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Introducing the Connect Thinking E-Learning Academy


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Free Briefing: Learning Trends - Sept 23

Live Video Briefing by Elliott Masie (Free)
Learning TRENDS & Challenges in 2014!


Tuesday, September 23rd from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm (Eastern Time)

FOR:  Learning, Training and Performance Colleagues

Topics to Include:
  • Learning Personalization: Just in Time, Just for Me, Just Enough!
  • Compliance and Learning Crisis
  • Video in Learning: From TED to User Content to Live Chat
  • LearningTech: Wearables, Apps and More
  • The Connected Classroom: Stretching the Class
  • Gaming & Gamification
  • Collaborative & Social Learning
  • 50+ & Learning: Boomers in the Workplace
  • Big Learning Data & Metrics
Elliott Masie will present a free video briefing on these topics, with real-time questions and comments from the audience.

Prior to the briefing, we will send a link and password to this video event, viewable from any browser, starting at 12:30 pm, on Tuesday, Sept 23rd.

To reserve a space in this briefing, please go to  

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iPad Tips and Tricks – Free Video Training Tutorials

In iPad Tips and Tricks, Mac productivity expert Christopher Breen provides essential tips and techniques for getting the most out of the Apple iPad. 

The course shows how to get productive on the iPad immediately, with tips for effective gesturing and typing and for loading it up with content. It demonstrates how to connect the iPad with the rest of the world, how to sync documents between the iPad and a desktop computer or cloud-based services, and how to configure email and deal with the fact that the iPad has no spam filter. It demonstrates built-in and third-party solutions for opening and editing files on the iPad. Finally, it offers tips for troubleshooting the iPad when the device doesn't work as expected.

This course will be expanded with additional tips and techniques later this year.

Topics include:
  • Touching the iPad
  • Syncing documents
  • Managing and editing files with third-party applications
Request your Free Online Tutorial!


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70 percent of students change major after enrollment, study finds

"Approximately 70 percent of students change their course of study during their time at the University, Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said in a recent interview, citing an internal study she had seen." continues The Daily Princetonian.

Photo: The Daily Princetonian

Associate Dean of the College Elizabeth Colagiuri said she was unable to confirm the accuracy of this number but confirmed she was aware that this study had been conducted. This particular study was conducted at the time of the Class of 2018’s matriculation, Colagiuri said.

“At the point of matriculation, we typically survey students to find out what [academic] divisions they think they might be interested in majoring in,” Colagiuri explained. “It’s one of a number of surveys we conduct at various points in the Princeton experience.”

The study generally looked at which of the four major disciplines students were interested in concentrating in: humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering.

Neither Rapelye nor Colagiuri provided information on which areas of concentration received the most members, but data included in the University’s Common Data Set, which is a standard disclosure form filled out by universities, suggests that one discipline that sees a net decline in students over the students’ time at Princeton is engineering.

Rapelye provided the distribution of freshmen enrolled as A.B. or B.S.E. for the Class of 2018, saying that 65 percent of the freshman class have declared themselves as intended A.B., 24 percent as intended B.S.E. and 11 percent still unsure.

The University website claims between 15 percent and 20 percent of students study engineering most years, and the Common Data Set from the 2013-14 year states that 19.5 percent of degrees awarded in the 2013 year were for engineering.

Source: The Daily Princetonian

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The Maths Behind the Simpsons' Women

"When Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman in history to win a Fields Medal last month, the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize, her feat was hailed as a milestone in efforts to undermine the corrosive stereotype that maths is not for girls. But, just as inspiring as the real life triumph of Mirzakhani, are the dogged efforts of fictional Lisa Simpson, who has been a cartoon role model for rational thinking for more than a quarter of a century." continues Newsweek.

Photo: Newsweek

In an event at the Science Museum in London on 26th September, Simon Singh, author of The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets, will explain how the Fox animated sitcom is the most mathematically-sophisticated show in the history of prime time broadcasting, and that Lisa is a critical ingredient. “When I talk to school kids about the mathematics hidden in The Simpsons, I always stress Lisa’s character, because she is such a great role model for girls who might be budding geeks or nascent nerds,” he says.

Joining Singh in the museum will be two renowned Simpsons writers: David X Cohen, who has a degree in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley (and is also the creative force behind Futurama); and Al Jean, who worked on the first series and is now executive producer, and who went to Harvard University to study mathematics at the age of 16.

