Videos are some of the best teaching tools available to teachers and students, and YouTube offers a seemingly infinite number of educational channels on varying topics.

Take a look at the following six YouTube resources on technology and innovation in education. If you feel that we are missing some terrific resources, please share your views and opinions with us in the comments section below and by joining the conversation on Twitter @eschoolnews.

Source: eSchool News 

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Seven Models for Blended Learning Success

This eBook explains the various types of blended learning models being used in real classrooms throughout the country. While the specific needs of a district, school or classroom will vary, each can utilize different technologies that exist today to aid inthe instruction and delivery of a successful blended learning model.

Download the white paper

Blended learning is as an educational program in which a student learns,at least in part, through the online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path and/or pace. While a student still attends a supervised “brick-and-mortar” location away from home, face-to-face classroom methods are combined with computer-mediated activities to provide an integrated learning experience. 
Download the white paper 

Related link 
Gaggle Safety Overview


Source: eSchool News and Gaggle Net Channel (YouTube)

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U.S. News Twitter Chat: How to Develop Good Online Learning Habits

Get expert advice on the best ways to study for and engage with your online courses. 

Log on to Twitter on July 31 and use the hashtag #OnlineEdTips to participate in the conversation.

On Thursday, July 31, U.S. News Education ​will host a Twitter chat to help students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree online  ​develop good habits for success. Topics will include advice on how to best use online discussion forums and tips on ways to effectively balance school and work.

U.S. News Education will moderate a panel of experts, including Ray Schroeder (@rayschroeder) ​, associate vice chancellor for online learning ​at the University of Illinois—Springfield; academic staff from Pennsylvania State University—World Campus (@PSUWorldCampus) and the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University—Bloomington​ (@KelleySchool); and Devon Haynie (@DevonHaynie), online education reporter for U.S. News.

What: A Twitter chat exploring how to develop strong online learning ​habits. Join the conversation using the hashtag #OnlineEdTips.


When: Thursday, July 31​ at 2 p.m. EST

Why: Online learning has increasingly become an option for students looking to advance their career and continue their education outside the confines of a traditional campus. Succeeding in an online class often means juggling responsibilities such as family and work, as well as interacting with classmates and professors in a virtual environment. 

Source:U.S. News & World Report

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

The benefits of distance learning

"Distance learning is in constant state of flux, as new technology means advancements are constantly being made. As the internet can be used through a variety of mediums - including laptops, mobile phones and tablets - it means e-learning is become more accessible." summarizes Virtual College.  


E-learning, or online learning, comes with a host of benefits for the user compared to a traditional educational environment.

The flexibility provided by distance learning is leaps and bounds ahead of that offered by college or university courses, as it allows you to study from anywhere at any time. Online courses deliver incomparable convenience as you are able to study when it suits you, rather than having to fit classes into your busy life..

Low-cost alternative
Anybody looking to go back into education, learn something new or refresh existing skills will need to consider the cost of courses.
E-learning is often a cheaper alternative to traditional classes taught at colleges or universities as the courses are not held in physical classrooms, meaning there are less limitations on space and materials.
In addition, there are less additional costs to contemplate, such as the price of commuting or parking charges.

Source: Virtual College

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