Among the many other Simpsons writers, Ken Keeler has a doctorate in applied mathematics and J. Stewart Burns a bachelor's degree in mathematics, both from Harvard University; Jeff Westbrook a PhD in computer science from Princeton who held a faculty position in Yale.
No wonder the The Simpsons show has been peppered with mathematical references since the first proper episode of the series in 1989 (which included a joke about calculus). These arcane flourishes include appearances by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal and the Cambridge theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, various jokes about pi, and much more. In “The PTA Disbands”, Lisa gets so bored by a lack of schooling she builds a perpetual motion machine, prompting Homer to declare: “Lisa, in this house we OBEY the laws of thermodynamics.” “We love to infuse The Simpsons with as much subliminal knowledge as possible,” says Jean. “Maths, art and even recipes for lentil soup, which we put into Paul McCartney’s performance of ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’.” 

Among the cast, Lisa stands out as a beacon of rational thinking. The perpetual eight-year-old took her Little League baseball team to the championship with the help of statistics, delivered a paper at the 12th Annual Big Science Thing (“Airborne Pheromones and Aggression in Bullies”) and used maths to improve brother Bart’s golf. When benches fall on her in one episode, Principal Skinner cries out: “She’s been crushed . . . so have the hopes of our mathletics team!”

Source: Newsweek 

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Current Site and App of the Week - September 17, 2014

Current Site of the Week
Interactive U.S. history series for tablets
As the new school year begins, the Library of Congress invites students everywhere to touch, draw on and explore some of its most valuable treasures—all via a new set of free interactive eBooks for tablets.

The Library of Congress

The new Library of Congress Student Discovery Sets bring together historical artifacts and one-of-a-kind documents on a wide range of topics, from history to science to literature. Interactive tools let students zoom in for close examination, draw to highlight interesting details and make notes about what they discover.

The first six Student Discovery Sets are available now for the iPad, and can be downloaded for free on iBooks. These sets cover the U.S. Constitution, Symbols of the United States, Immigration, the Dust Bowl, the Harlem Renaissance, and Understanding the Cosmos.

With a swipe of a finger, learners can peer into the workshop where the Statue of Liberty was built, scrutinize George Washington’s notes on the Constitution, and zoom in on the faces of new arrivals at Ellis Island. Using the portability that tablets bring, students can hand their work to a classmate to collaborate.

The objects in the Student Discovery Sets are primary sources—items created by eyewitnesses to history. From Galileo’s drawings of the moon to Zora Neale Hurston’s plays to Thomas Edison’s films, these maps, songs, posters, sheet music and iconic images immerse students in history, culture and science and give them the power to explore.

Apps of the Week    

Explore the solar system

 What is it? 3D guide to the solar system for aspiring astronomers

Best for: Students and teachers
Price: Free
Requirements: iOS 3.0 or later; Android 2.3 and up

Features: Hold your phone or tablet to the sky and the new automatic orientation feature provides a virtual reality view using your device’s magnetometer, accelerometer, and gyroscope.
Sky 2D: locate planets with flat view of sky
Sky 3D: planetarium style view of the sky
Visibility: shows times when planets are visible
Globe: rotating 3D globe of planets and moon

Related links

Source: eSchool News     

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to implement blended learning in higher education

Follow on Twitter as  @eSN_Meris
"How to implement blended learning in higher education"

A recent study made a great point about blended learning: It starts with a few interested faculty who experiment with the model, but often faculty and IT are at a loss in how to get the institution on board. Indeed, where does full-scale implementation start, and what do admin need to know?

Blended Learning Implementation Guide

According to Charles Graham, professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University (BYU), and Wendy Woodfield Porter, attorney and PhD candidate in Instructional Psychology and Technology at BYU, a lot can be learned from institutional case studies to develop a concrete blended learning implementation guide.

In their study, “A Framework for Institutional Adoption and Implementation of Blended Learning in Higher Education,” published in ScienceDirect, but available in pre-published form for free through, investigating six cases of institutional adoption of blended learning helped glean key issues that can guide university administrators interested in full-scale implementation.

Photo: eCampus News

Each case reviewed included what the researchers call the “various stages of blended learning adoption,” including awareness/exploration, adoption/early implementation, and mature implementation/growth.

“One reason for lack of recognition by university administration is that adoption has occurred with individual faculty, not at the institutional level,” says Graham. “Increasingly, institutions of higher education are seeing a need to strategically support adoption and implementation of blended learning [BL]. Policies that enable and even encourage BL can strengthen a university’s commitment to improve student learning as well as increase side benefits such as access, flexibility, and cost effectiveness.”
Read more... 

Source: eCampus News and DigitalLearningNow's Channel (YouTube).

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The History of E-Learning

"The term 'e-learning' has only been in existence since 1999. When the word was first utilized, other terms - such as 'online learning' and 'virtual learning' - also began to spring up in search of an accurate description of exactly was e-learning was." summaries (blog).

However, the principles behind e-learning have been well documented throughout history, and there is even evidence that suggests that early forms of e-learning existed as far back as the 19th century.

This infographic was created by Roberta Gogos.

The 1980s
With the introduction of the computer and internet in the late 20th century, e-learning tools and delivery methods expanded. The first MAC in the 1980s enabled individuals to have computers in their homes, making it easier for them to learn about particular subjects and develop certain skillsets. Then, in the following decade, virtual learning environments began to truly thrive, with people gaining access to a wealth of online information and e-learning opportunities.

The early 1990s
By the early 90s several schools had been set up to deliver courses online, making the most of the internet and bringing education to people unable to attend a college due to geographical or time constraints. Technological advancements also helped educational establishments reduce the costs of distance learning - a saving that could then be passed on to the students, helping bring education to a wider audience.

Source: (blog)

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Online learning ‘advantageous’ for universities

"Online learning offers students of all ages an opportunity to ease back into education or learn a new skill at their own pace and in a manner that fits around other commitments." continues Virtual College.


However, attitudes towards e-learning need to change in order for the UK to fully realise the benefits it can provide.

Every year, the number of students entering into higher education increases, putting strain on universities that struggle to offer every successful applicant a place. Online learning is a solution that enables students to access world-class education  without the need to enter a classroom.

Over the pond, the US has already accepted e-learning as a viable method of teaching courses to students, with figures from the Babson Survey Research Group suggesting 7.1 million higher education students study at least one unit online as part of their degree.

Although the number of full time students is on the rise in the UK, the amount of part-time applicants is actually falling. This could be a consequence of increased tuition fees or it may be that people are finding it hard to attend classes around work or child care schedules. E-learning could be used to boost these numbers, as it offers an unparalleled level of flexibility.

Source: Virtual College

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Adobe Connect Essential Training - Free Video Training Tutorial

In Adobe Connect Essential Training author Tim Plumer, Jr. explains how to deliver and host.

The course covers the software's many tools for streamlining communication and engaging participants, such as the screen sharing, full-screen, and whiteboard features. Also included are tutorials on recording presentations, video conferencing, and using Connect with an iPhone or Android-based smartphone. Exercise files accompany the course.
Topics include:
  • A quick start guide to connect
  • Creating and managing layouts
  • Working with Flash videos and MP3s
  • Polling your audience
  • Using the meeting as a room
Along with the free video training tutorials you will also receive monthly offers, tips, and insider information you won't hear elsewhere--including special discounts extended to newsletter subscribers.

After taking advantage of the free video training, you can access all of their video tutorials by becoming a member of the Online Training Library®. Membership plans start at $25 per month, and require no long-term commitment. 

Request your Free Online Tutorial! 


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Teaching the Digital Native - Learning With Computers and the Internet Poses New Challenges

Follow on Twitter as @fawnjohnson
"The baby hadn't yet learned to speak or walk. Still, he was able to balance himself next to a coffee table and perform a smart tablet "swipe."" summarizes Fawn Johnson.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., told this story last week at a forum run by The Atlantic on technologies in education to illustrate the following challenge: This baby is one of the millions of the "digital natives"—the young people born with the Internet and computers—who we must educate and prepare for a technology-rich workplace that few of us can imagine now.

Digital classrooms are the wave of the future. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

These students of tomorrow's classrooms, ideally, will be using interactive online content the way Eshoo and I used textbooks. Their teachers, hopefully, will be receiving real-time feedback on their students' progress and altering their teaching in response.

But none of that can happen if the school doesn't have the bandwidth and the teachers don't know how to use the technology. Eshoo says it's time for the United States to step up its game if we want to stay on pace with the rest of the world. "This is the most dynamic investment of all," she said. "We know we need to upgrade in order to be competitive."

Tight education budgets and the varied local problems of running a school make even the most basic upgrades difficult. Kwame Simmons knows all about it. He is the principal of Kramer Middle School in one the poorest neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. A federal grant allowed Kramer to become the first school in Washington to offer a "blended learning" curriculum in which kids spend half of their learning time on laptops and the other half in a teacher-led environment.

Simmons was lucky that his school was recently renovated, so installing a state-of-the-art Internet infrastructure wasn't a problem. In older schools, he says, that kind of wiring would be almost impossible.

But Simmons had other problems. He had to get special permission from the district to replace most of the teaching staff so he could hire technically savvy faculty. Only 8 percent of teachers say they feel proficient with technology, according to White House data.

Then there is the issue of Simmons's student body. About half of them don't have computers at home, and even the ones who do likely don't have Internet access. They are all poor. They are all under-nurtured. Technology would not save them if teachers weren't there, too.

"These students, very rarely have they been [intellectually] touched by a teacher," he said. "I pledged that they would be touched by a teacher every day."
Read more... 

Source: National Journal 

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